Since we’re nearing winter, and if you’re anything like me, the travel bug is hitting you hard, I am sharing with you all my guide to traveling to Hawaii. In August, I was finally able to cross Hawaii off my wanderlust vacation bucket list. Quick History: We were on our way there last August 2014, but on the day of our flight, 2 hurricanes hit Hawaii resulting in cancelled flights. We quickly re-routed to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico which you can read all about here.
As a result of being stranded last year, we decided to add an extra week to our trip this year, totaling to two weeks in Hawaii-1 week on Oahu island which is home to the capital city of Honolulu and the famous Waikiki Beach than took a 45 minute flight from there to The Big Island on week 2. There’s so much to share so I’m breaking the trips into two blog posts.
If you ever thought of going, I can’t recommend it enough. It was an eleven hour direct flight from New York. Yikes! I was worried about my 10 year old and keeping her from going stir-crazy, but the in-flight entertainment on our United Airlines flight was a godsend-she watched 3 movies and read 1 book and we were there. For those of you with children, in-flight entertainment is the way to go. Do not travel without it!
Upon arrival, it was a 30 minutes drive from airport to our hotel on Waikiki Beach. We stayed at the Outrigger Reef Beachfront Resort. The open air ground floor was beautifully decorated and conveyed the experience of a tropical getaway. Our top floor room was perfect for traveling family with a king size bed and fold out couch. With a view of the water and pool off our private lanai (terrace), it was the perfect home away from home. One of the best part about our hotel’s location, was the amazing view of the nightly sunset from the beach just steps away from the hotel.
When traveling anywhere, experiencing local cuisine is always important to us. Being married to a foodie, we do not do franchises. We read how expensive things were in Hawaii, so we did our research prior to visiting thanks to our travel bible, Fodor’s Hawaii.
Our breakfast came with a great view and appetizing meal courtesy of the Hula Grill Waikiki right next door to the classic, Royal Hawaiian Hotel. The croissant french toasts was by far, the best breakfast dish I’ve ever had. I definitely recommend dining here.
For lunch and dinner, we visited Kaka’ako Restaurtant which by far, our favorite restaurant. It’s extremely casual and houses cafeteria style outdoor seating. It also helped that it’s located near a mall which served as perfect post meal cardio. The food was AMAZING and the staff was so attentive. We couldn’t help but dine here 3 times during our week stay. The food was just that good! You must try
1- Five Spice Shoyu Chicken
2- Furikake Tempura Catfish
3- Deep Fried Pork Chops w/ KK’s Gravy
All dishes came with scoops of white rice and macaroni salad-the Hawaiian side dish norm. P.S. our extremely picky 10 year old actually loved her shoyu chicken so much so she ordered it twice.
The beauty of Waikiki Beach can truly only be summed up in pictures.
– A few yards away from our hotel’s beach on Waikiki
Although, we scheduled a fair amount of relaxation on this trip, we also made sure to take in the sights and landmarks. With a 3 page itiniary in-hand, out first adventure was to hike up to Diamond Head Volcano.
It was SO hot and sticky but we made it to the very top. It was totally worth the trek because the views were simply stunning! The hike itself took an hour or so and was about 0.6 miles. The trail is a switchback with the mountain on one side and a railing on the other. After a lookout point that also doubles as a rest-stop, the trail takes a steep upward ascent through a series of stairs and tunnels. The last set of stairs is a 99-step climb! No-one was sprinting as it was best to take your time and leisurely walk up.
Must have Supplies: Water, sunscreen, sunglasses, camera
Gorgeous bamboo trees throughout out the park.
After about 3 hours of taking in the sights, we headed back down all muddy and exhausted and drove back to our hotel. By the way, if you are a ZipCar member, I recommend traveling with your zipcard. Taxis are quite expensive in Hawaii and we found that we saved a lot of money by just renting a zip car to our expeditions.
After a week of being on Oahu, we took a flight over to the Big Island-next post on how to travel to Hawaii.
Tell me, have you been to Hawaii before? What destinations made it to your wonderlust list?