WHY WE LOVE IT
- The best of both worlds: tropical paradise, with some of the state’s loveliest beaches, and big-city fun in Honolulu.
- The lights of Honolulu, which illuminate the island every night like a beacon at sea.
- The billion-dollar makeover of once-run-down Waikiki, which after a decade of redevelopment now looks fabulous.
- The easy trip—less than an hour from Honolulu—to the rural North Shore, home of famous breaks at Waimea Bay, Sunset Beach and Banzai Pipeline and the laid-back surfer culture that grew up around them.
WHEN TO GO
The balmy weather on Oahu is honeymoon-friendly year-round, with temperatures typically between 75 and 85 degrees. During winter—surf season on the North Shore—humongous swells draw wave riders from all over the world. Summer bring lots of parents and kids and better surf at Waikiki.
WHAT TO PACK
Hawaii’s dress code is as relaxed as two honeymooners in a hammock. Shorts and T-shirts will do for most occasions. For eating out—and Oahu has world-class restaurants coming out its ears—"smart casual" is the norm, even in the swankiest dining rooms. Scenesters out for a taste of Honolulu nightlife should think clubbing attire.
WHAT TO BUY
A ukulele from Kamaka Ukuleles; Japanese snacks and toys from Shirokiya department store; books on Hawaiian culture, history and folklore from Native Books/Na Mea Hawai'i; kitschy souvenirs or serious hula accoutrements from the Hula Supply Center; who-knows-what from the Aloha Stadium Swap Meet.
For more information, contact the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau (2270 Kalakaua Ave., Suite 801, Honolulu; 800-464-2924; gohawaii.com/oahu/). The Oahu Visitors Bureau Web site is also good: visit-oahu.com.
GETTING MARRIED ON OAHU
Hawaii’s wedding requirements are minimal—present a marriage-license application, government-issued photo ID and $60 in cash (along with the divorce or death certificate if you’ve been previously married) to a licensed marriage agent and you’re in. You can download applications at hawaii.gov/health and find a licensed marriage agent by calling the marriage license office at 808-586-4544.
With an abundance of sparkly beaches and splashy waterfalls, Oahu has plenty of picture-perfect outdoor locales for tying the knot and no shortage of lovely chapels either. You might even find a bona fide Hawaiian kahuna to officiate. Some of the island’s hotels have wedding planners who will handle every last detail for you, and many hotels have romantic packages geared toward newlyweds. For a directory of wedding vendors, ranging from beauty salons to videographers, visit the Oahu Wedding Association online at oahuweddingassociation.com.