Hawaii Oahu Vacation
Day One and Two of Our Honeymoon
Hawaii Honeymoon Series
I can’t believe that I didn’t start sharing all the details about our Hawaiian honeymoon earlier than now. It really did seem like a daunting task, but I am so happy to finally have all my notes and photos together. We seriously love the Hawaiian Islands. It is just so beautiful there and such a great place to vacation. I am excited to share with you the first part of what we did on O’ahu! It has been a couple of years, but I will try to add as much detail as possible about what we did, where we ate and what we would love to see again!
** I will tell you right now that all of these pictures are a mix between my DSLR that I used to use for weddings (we upgraded camera bodies since the trip), our GoPro Hero 3 and my trusty old Nikon Coolpix point and shoot – there might even be a couple cell phone pics through in there! So you are warned! **
Our Hotel: Park Shore Waikiki Resort
We stayed at the Park Shore Hotel on Waikiki Beach in O’ahu. We knew when we were planning the trip that we wanted to stay on Waikiki beach while we were there and debated on an Oceanview room or partial Oceanview. The amount between the two really wasn’t a whole lot – under $20 to get an Oceanview so we did the Oceanview and I am so happy we did! We told the hotel it was our honeymoon that week and I am not sure if its because of that or just when we booked…or by magic but I think we got the best room! We were on the top floor and had the corner. So— if you are looking at the hotel from the beach we were in the tower facing the ocean and the top right room. It was awesome! It gave us perfect views of Diamond Head to our left and the ocean in front and we didn’t have to worry about the balcony above us or people above us. It was awesome! I can’t say we spent a ton of time in our hotel room, but when we did it was really nice. The first night we got in we actually ended up just ordering pizza to the room because we were exhausted from flying a million hours and pizza just sounded good. It was 2 hours late haha, but it was still good and we got to sit on our patio and watched the fireworks from the Hilton over Waikiki beach.
Quick Tip – The Hilton Hawaiian Village puts on the free firework show over Waikiki beach on FRIDAYS usually beginning around 7:45-8pm and lasts about 10 minutes or so. We just happened to be in the room waiting for our pizza to come so we got to have prime seats on our balcony!
The view of Waikiki Beach from our Lanai
The view of Diamon Head from our lanai
The Park Shore Resort is right next to the Honolulu Zoo! We got to see the Flamingos every morning!
This was the first item on our list to check out. We planned a lot on O’ahu, so we wanted to start the first day with lots of fun things, but didn’t want to get up super early. Driving the H3 was on the top of the list of things to do since it is a highway that literally makes you feel like you are driving in the trees. It is kind of crazy. One of the first stops we did with the Pali Lookout which was on the top of Scott’s list. It was a nice view from the lookout and really gave you a feeling of yes, I am in Hawaii! There were chickens running around the parking lot and there were bees.
Quick Tip: Be mindful of the Bees! There were signs talking about when there is high wind to watch out for the Bees – We thought it was such a strange sign, but when the wind picks up on the lookout – bees will literally be pelting you. They didn’t sting us, but it was a little strange to have a bunch of bees just randomly running into you!
You see all those black dots on the pictures? Yeah… my camera wasn’t dirty… those were the bees!
This shot really shows off the bees again! All those little black dots were bees flying around!
The H3 drive was after Pai Lookout – It is a fun little road!
The next stop was on my list of must-haves and was the Byodo-In Temple. The Byodo-in temple is a non-denominational Buddhist temple. I have never been to a Buddhist temple before, but have always enjoyed the architecture and the landscaping around the temples. I have had several friends go to various countries and I end up drooling over the Buddhist temple pictures. One of the reasons why I loved the Byodo-in temple is because of how it is set in the landscape. It looks like it is just coming out of the mountain and that mountain provides a beautiful backdrop. The temple is in The Valley of the Temples, Memorial Park. The temple is used a lot for wedding ceremonies and on T.V.
