Author: Moana Blu

The Honolulu Zoo


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The Honolulu Zoo is a main tourist attraction on Oahu

Located next to Diamond Head State Monument, the Honolulu Zoo is one of the top tourist attractions on Oahu. Home to over 900 different types of tropical animals, the Honolulu Zoo was previously known as Queen Kapiolani Park, and prior to its opening in 1877 was mostly lagoons and ponds. The once unpromising land was then developed to display the King’s bird collection, and a horse racing track! When the city of Honolulu took control of the park in 1914 they appointed the parks first Director, Ben Hollinger, and he began collecting animals, starting with a monkey, a bear and an African elephant. Fast forward 20 years and the bird collection had gained such a world-wide reputation that the park decided to add three large aviaries. In 1947 the Honolulu Zoo was created, a 42.5 acre designation within Kapiolani Park. The park itself has been evolving since its opening, growing to add more staff and animals. Ken Redman was named Director in 1993, and took care of the zoo until he retired in 2008. In his time he rewrote the Honolulu Zoo mission statement; “The mission of the Honolulu Zoo is to inspire stewardship of our living world by providing meaningful experiences to our guests. The Zoo emphasizes Pacific tropical island ecosystems and our traditional values of malama (caring) and ho`okipa (hospitality).” Check out more of their history here.

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The Honolulu Zoo offers educational programs in the form of interactive children’s camps. The three camps are categorized by age, and offer an appropriate and immersive hands on environment, perfect for children within their age group. Camp Menehune is designed for children ages 4-5, and introduces them to the animal kingdom with engaging activities and entertaining lessons. Camp `Imi Loa is perfect for children ages 6-8, and provides your child an age appropriate, fascinating and engaging educational experience. Tactile biofacts, crafting activities, songs, and stories, just to name a few! Camp Wildlife Koa, for ages 9-11, gives an educational experience on endangered and extinct animals. This includes why they became compromised, and how we can help prevent this from happening to more wildlife in the future.

Art on the Zoo Fence is a long standing Honolulu Zoo activity. Local artists showcase their work by setting up displays along the zoo fence on Monsarrat Ave, every Saturday and Sunday. This allows the artists a platform to show their work, and provides tourists and locals the chance to take in some Hawaiian culture, buy art, and even meet the artist! Art on the Zoo Fence has been growing since 1953.

Where to Catch Big Waves in the Winter


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Hawaii is synonymous with surfing. It is the heart of the sport. Surfing originated in ancient Polynesia, and has been a way of life for many people in Hawaii for over 100 years. You can surf all year round, with smaller waves in the summer, and the biggest in the winter. Oahu’s North Shore is home to some of the greatest surfing beaches in the world. The best big-wave surfers in the world converge on Oahu in the winter. Oahu’s North Shore is the location of the “7 mile miracle”, a collection of legendary surfing beaches, including the Banzai Pipeline and Sunset Beach. In today’s article we will look at some of the best spots to catch big waves on Oahu.

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Banzai Pipeline

 
Located west of Ehukai Beach Park, the Banzai Pipeline, also simply called Pipeline, is one of the most well known surfing spots in the world. Famous surf movies, like Blue Crush and Surfing Hollow Days, as well as an episode of Hawaii Five-O, were filmed on location. Expect big waves and big crowds of people for the fall through mid spring. People come from all over the world to surf the Banzai Pipeline in the winter. It is home to numerous surfing competitions, like the Volcom Pipe Pro, and Billabong Pipe Masters. This spot can be very cruel. If you wipe out there is a good chance you are going to hit the reef, and it is sharp.

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Sunset Beach

 
Named Paumalū in Hawaiian, Sunset Beach is a gorgeous 2 mile stretch of beach on Oahu’s North Shore. Sunset Beach was once the home to the Duke Kahanamoku Invitational Surfing Championship, until the inaugural Billabong Pro in 1985. Because of the size, there are 3 main swell spots along Sunset Beach, making plenty of room. There is a nice current to help take you out to the almost 200-yard takeoff zone, but keep in mind that same current can make the return to shore much more difficult. It’s another merciless spot for wipe outs, so be careful!

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Waimea Bay

 
Waimea Bay is considered by many to be the first place that surfers really started to hit the big waves back in the 50’s. The bay can be found at the mouth of the Waimea River, in Haleiwa. These swells are known to reach 50ft but you won’t want to be trying to ride those. This is the location of the Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau, a big wave competition in remembrance of the surfing legend Eddie Aikau. It’s another very popular beach, so it is best to get there early.

Our 4 Favorite Restaurants Near Lanikai Beach


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If you are taking a vacation to Hawaii, one thing you will not have to worry about is finding good food. The islands, specifically Oahu, are known for their exquisite, top-of-the-line culinary experiences. If you are staying at one of the Lanikai Beach vacation rentals in the Moana Blu Collection, then you will be staying a short distance from some of our favorite restaurants on the island. Here is a list of some of the best places to eat on Oahu.

Moke’s Bread & Breakfast

If you are looking for a wholesome breakfast that tastes like home, you can’t beat this cozy little eatery. Moke’s Bread & Breakfast is known for their delectable Lilikoi Pancakes, and more adventurous items like the Rabbit Moco, which is locally raised Shinsato Farm rabbit with rabbit gravy. Check out their entire menu while you plan your stay on Oahu. Remember, this place is popular for a reason, so get there early if you don’t want to wait in line!

Uahi Island Grill

The Uahi Island Grill is exactly what you would want from a Hawaiian restaurant. Their mission statement says it all: “Strive to serve delicious, fresh island flavors using wholesome, house-made products, local produce whenever possible, and take-out containers and utensils made from bio compostable plant fibers.” This diner opened in 2007, and has already been featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives with Guy Fieri. After this publicity they were able to expand their gourmet delicacies to new areas of Oahu with 2 food trucks. Take a look through their menu; we suggest you try the Orange Glazed Duck Confit.

