Must-Visit Hawaiian Travel Destinations

August 16, 2019 By
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My Love of the Islands

As many of you know, I have a great and deep love for my beloved Hawaii. Living in Honolulu for ten years greatly impacted me and this decade also included some of the most positive, profound years of my life.

What I love about the islands is the deep connection to spirituality and nature. The islands taught me much about living simply and how to be grateful for everything I’ve seen and experienced in my life.

Traveling to Hawaii

Although summer will soon come to an end, traveling does not have to! In fact, traveling in the fall and during the off-peak season can be some of the best times to vacation. Flights are often less busy and thus cheaper. That means, darlings, that you can enjoy a taste of Hawaii now or begin planning a trip for next year.

Here are some of my favorite spots and essential places to visit during your travels to the islands. I do hope you enjoy!

Oahu

Of course, my favorite place that you must visit is Honolulu. Honolulu, which is the capital of Hawaii, is located on the island of Oahu. With so much to do and see, you will never ever be bored in this beautiful heaven on earth. Enjoy flawless beaches, inactive volcanos, history, rich local culture, and delicious cuisine. There really is something for the whole family on this island! Some of my favorite activities and places to visit include:

  1. San Souci Beach: Means ‘without a care.’ This beautiful little beach in Kahala is situated just before Waikiki.
  2. Diamond Head Mountain: Hike Diamond head mountain. This volcanic tuff cone is an easy climb for the entire family. You’ll even see remnants of WWII. Get some exercise, see the beautiful sights and get a history lesson too!
  3. Pearl Harbor/USS Arizona Memorial: Take a boat tour to Pearl Harbor and observe the USS Arizona Memorial from the water. Here you will learn the history of Pearl Harbor while taking in the sights around you.
  4. Hanauma Bay: Take a day trip to this pristine marine ecosystem. Make sure you go on a snorkeling adventure, as tons of fish will surround you. It is truly a wonderful experience that you won’t want to miss!
  5. Polynesian Cultural Center: A top attraction in Hawaii that puts on wonderful cultural shows for the masses. They have many hands-on attractions and 42 acres of tropical land to explore. As well, you get to dine and experience a Polynesian luau! Such a unique and wonderful time.
  6. Best Breakfast in Honolulu: Hau Tree Lanai in the New Otani Kaimana Beach Hotel in Kahala near Diamond Head. It is so delicious, darlings! Make sure to bring a bathing suit and walk next door to San Souci Beach. We used to do this every Sunday. It’s very casual and charming–and also close to where I used to live!
  7. Island Vintage Coffee: Home to a stellar cappuccino and unexpectedly good poke. You wouldn’t think to come to a coffee shop for some of the best fish on the island, but they certainly serve it. Their fish is very fresh and their presentation is exquisite.
  8. The North Shore: Although it’s a bit of a drive to the northern part of the island, the water is truly turquoise and a sight to see. Watch surfing competitions while you enjoy the sunshine. Then make sure to take a trip to Giovanni’s, a local shrimp truck that will blow your mind. You also must try the famous Hawaiian shave ice at Matsumoto’s—a local favorite.
  9. Lanikai Beach: Go on a perfect day trip where you can spend the morning sipping a fresh fruit smoothie at Lanikai Juice and enjoy the afternoon browsing boutique shops in Kailua. If you’re feeling adventurous, try kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding with your family.

The Big Island

The Big Island is the largest physical island within the state of Hawaii. Known for its colorful, sandy beaches that have both green and black and diverse terrain, you can go from the beach to a rainforest in the same day. On this island, there are two active volcanos: Kilauea and Mauna Loa. Spend your day exploring or relaxing; there are so many adventures to choose from.

  1. Rent a car and drive the entire island: For an easy and enjoyable trip, rent a car and drive throughout all of the Big Island. Make sure to stop at the City of Refuge for snorkeling, Volcanoes National Park which is a must-see, Punaluu Black Sand Beach where the sand really is black, Rainbow Falls which is a beautiful waterfall and The Parker Ranch for a true “home on the range” experience. Doing this type of trip will cover all the must-see spots on the island. And it makes your trip a little more affordable!
  2. Deep-Sea Fishing in Kona: Darlings, you’ll want to rent a deep-sea fishing boat and hire a captain to go Marlin fishing. You will spend so much time out on the ocean exploring, laying in the sun and fishing. I highly recommend it.

Maui

Maui, also known as The Valley Isle, is the second-largest Hawaiian island. Most famous for its 30 miles of beaches and the sacred Iao Valley with views of the migrating humpback whales, this island is a favorite for many visitors. Take a trip down the Hana Highway, visit the pools and waterfalls of the Ohe’o Gulch or go to Haleakalā National Park, home to the island’s highest peak. If you’re looking for a beach, hiking and nature-filled travel destination, Maui might be for you!

  1. Seven Sacred Pools: Drive to Hana and visit the Seven Sacred Pools. This is quite a hard drive but worth it, my darlings. It is so isolated and such a place of natural wonders. I think nowadays it tends to get crowded, so I suggest visiting in the early mornings if possible.
  2. Mama’s Fish House: Located on the North Shore of Maui, this amazing restaurant opened in the ’70s. It is a casual spot but so fabulous. It is also family-owned. You absolutely must eat there!

What Are Your Favorite Spots?

As you can see, I just love Hawaii. The islands have so much to offer, my darlings. I hope you get to visit soon.

What are your favorite spots in Hawaii? I want to know them! Join the conversation in the comments below or on Facebook and Instagram.

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4 Comments

  • For history lovers, Honolulu is the place to go. Besides the Cultural Center—an all-day experience—and Pearl Harbor, we loved the Queen’s Palace, Doris Duke’s home, Shangria La, and the Bishop Museum (another all day excursion). And the shopping! Can’t forget that! Ala Moana shopping center is, I think, the world’s largest outdoor mall!

    • Susan "Honey" Good says:

      You really visited marvelous historic places in Honolulu. Did you by chance buy a Hawaiian bracelet? Have you read James Michner’s Hawaii? It is a great read and will give you a ‘history’ of the Islands. Warmly, Honey

  • Tracie Becker says:

    I couldn’t agree more- Hawaii is a lifestyle. We chose a cruise of the islands. Allowing us to see each island and enjoy a day or so at each. We we’re thrilled. Everything was exceptional with the exception of one thing- the time we chose to go. We visited at the end of December. In all fairness, we were told it was the best surfing time. In our ignorance, we didn’t decode that statement. What does it take for great surfing? Waves, big ones! Not the time to be on a ship!! Regardless, a great adventure and we’d do it again – just not on a ship in December!!

    • Susan "Honey" Good says:

      I am glad you got a taste of Hawaii. Maybe you will return and not on a ship in December. Drive to the North Shore on the Island of Ohau and you will see the big waves. Aloha, Honey

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