We couldn’t leave Oahu without a few touristy adventures! Here are the highlights of our last days in Hawaii:
The Polynesian Cultural Center. We went to a luau and a post-dinner show called Ha: Breath of Life. We preferred the Royal Lahaina Luau to the Polynesian Luau, but the post-dinner show was beautiful and really well done. I especially loved the part about the wedding. 🙂
Kualoa Ranch. We wanted to explore more of the island, and our concierge suggested Kualoa Ranch. We walked around the ranch a bit, then hopped on a bus to take a tour of the 4000 acres. This ranch is where the show Lost was filmed—amazingly, no one on our bus had seen a single episode! The beauty of this place inspired us to start watching the show as soon as we returned home. It’s only been 2 months, and we’re already on season 6!
Many movies were filmed here, including 50 First Dates, Pearl Harbor, Jurassic Park, and the one with the big footprints below…Godzilla? Something like that.
The Dole Plantation and the Macadamia Nut Farm. Out of curiosity, we briefly visited each of these food-tastic places. The Dole Plantation had lots of activities (maze, train ride, cooking demonstrations) and plenty of pineapple-y desserts. The Nut Farm didn’t offer much besides some tasty free samples. Not a bad thing. 🙂
The Sea Turtles. Staying at Turtle Bay meant seeing sea turtle heads and shells bobbing outside your door almost every day. But, as hard as they tried, they never crawled onto the sand at our beach. Adam did some sleuthing and took me to this pretty cove on the North Shore:
We saw a group of people looking at something and discovered three sea turtles sunning in the sand! There were a lot more swimming near the shore and trying to get on land. I really wanted to help them (I imagine they were exhausted!), but there are very strict rules about keeping distance from sea turtles. There’s a group dedicated to protecting the sea turtles at this cove. They place the red rope several feet from each turtle and make sure no one crosses it.
My best friend in elementary school had a turtle named Noah, and all of these turtles reminded me of him! He was such a gentle, quietly-majestic guy. These turtles looked so tired from fighting off the waves and climbing ashore—I wanted to pet them and tell them they did a great job. Sigh. I need a pet.
Well, this concludes our honeymoon adventures! Thank you to my husband for two of the happiest weeks of my life! I miss it. Do you hear that, Hawaii? I miss you! And we will be back soon! 🙂
Adam and I are active vacationers. While we did sleep in a few mornings and squeeze in a few beach-front naps, our goal was to make the most of our visit to Hawaii! We wanted to see all there was to see, hike all there was to hike, and learn all there was to learn. Pearl Harbor was our favorite learning experience. It was humbling and kind of unbelievable to stand in all these places where history was made.
We set aside an entire day for Pearl Harbor. In the morning, we climbed into the belly of the USS Bowfin Submarine:
You can see the Waterfront Memorial behind Adam. We got ice cream cones before standing in line for the ferry to the Arizona Memorial. It was a hot day, and little kids gazed at our ice cream while they stood sweating in line. I felt bad. Someone should open an ice cream stand near that line.
We took a short boat ride to the Arizona Memorial. If you’ve never seen it before, it’s incredible. This is a photo of it from the website:
The battleship is still underwater, and we could look down on it from the windows of the white structure.
The ferry took us back to land, and we walked through an aisle of American flags. With plenty of daylight to spare, we climbed aboard the Battleship Missouri.
The ship was huge. After every ladder was another ladder, and every step had a story to tell. I know this, because I was listening to the stories on these headphones!
We used the video Ipod guides, and they were a million times better than the audio guides. It would direct us to an area of the ship, and then go into a video documentary of what happened there. It was amazing. So amazing that we spent many more hours than we meant to aboard the ship!
As we neared the end of our Ipod guide, we realized that our next stop would be closing soon! We sped through the rest of the videos and hopped on a bus to visit the Pacific Aviation Museum.
I had cut out a coupon for a flight simulation, but since it was almost closing time, no one would let us do it! Adam was disappointed. Sorry, love.