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Boots & Kimo’s

If you’re looking for some real homestyle cooking you won’t want to miss Boots & Kimo’s. The restaurant is named after the owner’s father, George “Boots”, and Uncle Kimo. Kimo had his own restaurant where he was known for serving macadamia nut pancakes, which has become the signature dish of Boots & Kimo’s. Don’t even bother asking for the recipes though, they are a closely guarded family secret! Make sure to plan accordingly, there can be lines.

Crepes No Ka ‘Oi

Can you guess the specialty here? That’s right, it’s crepes! Crepes No Ka ‘Oi has been serving gourmet crepes since 2008. Owner Chris Tarvyd was inspired by childhood vacations to Tahiti, where he would enjoy delicious food from the many crepe trucks. You can enjoy a savory, meal time crepe with everything from pizza toppings to pulled pork. Or, feed your sweet tooth with one of their delicious dessert crepes, topped with fresh homemade whipped cream.

Best Scuba Diving Spots


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Comfortable water temperatures, extremely high visibility and gorgeous marine life found only in the waters surrounding Hawaii have carved out a niche in scuba diving that you will not find replicated anywhere else. Year round the water temperature varies from 74-80°F, the lower end being in the winter. Depending on water conditions and your location, visibility can be more than 100 feet, compared to areas like San Diego, where 30 feet of visibility is considered amazing diving conditions. Beautiful tropical fish are in abundance here, along with turtles, octopus, coral reefs and so much more. Depending on the company, and where you go, you might even see some sharks! Oahu has also been the location of many ship wrecks. These wrecks essentially create artificial reefs with their own ecosystem and marine life, and offer a window to another world. In addition to ships, you can also tour sunken airplanes. Let’s take a look at some of our favorite scuba diving spots on Oahu.

the Mahi Shipwreck is a great spot to see while scuba diving on Oahu
 

 


Mahi Shipwreck


This is one of the most popular dives on Oahu. The Mahi was sunk in 1982 as part of an artificial reef program, which has been very successful. You can find groups of 15-20 spotted eagle rays, along with huge schools of pufferfish and other tropical marine life. The bridge of the boat was destroyed a few years ago in a hurricane, so it is recommended to stay outside of the ship. This wreck is located on the west side of Oahu.

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Turtle Canyon


Located in Maunalua Bay, this is the spot on Oahu to see turtles. In Hawaii, the green sea turtle, called Honu in Hawaiian, is considered a symbol of good luck and longevity. The Honu have become used to scuba divers and will allow you to get close enough to take pictures, making Turtle Canyon a premier scuba spot. This activity is easily considered a beginner dive spot and should definitely be on your list!

 


Kahuna Canyon


This is one of the best dives on the North Shore. It is located a few miles west of Haleiwa Harbor and has been called Hawaii’s Grand Canyon. You can expect to see parrotfish, amberjacks, unicorn surgeonfish and so many other tropical sea dwellers. The beauty of this spot is the sheer awe you feel the first time you see it, so I don’t want to go too deep into description. This is considered a beginner dive spot but has plenty in store for divers of all skill level.

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Hanauma Bay


Hanauma Bay is considered a beginner dive, but offers plenty of aquatic life to keep even the most experienced divers interested. In 1967, to protect the natural splendor of the bay, it was declared a marine life conservation area. It is easy to guess, just by looking at the shape, that Hanauma Bay used to be a volcanic crater, and it is believed to have been flooded due to wave erosion. If you don’t like crowded beaches you will definitely want to get here before 10 AM.

Staying at any of the Moana Blu vacation rentals? You’re in luck! We have teamed up with some of the best providers of rental equipment and fun activities on Oahu. Each company provides a one-of-a-kind experience specifically for the Moana Blu Collection. Save time and book your activities through Moana Blu.

Our Favorite Native Hawaiian Plants


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Hawaii is well known for its fruits. Everyone thinks of pineapples and coconuts when they think about Hawaii. Go to any farmers market on any of the islands and you can guarantee access to a plethora of delicious fresh fruits. Besides tasty fruits and vegetables, the Hawaiian islands are teeming with beautiful, tropical foliage. If your trip to Hawaii includes some hiking (we hope it does) you are in for a treat. Due to the tropical climate you can spot dozens of rare plants and flowers living within the gorgeous bamboo forests. Take any hiking trail and have fun trying to find the plants you remember. There are literally hundreds of plants you can study, but we suggest you find some you really like. Take a look at some of our favorite native Hawaiian plants.

red native hawaiian plant found on oahu

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Metrosideros polymorpha

If you are planning a spring trip to Hawaii you are in luck. This stunning flowering tree has been known to bloom at all times of the year, but peak season is definitely in the Spring. The stamens that make up the flower can vary in color: red, yellow, orange, pink and very rarely white. The tree, and the forests it creates, are considered sacred to the Hawaiian goddesses Pele and Laka. They can range from a stubby bush, to a 25 ft tall tree, so keep an eye out!

picture of a wiliwili tree found on Oahu

Wiliwili

Erythrina sandwicensis

Technically another flowering tree, Wiliwili trees (probably my favorite name) are typically found in dry forests and can grow as tall as 45 ft! These podding trees grow flowers that can be green, yellow, orange, salmon, white or sometimes all of them on one tree! Keep in mind, you will need to take a summer vacation to Hawaii to see these in full bloom, and they are usually found on leeward island slopes.

the state flower of Hawaii, yellow hibiscus

Ma’o Hau Hele (Yellow Hibiscus)

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Ma’o Hau Hele, or yellow hibiscus, is the state flower of Hawaii. Blooming season for the Ma’o Hau Hele is usually Spring through the beginning of Summer. This gorgeous flower can be found in dry forests at lower elevations, but it is a protected plant due to overgrazing, so finding one won’t be easy. If you get lucky enough to come across one, please, just enjoy it where it sits.

