Since it’s been OVER two months since our Hawaii trip, let’s wrap this thing up, shall we?
Day 5 ended up being a tough day, but a gorgeous one. The grownups were suffering from a bit of “last real day of vacation” blues, while the 5 year old was suffering from “I’m a 5 year old and everything is about me” blues.
But we soldiered on. I had told N.C. the day before that I really was going to be upset if we left Oahu without having seen the east side of the island. He was a little surprised by my vehemence, but agreed that would be a good “last day” activity. So we rented a car for the day (note: we didn’t rent a car every single day we were there because it was almost $30 a day to park. In the long run, between that and some other maneuvering, it ended up being a bit more hassle but something like $200 cheaper than if we had rented a car every day), and headed out.
Our first stop was trying to find breakfast. We were planning on hitting the beach and then doing a hike, and ending the day at the Polynesian Cultural Center, so we knew we wanted a full breakfast to get us started off on a long day. We were going to go to Cafe Kaila, a place that had nothing but rave reviews on Yelp, but when we drove up, the line was probably about 20 people long and we knew we couldn’t wait however long THAT was for food. Then we found a similarly well reviewed place that was only a few blocks away, Sweet-E’s Cafe. The wait there was only about 10 minutes, so we had a winner.
OMG you guys, it was seriously one of the best meals we had while we were there. We had a Kalua pig omlette, with a side of Portuguese sausage and fried rice. It was…omg, you guys, it was so good we were fighting over the last bites. We heard amazing things about their stuffed french toast too. If you’re ever in Honolulu, I can’t recommend this place enough. (the parking is really shitty, but it was worth the hassle. I promise). I kind of wish I could have that for breakfast every day.
From there, we headed to the east side of the island. First, we had to drive through the mountains. It’s too bad it was such a horrible drive:
Our destination was Lanikai Beach, which has apparently been named one of the best beaches in the world pretty consistently. I don’t know, what do you think?
This was the view as you walk through the little walkway up to the beach.
Those are “The Mokes” or Na Mokulua (“the two islands”).
This is a view from the beach of the ridge we were planning on hiking later.
I mean, I guess it’s an ok view.
As I told N.C., this place is almost aggressively gorgeous. I seriously couldn’t stop staring and marveling at the beauty of this beach (I have probably about 40 pictures of this place alone).
The boys had fun playing too.
After a while, I figured it was time to get going if we wanted to try and do any of the other things we wanted to do that day. Plus, everyone was getting a little grouchy and I thought a change of scenery would do us good. We headed towards the Lanikai Pillbox hike, stopping first for a little snack & some drinks to take with us.
And then, Jackson fell asleep in the car about 2 minutes before we found the start of the hike.
Womp womp womp.
I was a little bummed, because I was realizing we weren’t going to get to do/see/experience about 80% of what I had found in my research, so I was feeling a bit let down. Jackson had been a pill most of the morning, and not wanting to do anything. And N.C. had been stressed and a bit grouchy about both the kid & me being let down. We sat in the car while Jackson slept, and tried to figure out what to do to salvage the rest of the day & turn our attitudes around to make the most of our last day.
We decided to drive up towards the Polynesian Cultural Center, and to enjoy the view along the way. It was a good plan.
It was utterly gorgeous, and my only regret is that we didn’t have the time to really hang out and explore this area. If we ever go back, the eastern side of the island is priority # 1 to me, because it had a very different vibe than the north shore or, of course, Honolulu itself.
Sadly, because of how time passed that day, we never made it to the Polynesian Cultural Center, something that most people had told us was a “must see” on the island. I am bummed that we missed that, so that’s on the list too if we ever go back.
We hit up a burger joint near the PCC, Seven Brothers. It was good, but I don’t know if it was as good as the insanely long wait. However, there weren’t many other food options in the area we were in, and we were starting to get hangry, so it was the best choice.
After we ate our burgers, we decided to make the drive back towards the hotel by going around the North Shore again. We were going to try and stop at one of the beaches there that supposedly had a good chance of seeing sea turtles, but that was a bust, I think because of how late in the day it was. It’s ok though, we still got some good pictures.
When we got back to the hotel, we did a little night time swimming with Jackson, which he just thought was THE. COOLEST. THING. EVER. I remember being a kid and thinking swimming at night was just this magical thing, so I’m super glad we got to do that with him.
The next day was our last day. We had a late-ish flight, around 3, so we said a sad goodbye to our rooms, checked out, and then spent the rest of the morning at the fancy pool with the awesome slides.
We had a last shave ice, wandered around the lagoon, and hit the resort front beach one last time. We grabbed our standard souvenir–a Christmas ornament–and tracked down a kukui nut lei for Jackson, and then it was time to go. I had hoped to get a picture of the three of us at the resort, buuuuttttt a bit of a timing mix up meant we had to hightail it out of there a bit faster than expected, so instead we just waved goodbye and set our sights on home.
Even 2 months later, I think of this trip as fairly magical. There was a lot (a LOT) I had researched/looked into/hoped to do that we didn’t get to do (I understand now why everyone recommends 10 days in Hawaii!), but even still, it was one of the best vacations I can remember. We left with an appreciation of the beauty and pace of the island, and a vow that we would make it back to Hawaii again.
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