6 Things You Must Plan for Your Hawaiian Getaway

Although many travelers don’t want to get pigeonholed into doing touristy things, there are must-sees in every destination. After all, would you go to Paris without seeing the Eiffel Tower, or Cairo without seeing the pyramids? Of course not!

On your Hawaiian getaway, there are definitely pristine beaches and fun activities you must work into your plans. Don’t worry; these things won’t bust your budget!

Then again, if you’d rather let someone else handle the details, freeing you up to concentrate only on having fun, look to Tom Barefoot’s Tours. Since 1975, they have been a trusted way to book Hawaiian tours, activities and adventures. Check them out here:

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They even have a low-price guarantee so you know you’ll save when you book with them. That means you’ll have money for more tropical fruit and rum cocktails!

With that in mind, let’s review six uniquely Hawaiian experiences to enjoy on your dream vacation:

1. Kayak at Kailua Beach

Just around the corner from Lanikai Beach in gorgeous Kailua, located on the east side of the island of Oahu, you’ll find a hot spot for playing in the water. Kailua Beach is known for its great kayaking, as well as windsurfing, sailing and canoeing.

A relaxing, low-key adventure sport, kayaking is a fabulous option for those who would like to get out on the water but aren’t the most athletic. There are numerous rental places in Kailua to find a slender boat to enjoy paddling. Also, since the waters are so calm, kayaking up and down Kailua Beach is a piece of cake.

2. Dance to a Hawaiian Band

The ukulele is a staple instrument in any Hawaiian ensemble worth its pink salt. There are dozens of bands playing at any given moment on the island, so check with your concierge or online to see what events will be playing during your stay.

Chances are that you’ll be able to find a band that’s playing at a bar or lounge where cocktails and other libations are ready at hand. Check out the downtown Honolulu area and Waikiki for great dancing opportunities.

Many of the major hotels in Waikiki host Hawaiian bands during their evening entertainment. Usually, these performances are located in the lobby or bar area, which are open to the public.

3. Watch Daredevil Surfers at Ehukai Beach

Also known as the Banzai Pipeline, Ehukai Beach is infamous for being one of the most dangerous surf spots in the world, where tubes break over a sharp reef no more than a few feet from the surface.

Visitors might not want take a crack at surfing here (unless they want to leave with a cracked skull), but watching thrill-seekers and professional surfers cruise the giant waves is a relaxing pastime.

If you find yourself in Hawaii in the winter, know that the North Shore, where Ehukai is located, is famous for its supremely high surf and hosts competitions during cooler months. While very dangerous for regular swimmers, professional surfers love these waves.

4. Surf Waimea Bay

If you value your life at all, you might not want to surf Waimea Bay in the winter, when notoriously monstrous waves stalk the coast. In the summer, however, the swells subside enough for great surfing, even for beginners.

Taking a dip in Waimea Bay is a wonderful must-do for all visitors to Hawaii. Even if you don’t, or can’t, swim, you can wade a foot or two into the water just to test it out. You’ll appreciate the warm waters of the shores and the soft sand underfoot.

The Bay has terrific public facilities, including bathrooms and showers, which round out a perfect beach trip.

5. Snack at a Japanese Izakaya

Often cited as having some of the best and freshest sushi outside of Japan, Oahu boasts wonderful Japanese izakayas, or taverns, which serve up small plates fit for grazing as patrons sip their sake and beer.

The low-key atmosphere of an izakaya can get a little more rowdy later in the night, but so might you after a few carafes of sake! This is terrific way to mingle with locals, especially on packed weekend nights when everybody is out and about.

Don’t worry if you don’t like seafood; izakayas are known for serving other foods that go well with beer or sake, such as fried delicacies, yakitori (grilled meat on a stick), braised meat and other non-fish items.

6. Have a Mai Tai at the Mai Tai Bar

Who can imagine a Hawaiian vacation without a drink in hand? You drinkers out there will definitely have to get yourself a mai tai, the iconic drink of Hawaii.

Consisting of rum, crème de almond, triple sec, pineapple juice and sweet and sour mix, this delightful drink is ubiquitous on the islands.

Although you can order a mai tai at any reputable bar in Hawaii, a local favorite is the Mai Tai Bar located inside the Ala Moana Shopping Center. You might think a bar inside a mall is lame, but this one gets really crowded around happy hour!

In addition to great cocktails, the bar features a good menu of pupus, as the residents call appetizers.

If you seize these opportunities, you’ll be able to leave satisfied that you took full advantage of your vacation—especially if you also hit up the other must-do activities in the Hawaiian Islands. Don’t spend your entire vacation sitting on the beach; experience Hawaii!