Your Time in Hawai'i: Advice From a Local

Whether you’re lucky enough to vacation in Honolulu, Hawai’i, a heart-eyed dreamer wishfully planning a getaway, or even a fellow local looking for something new to do, we’ve gathered some pretty cool spots worth checking out. This list will range from hole-in-the-walls to very tourist-y locations, but sorry, they’re too irresistible 💁🏻.

We rated it for you tho! 1 star [⭐️ ] being FILLED with tourists and 5 stars [⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ] are rewarded to what the unique OGs do.


Beaches

Ko'olina Lagoons [⭐️ ⭐️ ]

There’s 4 of em. You should know that parking can be a little tight, there are no lifeguards on duty, and the lagoons are man-made, BUT they’re always so darn clean and picture-perfect.

a beauty! (via @hawaiiteetimes) 

a beauty! (via @hawaiiteetimes

this is a LOOK. (via @non.stagram)

this is a LOOK. (via @non.stagram)

c'mon, that lens flare tho. (via @likely_k)

c'mon, that lens flare tho. (via @likely_k)

Like, um, WOW.

Diamond Head Rd. + Beach Rd. [⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ]

Down Beach Rd. off of Diamond Head Rd. is a little-known gem. There’s only parallel parking on one side of the road, but there’s rarely a soul on the beach. There’s palm trees and a white wall at the perfect angle for some pictures with all the right aesthetics you could look for.

(via @immnikki)

(via @immnikki)

(via @mai.alicia)

Cockroach Cove [⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ]

Contrary to the not-so-appealing name of this location, it is an extremely appealing place to be. There are rocks to climb, mini caves to explore, and a section of beach to swim in.

picturesque, or what? (via @chadjbuchanan)

picturesque, or what? (via @chadjbuchanan)

um, is this a dream? (via @saltthesoul)

um, is this a dream? (via @saltthesoul)

Activities

The Republik [⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ]

A very hip and intimate venue often for all ages with an accompanying adult. Plus, artists are usually able to make a vacation out of their time here, leaving them relaxed and in a great mood to put on a good show.

@kaskade doing his thang. (via @daylinpelletier)

@kaskade doing his thang. (via @daylinpelletier)

it's even covered in badass art. (via @miketenga)

it's even covered in badass art. (via @miketenga)

@alltimelow's energy is unreal. (via @jointherepublik)

@alltimelow's energy is unreal. (via @jointherepublik)

Mt. Tantalus [⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ]

Amaaaazing view both during the day and at night. Spend some time up here, or ask around, and maybe you’ll even be able to find an area to picnic on or a “treehouse” to climb up to 😉.

now THAT'S proof of a good day. (via @alwaysanyamindd)

now THAT'S proof of a good day. (via @alwaysanyamindd)

wasn't lying about that view. (via @ayaka_wakao)

wasn't lying about that view. (via @ayaka_wakao)

sketchy treehouse to climb, but quite worth it (via @immnikki)

sketchy treehouse to climb, but quite worth it (via @immnikki)

Wa'ahila Ridge [⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ]

Get lost in this seemingly enchanted forest. Pictures here during golden hour are, well, golden. There’s hiking options, picnic areas, or even paths for a nice walk.

Hikes

Manoa Falls [⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ]

Watch out for those evil mosquitoes and the slippery mud, but this hike is one of the easiest on the island. It’s surrounded with plant life, so it’s shady for the most part.

a hike AND yoga? sign us up. (via @sunawinmerci)

a hike AND yoga? sign us up. (via @sunawinmerci)

4 letters: C-U-T-E. (via @microadventurefamily)

4 letters: C-U-T-E. (via @microadventurefamily)

climb higher at your own risk. (via @hawaiisbestphotos)

climb higher at your own risk. (via @hawaiisbestphotos)

Maunawili Falls [⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ]

No memories of this one being extremely difficult or anything; it’s a little longer but BOY OH BOY, swimming in the pool and jumping off the falls is so much fun.

