After we settled into our new temporary home and then decided to explore the town of Haleʻiwa, which is filled with cute shops, cafes, and food trucks, which you know always have the best food!
It was extremely family-friendly, and it was amazing. The beaches and parks looked incredible, and if we had planned better, I may have looked into some surf lessons for the girls.
Miley also brought extra money because she really wanted a Ukulele, and we found a shop where a local man makes them, and she picked out the cutest one. We had music for the rest of the trip.
Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck – in Haleʻiwa is a world-famous food truck but was not my favorite, but I am not in the majority opinion, LOL. I love garlic, and have forever 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 tastebuds more boring LOL!
One day while staying at the Northshore, we decided not to really have a plan except to get more shaved ice and find a beach. We put on our suites and took boogie boards with us and drove around.
Before finding the perfect beach, we found a coffee plantation and did a tour of the coffee and chocolate processing. Robert and I liked it a lot, however, the girls whined and complained. In hopes of keeping the whining to a minimum, we bribed them with chocolate and the promise of souvenirs, which did work for a while.
We drove on highway 930 until it ended and took the girls Boogie boarding. This was a perfect location with shallow water and it was a location I would go to again.
Now that they are older it was the first time we took them boogie boarding, and they were able to go out on their own and play in the Ocean. The water was the perfect temperature, and they really enjoyed it.
For me it was a little nerve-wracking watching them go in the Pacific Ocean and ride the waves in thought, like I was sweating bullets and gridding my teeth. The girls had them in swim lessons for years, and I know they are strong swimmers, but I was still paranoid.
As a child, I would do the same thing, and there was a time or two, even as an adult, I started to drift out into the open ocean, so I elected to scream at them from the shore when they drifted too far instead of doing it myself. I would have LOVED to, though, I will next time when I am not playing lifeguard.
The only place we found to snorkel was at Sharks Cove, which was recommended by a few people, and it did not disappoint. This is a a perfect spot for people of all ages. Large rocks we’re all around it which helped keep the waves out but with large gaps to bring the water need Fish in.
The water was shallow enough to walk through most of it and is large enough to explore without it being too crowded. This does also live up to its name and does have little sharks in there.
Beware though, the volcanic rocks are pretty sharp and everywhere, so I would highly recommend you wear water shoes and walk slow, it hurts when you walk into them.
Right across the way from Sharks Cove, there are some excellent food trucks, even Hawaii’s best fish tacos.
Waimea Bay Beach is located pretty close to where we were staying, and it was a great find. It is so beautiful, and it was worth two sunrises and a sunset 🙂 It was another one of those sandy and shallow beaches with crystal blue water, so how can you beat that.
Pūpūkea Beach Park – another beautiful park next to Sharks Cove. It was hard to find parking and was quite popular so we did not go there more than once.
The village of Laie, it did not disapoint. It is charming to explore, or have lunch. It is pretty close to the Polynesian Cultural Center too!
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!
The drive south from Northshore 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 very nice and zen place. This location is a basalt islet in Kāneʻohe Bay, Hawaii. Mokoliʻi is part of Kualoa Regional Park and located 1⁄3 mile offshore of Kualoa Point, Oahu.
You should drive on highway 930 until it ends to another beautiful and quiet beach where we went boogie boarding. It was a family favorite.
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 private area versus in the wild, but I can assure you these dolphins were 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. I may have been a little jealous. I would love to bond with a dolphin.
As we left Haleʻiwa Bob met a Hawaiian native who said the most beautiful beach in the world is located down south and called Lanikai Beach! It was where he was from and retired by building million dollar homes down there by the age of 40. Bob 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 to just take it all in. This is a great place to swim, paddleboard, or surf. Parking can be tough so be warned. The kids tried snorkeling but did not see much! Regardless it is stunning!
Dole Plantation is between North Shore and Honolulu, and it was fun to stop there. They have a very large store and lots of goodies to buy, including the infamous Dole Whips. They did have a tour the was not running when we were there. There was some beautiful gardens to talk around in so we did that and enjoyed ourselves. It is a tourist trap, so bring plenty of funds.
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 paddlebording.
The address to the Bay is 85-023 Pokai Bay St, Waianae, Hawaii 96792 (we had trouble finding him.. Look out for the Bay… 🙂 )
Close by to 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. 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.
We stayed in Aulani for 5 days, and that was fun for the kids and their cousins. My sister has a timeshare there. It is costly to stay there, but the beach is public, so you can hang out on that beach if you want. 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 🙂
Sharks Cove North Shore
Hanauma Bay – South
Makani Catamaran sail
Happiest Place on Hawai’i? Welcome Home!