Last week, I took a week’s vacation in Hawaii just to see the place again, revisit some favourites, see family, and reunite with an old friend. Sadly, I didn’t get to see everyone that I wanted to, but it was still a great time.
I love taking trips and try to do many cheap ones close to home.
Hawaii isn’t always the cheapest destination, being that just the flight cost for one person could equal a weekend cruise from LA for two. If you’ve been here before, though, it doesn’t have to be the extravaganza most people turn a holiday into.
I stayed in Lanikai
Within walking distance of both Lanikai Beach and Kailua Beach, it used to be one of my favourite spots to hang out in. I often visited back there because it was just my type of neighbourhood. Sadly, it’s not the same as it used to be anymore, and I may be moving on from staying there.
It’s gotten too crowded and it’s lost the small town feel that I used to love. I used to work in the area, which is what got me started spending so much time there.
One of the perks to the popularity of the area is the availability of both Lyft and Uber drivers in the area. I never even bothered to rent a car. It was easy enough to walk to town or grab a ride, if I got lazy.
A lucky break we got from our AirBnB was finding out that the entrance to Pillbox hike was right at the end of the block. We did the hike two days in a row. I’ve seen this hike rated as both easy and medium, so it’s up to interpretation. I’m horrible at hiking and I was able to do it, but with a little struggle. Add a sprinkle of rain and a person like me is skidding along the mud in no time.
I went to the beach daily (um, Hawaii, after all!)
I got (almost) the tan of my dreams, but I did look a little orange because of my blonde hair. I’m in transition to a (hopefully) mermaid colour, which is why I stopped at the blonde before going on my trip. I knew I would be spending a lot of time under the sun and in the water, and I didn’t want to ruin an expensive hair change.
I spent my days basking under the sun at Kailua Beach Park or Lanikai Beach. They’re right next door to each other really and are accessible by foot, bike, or car. In college and after, this was a favourite stop of mine, especially on my days off. It was a great space to be alone in, with earphones and a book. There are a lot of access points from the road, so it’s easy to pick a spot to enter from.
From here, you can easily see the Mokolua islands which people often kayak to. You can see one behind me in the picture below. There is also a place called Flat Island that I’ve heard people visit, but I’d never been to.
One of the biggest changes that I didn’t expect was how busy the beach had gotten! I last visited about 4 years ago and often walked on to an empty beach no matter what time of day. On this past visit, I had to get there before 930am to have a beach with less than 50 people. It may have been the season, which landed around spring break, but it was busier than I’d ever seen it before.
I didn’t eat at a lot of places
I tend to travel cheaply as much as possible. I’m not a foodie, although I do love food. However, I’m more of a grocery and home cooking traveller, than an out-in-the-town diner.
We often went to Times grocery in Kailua for a cheap pre-made or homecooked dinner. There’s regularly bento’s offered for a quick and ready warm meal. Our go-to addiction was all the poke. Even though poké is now very trendy and easy to find on the mainland, there’s nothing quite like the poke back home.
I ate at 5 places: Haleiwa Joe’s (Haiku Gardens), Boots & Kimo’s, Kailua Town Pub & Grill, Egghead, and Moké’s Bread & Breakfast. I’ll leave those places for a post on their own, but you will see some snippets in the video below. I will say that I enjoyed them all and would go back.
For more cheap eats and itineraries, check out Amy’s 7-Day O’ahu itinerary for $50 a day. It’s full of information that I will be using on my next trip back.
I normally make time for one (semi) fancy dinner when I travel. While Haleiwa Joe’s is actually quite casual, we made a date night out of it. I wore my blue dress Von Vonni Samantha High-low Infiniti Dress, which I had wanted to wear to the beach.
Here’s a quick recap of the week we had. Enjoy!