Plenty of tourists go to Hawaii for daytime activities: surfing, sunbathing, snorkeling, or exploring the different active volcanoes. However, aside from these, Hawaii is also an excellent spot for stargazing. Each of the state’s islands offers a unique characteristic to the night sky, and Hawaii’s concentrated residential development and remoteness allow for a dark sky ideal for stargazing.
Every one of the Hawaiian Islands brings something unique to tourists, and each has excellent stargazing spots. Below are Hawaii’s five main islands you can choose from for the best stargazing experience.
Oahu is the most famous island to visit in Hawaii; after all, Honolulu is located there. It is small enough that you won’t have trouble reaching the stargazing spots even if you’re in the big city.
Top Stargazing Spots in Honolulu:
Diamond Head State Monument
The Diamond Head State Monument is a crater of a dormant volcano. Its gates close at precisely 6 pm, but its parking area still offers an excellent spot for stargazing. The carter is also a popular attraction, so expect some company.
Aside from being an excellent place for watching the marine life and snorkeling, Hanauma Bay can also be a good spot for stargazing. The beach lacks light pollution, making it extremely easy to observe the stars.
Located near Honolulu’s city, Mount Tantalus is a colossal cinder cone that provides a fantastic view of the starry sky. The cinder cone is the ideal spot for people who enjoy stargazing and hiking.
The Big Island
Hawaii has some of the best observatories worldwide, sat on the volcanic peaks dominating the landscape. The Big Island is Hawaii’s youngest island, with it being less than a million years old. And unlike the other islands, some parts of Hawaii don’t have any light pollution.
Top Stargazing Spots on the Big Island
Originally the chosen site for Hawaii’s observatories, Mauna Loa’s slopes are virtually blank on a clear night despite its lower elevation making it more susceptible to cloud cover.
Mauna Kea, recognized for its popular observatories, offers some of the best spots for stargazing. The island has several roads and parking areas you can pass through to drive up the mountains with an excellent elevation of more than 8,000ft and see some of the darkest and clearest night skies in the world.
Kauai, the small, circular island, has its unique stargazing opportunity. The island is a distance away from others, meaning you can stargaze on any of its shores in every direction.
Top Stargazing Spots on the Kauai
Ha’ena State Park
Ha’ena State Park, found on the north shore, is isolated and easy to access. So if you have limited time on the island, the Ha’ena State Park is your best option for stargazing if the night skies are clear.
Polihale State Park
A little difficult to reach on the western shore, the Polihale State Park is an isolated area with no light pollution that can hinder your session with the stars while camping in the park.
Salt Pond Park
Salt Pond Park is located at the southern shore and is a famous spot that provides easy access for swimming, fishing, and snorkeling during the daytime. At nighttime, you can remain at the camping ground to stargaze.
You can choose to stargaze from the beach, the mountains, or both during the same night on Maui. This Hawaii island’s connecting isthmus and a couple of mountain ranges offer plenty of opportunities to stargaze.
Top Stargazing Spots on the Maui
Honomanū Bay on Haleakalā northern shore is also an excellent spot for stargazing. It offers natural shelter from the light pollution caused by nearby communities.
Maui’s known volcano and stargazing spot and is the Haleakalā National Park. It’s home to an observatory atop the mountain, which you can ascend for your personal stargazing session or with a tour.
The Kalahaku Overlook is Haleakalā most famous overlook for stargazing and even watching the sunset.
The smaller Hawaii island, Moloka’i, albeit its small size, is still a prime stargazing spot. Despite receiving fewer tourists, Moloka’i, with its limited development, is spanned with dark skies all over the whole island. Kaupoa Beach, in particular, is relatively isolated and allows stargazing by the beach while listening to the crashing waves.
On a Hawaiian Cruise
Other than mountain observatories and campgrounds, you can also view the stars from a boat.
Consider going on a small-ship or charter vessel cruise instead of the Hawaiian cruises big cruise companies offer. By far, the most popular one is UnCruise. Their itineraries allow you to roam the waterways and islands during the day and stay up to stargaze at night.
Unfortunately, you won’t experience much progress with shooting astrophotos or viewing through a telescope from the UnCruise ship because of the wave action. Still, your bare eyes sure can appreciate the night sky, including the Milky Way and some constellations such as the Southern Cross.