Below are my top recommendations of activities, adventures and experiences for couples honeymooning on the island of Oahu in the state of Hawaii:
LEARN ABOUT THE HAWAIIAN CULTURE
Luau means feast in Hawaiian and a luau is not only food but also includes the preparation of the food, games, songs and dance. Paradise Cove Luau is my favorite luau on Oahu because you learn about the Polynesian culture, get to play fun traditional games, and then eat an amazing yummy feast while watching a fantastic luau show filled with hula, singing, and fire knife dancing! Luaus are typically a few hours starting an hour before sunset and going until early evening.
The Polynesian Cultural Center also has an excellent luau but it takes all day to fully experience their luau and extensive grounds which allows you to experience all the Polynesian cultures.
Malama ka Aina Tour at Kualoa Ranch allows you a hands-on experience of what day to day life was like for ancient Hawaiians. Activities can include thatching of traditional Hawaiian hale (grass huts); assisting with cleaning, planting, harvesting the kalo (taro) ; or mālama of the laʻau lapaʻau (medicinal plants).
Stars Above Hawaii stargazing laser guided experience with a NASA Ambassador Astronomer who takes you on a Polynesian star voyaging adventure! From Ko Olina learn how to gaze on the stars like the Ancient Hawaiians did. See the rings of Saturn, distant galaxies, and clusters of newborn stars.
Bishop Museum is the official Hawaii State Museum of Natural and Cultural History with exhibits showing the extraordinary history, culture, and environment of Hawaii and the Pacific. There is a planetarium with different star shows to learn how the Ancient Hawaiians used the stars to navigate and live.
Cultural Excursion on a Polynesian Canoe aboard a traditional double hulled Polynesian canoe (catamaran) sharing island culture and history through traditional activities such as storytelling, hula, poi pounding and lei making while sailing along enjoying ocean wildlife, beautiful waters and the colorful coastline of Waikiki.
Fire Spinning Class learn to move safely with specialty fire props: staff, palm torches and dragon staff. The experience begins learning the history and culture of fire dancing, diverse skills on the props, then choreography to share via videos/photos on your phone. At sunset you get to put on a performance of what you learned.
High Tide Glass offers an intimate 1.5 hour class for up to 2 people where you learn all about the fundamentals of glass working with a focus on marble making and glass sculpting. With hands on instruction, you will learn to weld, carve, shape and mold your very own glass creations. They have multiple options of things you can create depending on your comfort and skill level. Make something special to remember your honeymoon in Hawaii and have an experience like no other.
Paint the Mokuluas in Lanikai on a private beach estate with an exceptional view of the two islands off the coast of Lanikai. No prior painting experience required. Instruction on how to paint the scene stroke by stroke is available for beginners or anyone who wants instruction or you are free to paint without instruction. All materials are provided and everyone takes home their painting.
GO FOR A CRUISE
BOOZE CRUISES<>LUNCH CRUISES<>SUNSET CRUISES<>WHALE WATCH CRUISES
Cruises are a relaxing, fun and romantic way to see the island of Oahu from a different perspective. There are many options from small catamaran cruises to larger boat cruises. There are cruises that just do tours with no food or drinks, there are booze cruises which are party cruises, there are lunch cruises and dinner cruises that come with meals and entertainment as well. During the months of October through May whale watching boat tours are also available. You often encounter dolphins while on cruises which like to ride in the wake of the boats.
Shaka Oahu Private Sailing Adventure for Two
Sail the calm, safe and gorgeously beautiful turquoise waters of Kaneohe Bay on a private tour for two aboard a modified Hobie Tandem Island kayak/sailing trimaran. You will be able to snorkel and swim on the world-famous Kaneohe sandbar. Spot for sea turtles and manta rays. Sail around Coconut Island, the setting where the opening scenes of the legendary TV series Gilligan’s Island were filmed. Have a Big Island ribeye BBQ at Secret Beach or hike to see the breath-taking views from the top of Mokoli’i Island (Chinaman’s Hat). Or visit the bird sanctuary on Kapapa Island.
Rates start at $150 for a half day (4 hours) and $225 for a full day (8 hours). This includes snorkeling gear, use of the onboard Bluetooth speakers, inflatable tubes, coolers, towels, dry bags, life vests, etc. They can provide food and drinks from snacks to full meals like an authentic Hawaiian lunch or a ribeye bbq. You can also bring your own food an drinks and use their coolers and ice packs. Additional photography services are available, like the use of GoPro 10 cameras and/or drone footage of your trip.
