Hawaii is synonymous with romance, evoking the imagination with the scent of gardenias, lush vegetation, the salty sea air and the magnificent sunsets. While lying on the beach sipping mai tais with your loved one is romantic, there are so many places to go and things to do on Oahu that take the wedding cake regarding romantic sightseeing and adventure. Add these romantic ideas to your itinerary for a memorable vacation that you'll talk about for years to come.
Is it love that makes you feel like you're floating on a breeze? Or is it the dizzying 1,000-foot height and the strong trade winds blowing through the mountains at Nuuanu Pali Lookout? The scenic stop is on a pass-through of the Koolau Mountain Range that connects one side of Oahu to the other. The powerful winds make it a multisensory experience with spectacular views of the valleys, the windward coast and the expansive blue waters of the Pacific. Be sure to hold each other tightly—for romantic and practical reasons—as strong gusts can reach up to speeds of 74 mph!
La Mer at Halekulani
Enjoy an opulent three- or four-course dinner with ocean breezes at La Mer, one of two AAA Five Diamond restaurants on Oahu. The menu features dishes inspired by flavors from the South of France using fresh local ingredients. Some featured delectables include poached lobster, foie gras, filet of beef with foie gras and truffle mousseline, and an end-of-dinner cheese cart for an added French je-ne-sais-quoi. Be sure to order a glass from the restaurant's award-winning wine list.
Waikiki Beach is Oahu's most famous stretch of sand, though it's only one of six along the Waikiki neighborhood. The waterfront is full of resorts, hotels, restaurants and shopping areas.
During the day, it is perfect for surfing and sunning, but at night—because nearly every hotel room is just a couple of blocks from the shore—it's a relaxing place to listen to the rhythmic sound of crashing of waves. Afterward, stroll hand-in-hand, barefoot, along the palm-lined beach—or sit side-by-side on a towel—and watch one of the most majestic and romantic sunsets in the world.
After the sun sets, stroll over to Hilton Hawaiian Village and watch the spectacular fireworks display, which is presented every Friday at 7:45 pm.
Blue Note Hawaii
Blue Note Hawaii is a premier jazz venue that brings artists from around the world. It's in a 9,000-square-foot facility inside the Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort. Performers have included Grammy-winning trumpeter Chris Botti (pictured above), Taylor Hicks, WAR, Living Colour and the Manhattan Transfer, as well as such local greats as Jake Shimabukuro, Henry Kapono and Willie K. There are two performances each night, seven days a week, so any time is a good time for a slow dance.
Take a Star of Honolulu Sunset Cruise
The Star of Honolulu offers a variety of cruises, from whale watching to a Sunset Buffet and a Show. If romance is in the air, splurge for the Five Star Sunset Dining and Jazz cruise.
Following a Captain's welcome reception on the Art-Deco inspired top deck, guests are served a seven-course dinner at private tables. Enjoy the sunset with premium cocktails and a jazz soundtrack provided by some of Oahu's top artists. Cruises on Fridays are an extra hour longer to remain on the water for the Friday fireworks shows.
Ride Horses at Turtle Bay Resort
Saddle up with your sweetheart and explore this North Shore area on horseback. Turtle Bay Resort offers 12 miles of trails that wind along the ocean and through a thicket of trees. Take a group ride, a sunset ride or an evening ride. Adventurous couples will find plenty to do here, from surfing and stand-up paddle boarding to Segway tours and mountain biking.
Matsumoto's Shave Ice
Share a sweet moment over a large cone of flavored ice at Matsumoto's Shave Ice. The popular family-owned shop has served the frozen treat for nearly 60 years. Each shave ice can have up to three flavors of syrup that come in a variety of flavors. Try banana, strawberry cream, lychee, pickled mango or papaya. Or, garnish your cone with azuki beans and ice cream.
Spitting Caves of Portlock
This spot may be difficult to find at first as the trailhead is at the end of a road in a small East Oahu neighborhood. The steep trail leads to a shoreline of volcanic rock carved by the sea. They can be very slippery so be careful climbing down, but it's worth the effort, especially at sunrise or sunset. The waves slam into the cliffs in a dramatic display, worthy of an Instagram moment. Snap a selfie of you and your sweetie and watch the waves, the sun and each other.
For a unique and sexy date, take a tango lesson from tango maestro George Garcia. His Isla Tango offers classes for all skill levels, either in weekly lessons or on a drop-in basis. Learn common sequences and how to properly execute them: Boleos, Sacadas, Molienetes and Ganchos. Each month focuses on a special topic while milongas and practicas are held weekly to practice what you've learned and dance the night away.
Chinatown dates back to the 1800s when Chinese immigrants to Hawaii settled here. Many of the original buildings and storefronts remain.
For a fun date, stroll through the neighborhood and visit the boho chic boutiques and art galleries. Then enjoy a sumptuous dinner like the hot smoked King salmon at Senia or a slice of Neopolitan heaven at Brick Fire Tavern. Finish dessert in time to catch a performance at the Hawaii Theatre, which features such shows as live hula, Hawaiian music and local plays.
Moana Lani Spa
For a more relaxed way to spend the afternoon together, get a romantic couples spa treatment at Moana Lani Spa. It features more than 18,000-square-feet of spa and fitness space. There are two suites specially designed for couples with private lanai and whirlpools.
Get a Ka Ua Lomi, a gentle rain massage with island essences. All spa rooms feature a wooden bowl filled with Alaea Hawaiian sea salt at the door. Put your thoughts and energies into this "burden bowl," which will be collected at the end of the day and thrown into the ocean.
Blue Hawaiian Helicopter Tours
The views in Hawaii are stunning from the ground, but they're simply awe-inspiring in the air. Blue Hawaiian Helicopters offers tours of each of the Hawaiian Islands, including two tours on Oahu.
The "Blue Skies of Oahu" shows off the island's rainforests, valleys, historic sites and even the Dole Plantation in a tour that lasts about 45 minutes. If that's not enough, try the "Complete Island" tour, which lasts an hour and covers all of the hills, valleys and shores of Oahu, including Pearl Harbor and the Arizona Memorial.