Hawaii needs no filter. I often shot with my phone instead of my camera. It’s a wide angle kind of place. It is as pretty as people say.
We spent six nights in Oahu and four in Kauai during the new year. It was a relatively easy vacation. Direct flight. Small time zone change. It’s expensive, but if you can go, it’s an easy way to feel like you’re somewhere very different while still being in the U.S. Here are some of our favorite shots.
Kauai is a beautiful, sleepy island. Everything closes at 8. You wake up with the sun and stay covered in sand. Birds chatter loudly in treetops when the sun sets. Chickens follow you everywhere. We drove a jeep through very majestic, slow-moving highways and saw so many rainbows it was ridiculous. We took a no-door helicopter ride, and I was worried I would fall out but did not.
Hawaii does not allow private beaches. Even the most expensive resorts have to allow anyone and everyone to hang out on their beach. More places should be like this.
The Hawaiian alphabet only has 12 letters: A, E, I, O, U, K, L, W, M, N and P. It also has a glottal stop, called an “okina,” which looks like an apostrophe. Hawaiian is still considered endangered, but schools started teaching it again in the ’80s, meaning there is once again a population of Hawaiian adults who speak the language.
Oahu offers a bit of everything. Hidden beaches. Snorkeling. Mountains. Shopping. Nightlife. Sleepy towns. Chinatown. Instagram influencers jumping in the ocean while their boyfriends take pictures. Paddling Pomeranians getting swimming lessons. Luaus. Fire juggling. Mango covered in tajín. Coconuts with the tops removed by machete right in front of you. Sunburn. Endless poke bowls. Pineapple beer.
If I could go back, I would tour a Dole pineapple farm.
If you go to Oahu, I would recommend checking out these places:
–Kaka’ako: This is the street art district in Honolulu. There are lots of breweries and shops.
–Hale’iwa: To get treats and a small town vibe.
–Kailua: This was my favorite beach.
–Kualoa Ranch: To tour movie and TV settings.
–To eat: Mud Hen Water, The Pig and The Lady, Marukame Udon. Also visit the Japanese yokocho for ramen.
You can also visit Pearl Harbor in Oahu. (We didn’t visit because of the holiday.)
If you go to Kauai, check out the following:
–Waimea canyon. See above. It’s actually shaped like a bird claw. It takes awhile to drive up the winding road. Bring a windbreaker—it gets chilly.
–Hanalei. This is where the Puff the Magic dragon lived. ‘Nuff said. Also where celebrities stay. Go to Princeville Resort, which is very fancy and expensive. You can just walk in and hang out on the beach. That’s Hawaii for you.
–Bar Acuda. One of the best meals I’ve ever had.
–Tahiti Nui. This campy bar is in The Descendents. I had a “peanut butter old fashioned.” It was good.
–Wishing Well Shave Ice. You can buy cute Hanalei merch there, too.
–Poipu Beach. For snorkeling. You can buy some drinks across the street and watch the sunset, which is when the big turtles come out.
–Beach House. Get drinks at sunset in the proximity of rich people. May or may not be affiliated with the band.
–Eating House 1849. Expensive but good. We sat by people who seemed to know the creator of The Bachelor. They were incredibly nice. Kauai is where fancy people relax in flip-flops.