America’s Hawaiin Paradise

As a beach and sun-loving being, it should come as no surprise that I truly felt like I was in Paradise during the week I spent on the island of Oahu. However, I believe one would be hard-pressed to find anyone spending time there who didn’t feel similarly. The views, the weather, the water, the beaches, the food…what’s not to love? And though I thoroughly enjoyed each of those things, I was also delighted with the numerous inexpensive island activities we were able to experience. He set us up on a private tour of the North Shore with an adventurous guide and also arranged for a private tour of the Pacific Aviation Museum, one of the Top 10 aviation sites of 2010. We had an absolute blast! Additionally, we were able to pay our respects and be at Pearl Harbor for the historic 69th anniversary, December 7th, of Pearl Harbor Day. (See upcoming Pearl Harbor and Pacific Aviation Post for details and photos.)

FREE: Breathtaking view of Waimea Bay and the Jumping Rock (first large rock on the right that juts into the water, which Chuck and Hilton jumped off!) from Pu’u Mahuka Heiau State Park. FREE: This park houses the 250 year old ruins of a Hawaiian Temple dedicated as a luakini heiau (sacrificial temple) which included ceremonies for success in war.
The volcanic rock walls and floor are all that remains.

FREE: Taking the dare-devil 30 foot plunge off Jumping Rock, while our friend swims towards shore after his jump.

Down the road a few miles from the Dole Plantation is a terrific roadside stand called Kahuku Land Farms. We stopped there with Hilton for a fresh mid-day snack after working up an appetite. (For under $5) When I say fresh, I mean fresh. We ate sugar cane freshly cut from the fields, pomegranate and coconuts freshly picked from the tree, and freshly cut pineapples which came from the nearby Dole Plantation. Now don’t laugh, but there are some things I had never really taken time to consider and while I was here, I had to stare at a few of them. For instance, it never occurred to me that pomegranates grew on trees or that pineapples grew in plants from the ground. Sheltered existence? Perhaps, but I blame it on my cold climate upbringing. Nevertheless, it has now been remedied.

My first taste of sugar cane, which I was informed you suck on like a sucker, don’t bite off and chew. It’s GOOD! (Which instantly had the old commercial ringing in my ears “C & H, Pure Cane Sugar, from Hawaii, growing in the sun” … Vintage C and H Commercial on YouTube ) We also tried sweet corn and fried banana.

Sunset Beach

FREE: As I’ve mentioned, the weather was unseasonably perfect. The skies were crystal clear and it didn’t rain one day we were there. This afforded us an opportunity to snorkel in Shark’s Cove under ideal conditions. He saw two of what he thought at first were eels, but which turned out to be two 6 foot long barracudas and so many species of fish he was in heaven.

Turtle Beach

This big guy is only 40 years old, so you can imagine how big some of the older ones get. It was so cool to get in the water and be absolutely surrounded by sea turtles.

Know before you go: It is against the law to touch a sea turtle. More importantly, and what I wish they would post, is the reason behind this law. Sea turtles grow tumors wherever humans touch them, which eventually leads to their death. The signs should read Touching Kills the Turtles. People would be much less likely to do it if they knew the consequences.

Not only does the North Shore Blue Water Shrimp & Seafood Co. have outrageously delicious plate lunches of garlic shrimp and seafood, but the steak there is divine!

For a much acclaimed and an sinfully scrumptious dessert, a stop at Matsumoto’s is a must. It won hands down as the best shaved ice we tasted on the island. I had the Hawaiian flavor shaved ice complete with ice cream, but I’m sure any flavor of this divine treat would suffice.

Hanauma Bay

Free: Eternity Beach
Made famous in the movie From Here to Eternity
(44 Second Video Clip of Kissing scene on this beach in, “From Here to Eternity”)

FREE: A view of Sandy Beach Park

Free: Makapu’u Point and Lighthouse

Free: Lanikai Beach
Located in the ritzy area of the island where President Obama is known to stay, this was one of the gems I was thrilled to learn of.

Know before you go: Unlike many places you’ll visit, there are NO closed beaches in Hawaii. What this means is that even on the most posh and luxurious areas of the islands, the beaches are public. So we enjoyed this beach, which was sparsely populated while others waded through the sea of people on Waikiki.

Waikiki and Honolulu

Statue of surfing great Duke Kahanamoku

MELE KALIKIMAKA YouTube: Bing Crosby’s Mele Kalikimaka

FREE: We enjoyed many strolls along this picturesque beach.

There are many guide books available for Hawaii, and I did purchase Frommer’s Hawaii for Honolulu and Waikiki. I found it useful as I planned the trip. However, once we reached the island, I was thrilled to get my hands on a copy of Oaho Revealed written by local author Andrew Doughty, which revealed many less known areas to explore.