On Thanksgiving, I had the amazing privilege to travel to the island of Oahu in Hawaii. My parents moved there for my dad’s job a couple years ago, and I hadn’t seen them in nearly a year! I was so excited to be able to spend the holiday in Hawaii with my parents at their house. And while this wasn’t my first time in Hawaii, this was my partner’s first time in paradise! Basically, this was our dream-come-true trip, and we packed it with adventure and sunshine.
We got to spend about ten days on the island, and I took SO MANY pictures. But my mom takes home the gold medal for photographer – she took around 3,000 photos during our week and a half visit. THREE THOUSAND PHOTOS. Because there were so many adventures (and so many photos) I split the trip up into several different parts that I’ll post separately.
It’s been a joy to look through all the photos and reminisce about the amazing and incredible sights, food, fear-overcoming moments, etc. And now? I can’t wait to go back!
Day 1 – Travel to Hawaii & Sunset on Sand Island Beach
We went straight from the airport to the beach! Within two minutes of stepping off the plane, we were peeling off our jackets and sweaters that we would no longer need for the next week and a half. The feeling of warm sand and cool salt water on my feet was better than my dreams! And I haven’t seen the sunset (or the sun for that matter…) in what feels like months.
Side Note: There are stray cats everywhere on the island. We saw dishes of cat food people had left out to feed them. My mom explained that the cats are part of the island ohana.
Day 2 – Sunrise at Lanikai Pillbox, Halona Blowhole, Swimming & Sunset at Waikiki Beach
Lanikai Pillbox Hike
The first morning, we woke up at like 5:30 am. A trip to visit my parents is not a relaxing time to be lazy on the beach. Instead, they jam-pack the time with amazing excursions. The first of which, included climbing up (and sometimes slipping back down) a muddy and tree-root-covered trail to watch the sun rise over the ocean at the Lanikai Pillbox.
There are pillboxes scattered around the island, which are small concrete military bunkers that were used as lookout points. Since they were built at ideal vantage points, they have now become hiking destinations, for their beautiful panoramic views.
After we came down from the hike, we walked to Lanikai Beach. We didn’t get in the water there, because there was a safety warning. You could see a bunch of Man of War (jellyfish-looking polyps) washed up on the beach. The sand at Lanikai Beach was the most powdery sand I’ve ever felt. It was like walking on powdered sugar!
After walking along the first beach of the day, we got yummy breakfast burritos from Kalapawai Market. Then loaded back into my parent’s car and they gave us the grand tour of several more beaches and sights.
The Makapu’u Lighthouse is the easternmost point on Oahu. We didn’t hike the actual trail to the lighthouse, but we got a gorgeous view of it from a distance.
Sandy Beach is an impressive display of the ocean’s power. The waves crash down onto the shore, making it perfect for body surfing, but only if you know what you’re doing. We kept walking beyond sandy beach, traipsing over lava rocks and tidepools.
About a 10 minute walk past Sandy Beach, we found what is known as the “Heart Wall”. People over the years have collected rocks and corral in the shape of a heart and placed them along the rock wall. It was so romantic <3
Since we walked down the beach and along the rocks to Halona Blowhole, we actually climbed right up to it, rather than looking down on it from the viewpoint on the road (like normal tourists do lol.) We got up close and personal with this majestic natural wonder. There are natural lava tubes or caves that form as the molten lava flows and cools. When water comes crashing under the lava rock shelf and through the lava tube, it gets blown out through a hole in the lava rock floor. The blowhole looks and sounds like a giant whale’s blowhole!
Waikiki Beach is probably one of the most touristy places in all of Oahu. It’s full of shops, surfers and sunshine. There are giant banyan trees, and in the evening, what sounds like hundreds of birds sing from within their leaves and branches.
Of course, we couldn’t pass up the chance to try pineapple dole whip in Hawaii! It’s like a super creamy pineapple-flavored sorbet. It reminded me of a tropical version of vegan ice cream.
This was our first time getting full immersed in the water on this trip. I was hesitant because in Oregon, the Pacific Ocean never gets warmer than freezing. And Hawaii shares the same ocean. But miraculously, the water wasn’t cold! It wasn’t warm per say, but it was totally refreshing and after I started swimming around, I never wanted to get out!
That concludes the recap of Day 1 and Day 2 in Oahu. Stay tuned for more! 🙂