Manawaiopuna Falls

Keep an eye out for velociraptors at Manawaiopuna Falls, the epic setting for the film, “Jurassic Park.” (Photo: Getty Images)


6 Hawaii Waterfalls That Are Ready for the ‘Gram

Does anything scream “I’m on a tropical vacation!” more than a photo of a pounding waterfall in a lush rainforest? In the Hawaiian Islands, this dreamlike scenario is yours for the taking.

Many of the state’s 100-plus waterfalls are easily accessed via a short walk or hike, but others are so deep inside remote gulches or valleys that they can only be spotted via helicopter, adding to the sense of adventure.

Still, Hawaii’s waterfalls all have one thing in common: They trigger a sense of awe. Ready to make your friends a little jealous? Here’s where you can find some of the most Instagrammable waterfalls in Hawaii. As always, check for any travel restrictions or closures before planning your trip.

Rainbow Falls, Hawaii Island

rainbow falls at dusk
A fiery sunset glows around Rainbow Falls. (Photo: Getty Images)

What better way to greet the day than with some ‘bow hunting — rainbow hunting, that is? Waianuenue is also called “Rainbow Falls” for the rainbows that often form around the area in the mornings.

This 80-foot stunner is a quick drive from Hilo and features a year-round thunderous water flow, making for a great IG opportunity before you head to local landmark Ken’s House of Pancakes for a hearty breakfast of macadamia nut pancakes.

Akaka Falls, Hawaii Island

Alaka Falls Hawaii
Take an easy walk to Alaka Falls. (Photo: Getty Images)

Overachieving Akaka Falls has it all. It’s a pleasant, short stroll on a paved trail to reach this highly photogenic falls, which cascades 442 feet down a contrasting lava-black background.

The state park where it’s located makes for a quick stop on your way to other Hawaii Island attractions, but don’t miss the lesser-known, bonus waterfall here. If you opt to walk the slightly longer full-loop trail, you’ll reach an overlook for Kahuna Falls, which is more hidden by lush vegetation.

Waimoku Falls, Maui

Waimoku Falls
Pose for the ‘Gram at Waimoku Falls. (Photo: Getty Images)

A four-mile round-trip hike — much of it on a well-groomed boardwalk — winds through a scenic bamboo forest and past 200-foot Makahiku Falls before the final reveal: 400-foot Waimoku Falls, majestically tumbling over a cliff.

This hike is inside the Kipahulu District of Haleakala National Park and can be accessed by driving 12 miles past the town of Hana on that famous, winding Road to Hana.

Waimea Falls, Oahu

For many people, getting a photo of themselves swimming under a waterfall is an ultimate goal, but be careful — getting up close to the base of a waterfall is not safe in many places due to the risk of falling rocks or flash floods.

If swimming with the waterfall is on your IG bucket list, Waimea Valley is just the ticket. At the back of this cultural park, which houses a variety of sacred sites and botanical gardens, you will come to a 45-foot waterfall feeding into a 30-foot-deep pond.

True, it’s quite civilized, with changing rooms, a lifeguard and required life vests (provided). But it’s still exhilarating to paddle around under a waterfall, floating in Mother Nature’s giant Jacuzzi tub. Once you dry off, enjoy a sunset cocktail and dinner at a local North Shore favorite watering hole like Haleiwa Joe’s.

Manawaiopuna Falls, Kauai

jurassic falls helicopter tour
Book a helicopter tour to get close to the falls – it’s worth it! (Photo: Getty Images)

The velociraptors were movie magic, but the 400-foot waterfall featured in the 1993 film “Jurassic Park” is the real deal. It’s on the Garden Isle’s west side and accessible via helicopter.

Several companies do flyovers, but the waterfall is on private land; Island Helicopters has the exclusive rights to touch copters down at the base, where the company conducts a guided tour along a jungle path. Reservations are a must. Wearing khaki safari shorts and humming John Williams’ score is entirely up to you but probably makes for a better photo. And isn’t that what you’re after?

One last bit of advice for savvy travelers: Some Hawaii waterfalls flow year-round, while others will only become visible during periods of wetter weather, so as with anything travel related these days, check ahead while making plans.

Hipuapua Falls and Moaula Falls, Molokai

A helicopter tour departing from nearby Maui is the best way to get a look into the remote Halawa Valley on the island of Molokai, where 1,200-foot waterfalls stream down verdant, and otherwise impossible to access, mountainsides.

Timing tip: If you visit during whale season (December to April), you may see humpbacks breaching and spouting as you pass over Pailolo Channel, the body of water separating Maui and Molokai.