Being of Hawaiian descent Hawaii is near and dear to me. I was born at Honolulu general in downtown Honolulu and spent a great portion of life living on Oahu, Kailua to be exact. I typically go home to visit my aunts, uncles, cousins once a year or so. This isn’t going to be one of those go to this hotel or that hotel kind of article but more of what it’s really like to be in Hawaii.
If you truly want to experience Hawaii I highly suggest renting an Airbnb or staying in a hostel. The big hotels in Waikiki are not a true representation of the real Hawaii. While they are quiet luxuries and can be a great experience it’s just not the same as going to do some of the things a local does.
Even though I now live in Mexico my heart will always belong to Hawaii, the energy is unlike any I’ve ever found anywhere in the world. When you hear someone speak of the Aloha spirit this is not a legend it is a real honest feeling/vibe that you will experience only in Hawaii. Yes we use this word as a greeting of hello, goodbye, and expressing love but it is more a way of life. The word Aloha holds within itself all one needs to know to interact rightfully in the natural world. These insights describe an attitude or way of life sometimes called “The Aloha Spirit” or “The Way of Aloha” an important lesson taught of being one with life and land to respect, to not willfully harm anyone or anything.
Kailua my hometown is on the east coast of the island of Oahu considered to be the windward side. I’m not going to lie this is an expensive area to stay in but if you gather a few friends to head over with you and combine the cost of renting a small bungalow it can be more affordable and allow you the freedom to enjoy more.
Growing up in Kailua we lived just three blocks from Kailua Beach Park. I of course love this place, it’s a fantastic two and half mile stretch of soft white sand beach, the bluest water possible with calm swimming and great launching spots for lots of water sports. It has a tendency to be less crowded than most beaches and very family friendly.
The park area has actually grown a little because of the sea walls built in Lanikai estates to protect the properties around the area from erosion increasing the sand over to Kailua Beach Park. This is one of my favorite spots to boogie board or body surf the waves are perfect. My son and I like to get a few of the local favorites manapua and of course, spam musubi one of my all-time favorites also and head to the beach for the day.
Kailua area is surrounded by beautiful lush green mountains and rivers that flow into Kailua Bay. It’s just twelve miles from Honolulu but feels thousands of miles away from the hustle and bustle. It has a community with just 53.000 residents a serene lifestyle and tight-knit community. The downtown area has many locally owned shops and restaurants dotted up and down the streets but in hopes of keeping the area as local as possible and not commercialized all these businesses stay small.
Lanikai Beach is also another nice place to spend a day the name Lanikai means heavenly sea and is a small half-mile strip of beach with great views of the Oahu coastline. The only way to reach the beach is through a small access path in the neighborhood of Lanikai. The weekdays are the best time to go since it is almost empty. There are some very beautiful reef patches that are snorkeling and diving heaven. Note there are no public restrooms or other facilities so plan accordingly.
There are some interesting hikes in the Kailua area one of which is Pillbox also known as Ka‘iwa Ridge is a short narrow trail with a couple of military bunkers and a fantastic panoramic view of Lanikai Beach. Kawai Nui Marsh an 800+ acre wetland owned by the state of Hawaii this is the largest wetlands in the Hawaiian Islands.
On Sundays take a stroll around Kailua’s farmer market on Kuulei Road at Kailua Elementary and enjoy a ton of fresh local veggies and fruits. This fun little market is open from 8:30-noon rain or shine its a great way to spend a lazy Sunday morning wandering around listening to live music and trying delicious foods and treats. Whatever you do don’t miss out on the amazing Hawaiian grown coffee.
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