The museum folks were already shooing people out, so we took in as much as we could, bought some sour peach gummies (for me) and space ice cream (for Adam), and got back on the bus. I think we fell asleep as soon as we got back to Turtle Bay!
I’ll tell you about our final days in Oahu in my next, and last, honeymoon post!
When we were planning our Hawaiian honeymoon, I knew I wanted to stay at Turtle Bay Resort on Oahu. It has all the makings of the perfect romantic getaway—remote, beachside, and totally gorgeous:
When we found out about their beach cottages, I was even more in awe! The prices were a step up from their regular rooms, but Adam insisted on spoiling me. Heehee. I gazed at photos of the cottages online from the moment we booked it, and it felt like home from the moment we walked in. Sigh, I miss it. At least I got to keep the cute male model in the photo:
This is the view from our back door. Too pretty, right?
And someone else called our backyard home! We named her Lei Lei and gave her cuddles in exchange for sharing her home with us.
This big guy and his friends bobbed on our strip of beach every afternoon:
The beach in front of our cottage wasn’t swim-friendly, so we usually had the whole beach to ourselves. One evening, a group of people walked toward us and held a small wedding ceremony mere yards from where we were lying! Adam took a paparazzi shot of them:
I loved taking pictures of the sunsets from our cottage. Adam interrupted one photoshoot with a full out song and dance. I love that man. 🙂
I highly recommend staying in a beach-front cottage at Turtle Bay Resort! The beach, the pools, the restaurants, and the rest of the 880 acres were all fantastic, and it would take too many pages for me to tell you all about them. So I’ll just say—Hooray for Turtle Bay!
Has anyone else been to this magical place? What drew you to your honeymoon hotel or resort?
Next, we’ll take some day trips on Oahu! Previously in our Hawaiian travel tales:
When we left off, Adam and I had just arrived in Maui and driven the long and winding Road to Hana. We spent the rest of the week falling in love with Maui. The mountains, beaches, and skies were breathtaking, and we kept stopping to take photos like these:
We also partook in a few tourist-y experiences:
The Royal Lahaina Luau. The day after Hana, I showed off my gigantic welts, ahem, mosquito bites at our first luau. We’re guessing that the earlier you book it, the better seats you’ll have…’cause our seats were pitiful.
But I have to say, it was exactly what I hoped a luau would be! This is in stark contrast to the luau we went to in Oahu and some others we heard about; so if you’re trying to decide on a luau, I’d highly recommend the Royal Lahaina. Yes, all luaus have fun food and drinks, but what I loved most was the beautiful story told by the dancers, storytellers, and musician. It made me want to stay in Hawaii forever and train to become a hula dancer! (I’m still considering this…don’t tell our apartment brokers in NYC.)
The Pacific Whale Foundation. We went on an “eco tour” with the PWF to say hello to whales. We didn’t get any whale photos, but I was thrilled to see a few tails and fins, along with beautiful views of the islands from afar. Our guides recommended we come back sometime in November through March for a more exciting, whale-filled trip. I was satisfied with the relaxing two-hour boat ride, but there were some sad little kids on our boat who wanted to see more.
Pictures we took from the boat:
Pictures we did not take from the boat:
An actual whale (photo by the Pacific Whale Foundation)
Beach Hopping. On our last full day in Maui, Adam suggested checking out all the best beaches on the island. I’ll briefly share our experiences with each one, but the linked web pages will be more helpful if you’re planning to go. If you’re not heading to Hawaii soon, feel free to skip to the photos below!
- Makena’s Big Beach. This was our favorite beach of the whole trip—white sand, crystal water, and crazy fun waves! One was at least 15 feet high. Adam swam through it; I was thrown face-first into the shore. That watery beast. Besides that, we had ton of fun battling the waves!
- Wailea Beach. It’s runs along some fancy resorts, and we could tell why. It was a gorgeous beach lined with fresh green succulents and swaying palm trees.
