Once Hawaii reopened for tourism flights there were still incredibly cheap and thanks to our endless amount of Southwest points they were actually completely free for us! So pretty much a no brainer to head to Hawaii! There were lots of hoops to jump through first though and I go into detail about them HERE and because of those hoops we spent the first several day of this trip in Northern California which you can read about HERE
As soon as we landed in Hawaii and got approved for our quarantine exemption we picked up a rental car and headed to Marriot Beach Club Ko Olina. Our Airbnb house wasn’t going to be ready until the next day and we knew the kids would enjoy the pool at the Marriot resort so we took advantage of our Marriot points and stayed one night there for free. I’m glad that it was free because it was horrible! Don’t get me wrong, our 2 bedroom villa was spacious and beautiful but there were some crazy COVID restrictions that we weren’t prepared for! You had to make reservations to be in the pool and you could only be in the pool for 2 hours a day. Yep, 2 hours for the whole day! The pool reservation spots filled up too so if you didn’t make them a day in advance you may be out of luck for pool time! We weren’t able to get pool reservations for the pool with the slide but we were able to get them for another pool. The beach was accessible without reservations and it’s a really nice shallow cove that’s protected by a rock wave brake so great for little kids.
The next morning grabbed breakfast at Eggs n Things which is right next to the Marriot and Disney’s Aulani resort. They had awesome breakfast food and we ended up eating there twice.
Next we headed to Pearl Harbor. We had been told by multiple people that we would not like Pearl Harbor but Andrew is a huge WWII history buff so it was definitely a must do for us. Unfortunately everyone was right and we were really disappointed in Pearl Harbor. I’ll let you make your own decisions about it but it did not live up to the high hopes we had of it being a great memorial for all the people who lost their lives there. Fortunately our kids didn’t understand and they thought it was great. We also picked our own pearls at Pearl Harbor!
After Pearl Harbor we drove across the island to Haleiwa where our Airbnb was. Haleiwa is an awesome little surfing town with tons of restaurants and food trucks. Bad news though, our Airbnb was awful! I mean really awful! It had the beautiful views that were pictured on the listing but it was so dirty! We definitely couldn’t stay there so I immediately got on the phone with Disney’s Aulani resort to get us a couple nights there and Andrew found us another house to rent for the rest of our stay! Side note: I did message the Airbnb host about the dirty house and encouraged him to go look at the property himself since he uses an outside cleaning service. He did end up driving over to the property the next day and refunding our money! You can see the picture below the house had an amazing location in Haleiwa right on the beach!
I’ve been wanting to go to Disney’s Aulani resort for a long time now so this was a good excuse for me to get a few nights there! The splash pad did not disappoint for our kids! They loved every second of the splash pad and the pool areas! I’m actually going to dedicate a post just to Aulani because there’s lots of info packed into it!
Finally we got to our new Airbnb, got settled in and really got to dig into Oahu for our last 5 days! Our new Airbnb house was amazing! Seriously spectacular! It was right on a completely isolated sandy beach, huge and sparkling clean! It was the perfect island home base for us and we spent many afternoons just enjoying the beach and each other. We even got to watch a pod of humpback whales from the back deck 2 different days!
We decided to check out Waimea Falls one day. It had rained a lot the day before so the water was pretty muddy and freezing but it’s an easy hike to the falls and actually an all paved trail, we even saw people with strollers. The other waterfall we wanted to visit was closed due to the heavy rains because it’s more rugged terrain.
We really enjoyed the food in Hawaii and especially all the food trucks! We had some of the most amazing food from the food trucks on the side of the road! We also enjoyed all the chickens everywhere! The kids felt right at home with the chickens wandering around while we ate!
Of course we had to visit the Dole Plantation because it’s something everyone says you have to do on Oahu but it was a major disappointment. May not be to most people but as farmers ourselves we saw a lot of stuff that shocked us.
Our last day on Oahu we hiked up Diamond Head Crater which is an old volcano. This hike is intense. The path is rough, narrow and steep with a set of steep stairs at the very top. It’s not shaded and hot too so be sure to wear sunscreen and bring water. The views at the top are amazing though! Perfect views of Waikiki beach and Honolulu! We made it to the top wearing a baby and a toddler and with 3 other little walking so you can do it too! There’s a great little park at the bottom with bathrooms, tables, shade and a food truck!
Our Hawaii trip had a lot of hiccups but overall we enjoyed it. Oahu is very very commercialized and touristy. Next time we visit Hawaii we will definitely try Maui!