Holiday in Hawaii – Dec 2020 – Part 1

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

First glimpse of the island of Oahu from the airplane
First glimpse of the island of Oahu!
palm tree with coconuts in hawaii
First palm tree! It even had coconuts!
ocean and sand island beach in hawaii
First smell of the ocean air!
ocean and sand island beach in hawaii
I could listen to the sound of the ocean waves all day…
girl posing in front of the ocean on a sandy beach
First steps on the sand and in the ocean!
tidepools with algae and water in them

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.

sunset at sand island in oahu
stray cat sitting on a mound of sand
There are wild cats EVERYWHER on the island!

Day 2 – Sunrise at Lanikai Pillbox, Halona Blowhole, Swimming & Sunset at Waikiki Beach

Red dirt trail leading up the initial part of Lanikai Pillbox hike
Red dirt trail leading up the initial part of Lanikai Pillbox hike
Lanikai Pillbox Hike trail on the ridge
It was super windy that morning, making the grass nearly lay flat against the hill

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.

View of the two Mokes from Lanikai Pillbox Hike at sunrise
Sun rising over the ocean, illuminating the Mokes and the landscape
View of the two Mokes from Lanikai Pillbox Hike
View of the two Mokes from Lanikai Pillbox Hike
first pillbox on the Lanikai Pillbox hike
Our first of MANY pillboxes on the island
View from the First Lanikai Pillbox
View from the First Lanikai Pillbox
View from the First Lanikai Pillbox
A gorgeous view of a sandy beach bay, lush greenery and an impressive ridgeline in the distance
View of the Mokes in full daylight on the Lanikai Pillbox Hike
View of the Mokes in full daylight as we headed back further up the trail
View from the second pillbox on the trail of the beach and a crater
View from the second pillbox on the trail

Beach Tour

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.

Makapu’u Lighthouse

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.

Makapu'u Lighthouse in the Distance over the ocean
Makapu’u Lighthouse in the Distance

Sandy Beach

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.

lava rocks, sandy beach and pacific ocean
water wave coming in through a gap in lava rock
Waves crash in through gaps in the lava rock

Heart Wall

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

Heart wall in oahu
Heart Wall

Halona Blowhole

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!

Halona Blowhole – there she blows!
Halona Blowhole in the distance
Halona Blowhole in the distance

Waikiki Beach

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.

Giant banyan tree in Waikiki
These Banyan Trees are Full of Super Loud & Beautiful Birds

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.

a cup of pineapple dole whip
Pineapple Dole Whip!

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!

girl swimming in the ocean at waikiki beach
Swimming in the Pacific Ocean at Waikiki Beach!
sunset at Waikiki Beach
surfboard lockers at Waikiki Beach
Surfboard lockers at Waikiki Beach
palm trees after sunset on waikiki beach

That concludes the recap of Day 1 and Day 2 in Oahu. Stay tuned for more! 🙂

33 Replies to “Holiday in Hawaii – Dec 2020 – Part 1”

  1. Hui President

    A beautiful trip for a beautiful girl! Wonderful photos–almost makes me feel like I am right there with you.
    Can’t wait to read about your other adventures.

  2. Nisha

    Wow such beautiful pictures of Oahu, not been to this island but have visited Maui many years ago , it is indeed a beautiful place ! I am sure you had a great time.

  3. infinitelyadaydreamer

    To say Hawaii is beautiful is an understatement. My heart was absolutely filled with sunshine and happiness just looking at these views. The natural world makes for a spectacular home. I’m glad you and your partner enjoyed the visit with your parents. Nothing better than a jam packed trip where you make the most of all your time.

  4. Yum-number1

    OH EM GEE! These photos make me feel like I’m IN HAWAII RIGHT NOW! That beautiful sunshine and turquoise water is so magical! I can’t wait to read the upcoming parts!

    • strawberryandcream

      Thank you!!! The sunshine and the turquoise water were definitely some of my favorite sights because we don’t get to see much of either here in Oregon during this time of year. I can’t wait to share more! 😁

  5. Lani

    So jealous. 2020 was my year go back home (to Oahu) to see my mom and then fly together to TN to hang out with my brother and his family. Glad you liked it tho’ 🙂 and enjoyed seeing it through your lens, xo

          • Lani

            Yes, that was good of you to catch that. You might have noticed a lot of ‘lani’s on the island. It’s a common Hawaiian word/name. Our last great Queen was a Liliokalani … ‘lani’ means heaven or sky 🙂

            Ft Shafter – yes, I know the place, not a bad area. My dad was in the Air Force and then my next ‘dad’ in the Army, so I’ve been to all the military bases on the island!

            • strawberryandcream

              Wow I didn’t know the history and meaning behind the name “lani” – that is so beautiful! ❤️

              My favorite part of fort shafter (besides my parents of course) was the wild piggies that run around! 🐷

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