First of all-this is a three day guide. My first piece of advice as you board your United flight bedecked with your wide brim straw hat and Hawaiian shirt-is to stay longer than three days. Seriously, just go ahead and extend your flight and hotel right now, because once you land in Oahu you’ll never want to leave. That being said, I stayed three days and it was amazing-but I cried the last day because I really, really didn’t want to leave. Keep in mind, this blog isn’t an exhaustive list of all the epic things to do when you’re in the Aloha state, nor does it touch on Hawaiian culture-this is simply what I did and what I loved!
Where to Stay
There are a million breath taking resorts along the coast of Waikiki, but one gem stands out amongst them all-The Royal Hawaiian. Not only is this a travel blogger’s dream with its pink archways, impeccably tiled floors, and famous pink guava pancakes-it is also a remarkably historic resort. Built in 1927, the 400 room structure was built in a Spanish-moorish style and retains that aesthetic to this day. Today it is known as “The Pink Palace of the Pacific.” As you stand on Waikiki, back towards the ocean, facing the pink palace, you begin to see a distinct difference between The Royal Hawaiian and her peers. They tower above her-sky scrapers, room after room, going as high as possible. Standing in striking contrast, the Royal Hawaiian is demure, basking in her unassuming beauty and historic charm. Needless to say, I 100% recommend staying at The Pink Palace during your time in Oahu. The food is absolutely superb. We tried the Calamansi Butter Poached Lobster Tails, the Pier 38 (azure wood oven roasted fresh fish, fingerling potatoes, asparagus, and white wine butter sauce), The Royal Signature Pink Haupia Cake, and of course Truffle Fries (who doesn’t love truffle fries-amirite?!). I also recommend their breakfast and of course getting the pink pancakes. 🙂
Aye Sea Turtles
One of my favorite activities was snorkeling with sea turtles. You board a catamaran with 20 other adventurers and embark to sea. You start chatting with the crew and learn that many of them are from the continental U.S. and moved here after college. You’re really
jealous of happy for them! As your catamaran ventures deeper into the sea, you look out and see these floating green circles in the water! To your delight, they lift their little heads out of the water and say in a Californian accent, “Duuuuuuude, noggin!” Just kidding about the talking sea turtles lol-but they are seriously so cute. The crew anchors the boat, you’re all given your life vests, snorkel gear, and then hop in the water! There are sea turtles everywhere. You’re so close to one you could reach out and touch it. But instead you snap some pics with your Go Pro because you’ve been warned not to touch the sea turtles. The sea turtle excursion is definitely something I would recommend!
My favorite activity was definitely the Lanikai Pillbox Hike-its only about 10 minutes away from Waikiki. It is definitely worth the steep hike up the mountain. The hike isn’t that bad-after taking on Banff-honestly anything is easy lol. As you hike, there are crazy, breathtaking views of the azure waters below, and islands in the distance. You gotta do this hike. Also, spend a few hours at the beach next to this hike-its incredible.
Get a Car and Drive Along the Coast
We rented a car through Turo and it was so easy. We got a mustang convertible and went on a day long adventure! We headed to north shore where the surfing competitions are held (any Blue Crush fans out there?!) and it was incredible. As you venture down the coast, you are sandwiched between the perfectly blue ocean and the lush, looming, green mountains. As we drove through the mountains we played the Jurassic Park theme song -thats where it was filmed! Just driving around and seeing the land is amazing. We also made it our personal ambition to find a really eclectic hole in the wall place. I encourage you find your own place! Sometimes stumbling upon cool places yourself makes it that much more of an adventure!
The most important thing to remember in Hawaii is to take it all in. Don’t spend time rushing from one thing to the next because some blogger said you needed to do it 😉 Make it your own trip. Linger over views that take your breath away. Get a convertible, blast the music, sing off-key, and enjoy paradise! Go with people you love and experience the magic of the island with the most special people in your life. Most importantly- eat all the pink pancakes you can!