- Kamaole Beaches 1, 2, and 3. Our hotel was across from these beaches. We saw families enjoying picnics and play-dates here. These were the most park-like out of all the beaches we saw.
- Sugar Beach. I really wanted to find this because of the name—I wanted to see the sugary sand! But when we got there, we discovered that their sand was like all the rest. Also, the area where we entered had a sign that said “Resort Guests Only” and a dead crab. So we left feeling disappointed, rejected, and a little mournful. Poor little crabber.
- Ho’okipa Beach. This beach was crowded with locals who were either sunbathing, surfing, or windsurfing.
- Hanakao’o Beach Park. We ran into a few groups of kids and coaches with canoes, but there was still plenty of room on the beach for sunning and swimming.
- Ka’anapali Beach. We went here a few times, because it lined one of my favorite spots: Whaler’s Village! Upscale shops, offbeat boutiques, and yummy restaurants on a beautiful beach—it’s like it knew I was coming and built itself.
Before we knew it, we were flying off to Oahu in a tiny plane! Next, I’ll tell you about our stay at Turtle Bay Resort.
For those of you who have been to Maui, did we miss out on anything? I’d love to go back in the (oh so very near) future and would love to hear about more places to see, foods to try, and adventures to experience!
We’re still waiting to receive our wedding pictures, but in the meantime, I’ll tell you all about our beachy and beautiful honeymoon! We spent two weeks in Hawaii—one in Maui and one in Oahu. I’ll spare you all the newlywed mushiness and try to cover the experiences we’d recommend along with helpful tips in case you decide to go! 🙂
The first thing we did in Hawaii was The Road to Hana. No wait, the first thing I did was pick up free magazines at the airport. Those are awesome. Then we checked into our hotel. Here, I’ll put it all in order:
The magazines. While Adam picked up our luggage, I loaded up on the free Maui magazines near the baggage claim. They’re filled with maps and articles about tourist traps and local gems. We found directions and recommendations for all of our favorite day trips and meals in these things. Plus, they were free magazines to flip through while lying out in the sun!
The Maui Coast Hotel. We wanted a budget hotel for our week in Maui, since we were splurging on Turtle Bay the following week. Maui Coast is located in Kihei, right across from three beautiful beach parks. Besides the beaches and deserted movie theater, there’s not a ton to do in town, so we rented a car to explore the rest of the island.
The Road to Hana! I loved all the beautiful sights; Adam enjoyed driving like a maniac on the curvy coastal roads. We made a bajillion stops along the way, and one favorite was the beautiful black sand beach at Waianapanapa, 32 miles into the drive. You can see it surrounded by lush greenery below:
We’re deprived of waterfalls in Chicago, so we visited as many as we could on the Road to Hana. Watch for road signs pointing to waterfalls—all of them were totally worth the walk/climb/slosh!
Half of this couple enjoyed climbing trees overhanging the ocean while the other half pleaded with him to get down…and back away from that blowhole…and omgosh, did you read that danger sign? Some of them had the word “death” in it, which scared me off pretty well. Adam remained undaunted.
Although the road to Hana is more about the journey than the destination, I LOVED the destination! My first name is Hannah, so I had a whale of a time shouting, “There’s my school! There’s my ranch! I am queen of this landdd!” 😛
It seemed like every person we met during the honeymoon had driven the road to Hana and didn’t like it! The main reason was car sickness. Smaller complaints included gas prices in Hana, lack of food choices, the amount of time it took, and the mosquitoes. Okay, that last complaint was mine. I love all God’s creatures, but what is WITH mosquitoes and their creepy obsession with my legs?
Here are our Hana tips: Fill up on gas beforehand. Pack water and snacks. Plan for a long day (7am-8pm for us). And bring hand sanitizer or soap. I’d recommend bug spray, but it obviously did nothing for me.
Up next, a luau, a whale, and some beach-hopping!