The beach in Honolulu.
YONDER

A Beach, Food and Love Adventure In Honolulu

Being a Southern girl, I never knew a trip across the country would change my perspective on life. I took a journey of a lifetime to my boyfriend, Jordan’s, native hometown of Honolulu in Oahu, Hawaii.

My trip started with a 4 a.m. drive to the Memphis airport. My original travel plan was to fly from Memphis to Dallas and Dallas to Honolulu. I had anxiety about the last and most extended leg of the flight.

A traveler should always expect the unexpected, such as when my flight from Memphis was delayed resulting in me missing my flight in Dallas. One tip for Hawaii travel is to always connect in LAX. Dallas only offers two flights a day, while LAX offers up to seven.

My new mission was to either get on another flight from Dallas or find my way to Los Angeles. The line for customer service was at least 200 people deep, so I suggest not only standing in line, but also calling customer service. That way you are in “two lines” at once.

My phone call went through before I made it to the front of the line, and I was able to get on a flight to L.A. that night. Once I reached L.A., I had to spend the night with a family friend and wake up the next morning to catch the 7 a.m. flight to Honolulu. After traveling 29 hours straight, I finally made it to the most beautiful place I had ever been and was excited to start my journey.

Over my seven days in Oahu, I got to see many breathtaking sites. On my first full day there, Jordan’s family and I went to the Polynesian Cultural Center. I appreciated how his family wanted to show me the culture of their native people. I think learning about other cultures is a gift and something you should always take the time to do if you can.

If you go, walk through all the different “islands” and watch the shows. They run every 10-15 minutes and include dancing, storytelling, and other traditional activities. My favorite was Samoa because they let you taste a native food from the Island that was good. Stay for the night show “Breath of Life” that includes incredible dancing from all of the Polynesian Islands.

One of my favorite things was beach hopping. I am a beach baby, and I can sit in the sun for hours every day. Jordan took me to all of his favorite spots. I loved how uncrowded the beaches were. I was used to Florida beaches that have rows of chairs and other families. Here is a list of must-see beaches:

Nanakuli – This was the first beach I visited, and I was in awe. The best part of this beach is its serenity and nearby attractions. Most of the beaches have huge 6-10 foot waves and are hard to swim in unless you’re an experienced swimmer. Nanakuli waves were calm, close to the shore, and you can swim and float around. There are also Mermaid Caves you can climb down into and see secret pools of water. Another tall cave is across the street from the beach on the side of the mountain.

Sandy’s – We spent time here during New Year’s Eve. The waves were the biggest I have ever seen, so it is most definitely a more “sit and watch” beach than “get in and play.” If surfing is your thing, this is a great place to go, but only if you are experienced. They have amazing rocks on the shore that you can walk out on and watch the waves come in. This beach was so open and spacious. Sandy’s would be a great place to sit and relax.

Makapu’u Beach / Lookout. This was the most beautiful place I saw the entire time I was there. The view is breathtaking, and even the drive over is so beautiful. Makapu’u is an excellent place for photos, and you can see the mountains and the beach all in one area.

The food we had was some of the most amazing I have ever eaten. Sometimes, I can be known to be a picky eater, but I made it my goal to try everything I could. For many meals, we ate with Jordan’s family and had delicious home-cooked meals that usually included seafood or meat and the Hawaiian staple, rice. White, sticky rice is served with pretty much every meal. Here are some places we also ate.

Zippy’s. One word. Korean Chicken. Hands down one of the favorite things I tried while in Oahu. It is served with a side of rice and mac salad, cold macaroni noodles covered in a sauce that tastes like cole slaw. If you think it is mac and cheese, your first bite will probably be surprising, but I enjoyed it.

Food from a Honolulu restaurant.

Sandy’s Beach food trucks. After a long day on the beach, they have a ton of options for filling meals or just a snack. I also loved the snow cones. They put a scoop of vanilla ice cream in the bottom of the shaved ice, which I had never heard of before, but loved.

Food Land poke bowl. Poke bowls became my new obsession while in Hawaii. A poke bowl is seafood of your choice covered in amazing sauce and mixed into white rice. It’s like sushi in a bowl. My favorite was the spicy ahi tuna. People love to say Hawaii is very expensive, but this was a meal you could eat for lunch and dinner because of the considerable portion of food, and it’s only $7. Food Land is a local grocery store, so you can also get your drink of choice, such as guava juice and anything else you may need for your trip.

Food from a Honolulu restaurant.

Island Vintage. I also fell in love with acai bowls on this trip. These are superfood smoothie bowls with tons of fresh fruit and granola drizzled in honey. I also loved the large portions in Hawaii. You get what you pay for. Since I returned home, I tried to learn to make them or find a place that sold them. Most have been good, but nothing comes close to comparing to Island Vintage. The location I visited was in the Ko Olina.

Overall, my time in Hawaii was something I will forever be grateful for and cherish. I hope this guide will help you have the time of your life on your trip.

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