Couple’s Vacation Guide to O’ahu, Hawai’i

Update: This post was originally written in 2016 when I was still working in a corporate job and saved up a week of vacation days to visit this magical island. I knew I had to be back one day for a longer period of time, and I’m so happy to say I have since quit my corporate job to become a full-time entrepreneur, allowing me to spend 6 amazing months on O’ahu.

I have updated these recommendations accordingly!

Hawaii is infamous for being a couple’s honeymoon destination and we now know why! My boyfriend (now husband!) and I fell in love with its beautiful beaches, romantic atmosphere, kind locals, luscious greenery, amazing surf, and plethora of outdoor activities.

I’m definitely more of the planner when it comes to travel so I had ALL the to-do’s, to-see’s, and to-eat’s all mapped out beforehand for our week in O’ahu.

Here are our favorite things to do in Oahu Hawaii for couples. Please enjoy this travel guide for your perfect getaway!

Ragz and I at Sunrise Shack, North Shore, Hawaii

What is the best month to visit Oahu?

The first time I visited Oahu was in September, and had an amazing time full of beautiful sunny weather. I would definitely recommend visiting during the “shoulder seasons” which are as follows:

April, May, September, October: These are the best months to visit Oahu, as the temperature is warm (but not too hot), and the crowds are aren’t as hectic.

November – March: Rainy season means you get wet weather that is not ideal for hiking and exploring, but it does mean less crowds and lots of rainbows! There are often huge crowds during the holiday seasons (End of December to beginning of January) where hotels are often booked out.

June – August: This is high season where prices are most expensive, and kids are out of school. There is a lot more tourism and places are likely to be packed.

Best Beaches on O’ahu

Waikiki Beach, Honolulu Hawaii

Landscape photo of Waikiki Beach with Diamondhead in the back
Waikiki is so beautiful with Diamondhead in the back!

Waikiki Beach is arguably one of the most well-known beaches in all of Hawai’i, and also the most touristy, but hey, if it’s your first time you should definitely check it out! The waves are perfect for beginner surfers, and there are tons of restaurants and shops nearby. This is where most of the action happens on the island, as you are truly in the middle of it all.

Ehukai Beach Park (North Shore)

Surfers surfing massive waves at Pipeline on the North Shore of Oahu
Giant waves at Banzai Pipeline. The surfers are CRAZY!

On the other side of the island, you will find some of the best waves in the world. That is why, after all, Hawaii is known as the surfing capital.

If you’re visiting during north shore swell season (October – February), definitely check out the infamous Banzai Pipeline at Ehukai Beach Park, where waves get MASSIVE and it’s always incredible to see pro surfers killing it out there in the water!

For beginner surf spots on the North Shore, Pua’ena Point is always an option, and for a more intermediate break try Chun’s or Freddie’s!

Best Activities on O’ahu for Couples

Kayak to Chinaman’s Hat

Kayaking to Chinaman’s Hat

Drive up the east coast and rent some kayaks for a beautiful paddle to Chinaman’s Hat. You’ll get an incredible backdrop and have the option to hike to the top. There are turtles, fish, and at low tide there are sandbars nearby to explore!

Snorkel in Hanauma Bay

Girl snorkeling underwater with a turtle in crystal clear blue water
Snorkeling with a turtle!

Hanauma Bay is famous for its diverse marine wildlife. Enclosed in the southeastern area of the island, it is home to a big reef and hundreds of species of fish. The water is crystal clear and I really recommend bringing your own snorkel mask for this one!

Visit Kaneohe Bay Sand bar

Couple in the middle of Kaneohe Sandbar at sunset
So much fun at Kaneohe Sandbar!

Exploring Kaneohe Sandbar is such a unique experience. It’s so amazing to be able to walk through the pristine waters during low tide, and we were able to meet new friends in the group we went with!

Explore Makapu’u Tide Pools

How blue is the water at the Makapu’u tide pools? Very blue

Makapu’u trail is fairly easy to get up to the lighthouse, and you have the option to hike down to the tide pools! If you’re feeling super adventurous, you can actually park and start around Lele’s chair, and scale the cliffs to arrive at the tide pools first, then hike up to the lighthouse viewpoint! Just look how blue the water is!

Attend a Luau

Girl on the beach smiling at the camera with a Hawaiian flower lei around her neck
Me with a beautiful flower lei at my first luau

The most popular luau on Oahu is at the Polynesian Cultural Center. Luau tickets upwards of $100+ USD per person but so worth the experience! You get lei’d as soon as you walk in the door, all local dishes are served at dinner, and the performance is nothing short of entertaining, including fire-dances and traditional island dances from other Oceanic countries.

Sunflower Farm in Waimanalo

A field of sunflowers at Waimanalo
It’s sunflower season!

When it’s sunflower season (beginning in Mid-May), Waimanalo Country Farms is definitely worth a visit! They plant multiple fields of sunflowers, and each bloom area lasts around 10 days. They have so many different fields that this whole experience can last a few months. Be sure to make a reservation beforehand!

Dole Plantation

Dole plantation is home to 12,000 acres of lush pineapple fields! It’s a fun stop where you can also visit the world’s largest maze, with incredibly tall hedges. Try their pineapple ice cream!

Take a Surf Lesson

Longboarding in Waikiki Hawaii

Taking a surf lesson is going to be one of the most memorable experiences for your Hawaii trip. You’ll have so much fun if you go out with an instructor who knows what they’re doing. The first time I visited Hawai’i I didn’t surf, and regretted it for years after. It’s the surfing capital of the world and you’ll understand why once you’re in the water!

