Guide to Hawaii 

 A five hour plane ride from the west coast and ten hour plane ride from the east coast, Hawaii is a place everyone needs to visit at some point in their life! My mom lives in Hawaii so I’m lucky to get to go about once a year. Plane tickets vary pretty drastically from Atlanta. Off-season begins after Labor Day and goes until the holidays. You’ll find the best deals in mid-September till early November. During that time period I’ve bought tickets as low as $400. I’ve seen the best deals on US Airways.

My mom lives on the most populated island, Oahu, in the city of Honolulu. Oahu is near and dear to my heart as it is the island that my immediate family lives on and the island I visited most growing up. Here are my favorite things to experience on Oahu:

The North Shore – the north shore is known for its very famous surf breaks. They break in the winter so if you come in summer it’ll look more like a welcoming wading pool than a place people go to catch massive waves. While on the North Shore do visit the main village and get shave ice at Matsumoto.

The Windward Side of Oahu – the beaches here are so blue and have far fewer people than some of the touristy beaches. They feel a little more off the beaten-path and definitely require a car to get to.

You can’t visit Oahu without going to Waikiki. Although it’s sort of like going to a large open-air shopping center on a beach packed with1,000 of your closest friends- it’s a must see. Some of my favorite hotels (including the hotel where I got engaged) are located in Waikiki.

Other fun activities include hiking Diamond Head Crater or a beautiful waterfall hike….there are endless outdoor activities!

If you are going to Hawaii for the first time or a “once in a life time trip” I would suggest visiting islands in addition to Oahu. Definitely spend time on Maui, Kauai or the Big Island. On the last trip to visit my family on Oahu my hubby was researching things to do on Yelp and found a review that read “if you wanted the perfect relaxing Hawaiian vacation – you came to the wrong island,” unfortunately that is pretty accurate as Oahu is densely populated and very touristy.

To get the full experience of the Hawaiian Islands a trip to the largest island, referred to as the Big Island is a must. On the Big Island you can see active lava flow and beautiful black sand beaches. Maui is becoming more developed but still a place where you can find untouched beauty – even more so on the island of Kauai.

Foods to try while you are there:

Sugar cane straight from the fields

Fresh pineapple

Shave Ice – this is the real deal. Can’t get shaved ice like Hawaii’s anywhere else.

Kalua Pig – Hawaiian bbq pork

Malasadas – Portugese donuts

Hawaii is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. Anyone considering visiting should definitely go! If you’re looking for recommendations on accommodations, restaurants or things to do Trip Advisor is usually pretty reliable. You can also check out Honolulu Magazine.

Aloha, Emily Lani

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