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My Best Family Vacation
Visiting Hawaii was the best vacation I could have taken with my family. We spent 10 wonderful days in Hawaii. There were places I wanted to visit but simply didn’t have enough time. All the trips we took were less than $50 or free, except for the Luau which I will get to later in this post. Check out this great post. Things to do under $20 in Hawaii. Things to Do in Hawaii for $20 or Less – The Traveling Aquarian
Waimea Beach Park
We took a 30-minute drive from Oahu to the botanical garden and waterfalls at Waimea Valley in Haleiwa. On our drive to Waimea Valley, we passed the beautiful blue Waimea Beach Park. Surfers and beachgoers were parked along the road heading in to spend their day relaxing. This beach is free, it is in a residential area, so be courteous of not blocking anyone’s driveways.
Waimea Valley Botanical Garden
Upon entering Waimea Valley were greeted with beautiful swans and chickens walking across the road. They also had a peacock walking the grounds that we took a few pictures of. Parking was free. Admission prices range from $10-$17 depending on if you are with a group, adult, child, or senior. There is also a military discount with a proper ID. There is a restaurant on the grounds to grab something to eat after your day. We walked through the botanical garden and saw so many exotic plants and flowers.
We were transported back into time and saw how the first settlers lived during their time on the island. This was indeed the best experience I had while visiting Oahu. We saw how their homes were constructed, the way food was stored, and how they worshiped their Gods through shrines. At the end of the path, we were met with the serene waterfalls that you are allowed to swim in and cool off.
For more history visit: https://www.waimeavalley.net/cultural/view/cultural-sites
Nu’uanu Pali Lookout
Nu’uanu Pali Lookout is a historical landmark and scenic spot with a panoramic view of Oahu. There is no entry fee, $3 for cars. Upon arriving there was a visitor being airlifted by a rescue unit due to falling down a cliff. I can not stress enough that you should READ the signs and DO NOT go hiking where you shouldn’t. Trails can be slippery and it is not safe. Enjoy the views and make sure you bring your camera!
Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve
Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve is a wonderful place to go snorkeling or enjoy a day laying on the beach. Parking is $1 and admission is $7.50 per person 12 and older. Free for 12 years old and under. Free admission for Hawaiian residents. The explosions that created Hanauma Bay and this southeastern part of the island blasted up through a previously established coral reef. Oahu first rose above the sea nearly 4 million years ago as the Wai’anae volcano.
The younger Ko’olau volcano, on the east side of Oahu, is about 2.7 million years old. In some areas, you may find large pieces of rock and coral that were ejected by eruptions. These large fragments fell into the unconsolidated ash and compressed the layers of ash below them, creating bomb sags in the tuff.
The Best Luau Experience
We were excited that we would be going to a Luau. This is what Hawaii was about, you can’t leave without going to a traditional luau. I think I was looking forward to attending more than my kids. I always watched them on TV and thought WOW. The Hawaiian people are so beautiful and I wish I could move my hips gracefully and dance just like them in my tiny hula skirt. ( Something, I will plan on learning). I have a list of things I want to learn! We purchased our tickets through Hale Koa Hotel which is located on the beach.
Admission was Adult: $67.95, E1-E5 Active Duty Soldier: $57.95 , Youth (12-17): $25.95,Child (5-11): $15.95. The doors opened at 5:30 p.m. Dinner starts at 6:30 p.m. We were greeted with a Hawaiian seashell necklace and cold rum punch drinks, non-alcoholic drinks were serves as well. The food was absolutely AMAZING!!!! I had roasted pork before but it was nothing like the Kalua pork that was cooked all day in an underground oven. The flavor of the meat was mouth-watering. I can remember this meal like it was yesterday.
Our MENU also included: Cucumber and Papaya, Seaweed, Lomi Salmon, Fresh Pineapple. Kalua Pork, Asian Crusted Fish, Soy Sauce Chicken, Teriyaki Beef, Fried Rice, Poi, Sweet Potato with Toasted Coconut, Stir-Fried Vegetables. Steamed White Rice, Steamed Sweet Potato, Sauteed Vegetables with Tofu.
Traditions from Tahiti, Samoa, Hawaii and New Zealand
Through hula, music and spectacular fire dancing, and knife dancing. The show was colorful, full of music and traditional dancing. There was a couple that was showcased being married over 60 years which brought a tear to my eyes. The dinner and show lasted over three hours, it was a great experience to witness in person. Visit the Hale Koa Hotel for more events that are held during your time in Hawaii: https://www.halekoa.com/experiences/events
As I end this last part of our trip, I recommend coming to Hawaii once in your lifetime to experience the beauty, culture, relaxation, adventure sports, health retreats, and turquoise clear beaches. Hawaii is a great place to rekindle your romance with a loved one or come for a great family vacation.