It’s no secret – Hawaii is one of the most beautiful places on earth. From the epic sunsets to incredible jaw-dropping waterfalls, no wonder so many newlyweds pick this location for their honeymoon getaway. After spending 10 days in the Hawaiian Islands with my brother, we’ve come to a realization that Hawaii is so much more than just a tropical getaway. It’s also for adventure seekers, food connoisseurs, or people who just like to be surrounded by good vibes.
With 10 days in Hawaii, we chose two islands to visit; Oahu and Maui. Oahu, also known as the “heart of Hawaii”, was our first stop in Hawaii. This is the third largest Hawaiian island and home to many famous places, including Waikiki, Honolulu and the North Shore. What I loved about this island was the contrast between city life and island life. On one side of the island, you’ll find where the tall buildings and busy streets live. On the other side, you’ll drive through glorious mountains, lush greenery and some of the world’s most legendary surf towns. People travel from all over the world to catch swells on the North Shore during the winter, and to climb masterful hikes like Leahi (Diamond Head) all year round.
My brother and I had a lot in store for our Oahu leg of the trip. With a few concrete plans scheduled (such as Kualoa Ranch Jurassic Jungle Expedition Tour, Atlantis Adventures Sunset Appetizer Cruise and CLIMB Works Keana Farms Zipline tour), we allotted the rest of our free time exploring the island in our rental car. Driving along the coast is absolutely stunning. We would stop any chance we could just to take in the beautiful scenery. Luckily, there are a lot of areas where you could pull over your car and check out the views. Speaking of views, I had to check out the island from above in a helicopter and boy, was it amazing. I was even able to snap a few images of hikers we flew above. Within an hour in the air, we were able to see the entire island.
Favorite activities in Oahu:
- Dole Plantation pineapple farm (the fresh dole whip is worth the trip alone)
- Kualoa Ranch Jurassic Jungle Expedition Tour (epic views and film locations)
- Kapiolani Community College Farmer’s Market (if you are in town on a Saturday)
- Atlantis Adventures Sunset Appetizer Cruise (who doesn’t like sunset cruises?)
- CLIMB Works Keana Farms Zipline Tour
- Novictor Oahu Helicopter Tour (One hour to see the entire island)
Favorite places to eat:
- E.A.R.L (I had the BEST roast beef sandwich there)
- Soon’s Kal-bi Drive-in (a great hole in the wall spot – get the kalbi beef!)
- Leonard’s Bakery (malasada worth standing in line for)
With 5 days left on our trip, the beautiful island of Maui was our next stop. Known as “The Valley Isle”, and the second largest Hawaiian Island, there are plenty of things to see. Maui’s unique landscape, exotic beaches and the famous road to Hana sets this island apart from the others. One of the biggest surf breaks in the world, called Peahi (nicknamed Jaws), is also in Maui, which brings world-class surfers from all over the world during the winter season.
Maui is known to have some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, so naturally, we spent a lot of time in Wailea. It must have been the most incredible beach experience I have ever had. The moment my toes touched the vibrant red, soft and cozy sand (yes I said cozy), I knew I wouldn’t want to leave. But that’s just the surface of the many Maui island wonders. There is so much to see. If you have the will to wake up before dawn, catching the sunrise at Haleakala National Park will be a memorable lifetime experience. If you love snorkeling, definitely sail with Trilogy Excursions to explore Molokini’s underwater life.
It’s no surprise that I had to get in the air to see Maui from above. I loved flying with my team at Maverick Helicopters on Maui so much, I did it twice. It was only right I had to do a sunset and day flight. As assumed, it was absolutely incredible. We soared through clouds in between numerous waterfalls, incredible beaches, and epic mountain trails. Flying above one of the most beautiful and serene destinations in the world, I was reminded how incredible nature can be and what a privilege it is to be able to see life and untouched beauty from this perspective.
Favorite activities in Maui:
- Trilogy Excursions’ Discover Molokini Sunrise at Haleakala National Park
- Beaches along Waiehu Beach Road
- Helicopter flight with Maverick Helicopters Maui
- Explore Lahaina’s Front St.
Favorite places to eat:
- Mama’s Fish House
- Tin Roof
- Pacific’O Restaurant
As amazing as it was to experience the beautiful islands of Hawaii, I was even more drawn to its community. The people of Hawaii live with the spirit of aloha which means to live life with love, happiness, and peace. It is to be one with yourself and truly a way of life on the islands. Locals and Hawaiians have a unique connection to the land, water and the people which is evident in the way they live. The freshness and abundance of the fruits and vegetables, the kindness of strangers, the honor they have for their land is deeply threaded in their community. It shows in their interactions with one another. Hawaii lends itself to a simpler way of life while still providing incredible adventures and rich experiences for all who wish to go.