It’s so hard for me to write this post! I’ve been dragging my feet on getting it done, which really isn’t like me because I HATE procrastinating on things. But, I think I know why it’s taking me so long. I just can’t really admit to myself that the trip is over! It was so just beyond wonderful and I wish I could bottle up my memories of this trip and live inside of it with them forever.
It feels like a dream that we even got to go! Just a few short years ago we hardly ever traveled and it seemed like we’d never even be able to afford a 3-4 day trip to Mexico, much less HAWAII, which just seemed so far off and exotic to us. I guess there are people who go all the time (how can I become one of them???) but booking the trip was a really big deal for us. I guess there are always things you can put your money towards, but for us, we decided that we really value experiences more than things. Making memories together is more important to us than buying the newest video game system when it comes out, or upgrading our TV every couple of years. To each their own, for sure! I’m also thinking about writing a post about how to get a good deal on a trip to Hawaii…it seems like we probably spent a $$$$$ to go there (Hawaii is notoriously known for being pricey) but we really didn’t. I’d love to write about how we got to go!
I don’t think I’ve ever been somewhere that I loved as much as I loved Hawaii! It’s just so beautiful that you almost feel like there’s no way that it’s really real, and maybe your mind is just playing tricks on you. I heard a lot of negative things from people about Oahu before we left (which, I mean, it’s kind of rude to hate on someone’s vacation plans, don’t you think??) but I felt like they were all wrong. Yes, Waikiki is totally commercialized, crazy, and kind of tacky, but it’s not without it’s charm. You also don’t have to stay there! We stayed in Kailua, but still drove into Honolulu a few times to experience Waikiki and were really happy that we did!
Kailua is SUPER cute. If you are looking for an area to stay that doesn’t have high rises and is closer to a more local, small town feeling beach, this is the spot for you! I liked that it still had some of the convenient places we have at home like Target and Whole Foods so we could buy sunscreen and other random things we forgot, but it also didn’t have things like Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville and Cheesecake Factory, which I ain’t hating on the latter, I just don’t prefer to visit chains I can go to at home while i’m on vacation (Target and Whole Foods being obvious exceptions…I can’t stay out of Target for too many consecutive days! They might report me missing! Haha).
Anyway, back to my overall thoughts on Oahu. I think it has a little bit of everything and is the perfect “starter” Hawaiian island for people like us who had never been before and weren’t really sure what exactly to expect. If you want a resort feel, you can get that on Oahu. If you want a more rustic, jungle vibe, you can get that there too! No Jimmy John’s though. You’ll have to stay home for that, unfortunately.
Here’s where I start what you really came to this post for…the photos! And the trip recap!! I took a mixture of digital photos, phone photos, movie clips, and film photos, which I haven’t gotten back yet (turns out, you have to mail your film photos to get them scanned!). I’ll just have to share the film photos another time…don’t have to give me too much of an excuse to talk more about Hawaii!!!
The trip started out on a high note when our flight arrived an hour earlier than previously scheduled. Another hour of vacation?? Yes, please! Since this was a really long flight (10.5 hours from Atlanta), I upgraded our seats to Delta’s comfort plus, which is essentially a few more inches of space, a small amount of additional recline in your seat and all the free booze you can drink. I would say it was so worth it! I am normally fine flying in regular coach seats since I’m small and short, but for John the extra space was really nice. Plus we enjoyed free Mai Tais (basically the worst ones of the trip, but they were free, so can’t complain too much).
The first thing we did after getting our rental car and checking into our B&B was to head to the beach! We drove to Kailua Beach Park, which was right around the corner from our little Hawaiian home, and it was the perfect way to start the trip!
Our first official night in Hawaii we went to eat at Fatboys in Kailua, then headed to Target and Whole Foods for trip snacks. I bought a pineapple wine that was pretty freaking good! Highly recommend Fatboys….the food was SO good and actually pretty reasonably priced (at least, for Hawaii). I’m hungry just thinking about the garlic chicken!!
