Carolann from The Two Year Honeymoon is one such lady, and has kindly taken over Adventures of a London Kiwi, with her top 10 things you must do in Hawaii. All I know is that my credit card is itching with wanderlust...
10 Things You Must Do in Hawaii
Hi there, readers of Adventures of a London Kiwi!
I’m Carolann, and for the past two years, my husband and I lived in Hawaii on what I’ve been calling our “Two Year Honeymoon.” We just left Hawaii and are in the process of moving to a little place in the United States called Connecticut. But first, we are traveling to Europe and then New York to spend the holidays with our family! My husband is in the military, so we are always moving around. We will be stationed in Connecticut for just a few months before moving on to somewhere new. Having my husband in the military is such an amazing adventure, and I love that we get to travel and live so many different places.
I’ve been reading Emma’s blog ever since I decided to start my own. She’s been a source of inspiration and hugely supportive to me, so I’m honored to be taking over her blog for today. I thought it would be fun to give you guys a little taste of Hawaii by sharing a few of my favorite things that I think you absolutely must do if when you come to Oahu, this small island that came to be my home.
1. Swim in a waterfall
There are many waterfalls to see on Oahu, but my favorite is Waimea Falls. To get there, you take a short, paved walk through an arboretum, with gorgeous tropical flowers and exotic trees along the way. Once you get to the waterfall, you can go swimming in it! The water is usually pretty cold but how often do you get to swim right under a waterfall?! Totally worth it.
2. Go on a Hike
One of the things that I love about Oahu is that even walking just a mile can bring you to waterfalls, mountains, breathtaking rocky coastlines, and 360-degree views. No matter your desire or fitness level, there is a hike or short walk for everyone. For shorter, less intense trails, try The Lighthouse Trail or Manoa Falls.
If you’re feeling more adventurous, try The Pillbox Trail or Diamond Head. Whatever you do, it will be breathtaking!
3. Snorkel in Hanauma Bay
Hands down, the best place to snorkel is Hanauma Bay State Park, a nature preserve formed inside a volcanic cone. The bay is nice and calm, making it the perfect place to swim around. It is home to tons of coral that attract all kinds of marine life. You will see the most brightly colored tropical fish you’ve ever seen, and maybe even a sea turtle! As an added bonus, there is an absolutely gorgeous beach to lay on when you’ve had enough swimming.
4. Try local coffee
In Hawaii, we take our coffee very seriously, and we are pretty minimalist about it. Cold brew, pourovers, and French Press are staples everywhere, although you can always get cappuccinos and fancy lattes, too. There are so many little local coffee shops that roast their own coffee. Kona coffee is the most expensive, but lots of other kinds are grown in Hawaii that are just as good. My favorite is the Kauai Coffee Company. Pair it with some homemade ice cream, which we also take pretty seriously.
5. Drive around the North Shore.
A lot of tourists go straight to Waikiki and don’t see much else. It’s crowded, expensive, and full of chain restaurants. The North Shore of Oahu is pretty much as far away as you can get from that, and it’s my favorite part of the island. It is just one road along the coastline! As you drive along the coast, you will find the most gorgeous, secluded beaches that you can have all to yourself, farm stands selling coconut and pineapples, food trucks selling everything from garlic shrimp to organic smoothies and sandwiches, coffee shops, art galleries, and little hole-in-the wall places to eat. The only thing you won’t find is Starbucks.
If you want to see turtles, stop at Laniakea Beach. They are known to come up to the shore there to rest and lay in the sun! Anywhere you choose to go on the North Shore will be amazing, will make you feel like you truly have gotten away from it all and show you what island living is all about. The sunsets are amazing up there, too.
6. Spend a day at the beach.
Reading, beachcombing, walking along the shore, laying in the sun, swimming in the water - you absolutely need at least one day of this in Hawaii! There are some perfect spots for finding sea glass, too. If you go up to the north shore, you are almost guaranteed to find a spot all to yourself.
7. Visit a farm.
There’s a huge emphasis on local farming, rather than importing food, with farmers markets all over the island and farms that welcome visitors. My favorite is Kahuku Farms on the North Shore. They grow lots of fruits and veggies, and they have a little cafe where they make salads, sandwiches, smoothies, and dessert for you to eat right there on their farm. It’s my favorite place to eat lunch. You can even take a tour of their farm - you get to eat fruit right off the trees. It was the best fruit I’ve ever eaten in my life!
8. Visit Pearl Harbor.
I feel like this is something that you just have to do when you are in Hawaii. What I love about the USS Arizona Memorial is that it starts with a 20-minute video that explains why Pearl Harbor was attacked, all of the events leading up to it, and how the United States responded. It was an event that changed the course of world history, and the memorial is very moving.
9. Watch the sunrise.
Hawaii has breathtaking sunsets, but I think that the sunrises are the best here in Hawaii. There is a stillness, a quiet calm to them, that just cannot be matched. Kailua Beach is a great spot to watch the sun come up.
10. Eat ridiculously good food.
I never knew what a foodie destination Hawaii is until I moved here. When I thought of Hawaii, I just thought of spam! Although there is plenty of that (think, grocery aisles lined just with different kinds of spam), here you will find fruits that don’t grow many other places, the freshest fish and sushi, innovative chefs influenced by many different cultures, BBQ everything, food trucks everywhere, and farmers markets all over the island, all year long.
It seems like my list of favorite restaurants is always growing, but my current favorites for a night of gourmet food out are Morimoto, Azure, and Alan Wong’s. Food trucks are another favorite.
I came to Hawaii not knowing at all what to expect. I ended up feeling completely at home, and I left completely in love with the beauty, food, and culture of Hawaii. Hawaii taught me so much about taking things slow, knowing what is really important in life, and really pausing to just enjoy a moment. I think that Hawaii has this magical effect on everyone who visits, so I hope you get the chance one day!
Personally, I'm ready to jump on that plane already - thank you again Carolann for guest posting! In the meantime I guess I'll just have to live vicariously through The Two Year Honeymoon - cheers to new adventures!