Oahu Romantic Vacation Ideas, Tips, & Activities
Oahu, Honolulu, Waikiki, and The North Shore...yes, you have heard all about it. It's Hawaii's most popular island to visit, and it is crowded. Waikiki is one of the most famous beaches in the world, and most Hawaiian tourist ads and brochures contain many pictures taken from this beach. There are many reasons for it's popularity, one is the miles of hotels that are located right across the street from the beach, or a few right on the beach. Also, it's a great beach, warm water, retaining walls to protect the huge waves from crashing in on you, and numerous shops and restaurants nearby. Just because it is crowded, that doesn't mean that there are not many romantic activities and destinations to experience while staying on Oahu. Below, we've listed a few hot spots to visit.
First off, get a free copy of "This Week In Oahu", a print magazine that outlines activities and events on the island. It can be found on any street corner in Waikiki. It is great for clipping coupons to save on tours and events. Then get out the sunscreen, your flip-flops, beachmat, and sunglasses, it's time to hit Waikiki beach. It is a must see while staying on Oahu, and is almost unavoidable. During the day, thousands and thousands of tourists will be at Waikiki beach, either soaking up the sun or cooling down in the ocean. Take a leisurely stroll along Waikiki beach, there are some nice hotels to stop in and see right off the beach, perhaps even grab a quick bite to eat. A few gorgeous hotels that line the beach are The Outrigger Reef On The Beach, The Sheraton and the Royal Hawaiian, the latter being best known for it's pink exterior. Why not stop by The Shorebird Restaurant & Beach Bar for a quick lunch on the patio, or come back at night for a spectacular romantic dinner. It is located at the back of the Outrigger Reef Hotel.
Torches lining the sidewalk of Waikiki are lit every night by traditionally dressed Polynesian men, and you can usually hear them coming by the sound of drums and chants. You can also check out the various Hawaiian statues, all of which are popular picture taking spots. You can view a live web cam of the Duke Kahanamoku Statue by clicking here. If walking the Waikiki strip interests you, make sure to check out the International Marketplace, a bazaar of clothes, jewelry and souvenirs from the island's colorful merchants set under the shade of a large banyan tree. Enjoy "Sunset on the Beach," as Kapahulu Pier is transformed into and outdoor movie theater, with live entertainment, food booths, and free Hollywood movies.
To get to Hanauma Bay, take Kalaniana'ole Highway east from Waikiki for approximately 10 miles, the entrance to the preserve is on the right. This "Curved" bay was declared a protected marine life conservation area and underwater park in 1967. This is the best protected cove if you are new to scuba diving or snorkeling with a diverse population of marine life and a large, rich coral reef. Advanced snorkelers and divers can also enjoy the beauty of this bay as the reef extends throughout the cove into deeper water. The bay floor is actually the crater of an ancient volcano that flooded when the exterior wall collapsed and the ocean rushed in. There is a large sandy beach perfect for sunbathing, relaxing and picnicing. Several hiking trails extend along coastline and along the ridge overlooking the bay providing breathtaking lookouts. The Bay is closed every Tuesday, but is open every other day from 6am to 6pm. There is a $1 parking fee and a $5 admission fee to Hanauma Bay, you are required to watch an educational film about the bay, the marine life and the preserve prior to going down to the beach. Be sure to call 808-396-4229 for a recorded message with all current fees, times, conditions.
The most famous volcanic crater in the world is Diamond Head, located on the South-east Coast of O'ahu at the end of Waikiki overlooking the Pacific Ocean. It was originally named Laeahi by the ancient Hawaiians. The name meant "brow of the tuna" and looking at the silhouette of the crater from Waikiki, you can see the resemblance. Diamond Head is a crater that has been extinct for 150,000 years. The crater is 3,520 feet in diameter with a 760-foot summit. When the United States annexed Hawaii in 1898, harbor defense became a main responsibility. One of the major defense forts, Fort Ruger, occupied the Diamond Head Crater. The observation deck and underground complex is now abandoned with the advent of radar but evidence of the command post is still present along Diamond Head Trail. The trail is paved almost the entire way but can be steep in spots. Make sure to save some energy for the two sets of stairs, one with 99 steps and the other, 76 steps. There is also a 225-foot unlit tunnel. The hike is classified as easy to moderate in exertion but is certainly worth the breathtaking, unparalleled view of the entire west side of the island, from Waikiki to Koki Head. There is a $2 charge for the hike, make sure to go early, as the hike has no shady spots along the way.
Other Oahu Sites
One of the many interesting activities to do is a circle tour of Oahu. That's right, start at your hotel and drive around the entire island, passing by and stopping at any of the 120+ beaches along the way. The weather is generally very good on all points of Oahu, so take time out to relax, take a swim, or plan a beach picnic along the way. Along your journey, there are some notable points of interest to stop and explore. First off, Oahu's North Shore, infamous for world class surfing. Simply stop along the roadside and watch the hundreds of surfers in the water ride some of the world's largest waves, or stop into any of the small surf shops and restaurants and take in the laid backs spirit of the area.
Waimea Falls Park is a beautiful secluded park with breathtaking waterfalls, but it is on the tour bus schedules, so you may encounter other tourists there throughout the day. You can enjoy traditional Polynesian cultural shows, horseback riding, cliff diving exhibition, and more. The 45-foot high Waimea Falls is the focal point of the park. Here, divers re-enact Hawaiian warrior games of skill and courage. In between shows, go take a refreshing dip in the pool below the falls, or stand under the waterfall and take in all that Waimea Falls has to offer. The park costs $24 to enter, as is open daily from 10am - 5:30pm.
Further along your journey, you will find the Polynesian Cultural Center, which is Hawaii's #1 paid attraction. To do this justice, plan on spending a good part of your day here, it does boast Hawaii's most authentic luau and the world's largest night show. Meet, learn about and interact with the people of Hawaii, Samoa, Maori New Zealand (Aotearoa), Fiji, Tahiti, the Marquesas and Tonga. Simply one of the top activities to do while staying on Oahu.
Pali Lookout overlooking the 985 foot cliffs of the Koolau Mountain Range, is one of the best views on O'ahu. It is incredibly windy here, so make sure that you hat doesn't fly off. The lookout is open daily from 9am to 4pm, admission is free and there is ample parking nearby. Make sure to take the Pali Highway (Route 61), via Nu'uanu Pali Drive. Follow the signs to the Lookout.
Hope you found these Oahu romantic vacation tips useful and we hope that you enjoy your next Oahu vacation in the Hawaiian Islands.
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