ROMANTIC DINNER RECOMMENDATIONS
Michele’s in the Colony Surf is my top recommendation for romantic dining. This is my husband and my favorite restaurant because of the delicious food, excellent service, and overall amazing experience. Reserve your table well in advance and request a table for the time a half hour before sunset, and ask for a window view reservation. Let them know if you are celebrating your honeymoon, anniversary, or birthday. The restaurant is located on the edge of Waikiki just past the Waikiki Aquarium. Valet parking available.
Michele’s offers a set tasting menu and a ala carte menu with a wide variety of fine dining French cuisine. Leave room for dessert because they are known for their souffle which must be ordered at the start of the meal to allow time to bake, but you cant go wrong with their Cherries Jubilee or Banana Foster desserts either which are both made table side! Click here to see the Michele’s menu.
Roy’s is my second favorite restaurant on Oahu. I usually go to the Roy’s at Ko’Olina but I have recommended Roy’s to people who went to the Waikiki Roy’s and were treated like royalty. They experienced the same amazing service, food and overall excellent experience that I usually do at the Roy’s in Ko’Olina. Check their menu for specials of the day made with farm fresh ingredients. Private dining rooms are available.
Take Out and the Beach is an inexpensive romantic dinner option. Grab some sandwiches, fast food, plate lunches, or take out then bring a couple of towels to the beach and enjoy a sunset picnic. This is a romantic way to enjoy any meal and you can go to different beaches for a new experience.
Cheers at Sunset is when you pick up some beers, a bottle of wine and two solo cups, or your favorite soft drinks and head to a beach to enjoy sunset. Sit at a picnic table or bring some towels and sit on the beach and toast to your love as you enjoy the light show as the sun sets.
WEDDING TATTOOS OR
HAWAII SOUVENIR TATTOOS
Wedding tattoos can be a permanent keepsake reminder of your special day and the promises you made. Couples often get their wedding date in traditional numbers or roman numerals. They also get initials, names or meaningful symbols. Some couples have wedding rings tattooed.
If you are interested in getting wedding tattoos or Hawaii themed souvenir tattoos while on your honeymoon on Oahu please schedule an appointment with my husband Mike and his tattoo crew at Neck Deep Tattoo in Kaneohe. They often see clients from all over the World who were recently married or are in Hawaii on vacation wanting tattoo souvenirs. Neck Deep Tattoo has a large display of cool tattoo flash to inspire you and can create custom tattoos too. They have Lucky Tattoo Jars filled with tattoo designs that only cost $75 and you can pick until you find a tattoo design you like.
Neck Deep Tattoo is open Wednesdays through Sundays 1pm-7pm 46-178 Kahuhipa Street Kaneohe, Hawaii. Free Parking next to building. Directly across from Windward Dodge, near Windward Mall. Call 808-200-0161 during business hours to schedule an appointment. Walk-ins welcome.
EXPLORE OAHU BY CAR
You may not need to rent a car for your entire visit but it is worth the expense to give you the freedom to explore the island at your own pace. If you want to see the parts of Hawaii you’ve seen in movies and on tv then you need to get to the other side of the island to escape the city and go to the country side of Oahu. Caution: Never leave valuables in your car.
The Big Circle Island Drive that takes you from Waikiki on H1 to the H2 and then through the middle of the island on route 99 to the North Shore then around the entire coastline of West Oahu on route 83 Kamehameha Highway to the South Shore and will circle you back to Waikiki. Takes 6-8 hours to drive depending on how many stops you make.
The Small Circle Island Drive takes you from Waikiki on the H1 onto route 61, the Pali Highway. Stop at the Pali Lookout for a spectacular view of Kaneohe Bay! Continue on Pali Highway to route 72 which takes you through Kaneohe, Waimanalo and Hawaii Kai areas of South Oahu and will take you back to Waikiki on Kamaehameha Highway which will turn into H1. Takes 4-6 hours to drive depending on how many stops you make.
Tantalus-Round Top Drive is located above downtown Honolulu and is an 8-mile, two-lane paved road that begins at the entrance to Punchbowl National Cemetery. The roadway climbs Tantalus Drive from the hustle and bustle of the city to an elevation of 1800 feet through lush tropical rainforest with spectacular panoramic views of Honolulu including Diamond Head, downtown Honolulu, the Airport and Pearl Harbor and then descends along Round Top Drive back into the city. Be sure to stop at the Punchbowl National Cemetery to show respect for the men and women who served the United States military services and are buried there. It is also recognizable to fans of the original Hawaii Five-O as it was featured in the open segment of every episode. Along Tantalus-Round Top Drive is Puu Ualakaa State Park where there is a lookout with an unobstructed view of the city and worth stopping for. There are hiking trails through pine forests in the park as well. There are many rest areas to pull over to the side of the road and take in the scenery along this drive. Set your GPS for Punchbowl National Cemetery and then just follow the road from there.
