Waikiki, do you love me? A couple weeks ago, Zack and I spend a wonderful week in Waikiki and I can't wait to share it all with you! From where we stayed, what we did, where we ate, and more.
For those who have been following along since the beginning, you may remember that my husband, Zack and I honeymooned in Oahu, Hawaii almost three years ago. You can read all about that here!
This trip was a little different, but still absolutely incredible. Zack attended a conference for work during the first couple days, then we vacationed for an extra week. I'll break this post up by where we stayed, what we did, and where we ate. If you want to see more go check out my Instagram! I posted a few photos and added several stories to my highlights.
Where to Stay in Waikiki
As I mentioned above, Zack was attending a conference for the first part of our trip. Because of that, we ended up staying in two hotels – Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa and Hyatt Place Waikiki Beach. I loved both hotels for different reasons!
Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa
The Marriott has so many amenities, huge rooms, relatively large balconies, and is so close to everything. The hotel is also connected to an ABC Store, Lululemon, Royal Kaila Spa, at least two restaurants, and multiple other stores.
My two favorite features of staying at Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa were their reusable water pouches and the gorgeous open-air lobby.
Hyatt Place Waikiki Beach
Zack and I are huge fans of Hyatt hotels and we actually stayed here during our honeymoon. This time though, since Zack is a World of Hyatt member, we were upgraded to an even higher room with a balcony facing the ocean.
Hyatt Place Waikiki Beach is so great because it's right across the street from the Marriott hotel, which is where a lot of tour busses do their pick ups and drop offs, but it's also super close to the beach and restaurants.
What to Do on Oahu
Hawaii is quickly becoming one of my favorite spots to vacation and I've only visited one of the islands! When we took our honeymoon here a few years ago, we did so many activities and tours. It was great and helped us get the lay of the land, but this time we really wanted a relaxing and low-key vacation.
Of course, if you have never toured Pearl Harbor you should add that to your list. Along with some type of tour of the island, a submarine tour, and other water sports. This time we chose two big things to do – whale watching and zip lining!
When I found out that we were going to be in Hawaii during peak whale watching season, I knew we had to somehow fit it into our trip. We booked our tour with Star of Honolulu via TripAdvisor, and the customer service was truly awesome.
This tour included lunch, lei making, and of course, looking out for whales along Honolulu and near Waikiki. We saw the tail of one whale and one blowing water off in the distance. When we were returning to land, we saw the cutest and most chill little sea turtle floating along.
Y'all, this needs to be at the top of your must-do list! I'm actually pretty terrified of heights and I loved zip lining so much. I can't wait to travel again so we have an excuse to try it again. From my research there are two main places to zip line on Oahu – Climbworks and Kualoa Ranch.
When Zack and I were on Oahu before, we went to Kualoa Ranch a couple times for a movie set tour, secret island beach activities, and their jungle jeep expedition. Both zip lining places looked awesome but since we were more familiar with Kualoa, we booked with them. Our tour guides were amazing and so fun and funny! They made everybody feel comfortable and confident.
The zip line tour started at the top of the Ka'a'awa Valley AKA Jurassic Valley! There's seven zip lines, two suspension bridges, short hikes, and opportunities to learn more about Hawaiian traditions and culture.
Where to Eat in Waikiki
I had to save this section for last because we all knew it would be the longest! There are some restaurants that are highly recommended by nearly everybody but since we checked those out on our first trip, we decided to try smaller spots or hidden gems. If you're visiting for the first time though, I highly suggest Marukame Udon, Hula Grill, Duke's, and Shorefyre.
Island Vintage Coffee
This cozy little spot is located in the bustling Royal Hawaiian Center. It's a little coffee shop with delicious food and goodies. It was a 15-20 minute walk from the hotels and I actually went there three different times!
My first time in, I ordered their vegan poke. It came with organic beets, Moloka'i purple sweet potato, Japanese cucumbers, North Shore sea asparagus, Maui sweet onions, Hawaiian chili peppers, jalapeños, kukui nuts, avocado, shoyu, and topped with Kauai poi. It was good but I knew I needed to try an açaí bowl when in Hawaii.
When I went in the second time, I was tempted to try the Shoe Spicy Tofu Poke but since I wasn't able to determine if it was free from dairy and egg, I decided is was time for an açaí bowl! For those wondering though, the tofu poke dish included organic sprouted tofu, Hawaiian chili pepper, Maui sweet onion, cucumber, avocado, jalapeño, North Shore sea asparagus, and shoyu.
So my other two times in, I ordered the Cacao Moana Bowl. Holy moly, it was so good!! The moana bowl base is made from organic açaí, tropical fruits, banana, cold pressed apple juice, and almond milk. The cacao one I ordered came with cacao nubs, blackberries, house-made almond butter, Big Island organic raw white honey, organic granola, and hemp seeds.
Tucker & Bevvy
I have wanted to visit Tucker & Bevvy since our last trip to Hawaii. Their menu is full of food I already love and typically eat plus it's a super close 5 minute walk from the hotel. One of the days that Zack was at his conference, I decided to take a walk along the beach and I ended up here. It was seriously so perfect and everything I hoped for. They have grab and go picnic boxes so you can pick something up quick and head out or choose to eat in their little shop.
Of course, I ordered their Roasted Butternut & Kale Salad. Typical, Jenna! But it was so good, gluten-free, and vegan. It came with butternut squash, kale, spinach, lentils, quinoa, tamarind seeds, and lemon dressing. When I was there, I started talking with one of the managers and she was so sweet. She gave me a taste of their frozen açaí bowl and made me a ginger turmeric shot. I was truly living my best life!
Barefoot Beach Cafe
This cute literal beach cafe was recommended to me by an employee at Marriott. It was a beautiful 10 minute walk along the ocean then you come across an inviting little restaurant. When I first went by during lunch, it was poppin! I ended up coming by the next day instead with Zack and then we went back another night for dinner.
For lunch I ordered the vegan burger served with sweet potato fries and Zack ordered the poke. When we came back for dinner, I tried their vegan loco moco. It was a super fun spot with great food, so I can see why it gets so busy.
Other Awesome Spots
- Maui Brewing Company: Beer and pizza
- Oahu Mexican Grill: I couldn't go a whole week without a burrito
- Ruffage Natural Foods: Awesome vegan and vegetarian options
I wish we had a Floret closer to home, but now I know I need to make a trip back out or connecting in Seattle sometime soon. I ordered the Forager Scramble vegan style with seasoned tofu, wild mushrooms, kale, butternut squash, with a side of crispy potatoes. It was delicious and just what I needed after a long flight, about to board another long flight home.
Let's Go To The Beach!
But really, when can we go back? Our week in Waikiki was so wonderful! A few days ago Southwest announced their flights to the islands, so I think another Hawaiian vacation is on the horizon. Do you have a trip to Hawaii planned? Share all your deets with me!
Have you ever been to Hawaii? Which island should we visit next? Let me know in the comments and let me know what you thought of this post. Chat soon!