Hawaiian Adventure Waikiki Beach

Part One of our Hawaiian Island Adventure: Waikiki Beach. Hawaii is a bucket list destination for us. We have wanted to visit for years. In 2023, we finally decided to go all in on a two week Hawaiian adventure. Waikiki Beach was stop number one on our Hawaiian Islands adventure. Here are a few highlights that might help you plan a visit, too.

The Adventure Begins

For years, we talked about going to Hawaii. Maybe for our 20th anniversary. No wait, maybe for the 25th. We did a lot of camping trips over the years and saw some amazing places. But, Hawaii just seemed impossible.

In 2022, we finally started working our bucket list by visiting Mammoth Cave. We shared the details in a Kentucky and Tennessee RV Road Trip YouTube video. And then we started thinking of where to go in 2023. We finally said that life is too short. If you want to go somewhere, you should just buy the ticket.

We decided to do a Hawaiian Island cruise and called our favorite travel agent Donna to set the plan in motion. It’s a long way to Hawaii from our home base. And it is a six hour time difference. While many people fly in for a cruise a day early, we thought it might be good to have a little extra time. So, we booked three nights at the Waikiki Beach Marriott.

Our adventure started by driving to a hotel the evening before our early flight. Then, the alarm woke us a 3:40 am. It made the two mile drive to the airport a lot easier than trying to drive over an hour to get there. Good call. We boarded a flight to Atlanta. After a two hour layover, we then boarded for the nine hour flight to Honolulu.

Erling and Judy wearing flower leis upon arriving in Hawaii

While the seats could have used a bit more cushion, Delta did provide some tasty bites and plenty of movies to watch. After a long day of travel, we were excited to arrive and headed to the hotel to finally begin part one of our Hawaiian adventure.

Waikiki Beach Marriott

While the main part of our Hawaiian Island adventure was going to be island hopping on NCL’s Pride of America, we wanted a chance to visit Waikiki. We made the Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort our home for three nights.

The hotel is set back about a block from the beach. We had an ocean view. While the view was partially obstructed by some of the other tall buildings in the area, having our own private balcony with an ocean view was pretty amazing.

View of Pacific Ocean from balcony of Waikiki Marriott

The Marriott is situated toward the end of Waikiki Beach in a quieter area near Kapiolani Park. The Honolulu Zoo is located in this park. The park extends all the way to the ocean, providing a nice place to walk along the beach.

Day One: Arrival and Beach Walk

We wanted a place to relax and get used to the six hour time difference from the East Coast. This was just the spot. The hotel is located about a block back from the beach, just a few steps from the ocean. There was plenty to do within a short walk. And it was fun to take a swim in the ocean.

View of Waikiki Beach

Since we arrived mid-afternoon, and it was a beautiful day, a walk along the beach seemed like the perfect start. Kalakaua Avenue is a busy road that runs all along the Waikiki Beach area. There is a nice, paved sidewalk perfect for taking a stroll next to the beach. We headed to the left from the Marriott and found ourselves walking through Kapiolani Park.

In addition to the great ocean view, we encountered some fountains and statues of surfers. With so many people bobbing in the water, waiting for the perfect wave, these seemed to fit perfectly.

Statue of girl and seal surfing

Another thing we found in Hawaii were Banyan trees. These are incredible. They can get so large. We stopped for a while just to listen to the birds making their home in the tree.

Large banyan tree with ocean view at Waikiki Beach

Dinner and a Sunset

You know we could walk for miles. And we did. But after a very long day of travel, we decided to get a bite for supper. While we would normally seek out an interesting dining option, we opted to just try the hotel restaurant. It turned out to be the perfect choice.

One of the most amazing parts of staying in Waikiki are the sunsets. Every night during our stay, we were treated to an amazing sunset. And one of the best places to watch the sunset was from the Queensbreak Restaurant at the Marriott.

Pizza with a view of the Pacific Ocean at Queensbreak Marriott Waikiki

This rooftop patio provided just enough elevation to see over the busy Kalakaua Ave to get a great view. And the food was pretty tasty, too. We enjoyed sharing a pizza with our sunset.

Sunset view from Waikiki Beach Marriott

Day Two: Relaxing at Waikiki Beach

Waikiki Beach is in Honolulu, Hawaii’s capital and largest city. While this is a beautiful beach area, it also has the energy of a big city. With tall hotel buildings along the beach, it felt a little bit like Miami Beach.

We took advantage of the beach chairs and towels provided by the Marriott to enjoy a day at the beach. It was fun watching all the people bobbing in the water waiting to catch the perfect wave. It seemed like they were there from sunrise to sunset.

