In April we went to Oahu, Hawaii for our baby moon! It was the ultimate dream vacation and last hoorah before baby girl gets here. Since it’s been a few months…I figured it was high time to share a travel guide of all our favorite things to do, see, and eat while on the island!
We ended up staying on the North Shore for the first 4 days and Waikiki for the last 5 days. While we were on the North Shore we ended up falling in love with it so much that we didn’t want to leave! If you are looking for the ultimate relaxing, “chill on the beach while eating fresh fruit” vacation, then the North Shore of Oahu is for you! I would recommend staying in Haleiwa. It was our favorite town and has everything within walking distance. If you are wanting more touristy feel, I would highly recommend staying in Waikiki. Everything is open late and bustling. Luckily we stayed in both place and got the best of both worlds. *que Hannah Montana*
Paddle Boarding in Haleiwa
One of our favorite things we did on the North Shore, in the small town of Haleiwa, was paddle boarding down the river that runs through Haleiwa. It was recommended to us by my fellow blogger friend, Keara. I have never paddle boarded in my life, so I was a little nervous about falling over. Luckily they were a lot sturdier than I thought.
As you are paddle boarding down the rive there are literally turtles swimming all throughout the river! Some are huge and honestly startled me when they would come up for air. The day we went the river was a little cloudy, but we were told that most of the time it is crystal clear.
After we paddle boarded down the river we paddled in the opposite direction towards the ocean so we could watch the sunset. It was absolutely stunning and perfect timing! We went about 45 minutes before sunset so we could do both. It was amazing!
Matsumoto’s Shaved Ice
If you spend any time on the North Shore you HAVE to go to Matsumoto’s Shaved Ice. This was by far one of our most visited places while we were on the North Shore. We literally went every. single. day. I don’t know what it is about this shaved ice, but we couldn’t get enough. My favorite flavor was Mango and I would get it covered with condensed milk. Literal heaven in your mouth! Because calories don’t count when you’re on vacation right?…or when you’re pregnant!
One of the things I loved about Matsumoto’s is that they give you a little wooden spoon to eat your ice with, AND a straw so if it melts you can still enjoy it. If you go to Matsumoto’s know that they close at 6:00 pm, and the line is usually out the door. So plan on there being a little bit of a wait time.
While we were in Oahu I was 24 weeks pregnant and couldn’t get enough shrimp. I don’t know what it was but I honestly couldn’t get enough of it! We ended up eating at so many shrimp trucks that we ended up having a couple favorite places.
The first is Kau Kau Grill (pictured below), which is actually located in Honolulu, next to where we rented our car. It is a little hole in the wall place, but was honestly the best and biggest garlic shrimp we had on the whole island. If you are in the Honolulu area it is a MUST STOP. The second is Big Wave Shrimp on the North Shore. It was definitely my second favorite place and we stopped there multiple times on the North Shore. It was delicious! As long as you stop at least once for garlic shrimp, you are doing something right.
The Sunrise Shack
Since we are on the topic of food…I wanted to share a few other of our favorite places that are popular on the island, and then I will share all of our favorite locations! Let’s start with breakfast! While we stayed on the North Shore we stayed right on Sunset Beach. Which ended up being right down the street from The Sunrise Shack. They have the BEST açaí bowls I’ve ever had. Plus, everything is Instagrammable! (bonus for me anyway.)
I ended up trying the ‘Blue Dream Bowl’ on the North Shore and the ‘Tropical Bowl’ when we stumbled upon The Sunrise Shack in Waikiki. The ‘Tropical Bowl’ was my favorite out of the two and super filling! Definitely have it for breakfast, or a refreshing snack, at least once while you are on the island. Everything in it is fresh and delicious! Perfect for a day on the beach.
