hawaii

Oahu Day 9 + 10 | Sunrise at Sandy Beach, Lanikai Beach

 

Day 9

Started the day at Sandy Beach or 'Broke Neck Beach’ to the locals, for sunrise. While it seemed like it was going to be cloudy, it ended up clearing up and being a really pretty sunrise.

I also finally go to try the Souffle Pancakes from The Cream Pot. The pancakes were pretty pricey but so fluffy and good. (Thanks for the rec Ian!)

Because we were up so early for sunrise, it was only 8AM so we decided to check out Waikiki, the most touristy beach on the island with all hotels lined up along the beach. We walked through one of the hotels, and while it was really nice, I didn’t love the touristy feel of the area. There really is just so much more on the island to see, eat and do. But they really did make the downtown area really gorgeous, especially at night.

While we were in the area we drove to Ubae for their ube cheescake tarts, 2/5, it wasn’t bad but pretty expensive for how small of a cheesake it was, it didn’t have a partciularly strong ube taste either. We went next door and got some laulau from Young’s Fish Market.

The entire trip, all I wanted was a fresh coconut, while there were lots of fresh coconut stands along the road around the island I never got one. We happened to stumble upon a farmer’s market where a guy was selling HUGE coconuts for $5, it even came with a handmade wood straw. He opened it up right in front of us, and explained where he climbed and harvested them on the island.

We couldn’t leave without one last stop at Lanikai, so spent our afternoon just relaxing on the beach. We also proceeded to do a mini photoshoot with our coconut before Jordan tore it open and we ate the coconut meat.

We got lunch at Rainbow’s, before visiting Jordan’s grandma one last time at her hair salon. I got their mixed plate and Jordan got the loco moco. Can’t go wrong with some good Hawaiian fast food. We also saw the coolest VW vans all over the island and here was a pretty green one parked outside Rainbow’s.

Day 10

Our last day we packed, had our last pound of poke from Foodland, visited Jordan’s grandpa’s grave one last time and finally tried the McDonald’s Ube Pie. Why did it take me until the last day to try this, it was so good, better than the ube cheesecake.

Before we knew it, our 10 days in Oahu were over! Belly’s full, a few shades darker, and rejuvinated, we were out! Until next time!

 

Oahu Day 7 + 8 | Hanauma Bay, Ala Moana Mall, Shirokiya Japan Village Walk

 

Day 7

By 7:30 we were at Hanauma Bay, a huge tourist spot for snorkeling, but for a good reason. Here you have to pay an $11 entry fee, watch a video about the history of the bay and not harming the rocks and wild life. We wanted to arrive early to beat the crowd. This is a great spot for families, it’s shallow and you see tonssssssss of cool fish, photos just can’t do it justice. We spent a few hours here, taking breaks for lunch and napping in our hammock. We even saw a sea lion on the beach.

Post snorkeling, we headed to Ono Steak and Shrimp nearby. And they didn’t disappoint, nothing fancy, but really good food.

Lunch was followed by shave ice, not shaveD ice, from Shimazu Shave Ice. While most people rave about Matsumoto’s on North Shore but was recommended this spot by locals and it was so good, not to mention huge servings with so many flavor options, at least 60 different flavors. We got the matcha and milk tea in a kid’s size and it was huge!

Next we visited the Ala Moana Center, the largest outdoor mall in the world. We got an ube ice cream taiyaki at Somisomi in the food court. Followed by $5 pitchers and takoyaki at the Shirokiya Japan Village Walk.

Day 8

Day 8 was a lot of driving around the island and just hitting some last minute spots! Also, lots and lots of eating!

We got ‘brunch’ at Poke on Da Run, I would give it a 3/5, good food and great portions but nothing AMAZING. (We got the Poke Nachos)

We did some quick shopping at the Waikele Oulets and nearby was a Leonard’s truck so we took this as an opportunity to finally get our hot malasada (cream filled sugar donut). Delicious!

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We even casually did a walking tour of Disney Resort, Aulani, definitely a cool hotel but very removed from the rest of the island, you would miss a lot of the culture. Again great for families to just hangout and relax, but not for Jordan and I who wanted to see and do everything on the island.

Next, we went to the Dole Plantation, I had been as a kid so didn’t need to do the tour or anything but just wanted some original Dole Whip!

We continued our drive north on the island, back to North Shore for a third time. We visited the Patagonia store and went back to the spot we shot at with Keri and Brendan. (This was also right around midterm election so Patagonia was giving away these cool stickers.)

We were crazy enough to drive to the opposite end of the island after having driven all over the island already, for our last Helena’s meal. And oh was it worth the drive.

 

Oahu Day 5 | Makapu'u Tide Pools, Lanikai Beach, China Walls

 

Day 5 — Kailua (South East)

Started our day a little later this day, but we were out to Kailua the south east region of Oahu. We visited the Makapu’u Tidepools, which often gets missed. It is a hike off the main trail up to the more well known Makapu’u Lighthouse.

After the parking in the Lighthouse Trail parking lot, walk up the paved path for about 20-25 minutes. While it is paved and isn’t a hard trail it is uphill and it is hot, so you will be tired. There are signs along the trail that educate you about the area and wild life, when you find the sign about the whales you will reach the part where you begin you descent.

If you look down you will see the tide pools below in the distance. From here you just make your way down the lava rocks, I wouldn’t say there’s a defined path but just keep going down the safest way possible. At the bottom you can swim in the tide pools and see the parallel blow holes called Dragon’s Nostril’s.

 
 

After our morning hike, we wanted to spend the rest of the day just hanging out at the beach. We headed to Lanikai Beach and this was our first opportunity to just do nothing and hangout. We picked up some poke and chips and laid out our beach mat. I also wanted to get some more photos of the haku before it completely wilted.