ʻŌhai, also known as oahu river hemp

ʻŌhai

Sesbania tomentosa

The ʻŌhai, often referred to as Oahu river hemp, can come in a variety of colors depending on which island you are on. This flowering shrub can be found most commonly in low elevation brush areas, and very rarely in dry forests. Unfortunately, the popularity of the islands have caused a good portion of its natural habitat to be destroyed, so consider yourself lucky if you spot one in the wild.

Best Hiking Spots On The Island: Explore The Trails On Oahu


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Don’t forget about the outdoor enthusiast in you while you plan your stay in Hawaii. A tropical vacation to Oahu is not complete without trekking through at least a few of the countless hiking trails that cover the island. Hikes on Oahu offer a wide variety of sightseeing options. Between waterfalls, bamboo forests, historical Hawaiian ruins, and panoramic views of the island you really can’t go wrong. We have highlighted a few of our favorite hikes on Oahu for your consideration while you plan your stay in Hawaii.

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Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail

This popular Oahu hike is perfect for people of all skill levels. It is about a mile long to the peak and is easy terrain up until the last stretch, still nothing to worry about. At the top you can enjoy breathtaking views of the Windward coast, Makapu’u beach, the lighthouse, and if you are there between December to May, maybe a whale!

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Kaniakapupu Ruins

Found in Nu’uanu Valley, right off of the Pali Highway, is the Kaniakapupu Ruins. A short hike through a serene bamboo forest is all it takes to reach these ruins. This site is the location of King Kamehameha III’s summer home built back in 1847, making it one of the longest standing structures on the island.

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Koko Crater Trail

This hike is only for those ready to climb the 1050 steps to reach the summit. The steps are actually old railroad ties left over from the railway that the military used to move cargo to the top. From the top you get unparalleled views of Port Lock Peninsula and Hanauma Bay.

Ehukai Pillbox Hike

Not to be confused with the Lanikai Pillbox Trail, which you can learn more about here. Usually called the Sunset Pillbox Hike, because it is right behind the Sunset Elementary School, this Oahu hike only takes about half an hour to the top, but can be difficult so plan accordingly. It’s all worth it though when you get to the top and see that North Shore view!

A Weekend at Lanikai Beach


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A vacation to Hawaii’s Lanikai Beach can be as exciting and invigorating as it is relaxing. Spend the day sun bathing on the expansive white sand beach in between swimming in the clear blue waters, or strap up your shoes and take to the trails! Here for the beach? The coral reef surrounding Lanikai Beach makes for great swimming conditions and even better snorkeling. If you choose to stay at Hale Kainalu you will be in one of few beachfront vacation rentals in Kainalu directly on the sands of Lanikai Beach. You could spend your entire vacation on the beach if it’s the backyard of your vacation rental. Adventurer in the group? You’re in luck, the Lanikai Pillbox Trail is located less than a mile from the beach.

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Lanikai Pillbox Trail

Considered one of the best hikes in Oahu, the Lanikai Pillbox Trail, or Ka’iwa Ridge Trail, is an easy to moderate hike depending on the weather and offers an unparalleled view of the surrounding Hawaiian landscape. One way takes about 20-30 minutes, round trip it can be done in an hour. The hike can be steep so make sure to take proper footwear, and don’t worry there are plenty of spots to stop and rest along the trail. At the top you will find the famous “pillboxes”. These are just concrete structures left over from the second world war, mostly covered in art & graffiti, but now serve as great vantage points at the end of the trail. From here you can see Waimanalo, Kailua, Lanikai, and the Mokulua Islands, also known as The Mokes. You will not want to leave this off the schedule for your next Lanikai beachfront vacation.

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Hale Kainalu

Located right on Lanikai Beach, Hale Kainalu in the Moana Blu Collection, is one of the coziest lodging options for your beachfront vacation in Kainalu. This gorgeous luxury vacation rental is colorful, with beautiful recently remodeled features and all the amenities needed to get the most out of your vacation. Hale Kainalu features an outdoor gas grill and warm outdoor shower perfect for those days you don’t want to go anywhere and just lounge on the beach. Going further than the beach? We offer car rentals and other concierge services, check those out here. If there is any way we can help make your vacation to Hawaii perfect, please send us a message.

Experience North Shore


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If you’re looking for a Hawaiian vacation like in the movies then the north shore is the perfect pick for you. Home to legendary beaches like The Pipeline and Sunset Beach where gigantic 30 foot waves crash down on the white sand beaches for most of the winter months, and because of this you can expect to find a surfing competition almost every weekend. The Oahu north shore is home to some of the most reputable and distinguished surfing competitions, like the Quiksilver Eddie Aikau Memorial Big Wave Contest. When the summer hits, the tides calm down and allow for unparalleled snorkeling and diving along the expansive stretch of beaches. If being in the water isn’t your thing, the Oahu north shore has plenty more to offer; let’s take a look!.

visit historic Haleiwa located on the North Shore of Oahu

Haleiwa, Oahu

This historic surf town is your portal to North Shore Oahu. Located just an hour from Waikiki, you can expect a true Hawaiian experience. The town is riddled with surf shops, unique stores, and unexpected delicacies that you won’t want to miss. It is home to Matsumoto Shave Ice. In business since 1951, Matsumoto Shave Ice has made a name for itself with their beautiful shaved ice with a twist! You can choose to add ice cream, azuki beans, or both to make this a truly special dessert. Head over to their menu to see the amazing combinations they have concocted. It is also home to Haleiwa Ali’i Beach Park. Enjoy an afternoon picnic on the expansive grass field and top the day off with a pick up volleyball game. Always wanted to learn how to surf? Uncle Bryan’s Sunset Suratt Surf Academy offer surf lessons for people of all skill levels, groups and individuals.

