Hawaii is anyones playground! There are endless things to do on this tropical island, so you might want to make a list.
We were completely unaware of the adventures hawaii would take us on, but we were glad to be along for the ride. Almost everything on this list is free, so stop thinking dollar signs, start packing your hiking shoes and unbuckling your belt.
This is a no-brainer, but we LOVED hanging out at the beach. When we were at waikiki beach, we lounged or went surfing and if we were in North Shore, we laid out our towels to soak up the sun while listening to Hawaiian jams. Every beach in Hawaii has its perks, wether it be surfing waves, cool coral reefs to explore, or white sandy beaches perfect for swimming.
If you are looking to go swimming on a sandier (less rocky) beach or do some excursions, I recommend Waikiki beach. It is very touristy, but with good reasoning. The lovely views of the Hawaiian mountains and the surfers in the distance will keep you in awe.
If you are looking for the best waves in Oahu, head to North Shore for their famous 7 mile miracle. Obviously that is more of an expert level surf, so Waikiki is better for beginners (believe me). Not only is North Shore great for surfing but they are great for snorkeling as well. Sharks Cove is a famous spot to explore!
If you are looking to soak up those amazing Hawaiian rays, your in luck. Almost every beach in Hawaii is the perfect spot!
Also, we didn’t get to explore Lanikai Beach but I’ve heard and seen beautiful photos and adventures from this side of the island. (If you go or have been, leave a comment below telling me all about it!)
EAT YOUR HEART OUT
I think one of the most adult things I’ve come across when traveling is you desire to try new and local foods. When I was younger, I could have cared less about where we ate because I probably would have gotten chicken tenders, but now I see the culture behind each destinations food. Hawaii is the perfect spot to try tropical dishes. I love pineapple and coconut ANYTHING, so I’m sure you can guess I ate alot of it.
Starting with Cheeseburger Waikiki ($$)- we ate here ALOT in the two days we spent in Waikiki. We loved their fruity Pina Coladas and the filling coconut crusted shrimp. We never left feeling hungry!
Duke’s Waikiki– Kyle, our tour guide, worked at Dukes so we often went to visit. It has really good food, non-virgin and virgin drinks, and not to mention the amazing views of Waikiki beach. This is a famous restaurant, so I recommend having a reservation or being prepared to wait. The crowds get feisty when looking for a table.
Leonards Bakery– This is a place we had found on the internet when searching for breakfast shops and also had been told about from former residences. This places is small, but sooooo good, if you are the type of person to want sweet items for breakfast. I had a coconut filled Malasadas, which is like a sugared donut hole with filling… alot of filling.
Matsumotos Shaved Ice– If you are traveling to Hawaii you have to get shaved ice. It’s almost a sin not to. We waited till our last full day with Spencer to find this shop called Matsumotos (recommend to us by a friend). I had mango, pineapple, and coconut topped with condensed milk and it was a cotton candy dream (it didn’t taste like it, just looked liked it). This is a North Shore spot, but its only an hour drive each direction on this island so I recommend taking the trip.
Ted’s Bakery– Another North Shore spot, but a good one! I highly recommend the famous chocolate cream pie. It’s so good we had to go back twice for more! I’ve also heard the shrimp plates are good, but we never had the chance to try them.
We didn’t get to hike as much as we would have liked to, but the two hikes we conquered were equally stunning. Each that we did were unique in their own way and two different experience levels.
As you can tell from the photos, we got dirty for both so I recommend wearing clothing that you wouldn’t like to get muddy. We were unlucky because each time we went out it had rained or was raining, therefore it made the hikes a little more difficult.
Manoa Falls (photo shown above): The first images were from Manoa Falls, a popular hike for many tourists. The trail is made to easy to walk with stepping stones, leveled out pathways, and steps, all leading to the beautiful 150 foot water fall. However, there is an illegal side to this hike that we attempted. Like I said, there was rain during the hike so every step was muddy and slippery. We got a quarter of the way up the illegal part and I made the executive decision that I didn’t want to die on the third day of being there. (Sorry Kyle and Rose.) Not to mention, there were numerous leis on the way up which Kyle said that it was for the deceased… This gave me the push to turn back haha!
Crouching Lion Summit (photo shown below): This spot is so beautiful and will forever have my heart. Kyle took us up the “hard way” according to this woman who was solo hiking behind us. I can testify considering we were basically repelled off the side of the mountain gripping for dear life to the slippery rocks. There was little shade on this hike once you get out of the woods at the bottom, so be prepared to sweat. I was dripping in it after the nerves mixed with heat/humidity. If you do decide to do this hike, do NOT wear chacos that are loose. Spencer and I were slipping around in them after walking through muddy water and we couldn’t get a grip which called for sliding around on our shoes and our toes were white knuckling the edges. In between all of the struggling and laughs, we made it to the top. The wind was blowing which helped cool us off while we looked at our (almost) panoramic view. If you have a drone I highly recommend bringing it along with your camera.. Just don’t forget your batteries (@spencer haha!).
If you are looking to do either of these hikes I highly recommend Kyle. He will keep you laughing for sure, but he is more like a friend taking you on a hike, so do not expect to know any nature facts! Follow HikingHonolulu on instagram (I helped run it for a bit). You can email, dm or text to set up your guided hike!