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Off the Grid on Oahu-Touring the Island

We posted a few weeks back on two of our favorite “off-the-grid” O’ahu experiences, courtesy of Dan Scroggins of The Real Hawaii. Here are two more:

Yokohama Bay

There is no question that this beautiful beach qualifies for “off the beaten path.” Tourists typically do not spend much time on the west side of O’ahu, where Yokohama Bay is located (not to mention it is ALL the way at the end of the road).

There are lots of amazing beaches in the world, what makes the beaches in Hawaii so spectacular is that not only do they have nice sand and blue waters, but also stunning mountains creating a wonderful backdrop, the case at Yokohama.

This area of the island is HOT, so make sure you apply sunscreen and drink lots of water. The shorebreaks here can be pretty powerful so make sure to ask the lifeguards if it is safe to swim. I would suggest coming here in the afternoon and sticking around for sunset, you will be glad you did. As you watch the sunset you will say to yourself, “wow, the west side really is the best side.”

If you are up for it, from here you can take a 2.5-mile hike to Kaena point (the northwestern most tip of the island) where you can check out the albatross and often spot Hawaiian monk seals.

Waiahole Poi Factory

I always tell my clients that there really is no better way to experience culture than to try the food. Much of the food in Hawaii is considered “local food” which consists of plate lunches (meat, rice and mac salad), Loco Moco, Poke (raw fish), Spam musubi and on and on. Local food is a result of the early plantation days when the Hawaiians, Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese and Filipinos came together to work the fields and share cooking techniques.

Another type of food is known as “Hawaiian” or “traditional food” which dates back to ancient times. Waiahole Poi Factory is along the windward side of O’ahu out in the country with amazing views of Kualoa and Chinaman’s hat across the road. They serve Kalua Pig, Lau Lau, Squid Luau, Lomi Salmon, Haupia and of course Poi. If you don’t know what these foods already it’s time you paid Waiahole Poi Factory a visit, oh and, eat the Poi okay?

Poi Factory

Poi Factory

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Tour the Islands

When most people come to visit O’ahu, they want to check out the most popular sites and experiences—after all, they are popular for a reason! But there’s another kind of traveler out there; the adventurer. They want something off-the-beaten track that they can #humblebrag to all their buddies when they get home (or on Facebook).

We knew just the person to ask – Dan Scroggins of The Real Hawaii.His company creates custom packages for travelers to O’ahu, all ages and activity levels.

Here are two of his top choices, with two more to follow in our next blog post.

Spitting Cave

This is one of my favorite places on the island of O’ahu. The beauty and danger along these cliffs add to the allure of the place; Google search “spitting cave” and you’re likely to find reports of deaths occurring at this site, but don’t let that deter you if you know to be careful. When the surf is right, the waves crash against the back of an ocean cave and water spews out as though the cave is spitting.

The area offers expansive ocean views; to the northwest you can see the iconic Diamondhead, and on a clear day to the southeast you can spot west Maui, Moloka’i and Lana’i. It is also not uncommon to see turtles or monk seals swimming in the waters below. Added bonus: visit this place early in the morning and it’s very likely that you will have it all to yourself.

If the 65-ft. jump entices you, just keep the following quote in mind “[Jump] if you will, but remember that courage and strength are naught without prudence, and that a momentary negligence may destroy the happiness of a lifetime. Do nothing in haste; look well to each step; and from the beginning think what may be the end” -Edward Whymper. There are numerous plaques in the area dedicated to those who made their final leap into the waters of spitting cave.

Kapena Falls

One thing you should know about O`ahu is that it is not well known for its waterfalls. Actually there are none that you can just pull off the side of the road and say “look, it’s a waterfall.” You must hike to every single one of them; O’ahu wants you to work for it.

With that being said, this hidden gem does not really qualify as a hike. It is tucked below the Pali Highway–and behind a cemetery–but there is so much to love about this place. As you start on the path and round the first corner it is like you have stepped into another world; an amazing jungle world.

On the left are massive boulders (some of which have ancient Hawaiian petroglyphs carved into them) and on your right is a beautiful stream with many little waterfalls and pools. After a few minutes you arrive at Kapena Falls. Many scenes from “LOST” and a scene from the movie “The Rundown”, starring none other than Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, were filmed in the area. I really love this place and never tire of taking people here.

Spitting Cave

Kapena Falls

Kapena Falls


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CLIMB Works Keana Farms Zipline

I don’t know about you, but when I get a chance to do something cool with my kids, I jump at it! In this case, ziplining with my daughter, I literally did jump… Many times! Fortunately, I was well harnessed in my zipline gear.

The CLIMB Works tour takes about 3 hours and includes an ATV ride on the way to some breathtaking views of the North Shore.

