Personal Experience& Excellent Recommendations for Hawai’i

Posted on 05. Mar, 2011 by in Friends, Fun

My friend is THE PERSON to talk to before going to Hawaii. When contemplating which island to visit, she provided some excellent information. She was very generous to allow this information to be included here at RockIt Mom. 


I love the Big Island and Kona in particular. Actually, the Big Island is by far my favorite. Kona is the “dry side” so you will have plenty of sunshine.  The Big Island has it all, Hawaiian history, fabulous snorkeling (with sea turtles), the volcanoes, the observatory on top of Mauna Kea – all of which I highly recommend. In fact there’s a place in Kona where you can kayak to the Captin Cook Monument to snorkel. The only access is by kayak or a very grueling hike (grueling on the way back up cuz it’s steep). You can also go snorkeling right from some of the local Kona beaches. 

To stay in Kona — Ali’i Drive is the main drag and anywhere along there is good, but probably more expensive.  In Volcano we stayed at a cute little inn with several cottages with breakfast of homemade zucchini bread made by the owner and fresh fruit. I don’t remember the name, but I’ll find out and sent it to you if you’re interested in staying there. The volcanoes are really cool. What we did is stay in Kona for a week and then in Volcano for two nights, then left for the airport from Volcano (about half-way between Kona and Hilo).  If you’re gonna be in Kona you can just fly into Kona.

HILO: I would recommend a visit to Hilo though. There’s some beautiful hiking on the Hilo side – a great way to get to secluded beaches. I really recommend you take a day and do a trip around the whole island. There’s alot to see, including the birthplace of King Kamahameha and lots of other historical stuff. Oh, and you will absolutely positively want a four wheel drive vehicle. They are usually more expensive, but don’t even think about it, just get the four wheel drive. Another thing you can do is pay for a day use (I think $80.00 a family) at one of the resorts and use their pools and water slides – gives you a luxury day without the price of a luxury stay. 

One of the reasons I have such fond memories of Kona is that I was able to work out run and swim every morning. There is a local pool, that’s free (if you can believe that) and, I was swimming along side of Ironman triathletes. Running on the same road as the Ironman Triathlon as well. Very inspiring!!


If you are in Waikiki a MUST is have lunch at Duke’s.

 DEFINITELY go to the North Shore. It’s beautiful and less people, traffic to contend with. You can stop at the Polynesian cultural center while out there. Oh, and go to Masumoto’s for shave ice. Try one with the ice cream AND azuki beans.  If it’s not winter, then you will be able to swim at some of the world’s best surfing beaches on the North Shore. If it’s winter the waves will be huge and a site to see, but no swimming or surfing unless you’re way adventurous and crazy. You might even luck upon a surfing competition – you’ll know by the crowds.

 DEFINITELY go to Hanauma Bay to go snorkling. It gets very crowded, but the snorkling is totally awesome.

 Take a drive around the entire Island. You can do this when you go to the North Shore.

There is a nice hike up Diamond Head that is a good morning trip before you head to the beach of the afternoon.

 There’s the Arizona Memorial and all that stuff if you’re interested.

 When you’re in Hawaii Kai (which I recall is on the way to Hanauma Bay) go to Jack’s for breakfast. Not only because of the name, but because they serve the best biscuit I’ve ever tasted. Totally worth the calories.

 Try to eat local whenever you can. L&L’s are decent and relatively inexpensive. You can go broke eating in Hawaii if you don’t find local places. Local diners are good too, and great people watching.

 Try a spam musubi – they sell them at local places and at most 7/11′s and maybe at the McDonalds there.

 If you want to go shopping  go to the Ala Moana Center. It’s within walking distance from Waikiki. The local shops are on the bottom almost underground level as is the HUGE foodcourt with everything from local to chain restaurants. Go to the Crack Seed store on the bottom floor. The spiced dried mango is awesome. There are also several places to buy tourist type souvenirs. The upper levels have the more exclusive stores – i.e. Hermes, etc. There’s also a stage there and you might luck out seeing some local talent performing. I think there’s also a Wal-Mart nearby if you run out of sunscreen. The ABC Stores are the local convenience stores.

 There is a palace in Honolulu – which I believe is the only palace in the United States. Worth a visit – even just to see the outside.

Remember you are on vacation, so enjoy the good, the better and the best Hawaii has to offer.

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