Surf Lanai at The Royal Hawaiian
Another favorite breakfast place was the Surf Lanai located at The Royal Hawaiian hotel in Waikiki. It ended up being right down the street from our hotel when we were staying in Waikiki. I saw that they had ‘Pink Guava Pancakes’ and had to check it out. If I could stay at any hotel and not have to worry about the price, it would be The Royal Hawaiian. Not only is it gorgeous, but it is every pink lovers dream.
When we arrived for breakfast they sat us right along the beach in their outdoor seating area. It was gorgeous! They gave us the option to either order off the menu, or choose the buffet. Since I am mostly useless at buffets and only ever get one plate of food, we decided to order off the menu. The ‘Pink Guava Pancakes’ were everything I hoped they’d be and more. Colin ordered a short rib breakfast and it was divine as well! I can only imagine that the buffet would be as well! It was a little pricer than most of the other places we went, but was one of our “splurge” meals while on the island.
Kahuku Land Farms & Kahuku Land Fruit Stand
Before we made the trip to Hawaii I researched and stalked other people I followed on Instagram to see where they were going, what looked fun, and places to eat! One of the places I stumbled upon while watching someone’s Instagram story was Kahuku Land Farms. The food and smoothies looked absolutely delicious and sitting on the farm while eating lunch didn’t sound half bad.
It was a little off the beaten path for us, since it was closer to Turtle Bay. I ended up ordering the ‘Farm Pizza & Side Salad.’ It was a Tomato-Eggplant Bruschetta topped with Mozzarella and Basil Mac Nut Pesto. So good! Plus, the side salad had a dressing that tasted like watermelon vinaigrette and even Colin loved it! I also ordered the Tropi-kale smoothie which was incredibly refreshing with my lunch. I loved that all the ingredients were from the farm and fresh!
They also have the Kahuku Land Farms Fruit Stand close to their farm that has all sorts of fresh fruit that is locally grown. I made Colin stop there almost every day because there is nothing like fresh fruit when you are in paradise! It also is the perfect stop if you are headed to the beach and need some healthy snacks. Colin and I would stop by Kahuku Land Farms Fruit Stand, head to the beach, swim a little then eat all of our fresh fruit while we relaxed on Sunset Beach (I would highly recommend the mango if you go to the Fruit Stand).
Wow Wow Hawaiian Lemonade
I don’t know about you, but when I travel to new places I feel like we always center things around food. I love to experience the food places that are unique to wherever it is we are visiting. Once I discovered Wow Wow Hawaiian Lemonade, it instantly made it onto our list of places to visit. There is one located on the North Shore, right across from Big Wave Shrimp, and one located towards the center of the island.
Not only do they have delicious lemonade at Wow Wow Hawaiian Lemonade, but they have cute mason jars that you can take home with you (which yes, of course we did that)! I ordered the Passion Strawberry Lemonade and it literally looked like a sunset! They also offer Acai bowls as well, but we only ever got lemonade, and it was so worth it! With all the heat and humidity in Hawaii, it was the perfect drink to cool us off.
Leonard’s Bakery was recommended by multiple people when we asked for suggestions, and I must say, it did NOT disappoint. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, other than it was delicious! They have a physical bakery in Honolulu, as well as a food truck close to Hanauma Bay. We ended up going to both…because it is that good people! They have delicious pastries, cookies, and baked goods, but are most famous for their Malasadas. Malasadas are basically a delicious donut that you can get with or without filling.
I am a fan of filling, so we ended up trying a few filled Malasadas and they were all so good! Tip: eat them while they are HOT! They will not be good later.
Duke’s Hula Pie
Alright dessert lovers. This is the ultimate dessert you will find on the island of Oahu. As far as I’m concerned. Duke’s is a restaurant located in Waikiki right on Waikiki Beach. One of Colin’s coworkers said DO NOT PASS UP THE HULA PIE. So we made sure to have it…3 times haha. It’s a miracle we didn’t gain 30 pounds on this trip.
