Last November, Jason + I (along with our two daughters) spent a week in Oahu, Hawaii. I wanted to share a bit about our trip for those planning a honeymoon, anniversary trip or an island getaway! Hawaii is one of our most favorite spots. Each island is different and offers lots of unique experiences. We love Oahu since it offers a bit of city life and island life – the best of both worlds! So, here are a few of our fave places to eat, stay, explore and more. :)
Where to Stay
So are you looking to be in Honolulu near all the action or are you a more get out the city type? Or maybe you’d like to experience a bit of both (that’s what we did and highly recommend that since both areas of the island are so different!)
Prefer being near the city? The Modern Honolulu is a great option. This was our second visit to this hotel and it’s our fave hotel in Honolulu. It’s right on the outskirts of the city, so you don’t feel too trapped but you are still walking distance to lots of great shops + restaurants. The hotel has a modern vibe which we totally dig. Love all the greenery + ferns around the hotel!!
Below is their breakfast + lunch restaurant The Grove – perfect for a quick breakfast before a day at the pool or beach – and yes, the beach is a short 5 min walk away.
We really love the pools here and spent A LOT of time at the pool above (the pool below is the adult only pool). Such a great place to relax and they have the best Frozen Mint Mojito drinks!!! Yum.
Want to get more away from it all? The Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina is perfect! We did a feature on the hotel for a wedding a few weeks ago, but it makes a great place to vacation or honeymoon as well! It’s about a hour drive from the Honolulu airport and really gives you that remote island vibe…
We loved the resort and the pools here. The pool below is the adult only pool and is the largest infinity pool in Hawaii!! The perfect spot to spend the day and catch the sunset….
Where to Eat
While at the Four Seasons Oahu at Ko Olina, we typically ate at the resort since there weren’t a ton of other options close by – and plus the food at the resort was really good! We had the breakfast buffet there each morning with the exception of one morning we walked down the street a bit to Island Vintage Coffee and enjoyed delicious acai bowls – yum!
There are 4 restaurants on property: Fish House (a line-to-table seafood restaurant for lunch, dinner and drinks. We recommend the poke sampler and the Hawaiian Snapper entree as well as the Sunday Brunch here – order the 50 First Dates Lilikoi pancakes!! The photo above is from the Fish House), La Hiki (a modern update on the exotic pan-Asian restaurants of yesteryear – we LOVED the lobster tempura here as well as the steamed catch of the day, oh and save room for the Pandan donuts – yum!), Noe (described as Capri-meets-Oahu this Italian restaurant features pasta and fresh fish. Definitely order the whipped ricotta with truffle honey here as well as the Yellowtail Crudo and Maccheroni pasta with crab, spinach and lemon) and Waterman Bar & Grill is open for lunch by the pool.
They also have a taco truck on property and we enjoyed tacos for lunch one day by the pool – so fun! If you are looking for a break from the hotel, we also had dinner one night at Monkeypod Kitchen (just a short 10 min walk from the hotel) and we really enjoyed our meal (and the live music!) there.
At our stay at The Modern, there are A LOT more food options walking distance from the hotel…here were our faves:
breakfast/lunch – Our two fave places for breakfast are Heavenly (about a 20 min walk from The Modern Honolulu and we love the acai bowls and the local farm eggs open omelet here) and Goofy Cafe (right next to The Modern and we enjoyed their acai bowls and their eggs benedict)
lunch – We often had lunch by the pool or an acai bowl, but after our hike at Lanikai Pillboxes Hike (more below) we stopped for lunch in Kailua at Over Easy and it was SO GOOD!! Highly recommend for a breakfast or lunch here (I had the Kailua Pig Hash and Jason had the Fried Eg Sandwich – both delicious!)
acai bowls – Both the above places have great acai bowls, but if you are looking for a quick grab + go place, Tropical Tribe (right across from The Modern) is SO SO good. This place doesn’t have much in terms of decor or vibe, but the bowls are REALLY good here (they offer both Brazilian style acai bowls and local Hawaiian style acai bowls) and it’s right across the street from The Modern if you are looking for a quick fast breakfast or lunch.
dinner – Piggy Smalls offers creative Vietnamese dishes in a fun, hip atmosphere. The menu changes each season, but we really enjoyed our meal here. We also had a really great meal at Roy’s Waikiki (the ambiance leaves a bit to be desired, but the food was really good!)
coffee – Island Vintage Coffee – their iced mac nut lattes are what dreams are made of!! So good and still dream about this weekly – ha! Hokulea (the coffee shop at the Four Seasons) also offered iced mac nut lattes that were pretty amazing so be sure to try one if you stay there! If you do the Lanikai Pillboxes Hike and want to grab coffee after, we LOVED the vibe + coffee from Chadlou’s Coffee (photo above is from Chadlou’s). Honolulu Coffee is another great spot for coffee. Lots of good coffee here!! :)
island treats – Banán – they turn locally grown bananas and other island grown ingredients into a dairy-free soft serve! I tried the Green Tea version served in a papaya topped with strawberries, puffed quinoa, shaved coconut, and honey. It was so good!!
What to Do
Hawaii is the perfect place to just R-E-L-A-X!!! So we love to just enjoy the pools and beaches. Lots of wave jumping, snorkeling, paddleboarding and cocktails by the pool. The beach by the Four Seasons was super calm and perfect for paddleboarding – esp beginners like us. :)
We also love hiking in Hawaii and there are lots of great places to hike. Our favorite hike we did this trip was the Lanikai Pillboxes Hike. You get the most amazing views (as seen below).
I will say this hike was recommended as a family friendly hike, but I would NOT recommend it with small children. It’s perfect for a couple or family with older children, but it’s very steep and you need to be able to climb up a few spots with your hands – not easy to do while wearing a baby (we only went halfway up for those reading who have gone to the top – it was way too windy for Dakota + I to make it to the very top!! )
Another fun trip is to drive to the North Shore to catch some of the legendary surf competitions. The Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, considered the Super Bowl of surfing, is held on its shores every year in November and December at Waimea Bay, Haleiwa Beach and Ehukai Beach (Banzai Pipeline). We loved watching the surfers plus you can grab some shrimp from Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck and shave ice from Matsumoto’s Shave Ice and makes for a fun day trip!
If you love shopping, there are lots of cute shops in Honolulu, plus the Ala Moana Center has some great shops if you need a break from the sun.
And my Don’t Miss This thing in Hawaii? A walk along the beach to catch the sunset … preferably with a cocktail in hand….you really can’t beat the sunsets here….until next time Oahu!!
Did I miss any of your fave Oahu things to do or places to eat at? I’d love to hear for our next trip!