Let me preface this with letting you know that this morning the temperature in Philadelphia felt like -6. Yes, you read that correctly. I love a good snowstorm, but this cold weather is brutal! I’m currently day dreaming about every island, beach, and spa I can think of.
Chris and I are in the process of planning our next vacation or two. When brainstorming my mind always brings me back to Hawaii. We went to Oahu on our honeymoon and Maui last year for our two-year wedding anniversary. It is truly the most magical destination I’ve been to.
As I sit here basically crying from the cold, all I can think about are the gorgeous beaches and incredible food, I thought I’d do a round-up of some of our favorite things to do/eat/stay on both of the islands we’ve been to.
Not knowing much of anything about our honeymoon destination, we decided on Oahu as a suggestion of my father in law. He went as a teenager and fell in love. Having been now to both Oahu and Maui I can honestly say it’s an island that has a little bit of everything. It is incredibly, incredibly beautiful. The beaches are amazing, and you will never run out of things to do, or adventures to go on. As much as I love Maui to relax, I can’t wait to go back to Waikiki and show Harper all the beautiful sites we experienced.
Where to stay: When we stepped into the Royal Hawaiian we felt like we were in the classic movie Blue Hawaii. It’s nicknamed the Pink Palace and it is everything that name states and more. From the incredible restaurants, to the gorgeous beaches overlooking Diamond Head, to the amazing stuff – we honestly can’t wait to go back. We talk about it entirely too often.
Where to eat: Let me start by saying that I don’t eat red/white meat. But I am a HUGE fan of seafood. And let me tell you, if you love seafood, Hawaii is the place to go. My mouth literally waters thinking about the poke and garlic shrimp we had in Oahu. And on that note – our favorites were by far:
Dukes of Waikiki: Though every single meal I had at Duke was incredible (and we went a bunch in the 7 days we were on the island) I highly suggest either happy hours (get the lava flow – you’ll thank me for it) or go for breakfast. Their buffet is unbeatable, and honestly, we went basically every morning.
Mikes Huli Chicken: This was one of the most incredible finds of our entire trip. We were driving up the coast to the North Shore and stumbled upon a few food trucks. We were hungry so we figured we’d check one out. We had absolutely no idea it would be a highlight of our trip. We both got the garlic shrimp plate and it was seriously out of this world. Fresh caught shrimp grilled to perfection along side a salad, rice and fresh pineapple. I dream about it – drooling as I right thing right now.
Haleiwa Joe’s – Okay so I said this before I realized it states it on their website – come for not just the food, but also the experience. I think the best night of our honeymoon was spent at this restaurant. Not only enjoying their poke, drinking their incredible drinks, but also enjoying the live music. It was honestly one of the most magical nights Chris and I have had in almost 11 years. Don’t skip it!
What to do: Waikiki offers the most beautiful beaches. The Royal Hawaiian had a perfect pool that we spent an afternoon or two enjoying. But what we really loved about Oahu was the culture. My advice – rent a car. We took our car out every single day. We explored the markets and shopping of Honolulu, but also drove the coast to the North Shore. We found so many treasures along the way. Farmer’s markets, food trucks, local artists with stands set up. I highly recommend taking a drive up to Haleiwa and stopping at the beaches and eating at all of the local food stands. You won’t regret it – I promise.
When we decided last fall on a whim that we wanted to do one big vacation before we started trying for a baby (little did we know I was about to get pregnant and would be on our trip) there was nowhere else in our mind we would rather go than Hawaii. We thought for a while about going back to the Royal Hawaiian. We had loved everything about it so much. But we wanted our memories of our honeymoon to stay exactly as they were, and decided to check out Maui.
Where to stay: Though you literally can’t go wrong with any of the resorts on the beach in Waleia, we were SO happy we chose the Andaz. There aren’t enough amazing things to say about this resort. It was literally so perfect we barely left. There are FOUR phenomenal infinity pools. Each on its own level with its own feel. The food is to die for. Each restaurant is better than the next. If you’re laying by the pool our favorite thing to order was the lobster grilled cheese served with waffle fries. We took advantage of the snorkeling, but wish we would have done some of the other offerings (if I wasn’t pregnant and nervous) we would have loved to try stand up paddle board or surf lessons. Their private beach is the most beautiful we’ve ever been to.
There is a pool for families which got us really excited about the future of our trips. I saw many couples on babymoons. It seems just about perfect for every single type of trip you can plan. We literally talk every day how our hearts are with the Andaz, we can’t wait to go back.
Where to eat: If you’re on Maui there is absolutely no way you could go without dining at Mama’s Fish House. This was a suggestion by every single person who had went to Maui and was giving us advice. It is my favorite restaurant on this planet (from what I’ve seen so far) and I promise you will truly have an evening you’ll think about for years to come.
Conveniently located on the private beach of the Andaz, Morimoto Maui was by far one of the best eats on the island. The atmosphere is truly unbelievable (we went at sunset – DO IT). I was pregnant and had to be careful about which fish I ate, and obviously missed out on the poke my husband adored, but I still think all the time about the rock shrimp tempura.
Ironically, another favorite restaurant was also at the Andaz. The Ka’ana Kitchen had the most amazing breakfast buffet I’ve ever seen. There are so many more options I can enjoy not being pregnant than I did when I was there. I can’t wait to go back.
What to do: Honestly, we rented a car in Maui and we used it to get to our hotel, and to drive to Paia to explore the town and eat at Mama’s. We hiked to one waterfall on the Road To Hana but didn’t have as many adventures. Everyone had recommended doing the Road To Hana but we felt so peaceful, we wanted to enjoy the beaches and really, the resort. I highly suggest Maui for a relaxing, romantic vacation, though I can’t wait to bring Harper with us on our next trip.
Next time we go to Hawaii we’d love to see Kauai and honestly we’d have to go to both Oahu and Maui as well. We’ll 100% stay at the Royal Hawaiian & the Andaz. If you’re hesitant to make the flight, I suggest doing it! It’s worth every single second.
See you in paradise 🏝🌺🌈