North Shore Farmers Markets

Farmers markets are everywhere. Chances are you have enjoyed delicious fresh fruits and vegetables from your local farmers market. At one on the Oahu north shore you can enjoy fresh coconuts and pineapples that have been locally grown along with local home made delicacies. They hold a Thursday farmers market in Haleiwa, and one on Saturdays in Waialua. This is one I would make sure to include in your Hawaiian vacation.

Waimea Valley on Oahu North Shore, home to the world class botanical gardens

Waimea Valley

This Oahu north shore attraction isn’t on a beach but the short drive inland is more than worthwhile. Waimea Valley is located less than a mile from the shore, filled with historic sites and the famous World Class Botanical Gardens. Here you can find over 5,000 types of plants, including some native to Hawaii and endangered. There are 35 differently themed gardens located throughout the valley, including one of the most complete collections of Polynesian plants, and a hibiscus evolutionary garden. Further up the valley you can find Waimea Falls. The falls are a local favorite spot for cliff diving, and swimming is allowed in between diving times. Can’t go on vacation without bringing back a few souvenirs, right? Make sure to stop by Kuono Waiwai, a retail shop in the valley. They offer distinct pieces and local crafts by Hawaiian artists, as well as on site food services with locally sourced ingredients.

hawaiian green sea turtle also called honu

Laniakea Beach

Laniakea Beach, also known as Turtle Beach, is a stop you have to make. It is a hot spot for the Hawaiian green sea turtles, called Honu by the Hawaiians. They are on the endangered species list and are protected under Hawaiian law, so there are volunteers on site to make sure that these beautiful creatures are not bothered. That doesn’t mean you can’t observe and photograph them though! These wonderful inhabitants will make their way on shore and lounge in the sand, and if you are lucky you might get to see one of their little heads popping up out of the blue waters.

 

Sounds like a fun trip right? Before planning out your north shore vacation make sure you have the right lodging. Hale Malina, in the Moana Blu Collection, is a north shore vacation rental right on the famous Sunset Beach. This is a private gated home, fully equipped with an outdoor grill and shower. Click here for more information and reservations.

2016 Oahu Summer Bucket List


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You can search all day trying to find things to do on Oahu. There are countless trails, waterfalls, ruins, and beaches to keep you busy the entire vacation. It gets overwhelming trying to figure out which Oahu attractions you can fit into your schedule, and we can help! Read on to learn about some of the Oahu activities you don’t want to miss in our 2016 Summer Bucket List.

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Açaí Bowl

The açaí bowl may not have originated in Hawaii, but they made it their own and perfected this super food breakfast delicacy. Native Hawaiians, travelers, and food aficionados will have different opinions on where to get the best one, but on Oahu it’s hard to go wrong. The berry grows on açaí palm trees and is a native fruit of South America. Your typical açaí bowl has a blended mix of açaí, fruits and berries, sometimes vegetables like kale or spinach, and topped with delicious coconut, granola, honey, and whatever the chef decides to add. On Oahu, you get fresh cut pineapple and coconut that never left the island. The bowl you get on the north shore is going to be very different from the one you get in Honolulu so make sure you try more than one!

 

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Dole Plantation

Another famous Oahu activity is a visit to the Dole Plantation. It was originally founded in the early 1900’s by James Dole as the Hawaiian Pineapple Company and later bought out by Castle & Cooke, Inc in the 1960’s. In the 1990’s they changed to the household name The Dole Food Company. They have multiple tour options including the Pineapple Express Train Tour, Plantation Garden Tour, and the world famous Pineapple Garden Maze. The maze encompasses over 3 acres and is made of over 14,000 native Hawaiian plants. You can see prices and tour options on the Dole Plantation website.

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Submarine Tour

Submarines aren’t just for sailors. Another popular thing to do on Oahu is taking a submarine tour. Go 100 feet underwater and meet tropical fish and turtles native to the area. Atlantis Adventures has even installed artificial reefs to help support marine life. Their tours typically take you by shipwrecks and a sunken plane. Viator offers sky to sea combo tours that bring you around the island by helicopter then transfer to submarine. Make sure to book your tour in advance or you could miss out on this Oahu attraction.

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Barbeque On The Beach

Everyone loves a good barbeque, and if you’re planning to stay on Oahu you probably feel the same way about going to the beach. Why not have both? Having a barbeque on the beach is an Oahu activity you won’t soon forget. No need to leave to eat, you can just sun bathe and swim the whole day, as long as you’re not the cook! It can get windy out there so make sure to check the weather and come prepared with sunscreen, towels, and garbage bags. Always leave the beach the way you found it or better!

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Scenic Drive

You can enjoy a great view from bustling Honolulu, but if you want to experience serene bamboo forests and extinct volcanoes then you need to take a drive. You can go any direction to find breathtaking Oahu attractions. Driving up the windward side of the island you will experience a land to sea panorama that could be straight out of a painting. Or you could meander through central Oahu visiting ancient Hawaiian sites and hiking trails. You really can’t make a wrong choice, but make sure to do some research about the sites you want to see in case you don’t have enough time to see them all! Click here for more information about car rentals and other concierge services.

While you plan your stay on Oahu keep in mind the location of your lodging. You don’t want to spend your vacation traveling to and from sites. A lot more can be fit into a schedule depending on where you stay. The Moana Blu collection consists of luxury vacation rentals on Oahu that might be in the perfect location for your trip!

7 Ways to Make a Vacation With Friends Unforgettable on Oahu


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Ever dreamed of being with your best friends and family in a tropical paradise with the ocean at your feet? Watching the sunset on the Pacific while lounging on white sand beaches? Waking up to the sound of ocean waves crashing against the shore? Sounds like a scene from a movie, right? Nope, just a normal day on Oahu. With the right rental you can have this day and night from your own piece of tropical paradise.