CLIMB Works is a class act. Everything about their facility was top notch. I’m not a couch potato, but I’m not “Mr. Outdoors” either and I had no problem whatsoever*.

The construction of the zipline towers was first rate. I never felt nervous about my safety. In addition, the staff was amazing. They were the right blend of funny and serious. They were also great to share about the history of the surrounding “working farm”, as well as great care that was taken to engineer and construct the zipline runs without impacting the grounds.

My daughter and I were part of a group of 8 and varied in age and experience. It was unanimous, everyone had an amazing time!

I did a quick survey of the group and several had previously done zipline at other locations and to a person all agreed that CLIMB Works is an A+ activity.

Personally, I went on a zipline tour in Cancun, Mexico and I would rate CLIMB Works as significantly better. So if you’ve always wanted to try ziplining, this is the place!

*Note: prior to participating in this activity, you should review the safety information, fitness level recommendations, and participation requirements on the Climbworks website.

Climbworks Zipline Hawaii
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Anahulu’s Shaved Ice at Tropical Rush

My first trip to Hawaii was on Maui in 1994 and therefore, my first Hawaiian shaved ice was at Toby’s Shaved Ice. It was awesome! It became a daily event for our group. Since then no Hawaiian vacation is complete without a large size shaved ice.

Recently I came across Anahulu’s Shaved Ice by the old bridge over the Anahulu River at Tropical Rush. I’ve been several times and have rarely waited in line despite the low prices.

Jessica from Virginia (see photo) delivered a home run and I left happy! Yes, I literally ate that whole thing and only got a little bit on my swimming trunks!

Tropical Rush has a great clothing selection, gifts galore and rentals of snorkel, sup, kayak, surf board, and body/boogie boards.

Anahulu’s Shaved Ice is a definite cool stop to add to your itinerary

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Hawaii Shark Encounters

This experience flat out rocked. It was a picture perfect day heading out from the Haleiwa Small Boat Harbor on the North Shore of Oahu. During the 25 minute ride to the diving site, while soaking up the view of the shoreline, I said to one of my fellow tour members that “this sure beats working” and she replied, “You are working!”

Did I say this was awesome?

We arrived at the shark cage location and the sharks began to gather upon hearing the boat. This took me back to the first time I understood that there was such a thing as a shark cage in 1975 while watching the movie Jaws. If you are curious, check out this clip from the movie.

Our guides from Hawaii Shark Encounters, Richard and Kaleo were great at telling us all about the history of the tour and important safety information while interspersing some fun.

The screen capture above is from the optional Go Pro camera I rented during the tour. Can you believe it?

I was able to go down into the water in the cage and with snorkel gear and see sharks in the ocean. Amazing doesn’t begin to explain the experience.

Check out the website link on Seek Spot and go to the Hawaii Shark Encounters website. There is a lot of great information and photos.

As Suzanne from Denton, Texas came out of the water she exclaimed that this tour was “the best money I’ve spent” during her week on Oahu.

Hawaii Shark Encounters tour gets high marks for the tour itself but also for fun, safety and ease of reservations.

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Hiking Waimea Valley


No wonder people love to come here for special events such as weddings, romantic strolls, or other family gatherings.

In all my fitness tracker indicated about 4500 steps on the round trip. There are also plenty of benches and other places to stop and rest and just absorb the beauty of nature.

The big payoff of course is at the end of the path which is the Waimea waterfall. Free life vests are required. See me to the right. How refreshing!

Once you return there is a great gift shop, a snack bar and for those wanting more of a sit down meal, The Proud Peacock restaurant offers an excellent menu at reasonable prices.

Admission prices are around $16 for adults and $12 for children. It was absolutely worth it. Note, they also offer those with walking difficulties a golf cart like trolley for an additional fee. If nature and activity is a priority for you, Waimea Valley is definitely a must do!

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Monthly Hawaiian Music Series

In January 2016, the Hawaiian Tourism Authority has organized the Ahamele as part of the Monthly Hawaiian Music Series. This is a FREE concert event held on the main lawn of historic Waimea Valley. The Ahamele will feature live entertainment from the Waimea Valley ‘Ohana Band, Ryan Tang, Mokuleia, The Peter Apo Band and Jerry Santos & friends. This is just one of the many events that will be held at Waimea Valley for all to enjoy.

Event: ‘Ahamele: Monthly Hawaiian Music Series
Date: January 30, 2016 12n – 5pm
Location: Waimea Valley
59-864 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa, HI 96712
(808) 638-7766
Cost: FREE

Waimea Valley ‘Ohana Band
Ryan Tang & Ku‘uipo Kumukahi
The Peter Apo Band
Jerry Santos and Friends

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Wahi Pana (storied place)

Wahi Pana (storied place)

Waimea Valley is a rich and culturally significant wahi pana (storied place) with more than 700 years of Hawaiian history.

