If you’re planning a beach vacation Oahu, Hawaii is a must see!
Newly engaged, or looking for a honeymoon destination let me be the first to tell you that Oahu, Hawaii is the perfect destination for couples vacation.
Step 1: Research + Prepare for your Hawaiian Vacation
If you’re anything like me before you take off for your next adventure, you’ll probably spend hours on instagram or Pinterest doing some research. These two locations are where I find my most reliable reviews. Clicking on locations, jumping through tagged photos, scanning peoples posts and skimming all of social media allows me to get really good insight to determine if a location or food spot is actually worth my time or the money. (Ill be the first to tell you, Hawaii isn’t cheap!)
Booking the Trip
Booking flights + your accommodations are likely going to be a heavy portion of your budget. If you’d prefer to spend your money on experiences, I’d recommend staying away from beach front properties… even a few blocks will still be $$$$. BUT – Don’t worry, you can find great prices on flights and even better rates on Airbnbs if you’re willing to do some research and be patient with this process.
Where we stayed!
While on the island, we stayed in the cutest airbnb that is perfect for a couples vacations. It was small & quaint & decorated with the most personalized touches. The property has a pool with a bar and friendly staff. In the middle of all the fun, this boutique airbnb condo is just 1½ blocks to the pristine sands of Waikiki Beach! It’s a newly renovated studio with a fully equipped kitchenette, and beautiful views of both the mountains and the city. It was such an ideal location and the Hawaiian themed decor definitely made this vacation retreat one for the books. Within just a few steps from the property we were greeted with beachfront shops, restaurants, and the iconic Waikiki beach.
Honestly, you cant beat the location and amenities for the price!
Step 2: Enjoy the food & buy a drink, you’re on vacation!
I love food, and when I’m on vacation Im always down for a drink (or two!)
Once we landed in Oahu, Hawaii we jumped into an Uber and headed straight to our Airbnb, changed into our suits and hit the beach! Our favorite location on the famous Waikiki Beach was just in front of Dukes, Waikiki. They have a beach front window where you can order drinks and food togo… So of course we would find a cozy spot on the sand and enjoy! Aside from the refreshing blended drinks, Dukes also had live music that we could hear from the beach (an added plus!) it really just set the mood for our beach days!
*SECRET TIP – If you don’t want to spend $15 plus on a drink from Dukes, stop by a local ABC store and grab a can of seltzer, beer, or whatever you prefer! It helps save some money and time.. you wont have to walk up and down the beach every time your ready for your next ice cold sipper.
If you like a good breakfast, READ Here!
I’m typically not a breakfast person, but on my last trip to Oahu, Hawaii I was given some insight on the best hidden gems for breakfast on the island. If coffee is a must, and you love a trendy atmosphere make sure to stop in at one of the Hawaiian Aroma Coffee shop locations. They are so trendy, filled with upbeat music and have the best Hawaiian coffee. They have even earned international recognition for their custom roast!) By day Hawaiian Aroma Coffee is a coffee shop with fresh juices, yummy foods & coffee… but by night some of the locations tun into a bar with live music and cocktails! They offer live music and alcoholic beverages so obviously I had an espresso martini at night and an iced coffee in the morning You really can’t beat the atmosphere here!
Other Food Recommendations!
- The Hideout at Laylow Great evening cocktails + light snack
- Kono’s North Shore Stop by for an on the go breakfast burrito
- Giovannis Shrimp Truck Famous shrimp plates and garlic hot dogs on the North Shore
- Leonards Bakery If you have a sweet tooth, make sure to visit!
- Basalt Waikiki Island-style cuisine at fair price point
- Hale’Iwa Bowls Acai bowls on North Shore
Step 3: Book a few excursions
Here are a few of my favorite things to do on the island!
Maita’i Catamaran – $$ Book with them here!
Its for sure a touristy thing to do, but it’s so nice to be out on the water… even the locals partake in this! The MaiTa’i Company offers a few different options you can book (day, night, afternoon sails). Take a look at the company online and reserve your seats in advanced. We booked our seats 1 month prior to our couples vacation. We opted for the evening sunset sail with an open bar. The cost was about $80 a person. The views alone make this worth doing!
Rent a car and drive the island – $$
When you’re in Oahu, Hawaii you’ll want to explore the entire island (Don’t stick to one location, trust me!) You can rent a car from the airport, or on Expedia but we used an app called Turo. Think Airbnb but for cars. I rented the car from 9am – 9pm and the cost was just under 100$. We met with the vehicle owner, went over all the Do’s + Dont’s and we were off. The app has all different sizes of vehicles but we wanted the full Oahu, Hawaii experience so of course we went with a jeep!
Best island boutique – Mahina $$
In Waikiki the majority of the shopping is very high end shops like Louis Vuitton or Gucci but to be honest, thats a bit out of my price point. My go to shopping boutique on the island is Mahina. Its island vibes for days & REALLY reasonably priced. Sometimes I ‘forget’ to bring something I know I’ll need just as an excuse to go shopping!
Visit the Kualoa Ranch, take any of the excursions – $$$$ Discover Jurassic Park
On the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii about a 45 minute drive from Waikiki (without traffic!) you will find a beautiful property known as The Kualoa Ranch. This property spans over 4,000 acres and includes event spaces, movie locations, beaches, and activities that are open to the public. Their goal is to protect and enhance the natural beauty of the land while developing sustainable recreational & agricultural enterprises that are compatible with the environment. The property has been featured in over 300+ movies & tv shows – uh hello, 50 first dates (one of my favorites!!)
Some of the most popular activities on the property include:
- ATV riding
- Ocean Voyages
- Movie site tours
- Horse back riding
We did the Zipline tour! It was great to be outside flying through the beautiful Ka’a’awa Valley. The tour consists of 7 zip lines and a few suspension bridges. It was super easy and I have Full confidence that people of any shape or size could partake in this and have a blast! It’s a bit expensive, but sometimes you have to be willing to spend a little bit to gain new experiences.
Things I recommend staying away from if you are a first timer on the island of Oahu
- Spending all your time in Waikiki – Waikiki is a tourist hub and because of this it is way more city than island. If you want to experience both city and island vibes head to the north shore
- Rush-Hour Traffic – its a real thing on the island. Try to avoid high traffic times. If you do head to the north shore, be prepared for traffic!
- Attending a Luau – Attending a Luau is very TOURISTY and i’m 95% sure it wont be the best meal you’ll have while on your couples vacation (also, $$$$!)
- Major Sunburn – Buy the sunscreen. it’s worth spending the money and saving yourself from the pain
- Over doing it – Play it cool & find a good balance of relaxation and fun. You’re on vacation for a reason!
Taking a vacation it’s always refreshing and exciting at the same time. Whether taking a weekend getaway in your own neck of the woods or traveling across the country theres always opportunity to gain something from the experience.
This is a big world we live in, and were just doing our best to see it all!
I hope that our experiences, our recommendations and our tips help you when planning your next weekend getaway.
This is our story, we’re just an average couple doing our best to explore this world one selfie at a time!
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