Spring fever is rampant and many students are ready to jump on that plane and escape to bask in the sultry island heat of Hawai’i. Here are some tips offered by kama’aina (locals from the islands) from around campus on some treasures to check out on O’ahu — the main island destination where 10 million tourists swarm every spring break. But as all kama’aina know, in order to explore real Hawai’i, get out of Waikiki and bust out that GPS:
Shark’s Cove / Pupukea Beach, Sunset: There are hundreds of species of marine life to check out the minute one sets foot into the water, so bring snorkeling gear. It is easy to navigate without the crowds of Waikiki and the waves are calm most the time. There is also a huge rock to dive off of into the deep blue ocean. There are coral reefs and rocks near the shore, so water shoes are needed.
Hukilau Beach, Laie: This is the place for those wanting to relax in a calm, quiet atmosphere, free from swarms of tourists.
Halona Beach Cove, Honolulu: This romantic beach was featured in the movies, “From Here to Eternity” and “50 First Dates.” Sea turtles and seals can easily be spotted in the crystal waters. There are also the “Stairs to Heaven” people have to walk down to access the beach, making it more remote than others.
North Shore Beaches/Makaha Beaches: The waves here are killer and at times 30 feet high. Recommended only for surfers so these are not beaches to visit for leisurely swims.
Matsumoto’s Shave Ice, Hale’iwa: Known on the island as the best place to score scrumptious shave ice (similar to snow cones) to cool off on a sweltering day. The Azuki red beans or ice cream at the bottom are among favorite specialties.
Rainbow Drive-in, Honolulu: A popular local favorite with “local grinds” — a blend of cuisine from Asian, Polynesian and Portuguese cultures.
Leonard’s Bakery, Honolulu: Leonard’s is popular for its malasadas, a fluffy, light-weight Portuguese donut without a hole. This local favorite is rolled in sugar and filled with delights such as passion fruit, guava or haupia (coconut flavor) cream.
Boots and Kimo’s, Kailua: This local favorite is popular for its banana pancakes smothered in its house made macadamia nut sauce.
Hukilau Café, Laie: This is a typical “hole in the wall” with top-notch taste in their plate lunch-style food that is hard to find anywhere else on the island.
Tida’s Grill: Kahuku: A local favorite featuring “local grinds” with the authentic island taste that is hard to find in Waikiki. Includes chicken katsu and other barbecue favorites.
Polynesian Cultural Center, Laie: The world’s largest Polynesian attraction. Tours around the villages — replicas of various South Pacific islands such as New Zealand, Tahiti and Samoa. The center offers canoe rides and dozens of demonstrations and interactions with cultural experts from the islands. Authentic Polynesian luaus are available with traditional Polynesian cuisine.
Aloha Stadium Swap Meet, Honolulu: Features over 400 vendors with nearly every type of souvenir for half the price it would cost in Waikiki.
Students Kaneyo Hirata, board member of the Pacific Island Community Center, and J.R. Degala, UAA alumnus , contributed to the list, as well as Alaska’s Na Keiki o Hawai’i Civic club president Kawehi Mahe.