Honeymoon in Hawai'i
For our honeymoon, Anton surprised me with a trip to Hawai'i. Yes, it was a complete surprise...I trusted his travel expertise and he did not disappoint. In this blog, I will detail our trip! We loved every second of our honeymoon, and I would recommend the island of O'ahu to anyone!
It's about a 10 hour flight (without layovers) to Honolulu from Atlanta so we spent half a day flying to Hawai'i. Thankfully, we gained six hours so when we landed it was only a little after 1 PM. We grabbed an Uber and headed to our first resort.
We checked in at Four Seasons, and we were greeted with leis, champagne and chocolate covered strawberries. Anton and I changed into our bathing suits and toured the grounds. We ended up at the pool where we ordered lunch and drinks!
Since we were jet lagged, we were in bed and asleep by 8 PM.
We woke up pretty early then headed down to the breakfast. We opted for the breakfast buffet, which didn't disappoint. Afterwards, we headed to the beach to snorkel and paddle board, but sadly Four Seasons was not allowing any beach activities due to a high bacteria levels. We were told some resorts say this because of the local seals.
*Seals are common in the area, and we actually had a seal on our beach for a day. They don't want guests bothering the seals during beach activities, so we weren't able to snorkel or paddle board at Four Seasons.
People were swimming in the ocean, but I don't suggest swimming if you have an open cut. Four Seasons on O'ahu is located with four man made lagoons, and you can walk a path to all of them. We saw several joggers and families on this path so perfect area to explore away from your resort.
We swam in the ocean some before heading to the pool. Ocean and pool have chair side service. We enjoyed the shade, drinks, and lunch until it was time for dinner. Four Seasons has several restaurants on the grounds, and you need reservations! We ate at Mina's Fish House.
We decided to order breakfast in to enjoy the sunrise and views from our balcony. Every room has an iPad, so you can order your food even the night before and it was brought to up promptly. We were greeted with a beautiful rainbow, and the breakfast was delicious.
We headed down to the pool...AGAIN. We learned where the best shade was located, and the resort was not overly busy so we had plenty of chairs to choose from. Every day, there was a wedding, and we watched the setup and ceremonies. Each wedding was unique and different, so if you're looking for a destination wedding I would suggest the Four Seasons!
We swam, napped, ate, and walked around the grounds again. Anton told me to begin looking up activities and places because the following day we would be renting a car and heading to a new resort on the other side of the island. So while I was lounging by the pool, I began my research and saving.
My go-to lunch was the Greek chicken pita with sweet potato friends. SO GOOD. Four Seasons also offered several free small drinks.
We ate at Noe the Italian restaurant for dinner, and it was my favorite. I loved the outside seating and ambiance. This was the more popular restaurant, and I would suggest to book this place first.
We ate one last breakfast at the Four Seasons at La Hiki restaurant, and we headed to the car rental to pick up our ride. Anton originally had a classic, safe SUV reserved for us, but I persuaded him to upgrade to a sportier car.....so we ended up with a 2019 Chevy Camaro LOL (He enjoyed it more than me).
We knew our check in time wasn't until 3 PM, and we decided to hike the Lanikai Pill Box. There are several "pill boxes" around the island. They are concrete boxes you can climb on top of and take pictures from amazing heights! This one looked over the Lanikai beach, which is known for being the most beautiful beach on O'ahu. I would have to agree.
You will have to park along the streets (free), but make sure to not park in a driveway, no parking zone, etc. We parked in between the hike and beach. It was maybe a two minute walk to both, so the hike is extremely close to the beach. It took us about 20 minutes to hike up to the pill box. There are flat stopping areas along the way, but most of the hike is straight up and rocks....I made several stops so take some water with you.
The view is 100% worth the hike. It was gorgeous, and you could see the entire beach and town. We headed to the beach immediately after the hike. The water was crystal blue and I love the Hawaiian sand! Since it's basically small rocks, it comes off very easy compared to our Georgia/Florida sand.
After cooling off at the beach, we searched for some food. We found an area with several eating places (pizza, sandwiches, BBQ, etc). We grabbed some local kebab pizza and enjoyed eating outside! We headed to our next stay, and it was a few minutes from the beach.
We checked in at Paradise Bay Resort. We had a waterfront room, and I think I liked this stay more than Four Seasons. Don't get me wrong the whole poolside service, huge breakfast buffet, and manicured grass is amazing, but...Paradise Bay Resort is an authentic hotel. It's located in a bay with surrounding locals as neighbors.
