We travelled to Oahu, Hawaii as our first post covid trip and wow, was it amazing! We are already dreaming about when we can go back and visit the other islands. I’m not going to lie, Hawaii was never high on my bucket list. I didn’t think I would love it but oh, was I wrong. We had the BEST time in Oahu and it was absolutely breathtaking.
Where to Stay:
We stayed at the Royal Hawaiian (aka the Pink Palace of the Pacific), situated on the famous Waikiki Beach. This hotel is hands down the most ‘instagrammable’ hotel I’ve ever stayed it. Everything is PINK and so dreamy! It is in the perfect location for food and shopping! Right in the heart of Waikiki. Make sure you make dinner reservations and beach chair reservations ahead of time, as they book up veerrrrry fast. Keep in mind that Waikiki is a busy beach so if you are looking for a quiet escape- I would look into another area of the island! We booked the Royal Hawaiian directly through their website.
What to do:
RENT A CAR! My number on piece of advice for Oahu is to rent a car. There is so much to see and do, and if you stay at the hotel the whole time you’ll definitely be missing out. We spent most of our days driving around the island and exploring! An absolute must.
Here are some of my favorite spots we stopped at.
Halona Blow Hole – a super small beach, but totally worth the stop! I recommend getting there early in the morning because it does get really crowded and its a small spot.
Makapuu Lookout – the most GORGEOUS views of the water and mountain backdrop. You can hike all the way down the the Makapuu tide pools, but we did skip that part as we had a lot of other spots we wanted to stop at.
Kaaawa Beach – Probably my favorite beach on the entire island- it’s full of locals in the little town of Kaaawa. The beach is really small but the views are UNREAL. Crystal clear water, big palm trees and a mountain backdrop. It doesn’t get any better than that! Make sure you check the tide though because since the beach is so small, when the tide is high there really isn’t a beach at all!
Lanikai Beach – You’ve definitely seen this beach on instagram. The water is TO DIE FOR! It’s a large beach with two little islands out in the distance. We came here a few times because we couldn’t get enough. Parking was tough as it’s a super popular beach- we drove around looking for a spot for at least 15 min but it was totally worth it.
Sunset Beach (North Shore) – Also known as the pipeline! This is the famous surfing beach and let me just tell you… the waves are HUGE and we were there when the waves were ‘small’ but we literally got taken down by just having our ankles in! Super cool to see. Theres also a palm tree that grows sideways out into the beach which makes for a cute pic.
Turtle Beach (North Shore) – Okay, I know I said Kaaawa was my favorite but Turtle beach might have it topped. It’s called turtle beach for a reason- theres HUNDREDS of turtles just swimming in the water and laying on the sand. It was magical. Logan literally had to drag me out of there lol. My phone storage was FULL by the time we left because I took approximately 120983 videos.
Hoomaluhia Botanical Gardens – I have no words for how insane this place is. YOU CAN’T MISS IT. The photo opportunities are endless. We went before it opened to try and snag a few pics- they leave a side gate open for people to walk and run the trails after hours. They do say no photos at the entrance but a lot of people take them anyways.
Spitting Cave – This was kind of hard to find as it’s actually in a neighborhood. We definitely thought we were lost. You have to hike down between two houses- it’s pretty steep so wear appropriate shoes… I did not and kept sliding. The views from this spot are unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. Alot of (brave) people jump into the water from here but it seems SUPER dangerous and I do not recommend doing that haha. We almost skipped this spot and we were so happy that we didn’t.
RENT A SURFBOARD AT WAIKIKI DURING SUNSET:
One of our favorite things we did! We rented a surf board from a local shop across the street from Waikiki Beach and sat on it and watched the sunset. Neither of us can surf (although I would love to learn) but it was so fun to just hang in the water and watch the sun go down. Most surf board shops directly on the beach actually close before sunset even starts so you have to leave the beach to snag one from a place that stays open later. It wasn’t a big deal though- quick walk and definitely worth it!
We ran out of time/we aren’t huge hikers but this one looks amazing! The views are stunning (overlook Lanikai Beach) and apparently it’s a super easy hike. Tip: go early in the morning before it gets crowded!
If you stay on Waikiki these are super easy to access! They literally pull the boats up to the beach and you can sign up to go out the day of. It’s super affordable and you’ll get amazing views of the island.
I wanted to do this SO BAD but Logan was still traumatized from our helicopter ride in St Lucia, so we skipped this. I highly highly highly recommend doing this. I did a lot of research and the views are INCREDIBLE. Still kicking myself that I didn’t convince him do this one!
WHERE TO EAT:
Sunrise Shack: We ate this more times than I’m willing to admit! Everything on the menu was to die for- my favorite was the acai bowl! They have a couple locations around the island but my favorite was the one on the North Shore across from Sunset beach. It really is a little shack on the side of the road.
Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck: An award winning food truck that apparently sells the best shrimp on the entire island. I don’t eat seafood so I can’t speak from experience but I’ve heard nothing but great things. Cash only!
Leonards Bakery: The best donuts ever!!! If you’re looking for a sweet treat- Leonards is the spot!
Dukes Waikiki: Definitely a touristy spot but has super cute tiki vibes and sits right on the beach in Waikiki! Located in the Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort.
A common question I get asked is Oahu worth it on it’s own? Should I skip Oahu and go straight to Maui? The answer is Oahu is 1000000% worth it on it’s own. There is SO much to see and do in Oahu. We spent a week there and still didn’t get to see everything. Maui would definitely make a great addition but I wouldn’t skip Oahu! We loved it so so much and can’t wait to return one day 🙂