September is a special month for our family! My husband and son share the same birthday month. So this is a special cause for extra celebrations. We started the month of ONE with family photos and Nico’s First Birthday Cake Smash and then jetted off for a week in Oahu, Hawaii!
Come away with me and explore the Hilton Hawaiian Village on Waikiki Beach, Lanikai Beach and our trip around the island.
Traveling to Hilton Hawaiian Village
We stayed at the beautiful Hilton Hawaiian Village in Waikiki. We booked our flight and hotel package through Orbitz for a great last-minute deal! I love booking flights and hotels through Orbitz. We often get a great deal on hotels and earn Orbucks credits to use for our next hotel booking.
LAX to Honolulu airport is around 5 hours long and then a short drive into Waikiki Beach. At LAX we reserved our parking through Cheap Airport Parking. It cost $63 for 7 days at Airport Center Express! What a deal compared to $40/day rate at LAX. Airport Center Express is a covered garage and a few minute shuttle to LAX. It is the closest and most affordable parking option outside of LAX and has great reviews.
Upon our arrival to Honolulu airport, we reserved a round trip shuttle to Hilton Hawaiian Village through Speedi Shuttle. It costs us $30 each way and an infant in lap is not charged. So a total of $60 round trip for our family of 3. We added gratuity to the reservation for the amazing service!
We booked our Orbitz package to include an ocean view room. When we checked in, our ocean view room was in a tower further back from the beach. We love spending time in our hotel room so we upgraded again for a reasonable price to the Rainbow Tower. The Rainbow Tower is right off the sand on the 26th floor. It was worth every penny. From this tower you can see the Friday Night Fireworks, Sunrises and the beach crowd, all while listening to the ocean waves from the comfort of your bed.
The Hilton Hawaiian Village is incredible. You don’t need to leave the hotel for any reason. These are our favorite kind of hotels. There are two ABC stores (convenience store with everything!), restaurants, casual dining and take out and most importantly Starbucks and coffee shops!
The 3 hour time difference through us and our 1-year-old for a loop. Waking up at 4am and going to bed around 7pm was our schedule the first few days. We rose with the sun! Which ultimately is the best way to start a vacation now with our little babe.
The first few days we spent sun bathing on the beach and eating to our hearts desire. Beach umbrellas, chairs and rafts are available on the beach for a high dollar. $30/day umbrella, $15/day chair and $10/day raft rentals. We purchased them the first day and then realized that this could all be purchased at the ABC Store. We spent $17.99 on our umbrella and $3.99 for our raft for the whole week. When we checked out, we PAID IT FORWARD and gave them to a sweet family to use.
Tips and Tricks for Staying at the Hilton Hawaiian Village:
- Tropics Restaurant right on the beach has amazing Kulua Pork Nachos. Pair that with the Maui Bikini Blonde or Kona Golden Ale Lager.
- The Rainbow Lanai has a breakfast buffet for $40/person, I would strongly recommend against this. Not worth it!
- Grab Breakfast and Coffee at Starbucks or Lappert’s Coffee. We also got parfait’s from the ABC Store.
- Buy your Umbrellas, Chairs or Rafts at the ABC Store. Also get drinks and snacks there.
- Stroll the boardwalk along Waikiki Beach from the hotel.
- Check out the Friday Night Fireworks from the Hilton Hawaiian Village Lagoon.
- Spend some time at the Paradise pool, it has slides! (Fun for adults too)
- Rent a paddle boat in the lagoon.
Hilton Hawaiian Village Lagoon
This man-made lagoon was so cool! In the early mornings you can find people doing yoga on paddle boards and throughout the day families on paddle boats. We spent an afternoon in the lagoon paddling around on a boat. It did cost $40 for an hour, but an experience that was worth it. The lagoon water is much colder than the ocean so go all in to take the chill off! There is a really awesome island and waterfall in the middle of the lagoon and lots of fish inside.
Oahu Day Trip
The best way to explore the island of Oahu is to rent a car for the day. We reserved our car at Paradise Rent-A-Car. It is about a 10 minute walk from the hotel. We picked it up at 8am and returned it by 4:30 to avoid paying the $40 car parking fee at the hotel.
We started the morning at Diamond Head State Monument. It was too hot for the hour and a half hike so we just drove up and explored the scenery with Hawaiian shaved ice in hand!
We continued to the south shore of Oahu and stopped at the Lanai Lookout. It is gorgeous. We climbed down the side of the lava formations to the water. It’s a great place to stop and enjoy some beautiful Hawaiian nature.
North East of Lanai Lookout you will stumble upon the beach town of Kailua. Here you will find the gorgeous white sand beach, Lanikai Beach. We ate at the famous Buzz’s, President Obama’s favorite place to eat in Oahu! The flank steak burger and tempura battered fries are delicious. Start your meal off with the spring rolls, a definite must!
We were going to try to make it to Waimea Falls on this day trip, but realized vacationing with a 1-year-old means you’re on their schedule! So we made our way West back to Waikiki and stopped at Nu‘uanu Pali Lookout to take in the lush greens of the island.
Waikiki Beach is a great place if you want the beauty of the ocean and the hustle and bustle of the city. There’s so much to do, great places to eat and so many shops to explore.
A friend of ours happened to be in Waikiki the same week we were, so met him at Rum Fire at the Sheraton Hotel. This is a great place to get cocktails and watch the sunset.
There is a boardwalk from the Hilton Hawaiian Village that spans the length of Waikiki Beach. We took this boardwalk down to the Outrigger Reef and cut through the hotels to get to the Sheraton. A lightweight stroller is a must with little ones and my must have Wildbird Ring sling is great for short strolls and naps with the babe.
See you next year Oahu!
Oahu is definitely a Hawaiian Island we will be back to. My husband and I visited Maui years ago but Oahu is great for families! When we come back to Oahu we will most likely stay in Ko Olina and check out the North Shore. Waimea Falls and Pearl Harbor will also be on our to do list next year!
This was a great family vacation to say “bye” to summer and “hello” to fall. It was great to re-charge our batteries and celebrate Michael and Nico’s birthdays!
I hope you enjoyed our vacation and got some inspiration from these photos. Comment below if you know of any good eats or places to go in Oahu for our next trip.
Until next time keep soul-searching.
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