We settled in to our room, and walked around the grounds. They have a private pool and jacuzzi, fitness center, kayaks and paddle boards, and two floating docks. This is not located on a beach, but rather a canal that leads into a bay. We had tons of chickens roaming around...there are chickens every where in Hawai'i.
This hotel is about 5 -7 miles outside of a town, and we rode into the town to ride around and ordered takeout Vietnamese. We went to the local market as well to grab some snacks and drinks because our room came with a full size fridge, stove top and microwave!
We woke up early...jet lag was still keeping our sleep schedule off a little plus the local rooster did his job of letting us know the sun was rising LOL we walked up to breakfast, which is included with your stay at Paradise Bay Resort. There wasn't as much as of a variety compared to Four Seasons, but it definitely got the job done and the VIEW. It's on top of a hill overlooking the canal and bay. You can see mountains, and we were joined by a rainbow every morning. Felt like a movie.
We went back to our room to relax for a little before heading out for the day. We headed to Chinatown located in downtown Honolulu to browse and shop. Chinatown was mainly restaurants and food markets, but we found some Hawaiian shirts and I bought a freshly made haku lei (flower crown). This area was authentic and not glamorous, but we enjoyed seeing the culture.
Next, we headed to a local food court area where we grabbed a quick lunch at Arvo Café. When I researched this café, it had indoor and outdoor seating, but they had re-located and it was only outdoor seating. They are known for their lattes and Nutella toast! I opted for this both while Anton ordered a mint drink, ham and cheese panini and chips.
This area had several restaurants and shops as well as some of the well known murals in Hawai'i. You could easily spend a few hours walking around this area, and it was very close to Chinatown.
Later, we went to Pearl Harbor. I've always been a huge history buff, especially of this time period. I could have minored in History while earning my Bachelor's because I took several history courses, two were in WWII specifically. So...this was a MUST for our trip. I've been to memorial sites before, but I've never been to Pearl Harbor or 9/11. I know this would be a humbling but tragic moment. We walked around the memorial before seating for the short movie then we were ferried to the Arizona Memorial bridge.
I had tears in my eyes the entire time. Anton was shocked to see me quiet and speechless. No matter your political or religious affiliation I urge you to be respectful if you visit this memorial. It's a surreal moment to still see the Arizona below the surface knowing thousands of people lost their lives that day and some still trapped.
After leaving the memorial, we stopped for a snack at the famous Leonard's bakery. They are known for their malasadas, which are Portuguese donuts! I did have a donut wall at my wedding so it was a must to stop here.
Next.... I know this day was busy!...we went to Waikiki Beach. This beach is the most known, mainly because of the hotels, shopping, and surfing. It wasn't my cup of tea. The shopping was great and I can say I've seen Waikiki Beach, but it was extremely crowded. Parking can be harder. We parked in a deck. Tons of shopping and eating choices. The beach was very narrow and occupied by most hotel guests. Give a look but I wouldn't spend much time here.
It was almost time for sunset, and we hopped back in the car to Diamond Head Beach. We soaked up the last minutes of sun while watching local surfers. Again, this was a park on the side of the road and walk kind of place. We didn't mind all the walking because we needed the exercise :) Several others on the beach but not crowded.
Afterwards, we headed home (25 min drive), and we ate leftovers and crashed!
Again, we woke up pretty early and ate breakfast on our hotel site. The guava/passion fruit juice was our favorite! We packed up and headed to explore the Northshore part of O'ahu. We grabbed free snorkel gear from our resort as well.
It was about a 40 minute drive, but man the views are stunning. I'm glad it took us some time to get to places because we enjoyed driving. We passed several beaches and food trucks. We stopped by the famous Sunrise Shack first. It's a tiny road side shack that offers acai bowls, smoothies, juices, etc. It was quiet busy when we got there.
Then, we parked near Pipeline beach, which is known for the sunsets and surfing. This beach was amazing, and way less crowded. I wouldn't recommend snorkeling or swimming much in these waters because of the rocks, strong currents and surfers! There are a few parking lots but we parked on the side of the road and walked by several local houses. We saw local surfers and photographers. There was lots of shade and sun on this beach. It was the most wide beach we saw in Hawai'i.
