Thinking of going to Hawaii? Learn from my experiences and here are some recommendations for you.
- Get up early! All the hikes and activities were SO much better without a million other people around.
- Surfing and other water activities: you’re not as naturally good at things as you think. Get some lessons and an actual instructor.
- There are more hikes than you could possibly do unless you’re living there full time. Out of the ones we did, I would recommend these three the most: Koko Head, Ka’au Crater, and Waimano Falls. Read those blogs for more specifics.
- Koko Head: get there at least 45 minutes before sunrise! Not only will you get to start your day with a beautiful sunrise, you won’t have to see the ridiculous steepness and how much further you have to climb. Bring a headlamp and water.
- Ka’au Crater: This is definitely off the beaten path and probably my favorite hike. Start early so you have time to do the whole thing.
- Waimano Falls: wear great trail shoes that can get muddy.
- Dole Plantation: let me just say that I haven’t stopped thinking about the pineapple whipped ice cream, and we had a lot of great things in Hawaii. It’s a must if you’re on this island.
- Steer clear of Waikiki if you don’t like crowds.
Hawaii – The Big Island
- Hawaii Volcanoes National Park! They say you can spend just a few hours, but I beg you to give it a whole day; it’s so amazing. Get there early for the sunrise at Jagger Museum lookout.
- I loved Pu’uhonua more than Kaloko (despite the rangers being way friendlier at Kaloko), so if you have limited time, pick Pu’uhonua!
- If you’re going to check out the green sand beach, take the shuttles! It would be worth it – especially because we learned they’ll take you to a hidden part too that won’t be as crowded.
- You like beer? Ola Brewing for the win! Check it out and support a new small business.
- Do NOT miss Akaka Falls or Rainbow Falls – just make sure to go in the morning.
- Book early for the sunrise on Haleakala. It’s only $1.50. They were booked a month out when I tried and we missed it. It didn’t really matter for us since the weather was so crummy and we wouldn’t have seen it but still get the tickets early!
- The backside of Haleakala was so cool – even if we had been able to see anything on the summit, I think we would still have been super impressed by the amazing bamboo forests. Make sure to hike the whole Pipiwai Trail, not just to the first overlook stop.
- If you had to only pick one stop on the Road to Hana (besides Haleakala), make it Waianapanapa State Park. You won’t regret it!
- Go to Hookipa Beach to see the sea turtles – on the far right side of the beach, they all start swimming up to shore about 30 minutes before sunset. They will look like the rocks at first, especially since they’re so slow.