Oahu, home to the state capital, Honolulu, is one of the best vacation spots in Hawaii. There is enough sightseeing, hiking, and beaches to keep you busy for your entire trip. Lets take a look at just a few things to keep in mind while you plan your vacation on Oahu.

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Arnold Palmer Golf Course

The Arnold Palmer Course at Turtle Bay is a must for any golfer taking a vacation on Oahu. Often considered the best golf course on Oahu, it is right along Hawaii’s north shore, close to the legendary Banzai Pipeline, Waimea Bay, and Sunset Beach. This is a professional 18 hole course that makes its way through tropical Hawaiian forests, rivers and wetlands to provide an unmatched golfing experience. Don’t forget this treasure while you plan your stay in Hawaii.

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Lanikai Beach

Spend your days relaxing in the sun on world famous beaches. Oahu is home to Lanikai Beach, known for its expansive white sand beach and amazing water. The near by off shore reef keeps the waters calm all year long. For the adventurer in you, a short kayak trip away are the Twin Islands. Both of which are home to a bird sanctuary.

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Hiking & Photography

Oahu is a great spot for the outdoor enthusiast in you. Hiking trails ranging from easy to experienced means there are plenty for people of all skill levels to enjoy. Photographer in the group? The Koko Crater Arch makes for some truly memorable photos. One of the most revered hikes on Oahu, The Lanikai Pillboxes (Ka’iaw Ridge Trail) is known for its combination of ease and breathtaking views of Kailua and Lanikai.

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Diamond Head State Monument

A must see while while in Oahu is the Diamond Head  State Monument. Formed over 200,000 years ago from a volcanic eruption, this monument offers an unparalleled 360 degree view of Oahu. The hike to the bunker is under a mile, while not considered difficult, it is not casual and you should plan accordingly. The bunker at the summit was built in the 1900’s and originally used as a strategic lookout for the military. It has since become a popular tourist spot while some areas are still closed off to the public.

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Manoa Falls

The tropical forest surrounding Manoa Falls is enough to consider, while you plan your stay in Hawaii. To reach falls as remarkable as this you usually have to traverse steep hills, large rocks, and overgrown vegetation. Besides the last 100 feet being slightly more challenging, this trail is one of the more maintained and manageable on Oahu. This gorgeous location has been used to shoot several scenes from the television series “Lost” and the movie “Jurassic Park”. Watching the water cascade 150 feet down Manoa Falls should be right towards the top of your list of things to do on Oahu.

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Snorkeling/Scuba Diving

Scuba diving or snorkeling is a great way to top off a vacation on Oahu. Stay close to shore on a snorkeling adventure and observe local fish and coral in there natural habitats. A scuba dive with friends is a truly unforgettable experience. Swim underneath the surface of the Pacific Ocean to depths you never imagined you could. Experience the peaceful quiet you can only find underwater and meet sea creatures you otherwise never could.

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Pearl Harbor

If you haven’t already visited, Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial are high on the suggested list of things to do on Oahu. See the location of the infamous attack that directly brought us into World War II and pay tribute to the sailors, Marines and civilians that lost their lives. The USS Arizona Memorial was originally built in 1962 and is directly over the wreckage of the sunken ship so it is only accessible by boat. There are other stops in the Pearl Harbor Historic Sites such as the Pacific Aviation Museum and the Battleship Missouri Memorial so be sure to make a day out of it.

While you plan your stay in Hawaii one of the first things you should consider is lodging. Hawaii, specifically Oahu, is a very popular vacation destination, and the hotels can prove it. If you want to enjoy your vacation to the fullest you know that a hotel is not the best option. Who wants to vacation on Oahu with friends just to split up to your own rooms at the end of the day and watch cable? A luxury vacation rental can ensure you get the most out of your vacation, day and night. Feel the comforts of home while enjoying this tropical paradise. Chef in the group? All of the luxury rentals in the Moana Blu Collection feature a fully stocked kitchen and outdoor grill. While the hotels on Oahu provide great service, you are still one of thousands that need to be served. With a luxury vacation rental you can be sure you are getting personal service. Pick the right one and you can enjoy a secluded beach for your vacation. Who doesn’t want that?

The Benefits of Choosing an Oceanfront Vacation Rental


Vacation Rental in Hawaii

 

Benefits of choosing an oceanfront vacation rental
Imagine having a Hawaiian vacation with a resort customized to meet your every whim. Where breathtaking views are outside each window and the sand is just a few feet away. With an oceanfront villa privacy meets luxury.

Comfort is key.

Oceanfront rentals are the perfect getaway because they’re your home away from home. You can come together with friends and family to create lasting memories with privacy unmatched by a resort. You can stay out all day hiking the mountains and know that you are coming back to a home were you can truly relax. Whether it is a private pool, furnished living quarters, or secluded beaches, everything you need will be at your fingertips.

Nothing compares to having the ocean as your private backyard.

You can fall asleep to the soothing lullaby of gentle waves and surround yourself in the natural beauty of Hawaiian paradise. Take advantage of late night sandy strolls and starry conversations with friends. Roam from your very own oceanfront villa to the vibrant and pristine beauty of the pacific ocean. Let the kids explore while you sit back and watch from your patio. Relish the spectacular views up close and not a car ride away. 

With a vacation rental, you’re in control of the kitchen!

You don’t have to worry about dietary restriction, getting ready in time for breakfast, or finding a table for ten. Simply delight yourself while dining al fresco on your secluded patio or host an intimate dinner for two. Whatever you prefer, the kitchen is yours, with all-inclusive amenities.

Don’t worry about planning out every second of your day.

Luxury villa’s have all the entertainment you could need.  You can stay in all day and still experience Hawaii at its finest. Don’t worry about sharing your vacation with strangers on the other side of a wall. Don’t worry about anything, really. Just enjoy yourself in the natural splendor of Hawaii that surrounds you.

