illustration by Louise Androlia
So excited to share all of this! Making guides is so dang fun for me for two reasons: 1, I love to share all the cool & yummy places I find and 2, I love having a diary I can look back at for nostalgia’s sake or to plan a trip back. I’m hoping to travel more in 2018 (just made that resolution as I typed it) and thusly, make more guides for everyone to enjoy. Lemme know if you have any feedback!
1. Makaha beach – This beach was about a five minute drive from our airbnb the first two nights of our trip. We found it by googling “best soft sand beaches in oahu” and it did NOT disappoint. The water was really clear and I even got to “touch” a rainbow! Also important to mention: the beach was pretty much empty!
2. Dole plantation – A fun tourist attraction where you can take a Pineapple Express train around the pineapple farms and learn about the rich history of the yummy fruit + it’s hawaiian roots. Afterwards nab a cone of dole whip on your way out.
3. Green World Coffee Farm – a quick stop for a cup of coffee at a coffee farm; how could you not? Also have lots of samples of other varieties and sell tons of yummy flavors to bring home as gifts.
4. Ulua lagoon – four gorgeous side by side lagoons on the coast, blocked off by rocks so there are no waves. Go here if you wanna lounge in calm waters & feel like a mermaid. Bonus: one of the lagoons is located in front of the Disney Resort, why not try dropping into their lazy river while sipping on a mai tai??
5. Savers – it’s not possible for me to go to a city and not pop into a thrift store in the off chance that other cities are somehow frozen in time (my dream). I definitely didn’t strike gold but I did score a set of 60’s daisy coasters for my coffee table.
6. Primo Popcorn – I fell in aesthetic love with their fruity popcorn when I spotted it in the gift shop at the Dole Plantation. But then I feel in actual love when I found out it was a mom & pop artisan popcorn store (I love popcorn fyi). Stinkin’ Rose was my fave. They sell online too.
7. La Mariana Sailing Club – multiple people told us to go here so I knew it was worth the trek. It seems like the last authentic tiki style bar in Oahu. It’s tucked away on the docks near a bunch of sail boats and the aesthetic is just spot on. Honestly everyone said the food was bleh but the drinks were good and I beg to differ: our nachos were heavenly!
8. Barrio Vintage – another amazing spot! I’ve been following them for years and sooo into their collection and overall vibe. The store is stocked with mostly 60’s and 70’s (my fave) and tons of vintage hawaiian pieces. The owners are not only super knowledgeable but nice as hell and excited to meet everyone that walks through their doors. Oh and prices were G R E A T.
9. Liliha bakery – Yum yum yuummm! We had the yummiest purple poi mochi donut here and I can’t stop thinking about it and wondering WHY this food trend hasn’t landed in LA yet?
10. The Laylow – Our adorable as hell hotel situated one block from the beach and just a few steps from lots of yummy food. Would definitely stay here again! The design and color scheme is great, rooms are mid-century modern meets vintage Hawaiian and they even give you a basket of snacks and flip flops when you arrive. Oh and did I mention free shave ice in the lobby from 1-2 pm everyday??
11. Scratch Bakery – Aaron found this spot from browsing yelp and boyyyy was it good. “Cereal milk pancake stack” are words I had never heard and now I can’t UNHEAR them! Also, we got there 30 minutes after they opened and it was already packed.
12. Baskin Robbins – if you watch my instastories you know why this made the list; the King St location is where Obama worked as a teen. It felt comforting and almost magical to walk into this tiny strip mall and get a kids’ scoop of mint chip ❤
13. The Royal Hawaiian – the second oldest hotel in Hawaii! Everything about this place is perfect and best of all it’s PINK! I highly recommend having a walk around the grounds and even jump in the hot tub if you think you can get away with it. I always use a rule when I drop in on other hotels that I buy a drink or food so I rationalize that it’s okay, haha.
14. Banan – yum yummmm! Soft serve made entirely of bananas and so dang good. I got mine with fruit and granola on top and it was the perfect treat on the beach. I make this at home all the time just by throwing frozen bananas in a blender and adding some peanut butter or chocolate chips, just F Y I.
15. Moana surfrider – The oldest hotel in hawaii! There’s a free museum on the second floor with tons of Hawaiian history. Also a 116 year old massive banyan tree engulfs the beachside patio and it’s just so breathtaking irl.
16. Marukame Udon – delicious udon & tempura located conveniently across the street from The Laylow, where we were staying. Prices on udon range from $5-8 so it’s a nice yummy and cheap meal when you’re on vacation. Important to note there is sometimes a long line outside so keep that in mind. Once you order your food is handed to you immediately though, so that helps if you’re entering high levels of hangryness.
17. Musubi Café Iyasume – tiny hole in the wall with spam musubi’s at $2 a pop. I love snacking on these in between meals or carrying one around for when I do get super hungry.
18. Rainbow Drive-In – What an amazing exterior! Sad to say I didn’t get a chance to actually eat the food here but just had to pull over and get a pic when I saw it. At night the neon sign comes on and it’s just as magical.
19. Leonard’s Bakery – I don’t feel like I’m exaggerating when I say you haven’t lived until you’ve had a malasada, and Leonards is truly the best! Malasadas are portuguese donuts which can best be described as oversized donut holes that are always fresh & piping hot and can be ordered with or without filling. A definite must!
20. Spitting Cave – this was one of the recommendations from the boys at Barrio and it did not disappoint. A little hike down and then back up when you leave but so worth it! The rock formations and waves crashing are just plain stunning.
21. Makapuu Beach – a cute little east side beach we went to watch the sunrise at 🙂
22. Halona Beach Cove – My favorite beach we went to! Also known as Cockroach Cove due to the fact that before you hike down to the beach, everyone looks like cockroaches from that high up. Clear water, gorgeous rocks and tiny tidepools make this my number one beach in Oahu. Oh, and this is where they shot the infamous kissing scene in From Here to Eternity !
23. Ono Steaks and Shrimp – Another cheap fave on the island and to me there’s nothing that screams vacation more than chowing down on coconut shrimp while in your sandy swimsuit. It’s 10 minutes up the Highway from Halona Beach Cove and the perfect lunch stop before you continue on to…
24. Lanikai Beach – one of the most gorgeous & clear beaches we stopped at! Sand was soft and so picturesque. If i’m being completely honest we didn’t actually swim here because once we arrived Aaron realized he had set our towels on the roof of the car before we drove off (lol) but all I could do was laugh hysterically and put my feet in the water.