Watch Sunset on the North Shore

Girl laying on the beach during sunset in Oahu
Beautiful sunsets on the North Shore

Best Hikes for Couples

Hike Manoa Waterfall

Girl walking along a trail through a tropical green rainforest
Stunning, lush, and SO GREEN

150-foot Manoa Waterfall is at the end of a 1.5 mile hike through the island’s lush, green, tropical rainforest. Put on your sneakers and get active! I honestly couldn’t decide whether the rainforest or the waterfall was more breathtaking so you just have to see both for yourself.

Ka’au Crater Trail

The steep climb above Ka’au Crater

If you have a full day to spare and want to check out the hardest hike I’ve done in my life, look up Ka’au Crater Trail. The whole hike takes around 6-8 hours, and you have the option to go around the entire crater at the top. The views are absolutely breathtaking and it’s by far the one that is worth all the effort.

This trail is not easy!! Under no circumstance should you do this trail on a rainy day as the trail can get very slippery. There are many sections when you will be climbing near vertical sections. Pack lots of water and wear proper hiking shoes. Even on dry days, you are going to get dirty on this hike!

Diamondback Trail

Diamondback is a historic 1-mile hiking trail up an extinct volcano with an amazing viewpoint overlooking Oahu. If you’re up for some sightseeing, this hike is definitely a to-do! It’s located close to Honolulu and can definitely be a half-day adventure.

Lanikai Pillbox Trail

Feet dangling over the clifftop viewpoint at Pillbox Hike
Pillbox Hike Viewpoint. So worth it!

Lanikai Pillbox Hike is known as one of the best sunrise hikes, but I am by no means a morning person so I went during the day. I went during the day and the views were still incredibly beautiful! This hike is 0.9 miles (short, but very steep).

Best Places to Eat on O’ahu

Duke’s Waikiki

A chocolate macadamia cake at Duke's Waikiki
The ICONIC Duke’s Hula Pie

Duke’s Waikiki is located beachfront and they serve the most delicious hula pie. There’s usually a line so I would make reservations beforehand.

Hula pie is made with macadamia nut ice cream on top of a chocolate cookie crust, topped with chocolate fudge and whipped cream. It’s LARGE and is made for sharing, but I could honestly eat one of these by myself because it’s so freaking good.

Pupukea Grill

Pupukea Grill is a popular post-surf food truck in the North Shore, and you will often see professional surfers here! They serve everything from smoothies to wraps to poke bowls.

Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck

Giovanni's shrimp plate on the North Shore of Hawaii with rice and lemon
The BEST shrimp plate!

Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck serves the best garlic shrimp plate on the island. There is often a line but it’s well worth the wait. SO finger lickin’ good!

Poke! Tamura’s Fine Wines & Liquors

I would go back to Hawaii just for their poke

Now onto my favorite Hawaiian food that I ate every single day: poke. Cubes of the freshest raw fish, marinated in so many different varieties I couldn’t try them all.

The fish is so fresh that even gas stations (Kuhuku Superette), supermarkets (Foodland), and even liquor stores had poke for sale! My favorite was the poke at Tamura’s Fine Wines and Liquors and it was so good I went back two more times in a single week to get more.

Leonard’s Bakery

Portuguese puff pastries with fillings called Malasadas from Leonard's Bakery
DELICIOUS Malasadas!

I didn’t know what malasadas were before coming to Leonard’s Bakery, but now I will never forget. Malasadas are Portuguese donuts without a hole, lightly fried, and coated in sugar. Another line absolutely worth the wait, and I of course had to try every flavor filling. The custard was my favorite!

Sunrise Shack for the BEST Coffee!

Couple sitting on an orange bench at Sunrise Shack
Sippin’ on Sunshine!

For the best coffee and vibe, stop by Sunrise Shack on the north shore. They serve the best coffee on the island, and have a little shop in Waikiki too.

Best O’ahu Hotels for Couples

Surfjack Waikiki – The Surfjack is a trendy hotel in the heart of Waikiki. It is walking distance to beaches, shops, and restaurants, and is where I spent my 28th birthday!

The Royal Hawaiian: A Luxury Collection Resort: Another centrally located resort that is perfect for a romantic honeymoon.

How to Get Around O’ahu

Uber

There are Ubers available mainly on the south coast of the island (Waikiki and airport area). I would not recommend relying on Ubers to see the rest of Oahu as often times they aren’t available.

Car Rental

We rented a car to get around the island and highly recommend you do too. You get to see so much more, it’s the easiest option, and comes out to way less than if you were to Uber everywhere. Public transportation (or lack thereof) isn’t very convenient, and you’ll want to be able to take all your beach gear with you!

Red rental car in the parking lot of Waikiki Beach with a surfboard in the trunk and palm trees in the background
Our red island truck rental – PERFECT for adventures!

I recommend renting a car from the airport so you can pick it up and drive straight to your hotel. Be sure to do this in advance as sometimes they can sell out.

Hawai’i is a magical place and we will definitely be back to explore all the other islands!

Let me know in the comments if you have any questions about what to do on O’ahu for couples.

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Danielle Hu

Danielle Hu

Danielle Hu is a multiple 6-figure travel influencer, business coach, and Founder of The Wanderlover. She has traveled to over 65+ countries running her online business and surfing in remote tropical destinations. Her mission is to help creatives and coaches achieve time freedom, location freedom, and financial freedom through online entrepreneurship.

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Hi, I’m Danielle

My mission is to help you design a location-independent lifestyle through online entrepreneurship, to achieve time freedom, location freedom, financial freedom.

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