FUN, we tell ya. (via @mikeydaroza)

FUN, we tell ya. (via @mikeydaroza)

fun AND pretty. (via @_mermaidlilly)

fun AND pretty. (via @_mermaidlilly)

Lanikai Pillboxes [⭐️ ⭐️ ]

This hike up to the pillbox is very doable. It reaches that fantastic view of Kailua and those Mokulua Islands that would be undoubtedly easy to find all over Instagram.

try or don't try this at home, up to ya. (via @__niki22)

try or don't try this at home, up to ya. (via @__niki22)

very IG-worthy (via @cosmoscompanions)

very IG-worthy (via @cosmoscompanions)

Makapu'u Tidepools [⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ]

Off the beaten path of the regular Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail is a path down to tidepools. Some nice people marked rocks along the way with arrows, so you don’t lose track. Avoid stepping on the marine life, especially ‘wana, or sea urchin, and don’t underestimate the high tides, but this spot is stunning. It never gets old even after going too many times to count.

"crystal clear" (via @elsakurosu)

"crystal clear" (via @elsakurosu)

Food

Diamond Head Cove Health Bar [⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ]

So you’ve been told that Hawai’i has great acai? Well, we do. There are always debates going on about which location is best, but you’ll find many agreeing on Health Bar’s. Try their food menu too, like the seared ahi--BOMB.

Mana bowl (via @manaca.10)

Mana bowl (via @manaca.10)

that BOMB seared ahi (via @pajamadaze)

that BOMB seared ahi (via @pajamadaze)

La Tour [⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ]

A local business that has grown to three locations on the island of Oahu. What started as a great reputation for their macarons turned into a large following for their Asian fusion cuisine. Not lying, everything ordered thus far has made my tummy happy (including but not limited to the Chicken Pesto Panini, French Dip Sandwich, Cheesesteak Crunch, Chicken Pesto Flatbread, and Fish + Frites).

via (@latourcafe)

Zippy's [⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ]

This is where the locals eat. It is what the college students who left home miss eating. 10/10 would recommend their Chili or Korean Fried Chicken.

we're drooling. (via @zippys)

we're drooling. (via @zippys)

Wing Shave Ice & Ice Cream [⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️]

Hawai’i is filled with talented small businesses, this being one of them. There’s some crazy flavors including “Pizza,” but a personal fave would have to be the “Avocado Coconut.” The ice cream is made in small batches, so shucks, no samples and you better choose carefully.

"Kāne'ohe vanilla bean" (via @wingicecream)

"Kāne'ohe vanilla bean" (via @wingicecream)

"black sezzme" (via @wingicecream)

"black sezzme" (via @wingicecream)

Pillbox Pharmacy [⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ]

A huge ice cream scoop for $2. ‘Nuff said.

actually, make that three scoops, plz (via @yyuzuyy)

actually, make that three scoops, plz (via @yyuzuyy)


TBH, locals become bitter when tourists are disrespectful. Whenever you’re in Hawai’i, whomever you may be, respect the land and others around you. Any time spent in Hawai’i is precious, and we suggest spending it wisely at these locations. Never stop explorin’, UNUM fam.

  • OH, and last minute Dos and Don’ts at least while you’re here:

    • THEY ARE CALLED ‘SLIPPAHS’ -  not flip-flops, sandals, thongs, etc.

    • Don’t walk with shoes in the house unless you wanna upset grandma.

    • Bring fresh poké to a party, and you’ll be the life of that party.

    • DON’T HONK YOUR HORN, I REPEAT,  DO NOT HONK YOUR HORN

      • EVERRRR, even if the traffic is driving you NUTZ. We drive peacefully here; don’t get yo’ booty kicked back to where you came from.

    • Spam (like the canned meat) is everywhere, and no, it isn’t disgusting! It’s amazing - simply grab a spam musubi and both your meal and your life is complete. Just sayin’.

Dillon Morgan