Arrived in Hawaii on the heels of a major tropical storm and hurricane season that had soaked the islands throughout August and September.
Thankfully the damage was minimal and the islands, which are normally dry this time of year, were lush and green from the rains. While tropical systems still passed through on a daily basis, I was blessed with sunshine and clear waters throughout my island hopping.
First stop: Oahu
While Oahu was definitely the most touristy of the three islands I visited on this trip (Oahu, Maui and Kauai), there was also plenty to do and see- from sea turtles, to Jurassic Park scenes, pristine beaches and lavish resorts- it was a fun place to spend a few days at the start of my trip.
The Pig and the Lady - Vietnamese and amazing craft cocktails
Island Vintage Shave Ice - pricey yet opulent shaved ice sundaes
Seven Brothers - artery clogging, delicious burgers
Dole Plantation - eat a Dole Whip, see where pineapples are born
Poke - no recommendations here because I forgot to take note (sorry friends!). I just looked up “poke” and had it for breakfast, lunch & dinner
Diamond Head State Monument - strenuous hike up the crater with epic views (go early to avoid the crowds!)
Makapu‘u Point Lighthouse Trail - great casual hike
Makapu'u Tide Pools - beautiful spot to explore tide pools
Valley of the Temples - lovely temples against a volcanic backdrop
Kualoa Regional Park - Jurassic Park film location, nice beach, adventure tours, epic scenery
Nu’Uanu Pali - scenic overlook of the beautiful mountain valley off 61
Laniakea Beach - sea turtle beach
Hanauma Bay - amazing spot for snorkeling, don’t forget your reef-safe sunscreen!
Waikiki Beach - tourist hotspot, but I enjoyed spending an afternoon resort-hopping and enjoying the perfectly manicured beach