Ryan and I sadly returned from Hawaii yesterday morning. It’s never easy coming home from paradise! We had an amazing time on Oahu, and I’m so excited to share it all with you. We split our time on Oahu between the North Shore and Honolulu. Today, I’m going to share the first half of the week, and I’ll share the second half later in the week.
We decided to spend Sunday through Wednesday on the North Shore. I’ll admit that I was a bit uneasy about the North Shore since there wasn’t a ton information online that I deemed helpful. I just wasn’t sure if there was enough to do and places to eat (since I’m a bit pickier). I loved the North Shore though and actually prefer it to Honolulu/Waikiki area.
Let’s start with lodging. We stayed at Turtle Bay Resort, which is over 800 acres of pure beauty and oceanfront views. I would highly recommend this resort! We stayed in one of their beach cottages. If you’ve ever seen the movie Forgetting Sarah Marshall then you’ve seen the beach cottages. The cottages are much larger and provide more privacy than a traditional room. Another highlight is the separate concierge for the cottages. Gregory welcomed us with leis, cookies, and freshly made POG (juice made of passion fruit, orange, and guava). He also provided information about local restaurants, shared some resort history, and made sure we had everything we needed. Gregory was such a pleasure to meet. I do recommend booking the cottages way in advance for a better price. You’ll definitely pay for waiting. The resort features a variety of activities including surf lessons, horseback riding, walking trails, and golf. The fitness center is amazing and overlooks the water. The beaches were of course beautiful as well, and we enjoyed several sunsets.
As I mentioned above, I was a bit worried about the food options. I don’t eat seafood, and of course, seafood is an essential part of Hawaii. I had some of the best food I’ve ever eaten! The restaurants at the resort were all good and offered a variety of options. Here are some of my favorite restaurants outside of the resort.
Oh my gosh you guys, this place is amazing! It’s only a few minutes from Turtle Bay and is a great spot for breakfast. The first time we went, we picked up a red velvet cake for my birthday and some pastries for snacking. I had the macadamia nut danish, and it was so good that I got it again later in the week. The cake was very moist and delicious, one of the best I’ve had. They have a variety of cakes in freezers for purchase and can make you a cake with 2-3 days notice. Their breakfast platters are very large and yummy. I really liked the fried rice with eggs and bacon. They also give you a slice of cornbread, yum! We ordered one platter to split and still didn’t finish it. I love this place and will return!
Seven Brothers Burgers in Laie
I’m not a burger person, but I wanted to give this place a try. We found great reviews online, and Gregory recommend it too. The best burger I’ve ever eaten, hands down. I had the teriyaki burger and teri fries. Teri fries are fries smothered in onions, melted cheese, house sauce, and teriyaki sauce. Delicious! Ryan also enjoyed his burger with avocado and teriyaki sauce.
Great food and location. We stopped by for lunch, and we really enjoyed it. This is a beautiful restaurant with great views of the ocean. The staff was attentive, and we received our food quickly. It was fresh, Hawaiian inspired cuisine. I had a chicken sandwich on a taro bun with papaya slaw. Ryan had their version of a grilled cheese, which included pork.
I recommend spending an afternoon or morning in Haleiwa. It’s a surf town with some great shopping and Matsumoto’s Shave Ice! One of my favorite treats in Hawaii is shave ice. It’s a thin, light ice with flavorings of your choice. It’s way better than a snow cone. I really liked their mango and raspberry flavors. Ryan liked preferred the guava. Even President Obama has visited Matsumoto’s Shave Ice while on Oahu.
Ryan and I didn’t get see the really large waves, but we did see ten foot waves while on the North Shore. Ten foot waves are still big enough to make you sick on a boat…I know from previous experience. The beaches along the North Shore are beautiful, and the water varies in color. One of the activities we enjoyed was visiting Secret Beach at Kualoa. We saw a ton of turtles while enjoying a boat ride on the calm waters of the bay . We also enjoyed the movie tour at Kualoa Ranch. A ton of movies, including Jurassic Park, have been filmed there. Our guide, Aunty, was super funny and full of knowledge.
The drive from Turtle Bay to Kualoa was stunning. The road is right beside the ocean, and we felt bad for all of the kids that had to go to school across the street from the beach. Many of the schools in Hawaii tend to be by the beach. I’m not sure if that’s intentional or not…I wouldn’t want to go to school with that kind of view. It’s also an easy drive for anyone that gets car sick. I was perfectly fine…the road to Hana is a different story. You’ll also want to stop in Laie, which is 10-15 minutes from Turtle Bay. There’s a cute shopping center in conjunction with the Polynesian Cultural Center. I bought a ukulele for our house.
There are several farm tours that I’d like to do the next time we visit. I simply didn’t know about them until we got there, so we didn’t have the time. We also didn’t make it to the botanical gardens. All reasons to visit again soon! Our stay was amazing, and I highly recommend spending time on the North Shore of Oahu. It’s very laid back and full of personality. Relaxing was a breeze!
Check back later this week for details on our stay near Honolulu. You won’t want to miss it!