We went to Hawaii once in late December-early January of 2013/2014 and again in June 2015. Our son and daughter-in-law were living there at the time, so it was an easy choice for a vacation destination.
If you ever fantasize about what heaven might look like, you don’t need to look further than Hawaii. The weather is almost always perfect, the sky is blue, the water is many shades of blue, the vegetation is lush, the flowers are vibrant, the food – especially the Ono and Ahi tuna – is incredibly fresh. They often use orchids to decorate your plate.
Beginning with a short three-day trip to Kaua’i, we did an array of activities: hiking the Waimei Canyon, snorkeling and swimming just outside our door at the Kiahuna Plantation, a Blue Hawaiian helicopter tour, and exploring Hanalei Bay and dry and wet caves. We had some expensive dinners, but the best meals I remember were lunch at the Shrimp Station, at the base of Waimei Canyon – you can’t miss it, it’s a giant Pink (with capital P) Shrimp, and the fish market in Koalo where we got take-out Ono (wahoo) to dine in front of the sunset on our doorstep. I made a note to self that I must join Overeaters Anonymous when I returned home. I don’t know why, really, because almost everything to do in Hawaii requires some form of exercise.
We flew over to Oahu to join our family for Christmas. I remember the Obama cavalcade passing us by. Never did meet them. Our first full day there, we went to the North Shore, where our son surfed, before going on to Turtle Bay, famous for the film Forgetting Sarah Marshall. We took trips to Haleiwa, saw giant 15- to 20-foot waves, went through the gardens up to Wailei Falls, hiked up a mountain at Lanikai, took an outrigger canoe over to the Moaks (where we jumped off a 12-foot volcanic rock), watched whales breach, paddle-boarded and canoed over to Gilligan’s Island (otherwise known as Coconut Island and actually where they filmed the entire series), and even managed to fit in a whale-watching tour and a full day at Pearl Harbor. We didn’t let any grass grow under our feet. I don’t know if I have an unusually active family, but they just don’t seem to know the meaning of “relaxing” and “vacation” in the same sentence.
Our second trip to Hawaii was spent similarly, although this time Bill and I started on the Big Island. We stayed at the Mauna Kea, a five-star hotel with a 10-star breakfast buffet. If you want to treat yourself, you can’t go wrong here. I could have stayed there a month and never left the grounds. But, once again, after three days of luxury, we left and flew over to Oahu to vacation with both kids, their spouses and our new grandchild. It was non-stop hiking, swimming with sea turtles or manta rays, more waterfalls, more hiking. At night, we ate well and slept sound. Am I making it sound like tough duty? Well, it’s not, I loved every minute, but relaxing? Not unless you count sleeping.