My Experience Visiting Hawaii

My Experience Visiting Hawaii

Since I was a kid, I always dreamed of visiting Hawaii.  In high school and college, I watched videos about Hawaii and followed people that lived there.  I was convinced when I finally got to visit, I would instantly fall in love and stay there forever.


Well, two years ago I got my chance.  Some expiring flight credits and a cheap flight later, I was planning my trip.  I went through all of my travel bucket lists looking for everything that was in Hawaii.  I booked flights to island hop, and excursions of all kinds.  I was incredibly excited to finally be able to take the trip of my dreams.


I flew into Kona, and spent the first few days on the big island.  I visited volcanoes and parks, beaches of every color, and took a tour of a salt farm.  It was beautiful- driving around the island I saw dozens of different landscapes, luscious plants, and bright flowers.  But… I was surprised.  It wasn’t pulling me in.


A small black sand beach viewed from above, bright green plants surrounding the area

After spending the first few days on the Big Island, I hopped over to O’ahu for a few days.  I did a few hikes, visited the Dole Pineapple Plantation, and toured the city of Honolulu.  Near my hotel, I found a giant Asian grocery store with amazing food.  I ate there every day!  On the north side of the island, I visited farm stands with fresh sugarcane, papaya, and coconut.  On my last day on the island, I went to Hanauma Bay- oh what a place!  Ten out of ten, would recommend.  I saw tons of fish I had only ever seen on tv or in fishtanks at the pet store.  I was in awe.


The second half of my trip, I changed my plans.  Originally I thought I would want more time on the Big Island, but after three days I knew I wanted to change that plan.  So instead, I visited Maui and Kaua’i.  On Maui I booked a tour on the Road to Hana, drove over to the west side of the island, and laid on a beach in the south.  I was there during the dry season, but was surprised to see just how dry some parts of the island were- the mountain to the west looked like it belonged in Fort Davis, Texas.  The restaurants I visited in Maui were rather low quality, and apart from driving to every beach and just laying there, there wasn’t a whole lot to do.  Maui felt like a resort only destination.


Ashley is holding a black volcanic rock in the shape of a heart

My last two days were spent in Kaua’i, and it was my favorite of all the islands.  I rented an airbnb in Poipu and drove up into the Waimea Canyon State Park to take pictures and hike.  That was another ten out of ten.  I had some really good food at Keoki’s Paradise, saw a ton of chickens- think Hey Hey from Disney’s Moana- and walked around Lihue.  


Now, why didn’t I fall in love with the Rainbow State?  Well first there were the little things.  The incredibly slow speed limits and even slower drivers.  The overpriced lodging that had me stressing over my budget instead of relaxing.  The food that was hit or miss depending what island you were on.  And honestly?  While I adored the black sand beaches, when it came to the regular ones I’d rather go to Florida.  In Hawaii, they were rather small, many of them existing in these sort of small coves.  I had imagined longer beaches that would allow me to walk aimlessly for hours, as I typically do on a trip to Pensacola.  They were also very barren when it came to shells, which was disappointing.  All in all I think the biggest issue is that I visited Hawaii after already seeing so many beautiful places around the world, that it just didn’t reach my expectations for “paradise.”  


But don’t let my experience decide yours!  Here are a few tips/advice I would give to someone planning a trip to the islands:


Have you been to Hawaii?  What was your experience?




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