Every year we try and save enough money to take our four kids to a family vacation. Growing up, my parents always took us on family road trips and those childhood memories have always been stamped in my mind. I am a firm believer of collecting memories and not things.
Our children will not always be with us as they become adults. This is the reason why taking them somewhere they have never been, is an adventure for them and for parents as well! Discovering different parts of the world where we have never been, is an amazing experience we look forward to and try to go while we can.
This past Summer, we decided to visit Oahu, Hawaii. We have only been to Maui, Hawaii so we picked Oahu for this past Summer’s trip. As I have mentioned before, we make it a point to specifically save for a family trip. Wherever, we decide to go, we have set aside funds to enjoy our week stay. Limiting ourselves during the year is worth every penny just to spend a family vacation in a designated place. When my children were young, we didn’t have a way to take them far from where we live. It was only when they became older, we started organizing our financial budget.
We are a rather large family so it was vital we do research before going on vacation. There are a few places I would like to recommend if you decide to visit Oahu. There were several other places that we wanted to visit; however, due to the time and days of our stay, we didn’t quite make all the destinations. Here are the ones we went to that we highly recommend and are “must sees ” while you are in Oahu:
- Diamond Head State Monument – A hike inside a extinct volcano that is an excellent adventure that you can do in Oahu. Take comfortable shoes, hat and plenty of water. Go early and take sunscreen as with the tropical sun it gets hot. It is a long hike up so if you have very small children, I would not recommend it. We saw several children crying on our way up. My nine-year old was very tired!. Once you get to the top, it is worth the view. Just please, go prepared.
- Manoa Falls – A moderate-level hike along the Manoa trail to the secluded Manoa Waterfall on Oahu. Again take comfortable shoes. We even went higher up to a bamboo forest and after several miles up and then went back down. It rains a lot in the rain forest so be prepared. I would recommend only going to the waterfall and go back down.
- Ko Olina Lagoons – Beautiful, clean and well maintained lagoons. Not overly crowded and beautiful for witnessing some gorgeous sunsets and are all beautiful and serene. The water is clear and we can see our feet from the middle of the lagoons. In the evenings, we went crab hunting and had a blast getting big crabs and then releasing them back into the water.
- Aloha Stadium Swap Meet @ Aloha Stadium – this is an ideal place to go get souvenirs and mementos of Hawaii. There are hundreds of stands selling souvenirs and hawaiian food and fruit and you don’t have to pay tax.
- Dole Plantation – Don’t leave without trying their amazing whipped pineapple ice cream. It is delicious!! We just had to stop to see how pineapples grow (takes two years to grow one, by the way) and are in the garden. In addition, look at the trees below.
- Kualoa Ranch – Kualoa Ranch is not only the set of many movies over the years (for example Lost and of of Jurassic Park movies), but it’s natural setting on 4,000 acres and miles of shoreline make it a wonderful place to visit the natural part of Hawaii. Here several movies and TV series have been filmed in the valleys and abandoned military facilities from WWII. This place was the most amazing atmosphere for my first horse ride in my life. Two of my kids got on horses as well. My husband took my baby to get on a pony, and my middle daughter got on a four wheeler. All of them had a time of their life! It is amazing and a definite must see!! This first picture below was a filming in the making yet they were not allowed to tell us what movie. I believe it will be coming out soon.
- Aulani – This Disney themed hotel is amazing. Yes, it is very overpriced and this is the reason we only stayed for a couple nights. However, there is so much to do and all the pools had several life guards. The room was very clean and and our view was amazing. My daughter loved to meet several characters while staying there.
Here is the infinity pool at Aulani.
Here you see my husband, youngest daughter and myself swimming in the beach in front of Aulani.
Here we went sightseeing all over the island.
Every morning, while my family slept, I would wake up and take long walks along side the beach at 6 am. I know, I sound crazy out of my mind; however, I am one that does not want to sleep in while in vacation. I feel like there is no time to lose and we may never go back to those destinations. Well, let me tell you, that those long walks along side of Koolina beaches, watching the sunrise and hearing birds sing, was absolutely amazing! At times, while I was taking video of the Aulani property, a rainbow was displayed in the sky. Amazing.
In the evenings, my husband and I would walk this same path to watch the stars above the sky. There are no words to describe the peace we felt. The only thing I wash is that the food was not so expensive, but that is the case in all of Hawaii. Other than that, it is a magnificent place to visit. I always said when I was a little girl, that I wanted to go to Hawaii. Thank God, I got to go and now recommending to you lovely people. If you have any questions, please advise.
Hope you enjoy our family pictures so you can get a glimpse of Oahu. Hawaii is always a great idea to take your family!
These pictures below were taken in front of the Disney Aulani.