Did you guys think I forgot about the rest of the Hawaii recap?? Sorry it’s been a little while! I took a mini break from blogging through the holidays, but I’m back now with part two! And, since I had a really hard time getting this post down to a manageable size, our day trip to Maui will be a separate, part three! I know you are excited. And even if you aren’t, I am! I want to stretch out these posts as long as I can and pretend that I can live inside of them!
If you missed part one, catch up here!
We decided to make Friday our North Shore day. I was super excited to see the huge waves at the Banzai pipeline and almost more excited to eat at the famous shrimp trucks on the North Shore. You know me, I’m all about the eats!
We started the day by driving up the coast, taking the long way from Kailua. Things got more and more rustic on the drive, which was beautiful! I highly recommend doing this if you have a car on Oahu! And, I really highly recommend having a car to get the most out of the trip, even if you are staying in Waikiki. I mean, Waikiki is awesome, but it’s got nothing on the natural beauty of the rest of the island.
The mountains near Kualoa Ranch were so beautiful!! They’re so different than the mountains here in Virginia. They were one of the first things we noticed about Oahu upon arrival and we enjoyed them the entire time we were there!
When we finally got to the North Shore we noticed a lot of cars parked on the side of the road near a certain beach. We figured if so many people were out there, we should check it out, so we stopped and found a place to park. Turns out all of the people were out on the beach checking out the Billabong Pipemasters surfing competition! We just so happened to enter the beach right by all the action and we also saw Kelly Slater, who is probably the only surfer I actually know of…ha! John even got a selfie with him, but I was too short and there were too many people in the way. It was such a cool experience and something we totally didn’t plan. I didn’t take many photos because it was actually raining while we were there, but it cleared up once we hit the road (of course!).
After the surfing competition we headed into Haleiwa to charge my phone for a while at Coffee Gallery and then browse some shops. We also got Matsumoto Shave Ice, with condensed milk and ice cream!! So good!! I didn’t think I would like it because I don’t really like snow cones that much, but shave ice is sooooo good and the condensed milk and ice cream made it!! It was a really special treat and I’m craving it now even though it’s freezing here!
Next we drove over to the Dole Plantation for some Dole whip, but felt underwhelmed by the Dole Plantation in general. Kind of cheesy, even for me, and I love pineapples! I would say we would probably skip it if we ever went back, unless we had little ones who might think it was fun.
For lunch we drove back to Haleiwa and went to Dat Cajun Guy, a food truck, for lunch. It was so SOOOO good. I have been to New Orleans and the food at Dat Cajun Guy was just as good, if not better, than what I ate in NO. Best red beans and rice I’ve ever eaten!
After lunch and a little bit of souvenir shopping, we drove over to Laniakea beach because a friend told us there were turtles there. John LOVES turtles so he couldn’t wait to check it out. We did see a beached sea turtle! I thought there might be more, but I was glad we at least got to see one.
We rounded out the day by going to Turtle Bay beach resort to have a drink and see the sun set. They made Forgetting Sarah Marshall and a few other movies here so it was fun to hang out here for a little while. If you’re familiar with Modern Family, one of the actors from the show was filming a comedy special for Comedy Central while we were there! We peeked at him through an outdoor window into one of the bars. No, we’re not creepy at all! 😉
Delicious drinks!! Nothing says “vacation” like a frozen, fruity cocktail!!
Our next day we went back to the North Shore for a zip lining adventure at Kualoa Ranch! It’s kind of a touristy place, but it’s not without it’s charm. They filmed a few well known movies there (50 First Dates, and Jurassic Park, to name a couple) and there are a ton of activities you can sign up for. We chose the zip lining tour, though I did kind of want to do the horseback riding too.
Despite technically being allowed to take my camera on the zip lines, I refrained from photography. I didn’t want to be the girl who lost her $3500 camera in the jungle. We got this photo from the “official” photog though!
After the zip lining adventure we went in search of coconuts and then to eat at another shrimp truck on the North Shore. I actually saw the signs along the side of the road the day before for “ice cold coconuts”, but we never stopped. The guy selling the coconuts was not super enthused, but I didn’t care. That coconut was da bomb. Best way to get in your electrolytes. Sorry, Lemon Lime Gatorade! We took our coconuts and parked it on a nearby beach. One cool thing about driving around in Hawaii is, you are probably not super far from a beach you can just pull over and hang out at.
We’d had fried shrimp the day before, so we decided to get garlic shrimp instead for our lunch. SO GOOD. We didn’t even yelp it, just picked a random shrimp truck near a place that also had poke bowls, so if it sucked, we could get poke instead. It didn’t suck at all! It was amazing!! I’m dreaming about it now. Can you see my drool? John’s meal (surf and surf…mahi mahi and coconut shrimp) on the left and mine (garlic shrimp and rice) on the right.
Speaking of poke, I never took a photo of it (why????) but it was one of my FAVORITE things I ate. I am so sad that it’s not in our Whole Foods. If you aren’t familiar with poke (pronounced poh-kay), it’s basically raw ahi tuna, but they do things to it that makes it delicious. If you like sashimi, you will probably love poke!!!
Saturday night was one of the most fun nights of our trip! We took a catamaran cruise out of Waikiki into the ocean to watch the sunset. It was so much fun! They supplied us with as many mai tais as we could possibly want to enjoy, and we just cruised around watching the sun dip behind the Pacific Ocean. It was just so pretty! Words can’t even describe it.
Sunday was our beach day! Typically when people think of a Hawaiian vacation they probably imagine a lot of laying out and chilling. We’re more sightseers than relaxers, so we only had one true beach day, but I’m glad we had one! Ashley took us to the military side of Bellows Beach, which was a little quieter than Lanikai beach, where there were literally no spots. Bellows beach ended up being perfect, because John wanted to boogie board and Lanikai is too flat for that.
She also made us pineapple drinks! Of course you have to drink something inside of a pineapple when you’re in Hawaii. You just have to. It’s like a rule or something.
Right about now with the weather so cold I definitely wish I could teleport back to this day. What I wouldn’t give to skip winter and instead float in a donut float with a pineapple full of rum in my hand!
Monday was our Maui day. I’ll just skip over that since I plan to recap it separately! Let me just say that it was such a fun adventure day and totally worth it!
Tuesday was our last day. Womp, womp. I was so sad to leave, but luckily our flight didn’t leave til after sunset, so we really got an entire extra day of vacation! We woke up early on the last day and drove along the other side of the island to hike Koko Head Crater.
The hike was, well, a hike. It was straight uphill along these tracks left from a tram that used to take people to the top. It was a great workout, but the view from the top was even better! It was gorgeous, but also a little scary for me…I’m afraid of heights!
Once we went back and checked out of our B&B we headed to Kailua Beach for a little bit. It seemed fitting to end the trip at the first beach we went to when we arrived a week earlier!
Saying goodbye was hard, but I left feeling so grateful that we got to go on this amazing trip! I was so nervous before we went that it wouldn’t live up to my expectations or that it would somehow not be as special as I imagined it, but it ended up being everything I thought it would be…and more. I used to think it was kind of weird how people who’ve been to Hawaii go back all that way (I mean, it IS a really long trip!) more than once or that they seem to love it SO much, but I get it now. I really do. I think you can leave Hawaii, but it maybe it just doesn’t ever really leave you.
Thanks for following along with the trip and for making it through my recap of Oahu! Stay tuned for our Maui day trip next week, and some of my favorites from our photo session with Ashley, too!