We ended our Hawaiian honeymoon adventure with 4 full days on the island of Oahu.
Our first stop on Oahu was for malasadas at the famous Leonard’s Bakery. Malasadas are essentially like a fried donut. Traditionally, they do not contain any types of filling but many places do have that as an option. We got 2 original (sugar coating on the outside, no filling), 2 custard-filled and 2 Dobash (chocolate-filled). We decided to head straight from Leonard’s to check into our hotel instead of eating them fresh on site. THIS WAS SUCH A MISTAKE. DO NOT DO WHAT WE DID. Don’t get me wrong the malasadas were still tasty but by the time we got to them they weren’t as fresh and toasty as they would have been had we eaten them right away. Chill out. Eat your malasadas immediately. You’re welcome.
We stayed at the Hyatt Centric Waikiki Beach. We loved that it was new, modern, spacious clean and convenient. The only downside was that our initial room was so noisy into the early hours of the morning due to a club across the street that we wound up changing rooms our second day there. If you plan on staying here, request a room that IS NOT overlooking Kuhio Ave. and you won’t have this problem. Also be aware that the ‘pool’ is only a wading pool. This wasn’t a big deal to us because Waikiki Beach was within walking distance but if you need a pool then I would recommend looking elsewhere. For dinner we headed to the Mai Tai Bar at the Royal Hawaiian. It was the absolute perfect place to kick off the last island of our honeymoon. My number one tip is to get your drink in a pineapple. I know it’s pricey and unnecessary and maybe a little cheesy but just splurge and DO IT. Because you guys, you’re in Hawaii and you’re worth a drink in a dang pineapple. (: We still talk about how much fun it was to sit with our feet in the sand, the ocean right in front of us on Waikiki Beach!
We woke up excited to explore the Windward side of the island! When I was on Oahu many years ago with my family we had gone to an incredible beach that I knew I had to visit again-Lanikai Beach. When researching for our trip, I discovered that it had become one of the most popular beaches on Oahu and consistently ranked in the top across beaches in the United States! Expect to walk a bit in order to get there and watch for no parking signs because it’s in more of a neighborhood location. There’s also no restrooms on site. Kailua Beach Park nearby has similar views/water but includes restrooms and more parking nearby if that’s important to you. It does make it a little more crowded though. Lanikai Beach reminds me of a beach in the Caribbean. I could spend a whole week just floating in the blue-green waters.
FUN FACT:: It was drizzling when we left and continued to rain all the way there. I was worried it would ruin our beach day but then the rain magically stopped as we got close to the beach. My understanding is that the Windward side of the island gets much more rain the rest of the island but it tends to clear up pretty quickly.
In the afternoon, we hiked to Manoa Falls. After a short hike through the jungle on a well-marked trail, we ended at a beautiful tall waterfall. This hike is great because it’s friendly to all skill levels. We saw people of all ages easily completing this trail. We loved looking at all the different plant life and streams along the trail. On our way back it started to downpour and we booked it outta there!
We got a late start this morning because we switched to a quieter room in our hotel-which the the front desk was happy to accommodate! We spent the rest of the day exploring the North Shore starting with the Big Wave Shrimp food truck! SO. FREAKING. GOOD. After lunch, we hit the road again to Lanikea Beach. This beach is known for glimpses at the sea turtles who lay on the shore. DO NOT TRY TO GET CLOSE. Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles are endangered. Admire them from afar, snap some photos, be respectful, easy peezy. Waimea Bay was our next stop. Beautiful blue water, lazing around in the sand and reading with my favorite person-Absolute Paradise. We finished up our time on the North Shore with a stop for acai bowls at Haleiwa Bowls-yummy! (: There’s so much more to see and do on this part of the island I would love to go back some day!
The final full day of our trip began with an intense hike up KoKo Crater Trail. My husband really wanted to do this one and to be totally honest, I was less than thrilled about it. Straight uphill hikes are just not my thing. The trail used to be part of a railway but has not been used in that way for a long time. Now visitors and locals use the old wooden tracks like stairs (over 1000!) to climb up the monster hill and take in the views from the top. It’s short (just under two miles out and back) but challenging. I thought this was the hardest hike we completed on our trip. If you actually work out regularly (unlike me) you probably won’t find it as difficult as I did but personally, I had to stop like twelve times to rest on the way up. Haha. The views at the top were worth it though and I certainly felt accomplished!
HEADS UP:: Some people use this trail as their regular workout and pretty much run up and down the whole thing so just make sure to move aside to make room for them.
We showered, grabbed a quick sandwich lunch and then headed over to the Pearl Harbor Historic Sites to see the USS Arizona Memorial. It was interesting and sad to learn more about the history of the ship and it’s crew. If you haven’t been before, I highly recommend a visit to learn more about the USS Arizona and the other exhibits at Pearl Harbor Historic Sites on your trip.
On our way back to the hotel, we grabbed dinner and beers at our final brewery Honolulu Beerworks. Parking was difficult to find but we loved the food, drinks and atmosphere at this awesome tap room. Our waitress was so friendly and chatted with us about good ol’ Minnesota. We would definitely go back if we’re ever on Oahu again! When we got back to the hotel we enjoyed a couple drinks on the deck near the bonfire and then called it a night!
We woke up on our last day, packed up our remaining items, checked out of our hotel and hit one last very important stop-our final shave ice stand! On Oahu we decided to check out Island Vintage Shave Ice. A popular stand on Oahu is Matsumoto Shave Ice on the North Shore in Hale’iwa but due to some food sensitivities I have we only visited stands that used organic ingredients. Island Vintage Shave Ice was some fancy pants shave ice! I don’t remember the exact one I got but it was delicious and GIANT-the perfect way to end our time on Oahu. Being anxious fliers (okay fine, it’s just me) we got to the airport with plenty of time to spare before our flight, found a bar and enjoyed our last moments in Hawaii reliving our favorite parts of the trip.
If you have any questions about our itinerary, where we stayed or anything else about Maui, Kauai or Oahu just post it in the comments below. I’m no EXPERT but I will certainly do my best to help you out with what we learned from our experiences! (: