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Destination: Hawaii


Fun facts about Hawaii:  There are only 13 letters in the Hawaiian language.  Aloha is the greeting for hello and good-bye. 

In early October, my cousin and I spent a fabulous week in Waikiki, Hawaii. If you’ve never been, I highly recommend it!  

My cousin and I at Duke's restaurant in Hawaii

Coming from New Jersey, it was a long 10 hour journey but luckily I was able to travel on a direct flight from Newark Airport (EWR). 

Travel inspires much of my creative pursuits and this trip was no exception! Below you will find a sampling of inspirational photos.   I hope my suggested itinerary for sightseeing, dining and shopping inspires you as well.

Waikiki Beach, Hawaii


Day 1:

  • Start off the day with a walk on the beach followed by breakfast at Duke’s - they have a fabulous buffet breakfast. If you prefer ordering from the menu, go upstairs to their sister location, Hula Grill
  • Visit Pearl Harbor National Memorial.  It is easy to take an Uber there.  It is a free site though there is a $1 service charge to reserve tickets. I highly recommend you reserve a ticket as they allow a limited number of people to enter daily.  Also, all bags are prohibited and must be checked in at the storage facility near the front entrance for a fee.  Cameras, cell phones and wallets are allowed.  For a great history lesson, watch the movie screening, which shows about every 30 minutes or so.

Pearl Harbor National Memorial, Hawaii

Day 2:

  • Explore the Polynesian Cultural Center.  We took the Gateway Buffet Package which includes a self-guided experience through the 6 island villages, Gateway Buffet, and seating at that “HA Breath of Life” evening show.  The entire center is a wonderful learning experience about the different Polynesian islands, the history and culture.  There are live workshops and shows at each island. In fact I learned to make a woven fish from coconut leaves at one of the workshops!  And the evening show tells a beautiful story with amazing dancing, costumes, and music.

Polynesian Cultural Center, Hawaii

Learning how to make a fish using coconut leaves, at the Polynesian Cultural Center

Day 3:

  • Visit Liliha bakery - a spot where many locals go for breakfast.
  • Take the Blue Line Waikiki Trolley and explore the coastline and Diamond Head. This line makes the following stops:  Duke Kahanamoku statue, Diamond Head, Halona Blow Hole and Sea Life Park.

Diamond Head, Hawaii

Halona Blow Hole, Hawaii

Hop on-Hop off bus tour to Halona Blow Hole, Hawaii

Day 4 and 5:

  • Though we went to the beach each day (except for Day 2), we reserved Day 4 and 5 for additional beach time, shopping and relaxation.  Here are some suggestions:
    • Visit the Royal Hawaiian Center - lots of high-end shops, great place to buy unique artwork, gifts, souvenirs.  They have daily classes and cultural entertainment which are free.  Make sure you check their events calendar. We really enjoyed the Lei Making class.
    • If you enjoy arts and crafts, you might want to check out Hawaii Handweavers Hui. They host workshops, demonstrations, art exhibitions. 
    • International Marketplace is an open air shopping, dining and entertainment destination in the heart of Waikiki. 
    • ABC Stores - is a local Hawaiian owned shop - and you’ll find these on every corner! It’s a great place to buy the essential items and also souvenirs, summer dresses, t-shirts etc.
    • For the best shortbread cookies, visit the Honolulu Cookie Company. I’m so happy that they ship to the mainland because I will definitely be ordering more! 
    • I discovered a local designer Nina Thai and her resort-wear brand, Angels By The Sea.  Her line of men, women and children’s clothing are uniquely hand-crafted in Hawaii. I love the dress that I purchased and look forward to shopping there again!

I attended a Lei Making Class at the Royal Hawaiian Center

A beautiful Hawaiian sunset

A walk on Waikiki Beach, Hawaii

Love this sight of all these surfboards parked, ready to go - Hawaii!

Day 6: Enjoy a morning walk on the beach, have brunch and then head back to airport for your flight back home!

For more highlights from my trip, be sure to check out my Instagram page.


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