THINGS WORTH STOPPING FOR ON YOUR DRIVE:
Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles frequent Laniakea Beach on the North Shore and are worth stopping for to get a closer look. There are docents on the beach to help educate spectators and protect the turtles. The Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles are an endangered protected species. You may encounter turtles at any beach swimming in the water or they may come out of the water if they are being hunted, to rest, or to lay eggs. It is important to only enjoy them from a safe distance and never touch them.
Tropical Farms Macadamia Nuts is a functioning macadamia nut farm in Kaneohe along Kamehameha Highway near Kualoa Ranch. Explore how macadamia nuts grow, try to break open a fresh macadamia (nearly impossible), and explore all the amazing products made from macadamia nuts. This is a nice pit stop along the circle island drive with bathrooms and gift shop.
Beach Parks are a great place to stop and stretch your legs and enjoy a different view of Oahu. There are over 100 beaches on Oahu and each one offers a unique view of Oahu. List of Oahu Beaches.
Roadside Fruit Stands are along many of the main roads and are a great way to try delicious island fruits like ice cold coconut, pineapple, guava, apple bananas, passion fruits, and dragon fruits. They will usually offer to cut up whole fruits for you to make it easier to eat. You can not take fruits back from Hawaii so only get what you can eat while on Oahu.
Huli Huli Chicken is rotisserie chicken cooked over kiawe wood which and coated in huli huli sauce, a yummy local marinade. Pick up a whole or half huli huli chicken and have them cut it up into pieces to make it easier to eat. They usually also sell sides so you can make it a meal. My favorite Huli Huli chicken stand is open on weekends in the center of Haleiwa.
Shave Ice is the Hawaiian version of a snow cone but the ice is shaved much finer and then topped with delicious flavors like lilikoi or guava! Shave ice is a refreshing treat on a hot Hawaiian day.
Malasadas are a hot round donut with fillings like chocolate pudding, haupia (coconut pudding), and cream. Leonards is the king of Malasadas and you will find their food trucks around Oahu selling fresh hot malasadas.
Manapua are steamed or baked buns typically filled with char sui (bbq meat), sweet bean paste or coconut custard. Manapua are found at bakery shops, manapua shops, and 7Eleven.
Pork Hash is a small bite size bit of a pork mixture that is wrapped in a won ton wrapper and steamed. They are a tasty bite size snack or can be a quick meal. My favorite pork hash is sold ready to eat at 7Eleven.
TAKE A HIKE!
One of the best ways to explore Oahu’s natural beauty is to go for a hike. Walking or hiking along the shore, in a rainforest, or in a park helps to relax the body and mind, release stress, and is a fun and romantic way to get exercise.
Diamond Head is a dormant volcano on the edge of Waikiki and is a fun hike a couple can enjoy together. Most of the trail is paved but there is a flight of 100 stairs to climb up to an old military bunker to get access to the spectacular unobstructed views of Oahu’s coastline from the crater rim. There is an entrance fee. Hike takes 1.5-2 hours. There is no shade cover so go early in the morning when it is cooler and bring water!
Oahu State Beach Parks
Map of All City and State Parks on Oahu
City and County Parks
Na Ala Hele Oahu hiking trails
My favorite hikes are to waterfalls. Below are some of Oahu hikes to waterfalls.
Manoa Falls hike in Manoa Valley Oahu.
ʻAihualama Falls at Lyon Arboretum in Manoa Valley Oahu.
Likeke Waterfall Hike also known as Old Pali Highway Falls Hike below the Pali Lookout on Oahu.
Lulumahu Falls Hike off Pali Highway on Oahu.
Moanawili Falls Hike Oahu
Judd Trail to Jackass Ginger Falls Nu’uanu area of Oahu
Waimea Falls Hike there is an admission but walking is easy because there is a paved path through Hawaiian cultural sites and beautiful forest and gardens.
Laie Falls Hike on Oahu located near the Polynesian Cultural Center is a moderate 2.5 mile hike to reach the double-sided waterfall.
Kapena Falls on Oahu located near Nu’uanu Memorial Park.
Waimano Falls on Oahu.
Pali Twin Falls aka Waipuilani Falls on Oahu at Pali Lookout.
Hamama Falls in Waihe’e Valley in Kaneohe on Oahu.
Botanical Gardens are a great way to explore Oahu’s natural beauty as a couple. Some botanical gardens are in an Oasis in the city and others are lush rain forests in more remote areas.
