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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 Honolulu. 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. I want to share with you the Best Experiences to Have While Visiting Oahu.

Check out this great post I have. Things to Do in Hawaii for $20 or Less – The Traveling Aquarian


Waimea Valley

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 Waimea Beach Park. Surfers were riding the waves and beachgoers were parked along the road heading in to spend their day relaxing. This is a  free beach, it is in a residential area, so be courteous about not blocking anyone’s driveways.

Waimea Valley Botanical Garden

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.

Waimea Valley Botanical Garden

We were transported back in 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. 

For more history visit: https://www.waimeavalley.net/cultural/view/cultural-sites


Waimea Valley Botanical Garden

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Waimea Valley Botanical Garden

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At the end of the path, we were met with the serene waterfalls that you are allowed to swim in and cool off.


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We walked the trails filled with colorful croton and flamingo flowers. The Persian trees were decorated in yellow and pink prickly-looking flowers. As a person who loves visiting gardens, I was amazed by the different flowers I saw, compared to the ones from home.


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.

Nu'uanu Pali Lookout

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!


Nu'uanu Pali Lookout

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-year-olds 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.

Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve

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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.

For more history on Hanauma Bay visit: http://www.honolulu.gov/parks-hbay/2016-09-01-18-10-39/history.html and http://www.honolulu.gov/parks-hbay/2016-09-01-18-10-39/history/timeline.html

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The Best Luau Experience 

The Luau of all Luaus. This is what Hawaii is 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). 

We purchased our tickets through Hale Koa Hotel which is located on the beach. 

Hale Koa Hotel

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 served 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 on the beach. The flavor of meat was mouth-watering full of flavors and melted in your mouth. I can remember this meal like it was yesterday.

Our MENU also included: Cucumber and Papaya, Seaweed, Lomi Salmon, and 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, and Sauteed Vegetables with Tofu.

Hale Koa Hotel

Traditions from Tahiti, Samoa, Hawaii, and New Zealand

The show was colorful and full of music and traditional dancing. There was a couple that was showcased as being married for 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.


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Welcome! My name is Keyanna your travel guide. Photography is my passion and I want to show you through my lens, new adventures to explore. I'm here to bring you events, roadside attractions, shopping, dining, great vacations, and help bring mental awareness.

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