Quick Tip: The Valley of the Temples Memorial Park is an active Memorial park, so always keep that in mind if you decide to wander outside of the Byodo-in temple. There may be other people paying their respects or a services happening.
Kailua Beach was our favorite beach in all of O’ahu. When I think of what a beach in Hawaii looks like or really any tropical beach in my mind it always has white sandy beaches and bright turquoise oceans. I couldn’t believe it when we pulled up to Kailua Beach and found out that the beach in my mind actually does exist! Kailua Beach is so beautiful!! I have never seen water that was that turquoise blue and the sand was a perfect white beige contrast to the turquoise. It was literally magical and just breathtaking. We were lucky enough to find parking at the beach parking area. I really wish we had our swimsuits on, but we hadn’t really planned to go swimming on the first day, so we stuck our toes in, walked around and sat under some trees – but I would have loved to go swimming! It looked like a great place to swim and easy access to the water without a bunch of coral.
Quick Tip: If you want to spend some time on the beach go early to get great parking in the beach parking lot. We got super lucky and someone was pulling out just as we were driving by, but otherwise, I would say go early in the day before the parking lot gets crowded.
– Before leaving the Kailua area there is a delicious deli cafe called Kalapawai Cafe and Deli – 750 Kailua Rd, Kailua, HI 96734
It seriously has the best sandwiches and it is a nice light meal on a hot beach day. I really really really wish Ohio had one of these because they were so good. I had a turkey sandwich that had avocado and sprouts on it on some yummy bread. I think there was probably lettuce and tomato… I can’t remember, but it was amazing. It is less than a 10-minute drive from the Kailua Beach Park – So a perfect little stop while we are visiting the beach!
Kaupo Beach –
This was another fun beach that we found. It was a beautiful beach, but for different reasons then that Kailua beach. Kaupo had beautiful lava rock all around and it was a bit harder to get into the ocean from this beach, but the waves on the lava rock were so pretty. This was our first experience with lava rocks breaking the ocean waves… so I went a little nuts with the camera. Apparently, I thought that we weren’t going to see any more waves breaking over the lava rocks haha. The little green shrubs that were everywhere were really nice to take photos of to. Overall, this is a great place to stop and check out, but probably not the best for swimming. There were some people on the beach and in the ocean, but most of them were fishing.
Quick Tip 2: Always pack a swimsuit or wear one under your clothes! We learned this the hard way the first day when we stopped at the beach. We quickly learned that it is always a good idea to either have your swimsuit under your clothes or in a bag in the car that you can easily change into when you stop at a random gorgeous beach!
Makapu-u Lookout –
I am pretty sure this was my favorite lookout point of the entire trip. I still use the images from this lookout a lot! The water is really crystal clear and again… ocean waves breaking on lava rocks! I think that became my thing on the honeymoon to take photos of. It is such a beautiful contrast between the black lava, white caps of the ocean waves and the super blue-turquoise waters. It all makes it look gorgeous. Looking out towards the ocean is beautiful, but the best view I think is actually looking back down the shoreline and towards the road a bit. You get the contrast of the cliff with the ocean and the beach.
That night we hung out on the beach and grabbed dinner at the place that is right next to Park Shore – Lulu’s Waikiki. It was a fun little restaurant that had an upstairs patio that let you eat at barstools and lookout over Waikiki beach to people watch! I had a macadamia crusted fish and it was amazing.
Another place we stopped at every morning was Tucker & Bevvy Picnic Food – it was linked into our resort so we just had to walk through a connecting door and we were right at the little cafe.
It had amazing smoothies and their mango macadamia nut bread was amazing. We grabbed an ice cream from there to one evening. My go-to smoothies for breakfast when I wasn’t chowing down on the macadamia nut bread was their Tropical Storm smoothie with Mango, Pineapple, Banana, and pineapple juice or their sunset smoothie – papaya, mango, strawberry, apple juice. I think I had their Berry Berry once or twice which had raspberries, blueberries, apple juice and strawberries… as you can tell I was a little obsessed with the cafe.