Hi`ipaka LLC manages Waimea Valley with a mission to preserve and perpetuate the human cultural and natural resources through stewardship for future generations. Hi`ipaka’s work includes educating all who visit the Valley about the history of this special place as well as Hawaiian culture.

Music and dance is an important part of Hawaiian culture and over the past three years the Waimea Valley Summer Concert Series has provided enjoyment and pleasure for many people. The series includes concerts in the months of June, July and August and was established to help our local community members and visitors to reconnect with the Valley to enjoy its many treasures as well as supporting the up and coming musicians in the community. Check out for additional information.

Location: Waimea Valley
59-864 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa, HI 96712
(808) 638-7766

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The fun begins well before trick-or-treating in Hawaii with many activities to choose from the weekend prior to Halloween. Family activities and adventurous date ideas to follow…



Gunstock Fall Fun Day at Gunstock Ranch in Kahuku on Oahu’s North Shore will take place on Saturday, October 24 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. ($10 children; $5 adults). The horses will be dressed up for Halloween ready to take keiki for a pony ride. There will also be a hayride and petting zoo as well as the free games and contests. Outside vendors will be selling food and offering additional activities that the kids will love. See more about Fall Fun Day here:



Sport your Halloween costume to Hawaii’s one and only waterpark at Wet’n’Wild Hawaii on Saturday, October 24, and the first 250 kids (ages 3 – 12) at the door before 11:30 a.m. in their Halloween costumes will get in FREE! Children 2 years old & under are always FREE and adults can receive 50 percent off regular admission by donating 2 grocery bags full of gently used clothing at any ticket window. These goods collected will be donated to the United Cerebral Palsy Association. Wet’n’Wild is open from 10:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. and one winning keiki with the best original costume will be chosen that morning to be awarded a 2016 Gold Season Pass! See more about Kids Free Admission Day at Wet’n’Wild Hawaii here:




Spend a day at Aloun Farms picking the perfect pumpkin for the 15th Annual Pumpkin Festival October 24-25 from 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Enjoy a free hayride, pick other crops like corn and sunflowers, and peruse the farmer’s market. Entertainment will be provided throughout the day and local food vendors will be plentiful! See more about the pumpkin picking here:


12080372_10153027494396510_2845617461938511223_oBOOS N BOOZE

Did you know that Ireland is typically known as the birthplace of Halloween? For those who are kid-free, pay homage to Irish tradition in both the holiday spirit and love of libations at Hallowballoo on Saturday, October 31, a multi-event street festival in Chinatown with the main stage at the Hawaii State Art Museum. A free trolley service will run from Alakea to Nuuanu streets from 8 – 11 p.m. The street festival and Hallowbaloo Ball are from 5:30 -10 p.m. while Club Hallowbaloo will go until 2 a.m. at NEXTDOOR, Bar 35, Downbeat Lounge, Manifest, Fresh Cafe, The ARTS at Marks Garage, Scarlet Honolulu and Square Barrels. See more about Hallowballoo festivities here:


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Kitesurfing on Oahu…

Oahu, the birthplace of surfing, has also given rise to a new ocean sport which has quickly gained popularity. Kitesurfing, also known to some as kiteboarding, is a way of combining the sports of surfing, paragliding, wakeboarding, windsurfing, and even gymnastics! Requiring skill, courage, endurance, and agility, kitesurfing is an ocean extreme sport which is both challenging and exhilarating.

There are lots of places on Oahu that will rent you equipment and give you lessons. Novices can learn the basics pretty quickly, but the experienced kitesurfer can go up to 40 mph, as they skim across the water, and can launch over 30 feet into the air, doing flips and other acrobatics!

Basically, a surfer is pulled across the water holding onto ropes attached to a big kite, similar to those used in paragliding, while standing on a surfboard. You don’t need waves but you do need wind and Oahu has some spots that are a kitesurfer’s dream!

Kailua, on Oahu’s windward coast, draws kitesurfers from around the world. It’s sandy beaches, warm waters, and nearly constant trade winds are the perfect formula. Oahu’s North Shore also offers some popular spots such as Sunset and Mokuleia Beaches, but the waves there are often much bigger and the action is for experienced wave riders only!

The wonderful thing about kitesurfing is that you don’t have to actually get out in the ocean and do it to enjoy it! You may want to just relax on the beach while you watch the graceful kites, with their beautiful bright colors against the blue of sky and sea, and the amazing acrobatic leaps of the kitesurfers. It is a colorful and impressive show so be sure to check out the sport of kitesurfing on Oahu, and maybe even give it a try!

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