Oahu, Hawaii Family Vacation (Part I)

I’m back!  Well I figured since I had a few people ask me about our recent trip to Hawaii that it might make sense to dust off the old blog and post something new.  I’ll be writing this as a two part blog since I had so much to share and we actually split our time between two locations.  Not only to save money, but also to give us the opportunity to see more of the island.

Last month we took our first real family trip to Hawaii.  Bode has been on a plane a handful of times but we stopped traveling on planes as a family after I got pregnant with Allyson.  Matt and I have traveled over the past few years but they have either been as a couple or for business.  So let’s be real, I doubt Bode even remembers the flights we took when he was ONE.  And Allyson had never been on a plane.  BUT I knew if I never exposed them to travel, they would 1) never know what it was like 2) never have the chance to get better at it 3) We wouldn’t have the wonderful memories SO we decided to ignore all the negative thoughts that comes with traveling with kids and make the most of our vacation.

Hawaii seemed like the safest destination because you can always relax there, plus Maggie (my sister-in-law lives there), and we had always discussed the idea of Disney’s Aulani for the kids.

We flew out of LAX on a rainy Tuesday morning, and while it seemed like a long flight, the kids were actually really good.  Allyson even took a nap, and Bode and I managed to get a little bit of his homework/kumon in between movies and coloring.  I can just tell you I was over prepared, which is better than under prepared!  I brought all the essentials – lots of snacks (which was essential because we had initially planned to eat breakfast at the airport but since there was a fatality on the freeway, plus rain, it took us way longer to get to the airport and we basically got there with enough time to walk on our flight), coloring books, activity books, ipads (Christmas gift this year planned strategically for this trip), headphones, and a few small toys.  Once we got off the plane, it felt good to pack away our sweatshirts for a week and swap our tennis shoes for sandals.

From the terminal we picked up our rental car, a Toyota corolla, which was the perfect size for our vacation, and headed over to our first destination, an Air B n B in Lanikai.  Needless to say, we were all a little grumpy since we hadn’t eaten any real meals that day so we quickly looked around, dropped off our bags, and headed out for food.  We drove into Kailua, just a few miles away, parked the car and started walking around to see about getting some food.  And after walking around to a few places, we decided to just make our way to a trusted favorite – Whole Foods.  Haha,  I know, so original!!  But when you have a bunch of Hangry people, you go with what you know tastes good!  Plus we needed groceries for our condo so it seemed like the perfect fit.  This Whole Foods is probably one of the BEST ones I’ve ever visited and in the back of the store there is a bar/restaurant with food to order and beers on tap.  It made sense for us to just pick off the menu and have our first drink on the island.  After dinner, it was probably about 7pm (9pm California time), and the kids were about to fall asleep at the table so we quickly did our grocery shopping, came back to the condo, and went to bed.


The next day, the kids woke us up extra early (because of the time change), we made breakfast in the condo and watched the sun rise off our balcony.  After breakfast we got dressed and went on our way to a nearby hike called Pillbox.  We didn’t realize, until we made the trek up the hill, that this was going to be a steep hike, and if we had known that ahead of time, we might not have brought Allyson along for the ride.  However, she was a tough girl and made it up all by herself.  We held her hand at times, but she definitely held her own most of the way.  The views at the stop were spectacular, and it made us that much more excited to get to the beach soon after our hike.


When we got back to the condo we rinsed off, put our bathing suits on and walked to the beach a block away.  The condo supplied us with towels, chairs, and boogie boards for us to bring along with us.  If you haven’t been to Lanikai, its honestly the most beautiful beach in the world.  The waves are calm, and the water is clear.  While Matt didn’t see anything while snorkeling out by the rocks, we overheard a few people next to us one of the days there say they saw lots of fish and even a shark out just a little further than Matt went.  We played at the beach for hours, and then ate a late lunch in town, and stopped at Target for  some much needed sand toys.  That afternoon we went back to the beach for some more fun in the sun.


That evening we decided to go to the movies to see “Sing.” Maggie joined us and it was a cute little theater where we were the only ones watching the movie.  After the movie, the kids quickly fell asleep in the car, but we hadn’t eaten dinner yet.  So the most logical choice for dinner was another trip to Whole Foods.  Hahaha, what can I say?  There are so many options at the hot bars that we never had the same thing twice.

The next day, we chose to workout by doing a little running on the beach.  There were lots of people walking their dogs and exercising on the beach as well that morning.  Afterwards, we went back to the condo, put on our suits and went back to the beach for some playtime.  The mornings were always far less crowded than the afternoons.  After our morning at the beach, we came back to the room to shower and change before heading out for a road trip.  We drove North to the Polynesian cultural center.  We enjoyed the canoe ride and learning about the different Polynesian cultures, however the place really made you feel like a tourist, especially since most people were there with a tour and traveled with large groups.  We chose not to do the luau but I hear it’s one of the best on the island.  We stayed there for a few hours and then drove back just before it got dark to enjoy the local farmers market.  There was a variety of food options at the market and live music, highly recommend!


The next morning, after a quick workout at the park across the street and our usual breakfast on the balcony, our fabulous babysitter came over to take the kids to the beach while we enjoyed some time away.  Matt and I headed out to do some hiking, at first we were going to do this one hike, which turned out to be more of a look-out point, which was beautiful but we wanted some exercise.  So we decided to try Diamond Head instead.  It was really crowded with lots of tourists but we made it and it was worth the trek.  Took about 1 hour to get to the top and back down again.  We enjoyed some fresh coconut juice and pineapple afterwards.  On our way home, we picked up lunch at a local spot that was similar to Chipotle in Kailua (but with organic chicken, which is exciting for me since thats the only kind of chicken I consume) before heading back to the condo.  After lunch, we all went back to the beach for some more play time, because you can never have too much beach in a day.  The best part about this was that Maggie finally got Allyson to get in the Ocean water.  This was a game changer, and from then on out, Allyson had no fear playing and jumping in the water.  This was also the start to a 3-day holiday weekend, so Lanikai was extra crowded!  That night we had dinner and made another pit stop at… you guessed it – Whole Foods, for some more snacks and drinks for the condo.


On Day 5, we needed one last visit to Lanikai, so we woke up and after breakfast headed straight to the beach.  When we got back we packed up all our luggage, picked up a quick lunch at whole foods, you know just one last time, and headed over to Honolulu to drop off our rental car.  From there we took a shuttle over to Disney’s Aulani…