Hula Pie is basically and ice cream pie. It is made up of vanilla ice cream with macadamia nuts throughout it. It has an Oreo-like crust, a chocolate fudge outer layer, then topped with whipped cream, hot fudge and nuts. Sounds like a heart attack waiting to happen right? Well it is so delicious and definitely big enough to share! Definitely don’t pass it up if you have a sweet tooth! You can also call and order it to go if it is super busy and eat it on the beach!
Alright, we officially made it through all the food and now onto our favorite spots on the island of Oahu! First off is Sunset Beach. We stayed within walking distance of Sunset Beach while we were on the North Shore of Oahu. It was easily my favorite beach we visited and it was even easier to see why they call it “sunset beach”.
Not only are the sunsets absolutely incredible and need no filter, but it is beautiful any time of day! We spent a whole day sitting on the beach reading and watching the surfers. WARNING: It is definitely not a beach for swimming. The current is incredibly strong. Colin learned that the hard way…
Hanauma Bay was definitely another favorite place we went. We had some friends that were in Hawaii the same time we were, so we ended up getting together one day and snorkeling at Hanauma Bay. The water is insanely clear and blue, and there are SO many fish while snorkeling that you can’t miss them.
I went to Hanauma Bay one when I was younger and don’t remember it being this amazing, but I loved it! We ended up snorkeling for a couple hours and seeing so many beautiful fish. It was also a relief that there is so much reef and it is “enclosed” because if you didn’t know…I am terrified of sharks. So it was great to swim without a fear! TIP: Pay for the shuttle. Just do it. You will thank me later! It is quite a trek up and down the hill to the bay, and after a couple hours of snorkeling/swimming, the last thing you want to do is hike up the trail to your car.
Also make sure to check prices and times it is open. Hanauma Bay is closed every Tuesday!
Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden
These Botanical Gardens are literally every Instagram photo you see of Hawaii. It is 100% free and once you start driving through the Gardens it is like stepping into the world of Jurassic Park. I have never seen anything so green and lush! It was a fun, free activity we did on a day we didn’t have much planned. It is also the perfect place for photo opportunities!
If you have the time to go I would highly recommend taking the time to drive through this incredible place!
We all know the famous Dole Whip at the Dole Plantation. It is an absolute MUST any time you are in Oahu. I am obsessed with Dole Whip and am convinced there is nothing quite like getting a good ol’ Dole Whip while you are in Hawaii…unless you are in Disneyland.
So while you are grabbing yourself a Dole Whip or pineapple, grab yourself a bag of pineapple gummies. I discovered them through a coworker right before we left and had to grab some while we were in Hawaii! They were delicious and tasted exactly like pineapple. (They are a little pricey at the Dole Plantation, but I found them for a fraction of the price at Matsumoto’s Shaved Ice.)
Kaka’ako Wall Murals
Whenever I travel I love to look for fun wall murals. I can not pass up on a good wall mural. So luckily, there is a whole district dedicated to wall murals in Kaka’ako! The streets are literally covered in murals so you can drive up and down until you find the right one. There is also a guide to a few here as well. So if you need some good picture taking places, this is it!
The Shoreline Hotel
If you need a recommendation of where to stay while in Waikiki stay at The Shoreline. I have never stayed at a place so fun! It definitely is an Instagrammers Heaven, but I loved everything about it. The staff was incredibly accommodating, they had free snacks and drinks in your room, and they even offered beach towels and chairs for you to take to the beach. (Did I mention the complimentary water infused with fruit.) Let’s also take a look at the pool area…my mural Heaven! Granted our stay was comped, but if we went and stayed in Waikiki I would without a doubt book at The Shoreline.
It is not directly on the beach, but is about a 5 minute walk and very doable! Even for a pregnant lady.
I hope you found my travel guide to Oahu, Hawaii fun and helpful! I love sharing our favorite places when we travel and hope that you get to experience them and pick up a few favorite places of your own! Hopefully after baby girl is born we will get to go back and visit all the same places with her. Aloha!