Oh Hawaii. . .you have a special little place in my heart. This was our second trip to Hawaii in the last year and a half. My husband and I spent the New Year on Maui in 2016, but this time we wanted to venture to the other islands.
We received a ton of recommendations for Kauai, so that's where we started. It was a pretty easy trip from DFW with a connection at LAX. I even got a shout out from the American Airlines captain! We had 4 short days on the island, so we wanted to make the most of it. Kauai has a very relaxed feel, and you sense it as soon as you get off the plane. It is very rural and has a rugged natural beauty that is hard to describe. We stayed at the St. Regis Princeville and it was amazing! I highly reccomend it! There is plenty to do on the North side of the island, and we spent most of our time on the beach, hiking, and exploring Hanalei Bay.
We hiked the Hanakapaia Trail, or at least half of it. The trail head is at Kee Beach on the North Shore, and it is a steep climb up onto the cliffs of the Napali Coast. The views were absolutely breathtaking, but the hike is not easy! It is steep, rocky, muddy, and we even had to cross a river by hopping across boulders. My gymnastics came in handy. We stopped at the halfway point which is a nice little secluded beach. We weren't prepared with food and water to make the rest of the trek up to the waterfalls, so we turned back. I think that was almost all we could handle anyways!
Those of you that follow my social media probably know that I'm a die hard The Bachelor/Bachelorette fan, so it was only fitting that at some point in my life I got to experience what it felt like to be on an episode! I'm really glad I went on the helicopter tour, and it is something I can check off my bucket list. But I never want to do it again! I get really motion sick just driving down the highway sometimes, so about halfway through the helicopter ride I had my puke bag ready and counting down the seconds until we were back on the ground. Dramamine, please!
I would totally recommend it for the beautiful scenery and views. My husband loved it. Because of its ruggedness, a helicopter ride is the only way to see the majority of Kauai. We saw the famous Jurrasic Park waterfall, and a ton of wildlife on the Napali Coast (whales, turtles, and monk seals). There is really no other way to fully appreciate the size, scale, and landscape of Kauai.
It was sad to say goodbye to Kauai, but we will be back! We took a short flight to Honolulu and stayed on Waikiki Beach. Honolulu is almost the exact opposite of Kauai. Freeways, high-rises and traffic! I know there is much more to see on Oahu, and we will visit again, but we were really only here for one reason: Pearl Harbor. It was a moving experience, and a must-see for anyone visiting Hawaii. My husband's great uncle (James A. Horner) was killed at Hickam Field, and seeing his name made it even more personal.
The last part of our trip was all about the fam-jam in Maui. My husband's parents, sisters and their husbands, and our niece and nephew all flew in and we met up at the Westin Ka'anapali Ocean Resort Villas. It was a great place to stay for the 10 of us. My MIL and FIL made a huge Costco run when they landed and cooked breakfast every morning in the condo and for lunches we made sandwiches. Eating every meal out in Hawaii gets very expensive!
We did lots of walking the beach trail, beach and pool time, and my sisters-in-law and I got facials one morning. One of the coolest things though was all the whales we saw during the trip. We were there at the end of February which is when all the humpback whales are down from Alaska to mate and give birth. We probably saw 50-100 whales just looking out at the ocean! It was amazing to see full breeches, blowholes, and flukes. One beautiful morning we went to Lahaina to board the Pacific Whale Foundation's whale watching tour. We saw whales almost immediately but that whole motion sickness got the best of me again and I spent most of the tour inside the boat with my head in a bucket. I'll learn one of these days! :)
Of course, I can't write a trip report without talking about my husband's golf obsession. Lucky for him, his father and brother-in-laws share this obsession. Hawaii is home to some of the best courses in the world, and they tried their hardest to play all of them! Hawaii is a magical place where you can watch whales from the golf course!
Another neat thing we did was book a photo session with Flytographer. Have y'all heard of them? You can book a photographer wherever in the world you are traveling to and get some really great life-long memories of your trip. This was our first big family vacation in years and also my FIL's retirement year, so we wanted some special pics! Our photographer Erin showed up with her adorable yorky-poo "Birdie" and was so patient and sweet with all of us while we took about 50000 pictures against a beautiful Maui sunset. Five days later we got the pics back and they are awesome!
Aloha and Mahalo Hawaii<3