Aloha! I know visiting Hawaii is on your family’s bucket list and visiting Aulani Resort & Spa is no exception. My ohana was fortunate enough to visit Spring 2012.
Aulani offers magical activities & entertainment to delight the entire family, but I want to switch it up a bit. I want to help your ohana experience Hawaiian culture outside of Aulani; this is a Hawaiian vacay after all. Enjoy the authentic activities around the island, so you can enjoy all that Hawaii has to offer. Ideally you’ll want your family to suggest a few ideas of what Hawaii means to them & then discuss the most interesting amongst your wolf pack and decide a communal plan for all visiting. Here are some of the activities my ohana participated in, whilst visiting Hawaii:
- Matsumoto Shave Ice- Take a scenic drive down Oahu’s North Shore to Haleiwa & enjoy the famous “Matsumoto Shaved Ice.”
- Waikiki Beach– Enjoy the most well-known beach in the world “Waikiki”. The name Waikiki means spouting fresh water in the Hawaiian language and it’s truly a sight for sore eyes. You can bask in the sun or hit the pavement one block over on Kalakaua Avenue for food & shopping. Try not to max out your credit cards when strolling down this gorgeous avenue. You can do it all, fast food to fine dining or ABC store thrifting to upscale shopping at fabulous stores like Louis Vuitton, Gucci & Chanel.
- North Shore– One hour from Waikiki is a small surf town named Haleiwa where “Matsumoto” is located; it’s also the gateway to the North Shore. Both of which are recognized as the surfing capital of the world. My family watched in fear from the beach, in almost full panic mode as the local surfers (hotties/crazies) took on gnarly waves & surprisingly-the surfers tamed them. Fascinating to see in person, definitely a “must see” while visiting Oahu.
- Shrimp & Seafood Truck- By no means am I a picky eater, but the thought seemed unbearable, food from a truck & SEAFOOD at that “EWE,” but it came highly suggested so we bucked up & LOVED it and the best part, we survived. It was absolutely remarkable and a “must do” in Hawaii.
- Hula dog- Kuhio Avenue in Honolulu, is the location to try a “puka dog” or “Hula dog” a Hawaiian style hot dog inside a very different bun (a dinner roll with a hole in middle, brilliant)—just add tropical condiments like mango relish or if you’re BORING, just add plain-Jane ketchup down the middle & VOILA. You’re in Hawaii, live a little!!
- Ko’Olina Resort Community- Gated neighborhood in which Aulani is located. Explore the Island Country Market Store across the street or play a round of golf with your family. Possibly photograph Jack Sparrow’s Black Pearl near Ko’Olina Marina. Lots to see & do, right in your own back yard.
- Luau– It should be illegal to visit Hawaii & not experience an authentic luau. We enjoyed the Paradise Cove Luau at the Ko’Olina Resort. The proximity to Aulani was so close, we walked. It was breathtaking & reasonably priced with tickets we pre-purchased through “Groupon.” It was the quintessential Hawaiian experience.
- Pearl Harbor is located at: 1 Arizona Memorial Place, Honolulu, HI.The Pearl Harbor Visitor Center is the primary portal for visitors coming to Pearl Harbor.
There are so many wonderful places to explore in Hawaii, I barely scratched the surface. The list above is just a portion of my family’s activities while visiting Honolulu. Here are a few more suggestions outside Aulani:
- DOLE Pineapple Plantation
- King Kamehameha Statue
- Statue of Duke Kahanamoku
- Diamond Head Crater
- Honolulu Zoo
- Kuan Yin Temple
- Iolani Palace
If you’re interested in car rental while at Aulani, Alamo is conveniently located inside Aulani at the Holoholo desk. A rental car is not needed within the Ko’Olina Resort area-as the community has their own complimentary resort transportation. I believe the nearest public bus is about one mile down the road & it’s quite a hike on sketchy terrain.
The real question on everyone’s mind–let’s get real—it’s not where’s the North Shore or how do you get to Waikiki, it’s “Where’s Wal-Mart”? Mankind cannot survive without a Wal-Mart. Don’t worry- crisis averted; there are two Wal-Mart stores within driving distance of Aulani, also multiple grocery stores & eateries.
I hope you enjoyed, smiled or even laughed at my little stroll down “Aulani/Hawaii memory lane,” hope this list helps your family when selecting things around & about at Aulani! *If interested in my “Aulani Trip Report” go to http://wp.me/p1Uk8b-2zg. ALOHA! This article was previously published on my blog http://dawnsdorkydiary.com/.