Erling and Judy at Waikiki Beach

The beach is a soft, sandy beach. However, you may want to wear some water shoes. Depending on what part of the beach you are one, the bottom can get a bit rocky.

Spending a day relaxing at the beach really was the perfect way to get adjusted to the time zone difference.

Hawaiian Shave Ice

For a lunchtime break, we discovered the tasty treat that is Hawaiian Shave Ice. Along the main road, you’ll find Island Vintage Shave Ice and it is fantastic. They have signature shave ice offerings that are pretty amazing.

Island Vintage Signature Hawaiian Shave Ice

Judy enjoyed the Tropical Island with mango and pineapple while I had the Heavenly Lilikoi with passion fruit, strawberry. Both had a base of frozen yogurt covered in shave ice, then topped with fresh fruit juices and items like popping boba. We had shave ice a few more times on this trip, but this was the best one we encountered.

After the shave ice, it was back to the beach for more relaxing. After an early dinner, we did some more walking and exploring in the area. Much of the shopping was oriented to high-end stores like Tiffany or Fendi, not the usual places the Travel Trail Sail crew shop at. However, it was a fun evening for a stroll and we enjoyed seeing the area.

Day Three: Pearl Harbor

One of the most meaningful things you can do when in this area is to visit Pearl Harbor. We had a very meaningful visit and paid our respects to the sailors who lost their lives during the attack there that launched America’s entry into World War Two. While we visited as part of a group tour, you can visit on your own. Be sure to include the boat ride to the Arizona memorial.

Pearl Harbor sailor statue

Visiting the Arizona requires a ticket. On many days, tickets sell out so you may want to plan ahead and arrive early. The memorial is located above the Battleship Arizona which sank in the harbor with many sailors on board. The Arizona memorial is a tribute to those sailors for their sacrifice.

Pearl Harbor Arizona Memorial

On your visit, you won’t be able to bring large bags. It’s best to plan to have just a clear water bottle, your ID, and a cell phone or camera. For the latest information, be sure to check out the Pearl Harbor National Memorial website. To make reservations to visit the Arizona, visit Recreation.gov.

Udon Noodles

We often get the best tips from chatting with locals. The person who drove us from the airport to the hotel had one of the best restaurant tips. He recommended checking out Marukame Udon. It turned out to be one of the best meals we had in Waikiki.

Udon noodles from marukame udon

They make fresh Japanese noodles topped with your choice of protein and sauce. We had them with a curry sauce which was really tasty. A generous serving of noodles was only $10. And, of course, we added a Spam Musubi for just $2.50, well, because it’s Spam, and we’re in Hawaii.

Day 4: Kona Coffee and The Port

Another tasty food discovery was Kona Coffee. We started our last day in Waikiki by getting a cup of Hawaiian coffee. The Kona Coffee shop offered a variety of coffee drinks. I chose to get a Kona Peaberry brewed as a pour over. This brewing method bring out the most flavor in a coffee. And this turned out to be a very good cup of coffee.

Kona coffee pour over brewing method

One thing to watch out for is that you are getting 100% Hawaiian coffee. Many coffee shops have a ‘house blend’ which may have some Hawaiian coffee mixed with beans from other areas. While it may be a good cup of coffee, why not get all Hawaiian coffee when in Hawaii, right?

After coffee, we packed our bags and headed to the NCL Cruise Port. We were excited to begin the next part of our adventure by visiting several other Hawaiian Islands.

No trip comes without a little bit of adventure. In our case, our transportation didn’t quite work. Our travel package had a taxi shuttle included. I called to arrange the ride and indicated we were at the pickup area where the shuttle busses stop. But our cab never arrived.

When I called again, the driver said they picked up a different couple instead. The hotel has two entrances and they had stopped on the other side. When they didn’t see us, they decided to take a different couple to the port. They asked if we still wanted a ride. Well, yes, we did want to get the port. The driver agreed to return to get us. Only now, there was another couple in the cab with all of the luggage, too. We squeezed in and sat with our luggage in our laps. All’s well that ends well and we did make it safely to the port.

From there, we started the check in process for part two of our Hawaiian Island adventure – a seven night cruise around the Hawaiian Islands.

NCL Pride of America

Waikiki Beach YouTube Video

Check out our Waikiki Beach YouTube video where we show the highlights of this part of our Hawaiian Islands adventure.

Waikiki Beach Adventure YouTube Thumbnail showing sunset and palm trees

Leave a Comment

What is your favorite thing to do in Waikiki? We’d love to hear all about it. Please leave us a comment.

If you like this, be sure to watch for our upcoming posts about the Pride of America Hawaiian Island cruise and our stay at Disney’s Aulani Resort.

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