We jumped in the car after watching the local surfers and headed to Shark's Cove to snorkel. This place was beautiful but painful. If you go here, be prepared for rocks rock rocks. There was a small beach but most people had to sit on or place their stuff on rocks. It's very shallow in most areas and kind of pool like, but again rocks every where. Anton and I swam all over and attempted to go out into open water. I noticed the current was pushing me around like a washing machine, and I made the call to head back in. I'm a great swimmer, and I've been swimming probably since the age of 3 (my Papa made us because to him it was a necessary skill), but I could see myself panicking if I got carried out farther.
Use your common sense. There are not lifeguards at any public beach minus some locals watching surfers. Anton and I hit several rocks while snorkeling here. It wouldn't be my first pick for snorkeling but we did see beautiful fish and sea life.
Thankfully, there were some outdoor showers at Shark's Cove and we rinsed off before heading to lunch. There were several food trucks located at Shark's Cove but we chose to drive a few more minutes up to the small town of Haleiwa. This town was walkable, and it offers a small beach, local restaurants and shopping.
We ate lunch, walked around, and grabbed some shaved ice from Anahulu's. The wings are located right outside the shaved ice store...you can't miss them!
We started to make our way back home, and we stopped at beach with a swing. There were swings along the beaches everywhere. You can find plenty while driving or walking any beach.
We found a local Vietnamese restaurant and ate their for dinner. Anton couldn't get enough of eating pho!
The walk was very easy, and they are many paths to take so get a map to see where each path leads. It reminded of a botanical gardens, and I was actually more impressed with the Arboretum than the botanical gadl trail closed". A local informed us we could ride up the road to Lyon Arboretum to access the waterfall through a different trail. I'm so glad we did because the walk was beautiful, and we were able to explore through the gardens.
The walk was very easy, and they are many paths to take so get a map to see where each path leads. It reminded of a botanical gardens, and I was actually more impressed with the Arboretum than the state botanical gardens.
We headed for a post hike snack, and we found a yummy acai bowl at Nalu Health Bar & Café. I could eat acai bowls every day, and especially acai bowls in Hawai'i.
Next, we headed to Makapu'u beach! We snorkeled some here, but again there are no lifeguards so swim at your own risk and I would not suggest swimming too far out if you are not a good swimmer. We loved this beach! The waves were safely high, and we enjoyed floating in the water. There is not much shade at this beach so bring the sunscreen!
There is a Lighthouse close by, and you can hike to it as well as several tide pools by the beach and around the area!
After swimming, we worked up an appetite, and one of my favorite things about Hawai'i has to be all the food trucks. There are food trucks EVERYWHERE. You can find a meal or snack very easily just by driving, and there were several food trucks right across the beach. We ordered some Hawaiian street food and shaved ice! It was delicious!
We headed to H'omaluhia Botanical Gardens, but when we arrived it was pouring rain and they were twenty minutes from closing. We drove through, but weren't able to walk any of the paths.
Instead, we headed back to our room and chose to paddle some around the bay and canal. I've been paddling kayaks since I could remember, and we used our resort's complimentary kayaks. Later, we rested before dinner time. We chose to eat at a local bar and grill, and we watched some sports!
We ate our last Hawaiian breakfast and packed our bags :( We popped some champagne and enjoyed a few sips before leaving Paradise Bay Resort.
Our flight wasn't until late evening, and we decided to spend a few hours in Wakiki to shop and enjoy our last meal and drink. We went to the Mai Tai Bar in the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. This hotel is adorable because of the décor, and it's all pink! The bar was located on the beach, and the food and drinks were great. Again, I wouldn't want to stay in this area for long because the beach is narrow and packed so you don't have much privacy or space. We did enjoy watching surfers though!
We bought a few souvenirs, including dog Hawaiian shirts for our little fur babies! They loved their shirts. Sadly, we headed to the airport and began our journey back home, but with a lot of happy, fun memories.
Fun Facts & Tips
You have to eat at a food truck...it was my favorite food the whole trip!
Our first hotel was where Blue Crush was filmed!
There is street art everywhere!
You could drive the entire O'ahu island in probably three hours
Hawai'i was top our of our travel bucket list, and we want to see the island of Maui next
Temp was 80's the entire trip, and not overly humid
We saw Magnum PI being filmed one day
Airbnb's would be perfect if you can't afford a hotel/resort
Rent a car! Cheaper and easier than using taxi and Uber
There was so much to see and do in O'ahu. We wanted to tour Kualoa ranch, snorkel at Turtle Bay, hike more waterfalls, zipline, take surfing lessons, and more. Just means we have to go back right?
Head to my Insta Honeymoon Highlight to see more videos and pics from our week!
Stay tuned to my Insta for a Honeymoon video!