We woke up early on Wednesday morning and headed out to the Pillbox hiking trail near Lanikai with our friend Ashley Goodwin who was basically our photographer/friend/tour guide extraordinaire for the duration of the trip. I’m glad she took us because we might have gotten lost! There really isn’t a parking lot or any official place to put into your GPS to get there, so it could be confusing if you’ve never been.
I loved this hike! It was pretty easy, especially since we did it right at sunrise before it got too hot. We started while it was barely light outside and got to watch the sun rise over the ocean. Such an amazing view!!! This was one of my favorite parts of the trip for sure and such a great way to start things off!
After the hike, Ashley took us over to Lanikai beach. I felt like this area reminded me a little more of Malibu in the sense that it seemed kind of like somewhere you’d live if you were super rich or a celebrity. Maybe one day!!! The beach and the neighborhood were gorgeous, and it would be such a dream to be able to wake up there every morning!
After our hike we had a late breakfast at Crepes No in Kailua. I had a breakfast crepe that was just so/so, but the REAL star of the show there was the dessert crepe we had. Nutella and bananas with a scoop of whipped cream on top. Mmmmm. So delicious I forgot to worry about the fact that I was going to be photographed in my bikini that evening. Whoops!!!
Food wise, we had a few good meals and a lot of decent meals. I’m not a picky eater when it comes to varieties of foods, but I am kind of picky/discerning when it comes to quality and flavors. I think there are so many places that cater to tourists in Hawaii that some of the food just isn’t that great. If you go, I highly suggest checking out as many small, little places as you can, because those were all much more delicious than anything else! On a side note though, I’ve always really liked Spam and Hawaii is allllllll about spam, eggs, and rice. YUM.
We ended day 1 with a photoshoot with Ashley (can’t wait to blog some of my favorites of her film photos!!) and dinner with her and her husband at Duke’s in Waikiki. I had chicken Katsu and a mai tai, however, no photos of this exist, so you just have to take my word for it.
Day 2 was our big kayaking adventure!! We were looking forward to this for some time and even took swimming lessons at our local gym to prepare ourselves for water activities! We didn’t, however, prepare ourselves for to kayak on the windiest day of the entire trip! We were supposed to kayak over to the Mokulua Islands with the group, but it was so rough we had to join a smaller tour and go to a closer island called Flat Island instead.
We walked around all over the island checking out the little crabs that live there and some of the birds too! And, we ate these succulents called sea pickles! They really tasted like pickles!!! Before we left, we both took turns climbing down into this cool tide pool. I was so pumped about that…I really wanted to see pretty, natural stuff I couldn’t see at home, and the kayaking trip, though scary at times, was so worth it!
After wrapping up our kayak tour, we cleaned up and ventured out into Waikiki. I thought Waikiki was kind of like a little mini Vegas with a beach. So fun with lots to see and do, but also not necessarily the Hawaii I was really craving, so I was glad we didn’t stay there. I could see how people who go to Oahu and stay in Waikiki the entire time could get a negative opinion of the island if that’s not the Hawaii they were expecting. But, like I said before, I feel like Oahu has a little bit of everything, and Waikiki was still really fun, even though it wasn’t the natural wonder I was looking to see.
We went for drinks and to see the sunset at Rumfire because we heard they had drinks in pineapples, but they were closed for a private event. Instead we went to the Mai Tai bar at the Royal Hawaiian, which is pink and so cute! John asked about pineapple drinks there, but it is $35 DOLLARS. NOT INCLUDING THE DRINK. Even for me that’s way too much money for a cute Instagram and a snapchat, so we passed and had our drinks in regular glasses instead.
After the sunset, we headed to Lucky Belly in Chinatown for Ramen. Sooooo yum. Especially the appetizers!!!
When you vacation with John Nesbitt, you can’t not enjoy desserts. And when you’re on vacation with Katie Nesbitt, donuts are usually going to happen. So it was only natural that we went to Leonard’s Bakery for their famous malasadas. John wasn’t that into them, but I LOVED them. If you don’t know what they are, they’re Portuguese desserts that are very similar to donuts! The cream filled were the best!
This ends part one of my Hawaii recap! Be sure to come back for part two, in which we visit the North Shore and see more of the island!