If you do a quick Google search for honeymoon in Hawaii, Turtle Bay Resort comes up in the top 3. And after spending three amazing nights at the world famous resort, it’s easy to see why. Like most of Oahu, it’s a truly one of a kind and incredible honeymoon destination or romantic getaway anytime of the year.

I had been counting down the days until we checked into our 4th floor room (with a sunset view) at Turtle Bay. This was the first trip I actually packed my bag a week before I needed to I was so excited.

In order to get the best of both worlds, we broke our Oahu vacation into two parts: The North Shore for three nights and Honolulu/ Waikiki for three nights. We started off with a little R&R along the gorgeous North Shore coastline and when we were ready for a little more hustle and bustle of the world-renowned restaurants and bars, headed to Honolulu and Waikiki.

We landed in Honolulu at 12pm after a five and a half hour flight from Los Angeles. With our carry on bags in tow, we caught the rental car shuttle and were on our way to The North Shore about 25-minutes later.

Before boarding our flight I downloaded several North Shore guides and studied them furiously, noting each and every stop I wanted to experience. Snorkeling at Sharks Cove- yes, I even packed our snorkel gear from home so we could jump out of the car for a spontaneous dip. Zip line above a sustainable farm- for sure, I would force myself to finally get over that fear of heights. Swim under waterfalls- definitely, I already planned an afternoon at Waimea Falls. Watch the sunset from Turtle Bay- yes, yes, yes, all from our hotel room’s balcony. 

The North Shore was the perfect place to start a vacation, especially during the quiet late summer days. While there were people at every stop, they were few and far between and we had more than enough space enjoy the scenery and each other’s company. Even at Waimea Bay Beach, a very touristy spot in high season, we found parking in the tiny lot right away, and watched only a few cliff jumpers take the plunge (there are hundreds some days).

We woke early, an added bonus of the time zone factor, and used every single second of daylight to experience as much of the North Shore as we could. Since we rented a car we were able to stop on a whim, opening us up to spontaneous adventures that I never would have found in a guidebook.

After three nights of total bliss, we packed up and headed to the Royal Hawaiian Hotel in the heart of Waikiki. A romantic nod to historic and traditional Hawaiian architecture, the salmon colored walls, rocking chair lined porch, and killer beaches made for a cozy home away from home.

Travel Mindset Tip: Book a suite with oceanfront views and enjoy breakfast in bed. After you’ve indulged in banana and macadamia nut stuffed French toast (with coconut syrup and berries compote) to your heart’s content, you should have enough fuel for the short walk to the white sandy beach.

The staff at Waikiki Beach Services will help you plan the perfect day, whether that includes an outrigger canoe surf trip or just lounging in a chaise, umbrella drinks in hand. We opted for the outrigger canoe lesson to get a taste of traditional Hawaii culture while enjoying the cool water. Our guide made us feel safe while providing a wild ride, truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. 

If you’re looking to explore, head to Manoa Falls for a little sightseeing and light hiking. Manoa Falls is a short 15-minute drive from Waikiki and a fun hike that leads to a beautiful 100-foot waterfall, the setting for several scenes from Lost. Another great drive is up to Pali Lookout, 15 minutes in the opposite direction and views of the entire valley.

Other drives we recommend: The South Shore is a great spot to check several of the must-see Oahu attractions off your list and mix romance with adventure. Top spots: Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve – bring your own snorkel gear or rent some there to see the protected sea turtles. Halona Blow Hole- an interesting natural spout of water every 10 minutes or so, this drive is especially beautiful so don’t worry about missing time along the coast for gorgeous photo opportunities.

When the sun starts to set, head to downtown Honolulu for a bar crawl (or hop, if you call a taxi). We started out at Manifest, a coffee shop by day turned popular watering hole for the after work crowd before heading a bit further afield to Honolulu Beerworks, Oahu’s only independent craft brewery. We ordered the sampler and got to try 6 delicious brews. We also got a bowl of the beermade mac and cheese with their Kaka’ako Kolsch cheese fondue (yum) and panko topping. Even though we were there for the drinks, the mac and cheese stole my heart. This would be a great spot for lunch or an afternoon snack before heading back to Waikiki for a fancier dinner.

When planning your honeymoon to Oahu, consider breaking up your trip to experience several parts of the island. The North Shore, the South Shore and Honolulu all have their own personalities to make your vacation extra special. Looking for more day to day activities? Check out our guides for our favorite things to do on Oahu!

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