Hawaii is one of those places you visit as honeymooners, but it can also be a destination for beach galore and fusion cuisine with Japanese influences. Although tiny on the map, Hawaii has so much to explore. With only a week, we chose to deep dive Honolulu on the Oahu Island.
We stayed at the Hilton Waikiki Beach Hotel, not to be confused with the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort or the Hilton Garden Inn Waikiki Beach. I know, right? Why would they plop 3 hotels with such similar names in the vicinity of each other?
This was the view from our hotel room. I can't remember what floor, but I think it was around 10th or higher. You can see there's another hotel ruining the view, and I think that's the Alohilani Resort Waikiki Beach. Stay at that hotel if you don't want this view, heh.
With my long lens, I was able to zoom in on the cute sailboats though!
The hotel is a short walk away from the Waikiki Beach and main streets lined with palm trees:
TIP! The Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort has free fireworks every Friday night but we got to the hotel too late for a good viewing spot, heh. You can watch them from anywhere around it, though!
If you want to see the most beaches as possible, with a photographer as your tour guide to bring you to the best photo spots, book with Oahu Photography Tours. We saw so many beaches we knew where we wanted to go back to:
The sand on beaches can be supremely hot if you're not used to it. Budget for an umbrella in the sand to shade yourself. You will most likely lay on the beach for at least an hour, max 2 hours. It runs anywhere between $15 to $30 USD, but so worth it! You will appreciate not having to lug your own because those umbrellas are huge, heavy, and require people to dig into the sand to make sure they're stable!
If bringing a DSLR on the photography tour, bring polarizing filters! The sun is so bright that even if your DSLR body is capable of blazing fast shutter speeds (like 1/8000), a polarizing filter will help minimize light (they're like sunglasses for your lens!) and allow you to shoot at wider apertures.
Public transit in Honolulu is easy to navigate and affordable at about $2-3 a ride. I personally found it was safe to take during the day.
If you forget to buy anything or if you want to pack really light, Honolulu sells everything you need (sunscreen, sunglasses, hat, etc.). Bringing your own is always best, but don't stress or overpack.
Treat yourself to mimosas on the last day of your stay just before checkout, especially if you have a balcony in your room.