Hawaiian Travel Highlights: Oahu

BlogHer Original Post

On the leeward side of the island, head toward the north shore and check out these spots:

The Royal Birthing Stones are amazing. When I told my daughter and son-in-law about this spot, they didn't believe it existed. Or that it was a tourist destination. It's in every tour guide I read but it's probably easily overlooked because it's a little quirky. I'm glad we went -- and sacrificed a onesie to the gods.

Close by is the Dole Plantation -- we went for the Dole Whip, though you can find it in other locations around Oahu. (In Kailua, I recommend the YogurtMama -- get the Dole Whip and add popping balls - you won't be disappointed.) I think this is the best place to try it for the first time (for those of you who are like me and have never tried it at Disney theme parks on the mainland.) People love the pineapple maze but we didn't take the time for that -- maybe on our next trip, we will.

Once you reach the North Shore, visit a shrimp truck in Haleiwa. I recommend Giovanni's and prefer the hot & spicy but you might want to take the advice of others and order the scampi with the hot sauce on the side. Then, stop at Matsumoto's for Shave Ice, the line will be long but it moves quickly and it's yummy. (There's free parking behind the North Shore Marketplace, near the CVS and the walk is easy -- much easier than trying to find parking at or right next to Matsumoto's, particularly on a weekend or a holiday.)

The Polynesian Cultural Center is fascinating, in part because it's run by volunteers from BYU. TW and I had the Ambassador package and a BYU student named Kelsey showed us around the park. She was very sweet and I'm glad my first visit to the park included my very own guide. The park isn't big but shows about each island run about thirty minutes long. Since we arrived around 90 minutes after it opened, we only saw a few shows before it was time to for our luau and the evening show, Ha: Breath of Life. Fire dancing, hula, a creation story -- it was a great show and I'm really glad we spent the day here. It was worth the very expensive tickets.

Also on north shore, is the Turtle Bay resort. This is gorgeous beach and a nice place to stop for a bite to eat. My son-in-law took me and my daughter there for brunch on Mother's Day - the food was excellent. We sat right on the beach and watched the paddle boarders. It was a great way to spend our Mother's Day.

The Donkey Ball Chocolate outlet on the way back from the PCC and Turtle Bay is worth a stop, too. Get the fire balls or the blue balls, skip the salty balls -- everyone was disappointed with those.

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