Hawaii Attractions: Meaningful Historical Places on Oahu


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Oahu is no doubt beautiful with it’s majestic blue ocean and tropical fauna. Yet, the island contains more than just what meets the eye. Oahu is also full of chances to experience traditional Hawaiian culture. That’s why this article will cover which historical sites and landmarks to visit during your vacation to Oahu.

Hawaiian Cultural Destination on Oahu

Leahi (Diamond Head)

Just beyond Waikiki, stands Diamond Head – a 760-foot tuff crater and one of Hawaii’s most famous landmarks. The destination is known to Hawaiians as Leahi and was only named Diamond Head by 19th century British sailors who thought they discovered diamonds on the crater’s slopes. Though, what they really found were calcite crystals.

The crater was once also used as a strategic military lookout in the early 1900’s. Now, it is a perfect spot for a hike and provides a gorgeous view of Waikiki and Oahu’s south shore. Not to mention, it is the perfect spot for an adventurous, romantic date.

Nuuanu Pali State Wayside (Pali Lookout)

This lookout is worth a visit just for the view of the Koolau cliffs and the Windward Coast. To get to the lookout you’ll even get to enjoy a tranquil drive through a dense forest.

It will be a pleasure to escape the city and emerge at one of the most tranquil historical Hawaiian spots on Oahu. Plus, you’ll be able to read about the battle of Nu’uanu Pali where King Kamehameha I conquered Oahu in one of the most famous battles in Hawaii’s history.

National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific

The National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific stands in honor of the American Armed Forces from World War II. It is now the resting place of almost 53,000 veterans and family members, including those lost during the attack at Pearl Harbor.

Visiting the historical site will not only be meaningful but will also offer a stunning view of Honolulu from the top of the site’s crater rim. You can even incorporate a free walking tour when you spend the day at the site.

Hanaiakamalama – the Queen Emma Summer Palace

This palace is a secluded away retreat that was once the summer home of Queen Emma, the wife of King Kamehameha. Now, the palace stands as a museum containing royal antiques, belongings, and memorabilia from the royal family. You can pay the palace a visit today to explore its beautiful interiors and learn more about the history of this royal Hawaiian family.

These are only some of the many historical spots offered on Oahu. The island is truly rich in Hawaiian history and contains many other sites worth visiting. Including, Puu o Mahuka Heiau, Kukaoo Heiau, and Ulupo Heiau State Historic Site, just to name a few.

Now that you know what awaits you in Oahu, you can begin to pack and plan for your Hawaiian Vacation. If you need any other ideas, check out our activities page to see what else Oahu has to offer you.

Top Romantic Date Ideas for Your Vacation on Oahu


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Oahu is definitely not known for having a shortage of things to do. The island has beautiful hikes and trails, lush vegetation, not to mention ocean views that will make any date night special. Yet, if you want a truly unforgettable, romantic vacation, then we have a few suggestions that will help you get just that. Check out our list of things to do on Oahu for couples, below.

Fun Date Night Ideas on Oahu

  • A trip to the Nuuanu Pali Lookout. Nuuanu Pali is a volcanic cliff that offers a spectacular view of northern Oahu, including the ocean, yellow banana groves, and the night stars. When you take your date here, be sure to tell them the legend of King Kamehameha who united the warring island of Hawaii into one kingdom by forcing the enemy off the edge of this same lookout. The story will not only add some culture to the night that your date won’t forget but will make you look great for doing your homework!
  • Go kayaking in Kailua. Rent a kayak from us for the day and just hit the coastline! What makes kayaking along the Kailua coastline amazing is the view you’ll see of the Mokulua Islands right off shore. Plus, be on the lookout for some spectacular coral formations and marine life as you paddle along the ocean next to your date.
  • Take a rental car for a drive around the island. To make things even easier, you can book a rental car from our website where you can choose between a minivan, SUV, full-size passenger van, compact, and more. Then, take your car around the island with the windows down. You’ll be able to explore the whole island in style.
  • If you’re a foodie, take your date to the Waiahole Poi Factory. You can turn the outing into a picnic when you grab two traditional Hawaiian plates and take them to the Hoomaluhia Botanical Garden. Trust us, your date will love the simplicity.
  • Take a sunset horseback ride along the shore. It sounds cliche, but can you imagine how relaxing it will be to just ride alongside your guy or girl while watching the sunset over the water? It really doesn’t get any more romantic than that.

Now that you have a few romantic dates nights in mind for your vacation to Oahu, let us help fill in for the remaining nights.

You don’t have to do all the planning to make your vacation to Hawaii romantic. Let us help you make every night of your vacation romantic when you book an oceanfront vacation rental or cozy villa in Hawaii with us. That way you can easily turn a night at home into a romantic date thanks to our concierge services. Including, a massage from some of Oahu’s finest massage therapists. Or, a dinner date made by a private chef specializing in farm to table gourmet meals from Hawaii farms.

Check out our collection of luxury vacation rentals today to make your next romantic vacation on Oahu as relaxing as possible.

Top things to do in Oahu in 2016


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Hawaii is a melting pot of diverse ethnicity, which is clear once you experience the food, traditions, art, and even night life here. Enjoying your time on the island will include not only relaxing on beautiful beaches but also exploring sacred cultural sites, hiking to waterfalls, surfing on the Pacific ocean, or even camping. So in no specific order, here are 11 top things to do in Oahu this year.

  1. Visit North Shore

North shore is just a 45 minute drive from Waikiki. When you get to the famed surf town, you’ll see a ton of restaurants to explore as well as several beaches. Including, Laniakea Beach where green sea turtles can be seen playing near the shoreline. You can also try your hand at surfing, stand-up paddle boarding, or shopping for souvenirs for your friends back home. Either way, North Shore is a must-go place when you visit Oahu and you can easily fill a whole day here.

