Living on a tropical island has it’s perks: beautiful beaches, hundreds of stunning hikes, amazing food, world famous surf & warm and welcoming people. Finding the right spots to go to can be tricky though; many hikes are illegal, others are hard to get to, and some places are packed with tourists. Here are a few of my favorite places.
10. Makapu’u Tide Pools, Honolulu
Makapu’u Tide Pools are a bit of a trek to get to, but well worth it if you catch them on an uncrowded day. Head up the Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail until you reach a whale watching sign on your right, then peer down the cliffs and you will see the pools below you. You have to hike down a rocky slope to reach them, but there are white arrows spray painted on the rocks to help you find your way back up.
9. Liliha Bakery, Honolulu
Liliha Bakery & diner opened in 1950 and is home of the Coco Puff. I however, go there for the pancakes, which are award winning, and some of the best on not only the island, but of anywhere I have ever gone to for breakfast. It has relaxed old school diner vibes along with the quaint feel of a bakery.
8. Kaʻena Point, Waianae
This is my go-to favorite beach. It has beautiful turquoise waters, a long stretch of beach with views of the mountains, and it’s EMPTY all the time. You can also hike to Secret Beach or Kaʻena point in Waialua at low tide from here. This is my favorite spot to watch the sunset.
7. Crouching Lion Hike, Kaneohe
Crouching lion is slightly touristy, but one of my favorite hikes. It can be short and easy with a rewarding view of the East side, or it can be longer if you hike the full loop.
6. Banzai Sushi, Haleiwa
I could write a whole blog post just on my favorite sushi spots, but Banzai Sushi is one of my favorite because of their traditional style seating and super fresh fish. My absolute favorite is the Banzai Spicy Miso Poke.
5. Bob’s Pizzeria, Kailua
This little hole-in-the-wall pizza place rivals Costco with huge slices of fresh oven baked Boston-style pizza. It is also next to a kick-ass shaved ice place, Hawaii snow. It’s my favorite place to stop at for something quick to eat after a beach day at Lanikai or Waimanolo.
4. Lanikai Beach, Kailua
Lanikai is interpreted as “heavenly waters,” which is indeed what Lanikai is famous for. This beach has white sand and stunning views, but is on of the more touristy beaches on the island, so I tend to avoid it on weekends.
3. Haleiwa Bowls, Haleiwa
Again, I could (and probably will) write a whole post just on where to get the best acai bowls on the island, but Haleiwa Bowls is one of my favorites. Their granola is also gluten-free, and they offer a wide variety of super food toppings to add to your bowl!
2. Pink Pillbox Hike, Waianae
This relatively short hike offers panoramic views of the West Side beaches and sweeping mountains. Also known as Pu’U’Ohulu Kai, this is one of my favorite hikes on the West side.
1. Spitting Caves, Honolulu
Spitting Caves got it’s name from the water that “spits” out of the rocky shoreline. The secret is knowing exactly where to jump at the right time, but please be advised that the current can be very dangerous. Nevertheless, this is another cool spot to relax during the day or hang out for sunset.