A trip to the Hawaiian islands is paradise. If you plan to go, there is no shortage of things to do, adventures to be had, or delicious foods to try. Here are a few things to keep in mind when planning a trip and some of our favorite memories.
1. Beaches that feel like your private oasis. One of the best things about arriving on the Big Island from Oahu was the views of the rugged coastline and uninhabited Hawaii. Waikiki and the Honolulu area had Miami vibes at times. Downtown flocks of tourists wandered the streets which were lined with chain department stores and big-name retail brands. Things were noticeably different when we landed in Hawaii. At times, it felt like we weren't even in the US. We stumbled onto a few nearly deserted beaches where the snorkeling was choice and the waves were calm. It was magical.
Thanks to our guide's expert advice we spent a morning at Puako. This little sliver of beach has a stunning view and excellent snorkeling about 20 feet from the shore. We scared off a family with a small child, and had the whole place to ourselves for hours! Amazing beachcombing if you are looking for shells or coral.
Another favorite was Kehena beach on the Hilo side of the island. It was hidden from the road and a short climb down a cliffside to black sand. There were a handful of people sunbathing nude and the waves were decent size swells with a strong pull. It made for an exhilarating rush getting out past the surf, and equally thrilling (terrifying) trying to make it back to shore in one piece.
2. The freshest seafood money can buy is at your fingertips. Around every corner is the best poke of your life. Truly a pescatarian's dream!
3. Adventure is easy to come by...so are surprise five-mile hikes. We tried to just take it easy and kept finding ourselves on epic adventures. From getting poured on in the rainforest high up in the clouds, trekking down the volcanic rock to Captain Cook's for the epic snorkeling, or walking across the crater of a massive volcano it was hard to find time to just relax. We really needed more time so that we could stay and linger but we honestly wouldn't change a thing. The vistas were spectacular and we were in awe of nature from sunrise to sunset.
4. Volcanoes. Mother effing VOLCANOES!!! Erupting magma. Spewing ash. Steaming in the night. You remember that scene in Fantasia with the dinosaurs? No? Well, we do. There is nothing quite like the Volcano National Park. It was otherworldly, and as night fell eerie AF.
(Remember to bring warmer clothes when visiting here as it can get chilly and you will want to spend more time. Plan ahead.)
5. THE FOOD. Duh! From the fruit to the fusions Hawaii has some of the best food hands-down simply because so much of it is fresh. Local ingredients shine and we were eager to try the things unique to the islands. Taro root, purple potatoes, kahlua pork, Kona coffee, SPAM masubi...we are getting hungry just thinking about it!