I finally got to check Hawaii off my bucket list! Hawaii has always been a tough one because every time we started to plan a trip there, the flight itself took up most of the budget. With the insanely expensive hotels and food (although incredibly delicious), it overall promises to be a pretty pricey trip if you aren’t careful. But when my roommate from college Caitlyn told me she was moving there and I found some flight deals, I HAD to go visit her and my other girlfriend Sveta who had also moved there a few years back. Talk about an epic girl’s trip! We loved having Sveta as our tour guide because she knows all the ins and outs of the island. She’s also an amazing photographer who took a bunch of the pictures I’ve posted! You should definitely pause right here and check out more of her beautiful work at www.svetlanasauer.com .
This hike was incredibly short, had an amazing view, and wasn’t crowded at all – what else could you ask for?! There are two caves; one that is level with the ground and one that you hike up the mountain about 15 minutes to get to. It was on the other side of the island from where we were staying, but so worth the drive!
STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN
Despite everything that we went through to get there and everything that had gone wrong (don’t even ask how long we were lost looking for the bottom of the stairs…), I wish I could even describe to you all how WORTH IT it was. Just look at that view!! I don’t know how much longer those stairs will be around – and be somewhat safe – but I’m glad I jumped at the chance to hike it. I won’t bother explaining how we got there because there are enough blogs that describe every step of the way with screenshots and diagrams, but if you’re looking for an adrenaline rush and an incredible view then you’ve found your ideal morning activity!
BEST FRUIT STAND ON OAHU
A few months ago, my doctor told me I had to drink a whole lot of electrolytes to help with some health issues (I’m diagnosed with POTS). Instead of immediately turning to the natural go-to, sugar-filled gatorade/powerade, I went for coconut water. Did you know that it has even more electrolytes than sports drinks and tons of additional health benefits? Look it up!
So obviously I took advantage of my time in a tropical climate to suck down some fresh coconut water while I had the chance. There is a fruit stand right off the main road on north shore (like 10 minute drive north of Laie) that has become so well known as one of the best fruit stands on the island that I even watched a tour bus or two stop by for its passengers to pick up some snacks! They’ve got every kind of fruit you could imagine, including ziplock bags crammed full of some of every fruit for only $5. Oh and do yourself a favor and get some fried bananas. You’ll thank me later.
Across the road from the fruit stand is an entrance into an amazing forest with paved paths to give yourself a tour. Grab some fruit and eat it while you walk around! If you keep walking straight through, you’ll get to a little hidden beach. Although it isn’t the best beach, it buys you some privacy and your own little personal spot to soak up some Hawaiian sun.
I was so excited to snorkel that I didn’t get a single picture of this place! You might just have to take my word for it and see for yourself just how awesome it is. At a glance, it looks like an uncomfortably rocky beach. But then when you go underwater, you realize that the rocks are covered in algae A.K.A. fish food! It was shallow enough to stand for a lot of it, but there were sooo many fish. Like, I swam right through multiple schools of hundreds of fish! I immediately regretted not bringing my underwater camera, but it’s always fun to have those special memories that not even a picture could capture. I was told by several locals that that beach is definitely the best of them all for snorkeling, and I can definitely see why!
One of the most beautiful (and touristy) beaches on the island? Lanikai Beach. It’s the kind of Hawaiian beach that you see in pictures: white silky sand, turquoise water, and the works! I got there around 10, but it wasn’t crowded at all until a little after noon.
While Caitlyn and Sveta were working/studying (how does that actually happen when you live in Hawaii??), I hit up as many recommended hikes as I could! My favorites: MANOA FALLS and CROUCHING LION. There are also pillbox hikes all over the island that have amazing views — the “pillboxes” are basically cement lookout points that the military used in the 1940s.
It was an amazing week and I definitely want to go back someday! I’ve also heard a lot about the big island and Maui… what islands have you guys been to? Comment your favorite spots below!