Hawaii

Special thanks to Steph Peterson for the recommendations and Marissa Blake and Kirra Little for the pictures. Also big thanks to Louisa at LouisaOverseas.com for her awesome recommendations.

It may have been one of the last states to join the US, but definitely don't make it last on your bucket list!  Beautiful beaches, swimming with sea turtles, adventurous hikes and so much more all await you on these amazing islands. Aloha!

HONOLULU

Things to Do

Ala Moana Beach: Check out this beautiful beach and hop over to wander the nearby shopping center.

 

Art After Dark: One of the few fancy, dress-up events you'll find in Honolulu. But, who wouldn't want to drink in a museum while pondering art? They've also got an awesome dance floor!

 

Buddhist Temples: There's a handful of Buddhist temples on Oahu, so if you want to relax or explore beautiful gardens, you'll want to check these out. 

Booze Cruise: You can find the best ones on the island or ask your hotel, but enjoy a sunset cruise with cocktails in hand. 

China Walls: Beautiful stretch of lava rocks for thrill seekers - jumpers and experienced surfers, you don't want to miss this. Or, bring blankets and catch the sunset. 

 

Crouching Lion Hike: A short but difficult hike. We recommend wearing shoes instead of sandals, but the trek is worth it and offers some stunning views.

Helicopter Tour: Get your adrenaline pumping with a doors off helicopter tour. You'll experience stunning views of the beaches and landscape from above!

Koko Head Trail: Lots of stairs, but absolutely beautiful and rewarding landscape. If Obama can do it every year, so can you!

 

Kualoa: A ranch and zip-lining adventure in one. Ride horses or zip through the jungle, take your pick.

 

Makapuu Point Light: Hike to this cute lighthouse perched on rocks.

Mount Tantulas: An easier hike at around a mile round trip, but gives you stunning views of the city and sea. 

Paradise Cove Luau: A seaside resort where you can grab drinks and catch a hula show -- yes, fire is involved.

Polo Club: Head to the north shore (you'll want to have a car for this) and spend the day drinking, playing with horses, and watching polo with a gorgeous view.

Stairway to Heaven Hike: One of the most well-known and thrilling hikes of Hawaii! Make sure you wake up early (around 5 a.m.), and go the back way. Do note, it's a $1,000 dollar fine if you get caught hiking up the actual stairs, so just explore them once you get to the top! It's 14 miles round trip, and we recommended that you have spiked shoes or sturdy hiking boots.

Places to Eat

Aloha Kitchen: There's normally a long wait, but their souffle pancakes are worth it!

ARVO Cafe: Cute place with a shop attached. Get a Tye Dye Latte, a Palm Tree Mocha (comes with cocoa art!), or the Lavender Latte. 

Big Bone Kal Bi: Amazing kimchi.

Bill's Hawaii: A great breakfast spot with lots of healthy options. Word has it if you say you're from the Big Island, you get a discount. 

Cinnamon's at the Ilikai: Put on Timeout's list for Top 10 best pancakes in America, so you'll be missing out if you don't try the guava ones. A great spot on the harbor!

Chef Mavro's: Always an A+ menu with this chef - but it will come with a price tag!

 

Doraku: Another great place for super fresh seafood.

El Palenque: Sizzling Mexican food on the North Shore.

 

Fresh Catch: This is the place to get the freshest poke! We recommend the Diablo or Siracha.

 

Giovanni's: Great shrimp all around, but if you're a garlic fan you must get the Garlic Dish!

 

Haleiwa Joes: Their freshly baked fish is the most popular meal and is mouthwateringly delicious.

Hatshuhana: Love sushi? This is your spot. 

Kamitoku Ramen Lunch Wagon: Ideal place for a quick, filling bite.

 

Koko Head Café: Bomb breakfast. We recommend the Bibimbap Skillet, it's spicy but oh so worth the heat.

La Mer: Super fancy, but worth it. Dress to impress at this spot!

Morimoto: We recommend every dish here - you can't go wrong. However, there are some (and a cocktail) that they light on fire...so that's even better.

Nobu Honolulu: The ever famous and amazing Nobu. Small delicious plates to share. 

The Nook: Highly recommended grabbing brunch here! Pair your dish with their quality breakfast drinks, juices, etc.

Rainbows: Definitely a more local spot, but is the premier joint for a big plate of lunch food in a relaxed atmosphere. They were on Triple D's!

Roy's Hawaii: The freshest seafood.
 

Sorabol: Best place on the island to get authentic Korean food!

 

St Louis Drive In: Casual place that specializes in Hawaiian BBQ.

 

Stordos: Go here for a quick sandwich if you're in North Shore.

 

Sikdorak: Phenomenal Korean BBQ.

 

Young's Fish Market: Traditional Hawaiian dishes and a place to buy fresh fish if you want to cook your own while staying!

Places to Drink

Bevy: Refreshing, specialty cocktail drinks.

 

The Hideaway Bar: A local hot-spot dive bar with cheap drinks and pool.

 

Pint n Jigger: Lively bar with shuffleboard!

 

Rum Fire: The drinks here are pricey, but you'll want one of their cocktails in hand for the amazing view and stunning sunsets. Also, the go-to place to rage on Fridays.

 

Sky Waikiki: A fancy nightclub. They'll most likely have a 20 dollar cover.

Places to Stay

The Hilton Hawaiian Village has fireworks almost every Friday night and is a short walking distance to most things in the city. 

If you're looking to splurge, some of the oceanfront hotels on Waikiki Beach we recommend are: Alohilani Resort, The Modern Honolulu, Prince Waikiki, and Turtle Bay Resort. Each is beautiful and has an amazing pool. 

Otherwise, we recommend staying off the beach within walking distance to cut down on price. Looking at AirBnb will usually do the trick! 

Transportation

On the main island, you'll be able to get anywhere you need to go with Uber! Otherwise, if you want to take day trips or know you'll want to do more remote hikes, we suggest renting a car at the airport! You can also rent a moped or scooter for a good price. The city itself is pretty accessible, and you should have no problem making your way around.

Koko Head Trail

Oahu

 Kauai

Oahu

Honolulu

Stairway to Heaven Hike

Sunset at La Mer

Waikiki Beach

Valley of the Temples

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