Because our wedding was a whole long weekend extravaganza, we knew we wanted to give ourselves a few days before heading out on our honeymoon (I also needed to squeeze in a 20-mile training run). The day we left for Hawaii was one full week after our wedding and it was the perfect amount of time. We were able to stay in Saugerties a few days after the wedding and relax (there was no going back to work!), I was able to get in some solid marathon training runs (looking back, I really can’t believe I managed to train for a marathon during these months and peak the weeks of my wedding and honeymoon. What was I thinking?), and we had time to casually pack for 15 days of heaven.
FYI: Our entire honeymoon was booked with the help of Mindy at MyVacationLady. She’s also helping us with our anniversary trip to SF and the Big Island coming up in September. I cannot say enough good things about Mindy and I could dedicate an entire blog post to how easy and wonderful she makes everything. (Also, I get nothing for singing her praises, I just love her SO much and she’ll probably plan all our vacations from here on out.)
Our flight on Hawaiian Airlines left at 10am EST and we landed in Honolulu at about 2:30pm Hawaii time. The time difference going to Hawaii is FANTASTIC because you truly feel like you gain an extra day of vacation.
Day 1: Waikiki
When we landed, Mindy had a car waiting for us to take us to the Hyatt Regency on Waikiki Beach. The location was great because we were right on the beach and right in the middle of all the fun restaurants and shops of Waikiki. Our balcony had a view facing Diamond Head and it was EVERYTHING.
Since we were still operating on NYC time, we took it super easy and walked along the beach, had a nice dinner, and meandered through all the adorable little shops of Waikiki before calling it a night.
We had a busy day at Pearl Harbor ahead of us!
Day 2: Pearl Harbor
Since our internal clocks were still quite a few hours ahead, we woke up bright and early on Sunday and I was able to squeeze in a strength workout before we had our first Hawaiian breakfast and experienced my favorite juice ever, POG. It is a combination of passion fruit, orange, and guava juice and it is the best thing to have every morning alongside a cup of Hawaiian coffee (I don’t even like coffee but I had a cup every single morning of this trip whaaaat).
Let me tell you, of all my memories of Hawaii, and taking into account the fact that I feel like I literally left a piece of my heart and soul on the Big Island (I struggle to talk about this island without tearing up), it is this feeling that I think about most often – the feeling of having breakfast outside overlooking Waikiki Beach, having a cup of coffee with my new husband, on our first full day in Hawaii. I wish I could have bottled that up.
We spent the entire day touring Oahu with E Noa Tours. Our tour guide was incredible and his passion for Hawaii and Oahu was so palpable. Not only did we spend the day at Pearl Harbor, our guide also made sure to drive us around and show us other areas of Oahu (where Obama was born, where Bruno Mars went to high school, Honolulu’s financial district, Iolani Palace).
When we first got to Pearl Harbor, we had time to walk around the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center. The Visitor Center is extremely well done and we definitely could have spent more time walking through the displays and reading about the events before, during, and after the attacks.
After exploring there for a little while, we hopped on board a shuttle boat to the USS Arizona. The first thing that struck me when walking onto the memorial is that you can still smell the oil leaking from the ship. It’s unbelievable. I cannot think of the right words to adequately describe the feeling of being above the sunken USS Arizona but it’s not just an Oahu must-see, it’s a must-feel.
From there, we traveled over to the USS Oklahoma Memorial and went on board the USS Missouri. We got a tour while we were on the USS Missouri and it was so incredible to learn about the ship’s history while standing in the very same spot where these things happened (the Missouri is where Japan formally surrendered to the Allies).
I can’t explain what happened to me at one particular spot while we were on the water of Pearl Harbor but I truly believe that my grandfather’s spirit is there. He was stationed at Pearl Harbor during WWII (one of the reasons Pearl Harbor was one of our non-negotiable destinations) and ya know, I don’t blame him, I’d hang out in Pearl Harbor over Maspeth, NY, too.
Day 3: Dole Plantation
With my (borderline unhealthy) obsession with pineapples, it makes sense we’d end up at the Dole Plantation. Mindy arranged for us to pick up a car so that we could travel to the other side of Oahu for the day.
The weather wasn’t the greatest but we were able to get in a bunch of the attractions (and a Dole Whip!) before the sky rained on our parade. Our original intention was to head out to the North Shore after the Dole Plantation but the weather had us changing our plans. The forecast for the North Shore was not so lovely and the the forecast in Waikiki Beach?
DAMN NEAR PERFECT.
Sooo we forwent the North Shore and went back to Waikiki for a quick run to Diamond Head and some beach time.
Day 4: Diamond Head
Our flight to Kona wasn’t until early afternoon so we were able to sneak in a hike to the top of Diamond Head before heading over to the Big Island.
It didn’t take us too long to get to the top. The trail is very well maintained and as someone who doesn’t particularly like heights, I felt super safe the entire way up and down.
It was the perfect activity to end our days on Oahu. When we got back to the hotel, there was time for a quick shower and one last Oahu breakfast before making our way to the airport. I was so excited to continue our adventure knowing we still had the bulk of our trip ahead of us.
During our flight to Kona, I snapped the below photo with my phone of Diamond Head. ARE YOU SERIOUS, HAWAII?
Next up on our Hawaiian adventure – the Big Island 🙂