We were originally going to go back to England to visit the fam for the triplets' birthdays, but flights to England were so expensive again, I thought I'd just check to see what it cost to fly to Hawaii. Thanks to my forever cheapest flight site Expedia, I found two round-trip tickets to Oahu for $233 each....uh, booked!
After months of work work work and no play, Hawaii was the place we needed. Everyone refers to it as a magical island...a place where the energy is just different. And it is.
1. Local pub to grab a drink at
We actually didn't do much pub drinking on this trip believe it or not. We bought a lot of 18 packs and just drank on the beach, but there was one night that we needed to find a bar and the one we found was pretty good. It was called "The Shack" and it's a chain, but the one we went to was in downtown Waikiki. It was a combo of college football games and UFC 102 which we couldn't miss. Bar food was pretty good and they had some serious drink specials so all in all it was a good night. Beer and fights...yum.
2. Best breakfast spot
There are too many to list, but my recommendation is to try a few different ones. There's something to going to one spot over and over so you know the waitress' names by the time you leave, but I'd spread the love just a little with this one.
3. Local dinner/lunch recommendation
Buzz's Original Steak House...right across the street from Kailua Beach Park. Had a Ono Cesar Salad for lunch which was AMAZING and then had dinner there the last night (everyone got a steak). Yummy is all I can say. The other fun place to try is Zippys. Super cheap, fun Filipino food...chili and rice was my fav.
4. Best beach
Kailua beach....don't even need a second to think about it. When I was younger is used to be Haliewa, but Kailua is just too beautiful it blew every other beach out of the water! ha. We went there every single day. Even if we had just spent the day swimming in Waimea Bay (which is pretty amazing) we'd come back and go to Kaiula. On the last day of our trip we woke up before sunrise, drove out to our spot and just watched the sun come up. It was one of the most magical moments of the whole trip. Sat down, wrote a list of our dreams and goals for the next couple years and just let Hawaii do it's thing.
5. Hangover cure
Malasadas.....ooohhh mmmmyyyyy godddd. Kill me right now these things are SICK!! Go get some right now. My favorites are the normal sugar ones, but ugh they're good. They are like soft, hot, big doughnut holes. Mushy and delicious.
6. Tourist nerd must do
A luau and a Mozukus Haliewa shaved ice. The line for the shaved ice is out the door and usually takes about 15 min to get one, but oooh man they're so yummy. They're not like the shaved ice you get at the local county fair. I'm not sure why they taste so much better, but if Tom Hanks can make it and get his pic on the wall you should too.
7. Local treasure to bring home
A lai...there is usually some sort of market going on every week in Oahu. If you get a local paper there is a section in the back that will list the events coming up. Get to one of the markets, fairs or festivals and buy yourself a lai, fridge magnet, journal or anything else that's local, hand made or just fun. There is a swap meet every Sat that is pretty amazing. It's broken up in two sections, new swap meet stuff (journals, magnets, jewelry) and garage sale stuff (the best!! locals special treasures). A pretty fun way to spend the day.
8. Only sleeps
I am only recommending one place to stay and that's in Kailua. We have a friend that bought a house years ago and converted the garage into two apartments. They are about 20 ft to the beach and the beach is private, amazing and all yours!!! It's not a cheap as a hostel, but not as expensive as a hotel and trust me it's better than any hotel I've ever been to! Not only that the family is amazing and lots of fun to have a glass of wine with. Love Love Love them.
9. Sites to see
When you arrive at the airport the first thing to do is relax. You are now on Hawaii time and it's not anything like NY time, LA time or any city time. You'll get there, just eventually. It's pretty pointless to rush yourself actually because it will never happen when you think it will. Take a breath and just decide to enjoy every view. If you are staying in Kailua (which I hope you are) make sure to take a baby detour over the Pali and go to Pali lookout. It really gives you a look at the island, where you are and where you will be staying. Sets the map in your brain for the rest of the trip. Aside from that it's pretty spectacular.
Another place to see is the Buddhist temple. There is a bell you can ring if you make a donation and a wish. It's located in one of the best spots on the island and just adds a sense of beingness to the trip.
10. Favorite thing
Everything. The whole trip. Waking up early and spending the day enjoying life, playing in the water and just feeling happy 24/7. No wonder my dad never wanted to come back.