There is an ABC store that is right next to the hotel as well which made it super easy to grab snacks for the long days and beach days. If you are from the South then you are thinking… uh… ABC stores sell liquid. Yes, on the mainland in the south ABC stores are just liquor stores, but in Hawaii, they are little grocery stores that sell everything from fresh fruit, grocery items, and souvenirs.
Quick Tip: Dole Banana Chips – They are at the ABC stores and gas stations all over the islands and are amazing. I can’t find them back here on the mainland at all. I have found mango, pineapple, and apricot… but no banana. These banana chips are literally the best kind I have ever tasted and I have no idea why I can’t find them in Ohio or any state that is on the mainland. You can order them from ABC online though and I have thought about it! Luckily, with us going back to Maui… I should be able to bring a couple bags home!
Our second day was our Pearl Harbor, USS Missouri, and USS Bowfin Day
To find out more information check out the Pearl Harbor Website
– It is an amazing resource if you plan to visit!
We woke up super early to get in line for tickets. It is free to go to the USS Arizona, but they only give out so many tickets per day if you do not reserve your time slot before, so you have to go pretty early in the morning and even though we got there super early… there was still a huge line – like I am talking a line out to the parking lot and wrapping around. Luckily, it moves super fast because they are just handing you a ticket. If you want to go see the Battleship USS Missouri, USS Bowfin Submarine or any of the other things besides the museums and the USS Arizona then you do have to buy tickets. So, once we got our Pearl Harbor ticket, we headed over to get our tickets for the other ships. They open the gates at 7:30 – I think we were there at 7am I believe or closer to 7:30. You can reserve your time-slot, but since free tickets were fine for us and we knew we wanted to get an early start!
Quick Tip – They do not allow bags since it is an active military base – so just keep that in mind. I believe you can purchase a locker to store your bags – but since it was the only thing we planned that day I left everything at home besides my camera which I could hold and I made sure I had large enough pockets to store my phone and card/id
I did not take any pictures on the USS Arizona. I took one from the boat that takes you to the USS Arizona, but once we were on it – I didn’t take any pictures with my cell or my camera. For me, it is just a sign of respect – I don’t really feel like the USS Arizona should be treated as a tourist destination… so for that reason, I put my camera away. Yes, there is still oil leaking from it and you can easily see it on top of the water.
The USS Missouri was next on the list and the USS Bowfin Submarine. I did take pictures of these! Both ships are super interesting and it is kind of crazy just how small and narrow everything is when walking around. The Bowfin is so tiny. I can’t even imagine being on a boat with such narrow halls and small bunk beds. They all put up with a lot while on the ships! Scott really loves all the military museum and ships so he was totally geeking out during this adventure.
I can’t really remember where we ate – we might have just gotten a quick snack at the museum. After we were done with all of the museums we headed back to Waikiki to enjoy the beach for the remainder of the afternoon. We got dressed up and headed out to shop Waikiki! It was a blast walking around the downtown area and seeing all the stores with huge palm trees. We didn’t do really any shopping, but just walking around was a lot of fun! We ate at a little burger place that I can’t remember the name of – then we headed back to our hotel via the boardwalk that runs along Waikiki Beach. There was a gorgeous sunset and it really was an experience to just walk back on the boardwalk to our hotel! We have never been to a beach that has that type of atmosphere. There were tons of catamarans coming in from their sunset boat tours and people were eating at the outdoor beachfront restaurants. Tons of people taking pictures by the ocean and more surfers!
I think that concludes Days 1 and 2 on O’ahu! We totally hit the ground running when we got there and kind of planned it that way! We had a blast those first two days seeing as much of O’ahu as possible. The next adventures in O’ahu were Diamond Head and then over to The North Shore!
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