Lanikai is a gorgeous beach, pretty crowded and hard to find parking, but has nice snorkeling if you swim a little farther out and a view of Chinaman’s Hat.

After a few hours just relaxing, we wanted to finish the day with sunset at China Walls. This was a great spot to watch the sunset and surfers surfing the last waves of the day.

After sunset we headed to Costco to pickup souvenirs, the classic chocolate covered macadamia nuts but also bags of toffee nut cookies. Post Costco we met up with his family at Sura Hawaii for KBBQ. It was pretty good, they had some really good sides too!

Bonus, look how cute Jordan’s grandma is:

 

Oahu Day 3 + 4 | Lulumahu Falls, Shark's Cove, North Shore

 

Day 3

We spent the majority of Day 3 visiting both of Jordan’s grandpas cemeteries. Our first stop was Mililani Memorial Park. After that we went to the Aloha Stadium Swap Meet, which was a mix of stand after stand of souvenirs and people’s second-hand goods. We bought a few Ikaika Hawaiian Warrior Helmets as souvenirs for our car rearview mirror. I would recommend doing a lap around the place, although this will take a while before purchasing to get a sense of pricing.

For lunch we went to Button Up Cafe; since it was so small and the wait would be 30 minutes for a table we decided to take it to go. We found a nearby park just down the street to eat by the water (Neal S. Blaisdell Park). The nice thing about this park was that it was pretty empty and you could see parts of Pearl Harbor.

We ordered the Kalua Pork Hash and Tiramisu French Toast, both delicious! I wouldn’t say this was our most memorable meal on the island but well worth it!

Our next stop was Valley of the Temples to visit Jordan’s other grandpa. We planned on going down the street to Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden, which seems to be a spot everyone visits in Hawaii but we ran out of time and wanted to make sure we had enough time on our hike.

Lulumahu Falls wasn’t a challenging hike, I would say easy, about 1.5–2mi out and back. The only drawback was how extremely muddy it was, so be ready to wear shoes that you don’t care about. Also if you hate wet socks, don’t even bother wearing them. It is easy to get a little lost on the trail, but follow the pink plastic ties. We followed these the whole way and would have been the only way we found the waterfall.

Most hikes in Hawaii are private property, so I would recommend staying away most hikes out of respect to the land and risk of getting ticketed. This hike seemed visited by many and okay to go on.

Park at Nuuanu Pali Drive, and choose and entrance. There are two entrances, one where the the private property signs are that walks through a bamboo forest or through a wire gate that walks around the bamboo forest.

You end the hike at this 150 foot waterfall with a small pool at the end.

Day 4 — North Shore

We started another day early at Shark’s Cove on the North Shore. While this spot was more crowded, it was a great snorkeling spot especially for families with kids. The water was shallow but you could see tons of fish. This area is enclosed by a rock barrier, but you can go beyond this barrier where the water is a little deeper and see more fish. I would recommend water shoes because it is super rocky and sharp.

Even though it’s called Shark’s Cove, there aren’t sharks, its because of the lava rock formations that look like a shark. We even found some great trees to hammock under for a bit.

We had to also make a stop at Haleiwa Bowls which was probably my favorite acai bowl of the trip.

We ended our day meeting up with Keri and Brandon to shoot for sunset. We even had a beautiful haku lei by Sky!

Here are a few of the photos they took for us!

 

Oahu Day 1 + 2 | Electric Beach, Makua Cave, Koko Head, Halona Cove

 

Day 1 — Leeward (East)

As soon as we got off the plane, picked up our rental we went straight to Helena’s Hawaiian Food. Which was hands down our favorite food spot on the island. Directly followed by a trip to Foodland for a few pounds of poke. After we dropped our stuff off at our family’s place we were on our way driving up the East side of the island towards Makua Cave.

We stopped at Electric Beach on the way there which is known for its snorkeling. The waters there are warmed by the power plant next to the beach. Unfortunately we didn’t spend much time there or see anything. My guess is we were a little farther down on the beach away from the power plant and also didn’t commit to swimming a little farther out. Mind you we were so excited, this was our first beach of the trip, and were also trying to make it to Makua Cave for sunset.

We drove farther up HI-83 and parked at the Ka’ena Point State Park sign, that someone unfortunately knocked down. This spot had a really cool view of the coast. From there walk farther down the road to the 25mph sign, not the No Tresspassing sign. There is a path, made by others who have walked up.

Day 2 — Hawaii Kai (South)

We started the day early by hiking Koko Head, we knew it would be busy since it was a Saturday but also wanted to beat the sun before it got too high in the sky. I think we arrived around 7:30AM and it was already busy, not overwhelmingly crowded but busy.

I will say that this hike isn’t easy, it is 1,050+ steps. it’s completely doable but it isn’t easy. Jordan and I are both semi-fit, not top athletes who could run up this mountain, but moved at a moderate pace, taking maybe two or three breaks. But people of all athletic levels were doing it, just take it at your own pace.

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I will say, while we were sweating bullets, huffing and puffing all the way up in the heat and humidity, the top was definitely worth it. Not only for the views but the cooling winds that greeted us in the best way. You basically get a 360 view of this corner of the island.

 
 

Post hike we drove just 6 minutes away to Halona Cove. We hung out and enjoyed the natural wave cove for an hour or so before checking out the surrounding lookout areas.

We ended our day early to return home to celebrate Jordan’s Grandma’s 90th birthday! But before doing that we picked up an Acai Bowl at Lanikai Juice, tbh I would give it a 2.5/5. It was good, but felt really corporate, less homemade. It was also pretty pricy. I wouldn’t recommend coming here, there are plenty of other spots on the island that definitely felt more authentic.

lanikai juice