Owing to their wide direct bandgap tenability, III-nitride (III-N) compound semiconductors have been proven instrumental in the development of blue light-emitting diodes that led to the so-called solid-state lighting revolution and blue laser diodes that are used for optical data storage. Beyond such conventional optoelectronic devices, in this review, we explore the progress made in the past 15 years with this low refractive index material family for the realization of microdisks as well as 2D and 1D photonic crystal (PhC) membrane cavities. Critical aspects related to their design and fabrication are first highlighted. Then, the optical properties of passive PhC structures designed for near-infrared such as their quality factor and their mode volume are addressed. Additional challenges dealing with fabrication pertaining to structures designed for shorter wavelengths, namely the visible to ultraviolet spectral range, are also critically reviewed and analyzed. Various applications ranging from second and third harmonic generation to microlasers and nanolasers are then discussed. Finally, forthcoming challenges and novel fields of application of III-N photonic cavities are commented.