My #besthusbandever wanted to do something totally different for our anniversary this year, so we settled on something that's been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember: horseback riding! I was SO excited, especially because he decided to book our adventure at Turtle Bay Resort on the North Shore.
Ahhhhh… the North Shore! It’s a gorgeous coastline on the north shore of O’ahu with incredible beaches and a super chill vibe. It’s also where the Turtle Bay Resort is located, and it is beautiful!
While Waikiki tends to be crowded with a seemingly endless buffet of resorts, Turtle Bay Resort stands alone in glorious solitude. Nestled at the edge of a sparkling turqouise bay, it spans 850 acres of lush property. There are a wide variety of things to do, whether you’re lucky enough to be a guest of the hotel or not.
Booking the Tour
My #besthusbandever booked the Turtle Bay Resort horseback riding excursion for our anniversary because a horseback ride on the beach was on my bucket list! He’s so awesome, isn’t he!?
He booked the tour online the morning that we went because, well, we’re procrastinators. Luckily, he had zero problems getting us three spots at our desired time of 1:30pm local time (check-in at 1pm).
Since traffic in O’ahu can get a little crazy and we live about an hour away from the resort, we decided to leave our house about 1.5 hours in advance just to be safe. Good thing, because we hit highway traffic for a good 20 minutes! We ended up arriving at Turtle Bay Resort at about 1:10pm.
No big deal, though. The customer service rep at the Guide Post, where you check in, was awesome. She called the stables and let them know we’d arrived, so they sent a cute golf cart to pick us up in front of the lobby! It only took a quick 5 minutes to get to the stables.
We checked in again, and were given our choice of no-so-sexy helmets to wear. Safety first, right?! I had to reject two helmets that had twisted straps before finding a third that fit correctly.
After getting decked out in our safety gear and taking a family photo, we went to the front of stables to await our horses. They were so pretty!
To The Horses
Once we were situated, the stable hands led the horses out to us one by one. Max went on first, then Speed, then me. Speed’s horse was huge! To get on the horse, you have to climb up a staircase, then swing your leg over the horse to the other side while you sit. The horse guide makes sure your feet are in the stirrups, and teaches you how to guide your horse by pulling their head straps in the direction you want them to go. Easy, right!?
Except MY horse decided she wanted to eat grass every so often right after we started, and let me tell you, pulling her head up was HARD. Poor thing, she just wanted a snack! Can’t blame her for that. But every time her head went down, I was terrified I was going to fly over her head. Of course that didn’t happen, but I couldn’t help getting freaked out every single time.
That’s when I realized…I’m not a horse girl. Nope, not for me. These things are HUGE and they can take off at a moment’s notice! Although ~these~ particular horses were super chill, you never know if one is out of sorts that day. I kept asking myself, “How do cowgirls do it!?”. I’m totally convinced I was never a cowgirl in a previous life. Uh uh.
On The Tour
The horseback riding tour was so beautiful, though. Honestly, my #besthusbandever couldn’t have picked a better first tour. We rode by the bay, in the forest, through the plains, and discovered hidden uncrowded beaches we had no idea were there! It was a perfect day and the scenery was seriously gorgeous.
After about 45 minutes, we were back at the stables and dismounting from our horses. To me, that was just the right amount of time, and the ride’s level difficulty was perfect for someone who’s never been on a horse before. It helped that the horses were well-behaved, yet alert.
We had a young boy in our group, probably around 7 years old, who had no problems with the horseback ride, and we were all able to take photos with one hand while holding on to the pommel with the other.
All the horses stayed together, and in the middle of the ride, the guide stopped at a scenic spot in front of the bay to take photos of each family and individual rider. So, all in all, very good horseback riding tour!
TIPS: We booked our horseback riding tour for later in the afternoon so we wouldn’t have to wake up early. We love sleep. Definitely leave enough time to drive up to North Shore if you aren’t staying or live in the area. And make sure to have your phone or camera strapped around your neck. I held my phone in my hand so whenever my horse went down to eat grass, I thought I was going to drop the phone on the ground. And don’t forget to soak it all in…it’s beautiful!
Have you gone horseback riding before? Where was it and how did you like your experience? Share in the comments below!