 

  1. Hike to Makapu’u Point

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You will love this short hike. The trail is just under one mile and once you reach the top you will see the entire scenic shoreline of Makapu’u beach. From the top you can see the inside of Koko Crater, offshore islands, and you’ll maybe even be lucky enough to see some whales in the ocean! We recommend heading to the trail in the morning after breakfast because it will be sure to set a positive tone for your whole day on Oahu.

  1. Go to the top of Diamond Head

Diamond Head is one of the more iconic destinations on Oahu. But that doesn’t mean it’s just a tourist destination. It’s definitely worth visiting if only to say ‘hey, I’ve hiked up the side of an extinct volcano’. Plus, the hike is only 0.7 miles and ends when you reach a World War II bunker and a breathtaking view of the Pacific ocean.

 

  1. Shop around Waikiki

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When you visit Waikiki, you’ll see that there’s no shortage of things to do. You’ll find everything from local surf shops to stylish designer flagship stores. If you’re looking for a more leisurely day, shopping around Waikiki is the perfect thing to do. Just be sure to bring good walking shoes for your stroll down the Waikiki Beach walk.

 

  1. Go snorkeling

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Explore a different kind of beauty when you go underwater snorkeling. We recommend snorkeling at Three Tables or Ko Olina Lagoons where you can swim alongside fish and sea turtles.

 

Pay a Visit to the Polynesian Cultural Center

If you are visiting Hawaii to explore some of the rich culture here, the Polynesian Cultural Center will be a must-do for you. Here, you can spend the day learning about the heritage of the Pacific Islands. The experience can take anywhere from 3 hours to a whole day. It just depends on what you want to do while visiting the PCC. For example, you can experience a luau, join a buffet for authentic and delicious Polynesian food,  go on a boat ride, or explore the villages.

 

Now that you know what awaits you in Oahu, you can begin to pack and plan for your Hawaiian Vacation. For more ideas, check out our activities page to see what else Oahu has to offer.

What to Pack For Your Vacation on Lanikai Beach


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If you have been to Hawaii before, you’ll know that it’s a fun, relaxing, and casual vacation spot. So, when it comes to packing, it will be no surprise that your list should include casual clothes as well as things to help protect you from the sun here.

To make packing for your Hawaiian vacation easier, we have included a few travel packing lists here. There is one for everyone from the “adventurer” to the “foodie.”  Take a look to see how to make the most of your vacation near Lanikai beach.

Travel Packing List for the Adventurer

  • Bug spray for mosquitos
  • 2 swimsuits so that you always have a dry one on hand
  • Camping supplies if you want to go camping here on the island
  • Aspirin and any medicine you may need
  • High SPF sunscreen
  • Durable & comfortable walking shoes or hiking sandals
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Waterproof backpack
  • Moisture wicking pants
  • Reef shoes
  • Lip Balm
  • Hat or Visor
  • Rash guard shirt
  • Mosquito Repellant

 

The Sightseer

  • Your Camera or a few disposable cameras (and extra batteries!)
  • Polarized sunglasses
  • Lip Balm
  • Hat or Visor
  • High SPF sunscreen
  • Binoculars
  • Reusable water bottle
  • A comfortable backpack or beach bag
  • Beach mat
  • Aloe gel in case of sunburns
  • A larger suitcase so you can bring souvenirs
  • Rental car information

 

The Home-body

  • Casual clothes (yes, you can wear your Hawaiian t-shirt here)
  • Toothbrush, deodorant, shampoo, and other necessities
  • Slippers (or flip-flops)
  • Your favorite lightweight pajamas
  • Beach bag in case you do decide to hit the beach after all
  • Sunglasses for when you’re laying by the pool outside your room
  • Sunscreen
  • Comfortable headphones
  • Your bathrobe
  • Phone charger
  • Laptop and charger

 

Everyone traveling to Hawaii should come prepared. Studying travel tips for Hawaii is a great way to make the most of your vacation. Yet, we know that packing is dreaded by many, hopefully, these tips will make that dreaded task much easier!

Now that you know what to pack, don’t forget to check out our collection of places to stay in Hawaii. Check them out here to get a head start on planning for your Hawaiian vacation.

 

Travel Advice for making the most of your trip to Oahu


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We know that planning for a vacation can be both fun and daunting. It’s an exciting idea to jet off to a tropical Hawaiian Island. You know you’re going to love relaxing on the beach and sampling the native food. Plus, you’ll get to come back sporting a nice tan and hopefully some beautiful pictures of the island.

To keep your planning as easy and fun as possible, we want to give you some travel advice for your trip to Oahu. That way you can just cross items off your to-do list and then enjoy your vacation in Hawaii!

Travel Tips for Your Hawaiian Vacation

There are so many things to do on Oahu that it was difficult to narrow down what to tell you about. So we brainstormed to give you a truly comprehensive guide for your Hawaiian vacation.

Prepare for your plane ride

To start with, let’s talk about your plane ride. We know that it can be easy to overlook what you’ll do on the plane ride over to the island. Depending on where you’re coming from, you may be on the plane for anywhere from 3 to 5 hours. That’s not too long. But, it’s definitely worth it to pack everything you may need to make your trip more comfortable.

You could try catching a nap so that you arrive rested and ready for the fun head. If you go this route, remember to bring a neck pillow, earplugs to block out any unwanted noise, and a eye mask.

Or, come with a kindle or Ipad to stay entertained during the flight. We also suggest wet wipes to keep your skin hydrated and comfortable lightweight clothes. That way you can step off the plane and immediately be ready for the weather on Oahu.

Check the forecast

On that note, you can expect that the island will be moderately warm. Don’t worry, we aren’t talking Texas heat here. Rather, expect 70-80 degree weather (depending on when you take your vacation).

The coldest months will be January and February with some rain. While you’re warmest months will be between July and September. Still, you’ll be able to wear your bikini or board shorts on the beach all year long. That’s why Oahu is perfect for a tropical romantic getaway or a fun time with your friends on the beach.

