April 15, 2021
Updated May 2021
Hale’wai was extremely family-friendly, and it was amazing. Oahu’s beaches and parks looked incredible, and if we had planned better, I might have looked into some surf lessons for the girls, but it felt like we never really ran out of things to do, so all good!
Ever heard of the Infamous Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck? It is located in Haleʻiwa! Giovanni’s is a world-famous food truck, but it was not my favorite, but my opinion is not the majority opinion, LOL. I love garlic, but holy cow, this was garlic with a side of shrimp! I know… this is crazy talk but, if you want the truth, that is my truth. Maybe old age is making my taste buds more boring, LOL!
While we were driving around just checking out the area, we came across a North Shore Coffee Plantation. We took a free tour, and it was fun learning how coffee is prepped and how they harvest the beans. We also learned about local nuts. The taste testing was not bad either. Check out the Coffee farm – Waialua Estates! After we bought some souvenirs and coffee, we were beach-bound.
Waimea Bay Beach is located on the North Shore, and it was a great find. It is so beautiful and worth two sunrises and sunset 🙂 It was another one of those sandy and shallow beaches with crystal blue water, so how can’t you beat that.
We elected to snorkel at Sharks Cove, which a few people recommended, and it did not disappoint. Sharks Cove is a perfect spot for people of all ages. Large rocks were all around it, which helped keep the waves out but with significant gaps to bring the water needed to bring the fish in.
The water was shallow enough to walk through and is large enough to explore without being too crowded. Sharks Cove lives up to its name “sharks cove” because we did see little sharks there. It was a great experience.
Beware, the volcanic rocks are pretty sharp, and they are everywhere, so I would highly recommend you wear water shoes and walk slow; it hurts when you walk into them.
The North Shore, Oahu Village of Laie, is known to be inviting little town and it did not disappoint. It is charming to explore or have lunch. It is pretty close to theThe North Shore, Oahu Village of Laie, is an inviting little town, and it did not disappoint. It is charming to explore or have lunch. It is pretty close to the Polynesian Cultural Center too!
The drive south from North Shore, Oahu, along the coast to Chinaman’s Hat (beautiful views) is a must. Chinaman’s Hat is an excellent place to swim and snorkel. It is a lovely and zen place. This location is a basalt islet in Kāneʻohe Bay, Hawaii. Mokoliʻi is part of Kualoa Regional Park and is located 1⁄3 mile offshore of Kualoa Point, Oahu.
We woke up pretty early and headed out to The Kahala Hotel & Resort to Swim with Dolphins in their private lagoon. There is some controversy with swimming with dolphins in a secluded area versus in the wild, but I can assure you these dolphins are never made to do anything they did not want to do and were pretty happy.
The Dolphins live longer because they are treated like royalty and have regular medical checkups. One of the reasons I went with Dolphin Quest is because they fund a lot of research to help keep dolphins in the wild healthy. It is also incredible that some of these trainers have been working with these dolphins for 20 plus years, and they have their favorite trainers. The way that the trainers bond with the dolphin is pretty incredible.
As we left Haleʻiwa for the last time and head to Aulani, Robert met a Hawaiian native who said the most beautiful beach in the world is located down south and called Lanikai Beach! This local grew up there and retired by the age of 40 building million-dollar homes down. He told his story, and it was a pretty fascinating one. Robert was convinced, so we drove on H3 and went to Lanikai Beach (means “heavenly sea”).
He was not wrong! I would suggest hanging out near the beach and hanging out a day or two just to take it all in. This is a great place to swim, paddleboard, or surf. Parking can be challenging, so be warned. The kids tried snorkeling but did not see much! Regardless it is stunning!
This beach is surrounded by endless miles of calm unreal aqua blue waters that are so inviting; it pretty much screams some swim in me! You will be mesmerized the moment you walk down to this beach, and it is a perfect place for kids of all ages. The water is calm and clear, and it really is the perfect beach!
Dole Plantation is between North Shore and Honolulu. You do need to stop there; it is a must! They have some adorable souvenirs and food. The gardens are beautiful, and it really is a great place to spend at least half a day! It is also worth cheating on any / all diets to get the infamous Dole Whips. They did have a tour available, but it was not running when we were there. There were some beautiful gardens to talk around in, so we did that and enjoyed ourselves. It is a tourist trap, you have been warned! It is worth it, though.
Bay of Dreams: If you are up for free paddleboard lessons, this guy “Uncle George” does a free lesson every week. It is only 15 min away from Aulani. If you’re interested in looking him up, find the “Bay of Dreams” Facebook page, and Uncle George will post weekly what day he is doing lessons, and you can rsvp with him on that post. After everybody arrives, Uncle George tells his story, which is about 45 minutes, it is a good story! After he finishes, He will give you a paddleboard to use and help you get started.
Our whole group were newbies to paddleboarding, but everybody got up, and it was loads of fun… We even saw turtles while paddleboarding.
The Bay’s address is 85-023 Pokai Bay St, Waianae, Hawaii 96792 (we had trouble finding him.. Look out for the Bay… 🙂 )
WARNING – ⚠️ ⛔️ Proceed with caution and pay attention to the tide! Close by Bay of Dreams and Aulani is a place called the Mermaid Caves. We did not go because it can be rough and having little kids, we did not want to risk it. 89-410 Keaulana Ave, Waianae, HI 96792
If you’re a Hawaii 5-0 Fan, there is a website where you can go to some locations from the show. We only saw a couple of them and did not even stop because they were in Honolulu, LOL! Hawaii 5-0 Locations
We did intend to hike up Staircase, but we never did it. Sadly, we also did not buy tickets ahead of time for Pearl Harbor, and part of it was closed, so we did not go. It is on our list for the next trip.
Polyneasian Cultural Center – East Side of the island
Kualoa Ranch $$$$
We stayed in Aulani for 5 days, and that was fun for the kids and their cousins. It is busy with families, but it is a beautiful beach. There are rocks out a ways that break up the waves. It was one of the local’s favorite beaches in Oahu before Disney built the resort. They also have yoga on a paddleboard there if that is your thing 🙂
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