Hawaii has always been on my bucket list of places I wanted to visit and in 2017 I made it happen. Hawaii is made up of eight islands, I visited Oahu and Big Island during my trip. Honolulu is the capital of Hawaii and the first place I wanted to see. I stayed in the Waikiki area which was a great choice as it is filled with lots of restaurants, night life, shopping and of course the gorgeous beach! I spent 12 days in Hawaii and did numerous activities! See below for a breakdown of must do activities in both Oahu and Big Island!
Diamond Head State Monument Park
Ladies and gentleman I am not much of a hiker! I prefer more of a relaxing laid back vacations, but the hike up Diamond Head was worth all the sweat, exhaustion and possible asthma attack LOL. This hike trail is about 1.6 miles round trip from top to bottom. There are some very steep inclines and the rocks can be slippery, (so please be careful). The view from the top is worth every step of this hike, you can see the beautiful ocean for miles around. If you want to walk light to the hike please know you need $1 to enter the trail. (Don’t forget to walk with cash like myself and have to pray for a nice check-in person.)
This had to be the most touching and moving part of my trip. During our visit to Pearl Harbor we were able to visit the Battleship Missouri memorial and the USS Arizona Memorial. A very humbling experience and a chance to revisit some US history. Highly recommend paying a visit.
Polynesian Cultural Center
We took a full day tour to the Polynesian Cultural Center. This is a real life living museum where you learn about all the different island nations of Hawaii and the people in each region. We played ancient games, learned about the different cultures of the native tribes of each island and walked through replicas of villages of the time. We then got to enjoy a huge luau with incredible food and performances. We ended the night at the pacific theater they have on site and was treated to a great broadway show. This is definitely one of the highlights of the trip. After this tour I really felt like I had a better sense of the history of Hawaii.
If you like pineapples this is the place for you. I have never seen so many pineapples, or food that involve pineapples ever! Pretty cool and cute place to visit.
If snorkeling is your thing, Hanauma Bay is the place to go. The water is one of the bluest and clearest you will ever see. Unfortunately, I could not swim at the time so I spent my time sun bathing. I also went to Kailua Beach which is known to be one of the most beautiful beaches on Oahu!
Last but not least, I visited Ahupau o khana State Park!
Also known as Jurassic World. Here I saw some of the places where Jurassic park was filmed and went zip lining and ATV riding. I was scared for my life for both activities, but after I was so excited that I did them.
Our first stop in Big Island was to Rainbow Falls. It is huge and magical. We were able to stop here and kill some time until our aribnb was ready. There is no fee and you can drive up and park right next to the falls!
Don’t kill me! I can’t remember which hot springs we went to, but I do remember it was hard to find! Our GPS took us all over until we found the unmarked street that lead us to the hot springs. One of nature’s wonders and we made it extra fun by bring water guns! I highly recommend visiting a hot pond if you are in this region
Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park
You cannot go to Big Island without visiting Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park! I saw real life lava up close and personal for the first time in my life here. Don’t forget to bring a sweater, the weather is colder here as you go higher up on the volcano. At night there is a tour where you can see the laval glow in the dark!
Helicopter ride While on the Big Island we were able to take a helicopter ride over Waikoloa village. It was a beautiful way to see the landscape of Big Island. Blue Hawaiian Helicopters took good care of us.