Figure out How You’ll Get Around the Island

Oahu is 597 square miles including 112 miles of coastline. That’s a ton of room to enjoy the beach. Still, for those looking to enjoy other parts of the island, getting around without a car may take time away from going to luaus or kayaking out to Mokulua Islands. So if you can, consider renting a car when you arrive. Just remember that we drive slower than most areas in the U.S.

Otherwise, we also have plenty of public transportation options available. You can take the bus or even take the Waikiki trolley to get around to all the activities on your itinerary.

Activities on the Island

Fore more ideas, make sure you also check out our ‘things to do’ page to see just how many activities there are you for on the island.

Savor Iconic Hawaiian cuisine

For all you foodies visiting Oahu, you can look forward to fresh seafood, cocktails, and even local food carts. To help you plan out your meals, we made a list of our favorite places for you:

  1. Liliha Bakery: For those with a sweet tooth, we couldn’t forget about Liliha Bakery. Their Chantilly cake alone is enough to justify the visit. Or, you can check out their famous coco puffs with a chocolate cream filling. Either way, you’ll enjoy the sugar rush and the 1950’s feel of the bakery.
  2. Fresh Catch: If you like seafood or sushi, Fresh Catch will be for you. It has the freshest poke in Oahu plus an amazing crab-stuffed ahi plate.
  3. Uncle Clay’s House of Pure Aloha: This is where you can get Hawaii’s iconic dessert – shaved ice. Any local will tell you that this a must-do when you visit. So swing by Uncle Clay’s for their signature sweet dream flavor or just grab a shaved ice tea.
  4. Rainbow Drive-In: An iconic place to visit in Oahu known for it’s lunch menu. Grab a seat and get some shoyu chicken or teriyaki BBQ chicken. Plus, you can go next door afterward to Rainbow Tiki to get souvenirs for your friends back home.

Enjoy “Hawaii time”

The best part of your vacation in Oahu will be how easy going it is. No one here rushes around and you won’t have to either. You can wake up late, get out the door at your own pace, and take things easy.

Taking Off For Your Trip

Alright, do you feel more prepared for your visit? We know that whatever you choose to do during your visit, you’re going to love your stay here in Oahu!

Let us know in the comments what you plan to do during your vacation in Oahu. If you need more ideas, check out how can help make your vacation memorable and relaxing during your stay on Oahu.

7 Things to Know Before Your Plane Lands in Hawaii


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You’ve probably heard that Hawaii is gorgeous. Here, we take hikes surrounded by tropical fauna. Not to mention our pristine sandy beaches and colorful sunrises that will make you actually happy to be awake so early in the morning. These are just some of the things that make Hawaii a beautiful place to stay during a vacation.

Yet, what makes Hawaii truly unique is our Hawaiian culture. When you visit, you’ll see that the people here are incredibly friendly and welcoming.

To return the welcoming attitude here, we want to help you brush up on some Hawaiian customs that will help make your trip run smoothly.

Hawaii Travel Tips: 7 Things To Know Before You Visit

1. Learn the correct pronunciation for a few Hawaiian words. You’ll probably want to know how to respond when someone says “thank you” or “hello” when you arrive on the island. So take some time to learn how to say some of the following words to get started.

  • Aloha: Hello & Goodbye
  • Mahalo: Thank you
  • Mauka: Toward the mountain
  • Makai: Toward the ocean
  • Pono: Righteous
  • Wahine: Women
  • Kane: Men
  • Pupu: Appetizer
  • Auntie & Unle: What children are taught to call their elders

2. If you are visiting new family or friends, it may be a nice gesture to bring a lei for them. Here, it’s customary to give a lei to say “welcome” or “congratulations”. Also, if you are given a lei while here on the island, always accept it and remember to say “mahalo”.

3. We are all about our slippers here. You might call these flip flops but on the island we call them “slippers”. We wear them pretty much everywhere (except inside the house). So while you are making your packing list, make sure to include slippers on your list. Just remember to take them off at the door if you’re invited into someone’s home.

4. There’s almost no road rage here. Afterall, there’s no rushing or yelling in paradise. Instead, we practice aloha on the road (love or the spirit of giving). So don’t blare the horn on your rental car or shout out your window unless it’s a real emergency. Instead, expect to be waived ahead of others on the road by the courteous drivers here.

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5. Learn how to make a shaka. It’s easy! All you have to do is make a fist and then stick out your thumb and pinky. The hand symbol is also sometime referred to as “hang loose.” If you’re going surfing or just hanging out on the beach, you’ll probably see a shaka a few times…or ten..

6. When you’re walking around the island, you may hear about some of the legends that encompass Hawaiian culture. For example, don’t be alarmed if someone warns you not to bring a rock with you back home. You see, the culture here is based largely around some key legends about the gods and goddesses of the island.

There are some stories that may help you understand some of the customs here. To help, it may be beneficial to read up on some of the legends about Hawaii. For now, here’s the short version: rainbows are a blessing, it’s bad luck to bring a banana on a boat, and it’s considered extremely bad luck to take lava rocks away from a volcano.

7. Finally, if you’re planning on bringing anything with you to the island there are a few items you should avoid. For example, fresh flowers, fruits, and vegetable are all harmful to the environment here. You can save yourself some time during your TSA screening by just avoiding these items all together. Instead, try bringing a lei with you or a heartfelt card to greet any of your family or friends with while on vacation.

At the end of the day, Hawaii is full of tropical beaches as well as friendly, laid back people. The combination makes many say that Hawaii is their favorite vacation spots.

Now that you know what to expect, we’d love to hear how your vacation goes! Let us know in the comments what you think of your vacation in Hawaii. Plus, if you need any activity ideas, check out how we can help make your vacation memorable and relaxing during your visit.