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A few days in Hawaii 

Unfortunately my husband isn't able to travel with us very often because of his job. But when his job led him to Hawaii, we jumped at the chance to come join him. He was just finishing a project in Honolulu at the start of our Thanksgiving break, so we were able to spend five days in Honolulu. It was a great vacation because it was relaxing, but we also found a fair amount of activities and little road trips so we weren't just lounging poolside for days on end. We rented the cutest Airbnb in a residential neighborhood, the title is Cute cottage near Diamond Head and it's hosted by Lauren if you're looking for an adorable place in a great location. We had a rental car, so were able to travel all over the area.

Here are some of the things we loved:

  • Snorkeling in Hanauma Bay. This is no little secret spot, so plan to get there early and stake your claim on a beach spot before the masses start showing up. The water here is beautiful and there are so many different fish to see. This was my kids first time snorkeling and they loved it. 

  • Hiking Diamond Head. This hike was not too far from where we were staying and the trail takes you to the edge of a 300,000 year old crater. While the hike isn’t that long in terms of distance, but it gets a little steep. The view of the Pacific Ocean is worth the effort to get to the top!

  • Surfing. We were lucky to have a local friend, Pono, that my husband met through work. We paid him in donuts to take us out surfing a few times in Waikiki. There are a ton of people out surfing in this area because the wave is so easy to ride, but all of us out there were total novices and it was a little bit of survival of the fittest. Be warned, but still go and have fun!

  • Iolani Palace. We decided to take in a little Hawaii history by visiting this National Historic Landmark in downtown Honolulu. It was the official residence of Hawaii’s monarchy and I highly recommend the self-guided audio tour for getting a sense of life in the palace. 

  • Lanikai Beach was by far the most beautiful and serene place to relax at the beach. The water is clear turquoise and the sand is pristine white. We enjoyed playing in the water and just taking in this natural beauty. Lanikai is about a half hour drive from Honolulu. 

  • North Shore Adventure. We took a day to drive up to the north shore to see the professional surfers warming up for the big Vans Pro Surf competition that was happening the following day. The waves were freaking huge and just watching the surfers navigate their way out to the break was amazing, not to mention them riding the waves. Beyond the surf spot, we enjoyed the shave ice at Matsumoto’s and the açaí bowls at Haleiwa Bowls

  • We weren't afraid to get a little touristy by doing an Ultra Terrain Vehicle Tour at Kualoa Ranch. This scenic valley was breathtaking and we enjoyed seeing where several huge movies were filmed, like Jurassic Park. 

Food we loved:

  • The Pig and the Lady. We had a delicious Vietnamese dinner here.

  • Nobu. Yes it's a chain, but it the freshness and service never disappoints.

  • Marukame Udon. Super low key place with amazing fresh udon. Expect a long line, but it's definitely worth the wait! 

  • Arvo Cafe. We got a little obsessed with this adorable coffee shop and store. 

  • Surfjack Hotel has a great coffee shop, Olive and Oliver, and we also really enjoyed a dinner there as well. 

  • ​The Sunrise Shack. Acai bowl heaven!