Wahiawa Botanical Garden (Wahiawa) has paved paths through the lush tropical garden filled with many tropical trees, plants and flowers. This is easier than going on a trail hike but more challenging than Foster Botanical Garden due to the inclining slopes in some areas. It is a not a huge garden but offers a great nature experience.
Foster Botanical Garden (Downtown Honolulu) is a beautiful garden in the heart of downtown Honolulu with a large collection of common and rare exotic plants, trees and flowers. There are paved walking paths and bathrooms. Stroll through the park and enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells of nature. You wont believe you are still in the city!
Lili’uokalani Botanical Gardens (Downtown Honolulu) is a very small garden with a waterfall hidden in the heart of downtown Honolulu. It is a great stop while out in the city.
Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden (Kaneohe) There is a drawing and painting gathering every Tuesday for artists. Bring your own supplies. This garden is great for hiking or walking. Has a fresh water lake and rents bamboo poles if you want to fish.
Lyon Arboretum (Manoa) is a division of the University of Hawaii. There are gardens to wander through and see rare Hawaiian plants as well as a moderate hike to a waterfall.
Senator Fong’s Plantation and Gardens (Kaneohe)
Couples can enjoy many experiences together at Oahu’s beaches including sunbathing, walking along the beach, meditating, yoga, running, swimming, snorkeling, diving, surfing, stand up paddling or simply enjoying a sunrise or sunset! Oahu has over 118 beaches and each offers a different experience. Pick up lunch or dinner and have a picnic at a different beach each time! Surfboard, Standup Paddling, Kayak, Wind Surfing, SCUBA and Snorkeling equipment rentals are available at some beaches or through activity services. First timers can learn to surf, SCUBA, Standup Paddle, and snorkel in the beautiful waters around Oahu.
Surfing lessons is a fun couples experience to learn the Hawaiian tradition of surfing! Waikiki is known to be an excellent spot for beginners to learn to surf due to the smaller waves which are easier to learn on.
A relaxing way to connect with the ocean and your body is Standup Paddling Yoga. The floating yoga session guides you through sun salutations, standing poses and traditional savasana on the water. For all levels including first timers. Held at Ala Moana Beach Park just outside Waikiki.
There is a romantic Sunset Standup Paddling experience with boards that have LED lights that make the ocean glow below and looks amazing for the included photo shoot!! No prior standup paddling experience required with instruction, SUP boards, paddles, leashes, PFDs, water or soft drinks and snacks provided.
A discounted Sunset Standup Paddling with lighted boards session without photo shoot is also available.
Dive classes to learn the basics for an introductory dive experience or take the full diver certification course with all equipment provided. Fully guided dive experiences to get an in depth experience with Hawaii’s marine life.
Kailua is on the Windward side of Oahu and is known for its powder soft white sand beaches with calm seas. Kayak rentals are available to explore the Kailua and Lani Kai coastline. There are small islands off shore that can be paddled to, there is Turtle Alley where turtles can often be seen swimming, and breathtaking scenery everywhere you look!
Be aware that it may be wise to rent two one person kayaks rather than one two person kayak. My husband and I found sharing a kayak was frustrating and the person in the back kept getting sprayed with water or hit with a paddle. We swore to never rent a two person kayak again.
Horseback ride oceanside on the North Shore of Oahu. There is a private tour available where you can have the beach all to yourselves for a romantic adventure. Group tours also available.
EXPLORE HAWAII’S UNIQUE MARINE LIFE
The Waikiki Aquarium is a great place to get a scuba diver view without getting wet. It is helpful visiting the aquarium before or after snorkeling and scuba diving to learn more about the marine life found around the Hawaiian Islands and the critters you experienced. The Waikiki Aquarium displays endemic Hawaiian fish as well as Indo-Pacific fish since these are the fish that migrated to the Hawaiian Islands and populated its waters. This can be a romantic date location.
A great adventure to share as a couple is to snorkel with the marine life around Oahu at one of the many popular snorkel spots:
Queens Beach & Sans Souci Beach
Ko Olina Lagoons
Kahe Point aka Electric Beach
Makaha Beach Park
Sunset Beach Park
Turtle Bay Resort
Snorkel Bob’s Recommended Snorkel Spots
I am a foodie and think bringing a six pack of island juices and a Charcuterie Box is a delicious complement to enhance island adventures like watching a sunset at the beach, for a picnic while hiking to a waterfall, or for a romantic evening in the room. Charcuteriebycass on IG creates scrumptious boxes starting for 2-4 people for $65 with larger options for bigger celebrations. Pick up is on Schofield or delivery available anywhere on Oahu, request a delivery quote. Military discount available. Visit instagram.com/charcuteriebycass to view additional options. Email : Cassidymagana71@icloud.com for more information and to place an order.