We spent the beginning of the month in Hawaii! Oh my goodness, it was such a wonderful retreat from the hustle and bustle at home. I’ve said this before but I just feel at peace in Hawaii. We revisited Oahu this trip. You can learn more about our previous Oahu trips here and here. I wanted to share everything new that Ryan and I tried during our vacation. If you’re planning to visit, my hope is that all of these different posts will help you plan the perfect trip.
This one I’m hesitant to share. It’s just so good. We found some pretty awesome beaches and the perfect spot for sunrises. The plan one morning was to get to Hanauma Bay before the rush. It doesn’t open until 7 AM and we were up at 5 AM. Hello Hawaii Standard Time! We decided to just keep driving and turned around at beach. We decided to get out and wait for the sun to come up. Magic! Once the sun was up, I also realized this beach was gorgeous and pretty quiet at 7:30 AM. My kind of beach.
There are several beaches and lookouts if you head past Hanauma Bay towards Makapu‘u Point Lighthouse Trail. I highly recommend taking a drive out that way at the very least.
Ryan and I decided to try some new trails on this trip. I’m not a ‘trail’ person, but I do enjoy hiking in Hawaii. I feel like the reward is so much greater at the end. If I hiked at home, I’d just see trees and more trees. Anyway, my new absolute favorite trail is the Makapu‘u Point Lighthouse Trail. I recommend getting there early, like at 7 AM when it opens. The parking lot fills up really quickly.
This is a fairly easy trail since it’s paved the entire way. The incline will possibly burn your calves depending on how fit you are. Make sure to use the restroom before you begin. I also recommend bringing water and sunscreen. This hike is amazing! The views in all directions were just breathtaking. We also spotted so many whales. I’m pretty obsessed with whales and was jumping up and down with excitement. At the end of the trail, you’ll find a lighthouse and some historical spots (pillboxes). This was honestly one the highlights from our trip.
Have you visited Pearl Harbor? If not, I highly recommend a visit. We visited the USS Arizona Memorial a couple of years ago now. I don’t even know how to describe the emotions you experience visiting the memorial. It’s really an honor to stand where those brave individuals lost their lives.
Ryan wanted to visit the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum this trip. We decided to visit the museum the day that it rained (great rainy day activity). The Aviation Museum is located on historic Ford Island, an active military base that is accessed by shuttle bus. The tickets are $25 per adult, which we felt was a bit expensive. We’ve visited the Delta Flight Museum in Atlanta, and it’s only $15 per adult. I think we did a lot of comparison between the two, which may or may not have been fair.
It was really neat to see the different styles of planes and learn the history behind each. I will say that I wish we had gotten a headset. Ryan thought they were free (and they might be), but we never saw any headsets. It would have been nice to get more information throughout the exhibit. If you love planes or historical museums, I highly recommend a visit. Ryan and I personally didn’t enjoy this as much as the memorial. That isn’t to say you won’t love it. There are a variety of activities at Pearl Harbor to choose from.
If you’ve been following along over the years, you know that we really enjoy Turtle Bay, which is located between Protection Point and Kuilima Point on the North Shore. You must visit North Shore! One of my favorite places on the island. There’s just so much to see and do. Turtle Bay has several miles of trails to enjoy. We completed one section by horseback for my birthday a couple of years ago.
Ryan and I never had the opportunity to actually complete the trails on foot that trip. If you enjoy walks by the beach, this is the perfect trail for you. Do watch where you’re going, the terrain is uneven. The loop by the golf course is roughly 4.6 miles long. The sights include a pillbox, a banyan tree, and a film spot (The Hunger Games). We took our time and spent about two hours or so completing the trail.
We visited two gardens on this trip, which included the Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden and Waimea Botanical Garden. The first is actually free!! You could spend all day hiking at Ho’omaluhia. There’s like 400 acres to explore. I think we only spent about an hour and a half because somebody forgot bug spray. Fine…it was me! I always forget the bug spray for these activities, and the mosquitoes devour me.
The gardens at Waimea Bay are really nice and beautiful; however, the entry fee is $18 per adult. We thought that was a bit expensive, but it’s actually cheaper than the botanical garden here in Atlanta. You can leisurely hike to a waterfall that I thought was going to be much larger. We’ve seen some pretty big waterfalls on Maui (for free), so I was disappointed with this one. It’s obviously beautiful…I just had the wrong expectation. Many movies and commercials are filmed at Waimea Bay, so you may get lucky during your visit. They were actually filming an Eddie Bauer commercial the day of our visit.
I was originally going to include dining and afternoon tea in this post…I had way more to say than I thought. I will work on a separate post for those, which you do not want to miss. Afternoon tea on my birthday was fantastic! I do hope you enjoyed this post. There are just so many things to do on the islands, and we’ve barely scratched the surface over the years. I always look forward to trying something new each visit.
If you have any questions about Hawaii, please leave your questions in the comments below. I’m happy to offer up travel advice and recommendations.