For some unfounded reason, it took me a while to realize that Hawaii is incredible. In fact… It’s mind-blowingly beautiful! It’s far, it’s still in the US (but barely, and in many ways, it doesn’t feel like it), and yes, it can be expensive – but even with each of these things… it’s worth it. After just a few days there, I was relaxed, filled up, and inspired. And now that I’ve explored the island, when I go back, I’ll know exactly what to head for and what to avoid.
I hope this guide saves you time and money so you can get right to enjoying paradise:
Tips/Recommended Spots/Fav places
- Rent a car. Hopefully you won’t spend too much time in that car, but you will need one to get to cool places in a time efficient way.
- Make sure to visit/spend at least a little time at Lanakai Beach and Wailua Beach. These get crowded, but, consistently rated some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, they are lovely and shouldn’t be missed. Both are near the town of Kailua, where you can pick up amenities (and even stop by a Whole Foods ;)).
- The North Shore. World-famous surf breaks, miles of roaring, turquoise coastline, laid back people, and beach coves to suit any mood are just a few of the things that make the north shore incredible. The town of Haleiwa is the hub, and it’s a fun little walkable/bikable town with juice bars, smoothie places, cafes, yoga studios, shops, and friendly, eco-appreciating, cool, creative people.
- The architecture in Honolulu. Honolulu is urban and has a whole lot of traffic, but the architecture is different and funky… and can be really fun to check out. Especially if you feel like flashing back to the 70s.
- I’m a sucker for visiting college campuses, and I loved the U of HI in Honolulu. It’s is small, comfortable, inviting, and funky, like everything else in Honolulu. 😉
In my humble opinion, Haleiwa is the place to chill on Oahu. Here are my fav places/things in this area:
- Open Space Yoga. Every class I took was great. Friendly and welcoming people; peaceful, beautiful, immaculate space.
- Haleiwa bowls. There are lots of places to get acai bowls, but this one was my fav.
- The Beet Box Cafe. Kombucha on tap, organic veg/vegan food, laid back atmosphere.
- Hop on a beach cruiser……. There are so many different beach coves to explore, and riding for miles along the gorgeous coastline is a great way to experience the north shore. Just don’t make the mistake I made ~ WEAR (extra) SUNSCREEN. I was in mega pain after pulling this rookie move. :/
- Ridge hikes. So so awesome. There are steep mountains close to the coastline in this area, so if you go for a hike, its a steep climb to get up, but then you’re UP; and the views are incredible. The best part: hiking barefoot. My local hosts clued me in, that this is how they do, and – it was a highlight. This rich, deep, dark, nutrient filled soil, seriously makes me feel like I am in the midst of such LIFE…. and hiking in it barefoot is really fun. Kick off the flip flops and climb….. it feels so good.
I hope you enjoy. If you find any other must-go-to spots, please leave in the comments below!