If you’ve lived in Hawai’i longer than two years, I’m sure you’ve noticed by now that friends from the mainland jump at the chance to visit your humble abode.
Sometimes, you’ve done all the generic bucket list things with all the friends and you’re completely exhausted by the second wave of visitors.
They take off work, they book flights, they spend hours on Pinterest and Instagram making life decisions, like whether they want to hike Diamond Head or Koko Crater.
Amidst all their fantasizing, you’re wondering what you’re going to do with them while you’re at work because the number on your rent check or mortgage payment tells you that you can’t afford to take seven days off.
Should I leave them my car so they can explore? Should I find a friend to entertain them? How adventurous are they? What’s their budget?
While you’re busy planning and deciding on all of those factors, let me make one thing easier for you.
Here are 5 Activities To Do With Your Visitors That Won’t Exhaust You
1. Surf Waikiki – You’ve gotta do this at least once. You may be an experienced surfer and have your own board or you may not even know what a leash is. Either way, rent a board and take them to Waikiki. (Assuming they can swim.) Yes, it’s a tourist spot some locals avoid like the flu, but it is so worth it to give your friend a surfing experience. Waikiki is one of the most beautiful and mellow spots in the world to learn to surf. Also, there are no recorded shark attacks there in the history of ever. They’ll be stoked about that.
2. Kahala Hotel Dolphins – Easier to locate and more guaranteed to result in a sighting than driving to the West Side at 4am to see the Spinner Dolphins. If you’re budget-conscious, you can park at Waialae Beach Park and walk along the sandy beach (about three blocks worth) until you get to the Kahala Hotel & Resort. They have dolphins, stingrays, exotic fish, a lagoon, waterfalls, and flower gardens. You can watch the trainers feed the dolphins and walk around without being a hotel guest. If you want to treat your guests to a swanky meal, you can have lunch at the Plumeria Beach House inside the hotel.
3. Leonard’s Malasadas – A melt-in-your-mouth Portuguese dessert that resembles a steamed donut with your option of creamy fillings. Leonard’s Bakery has been an island favorite since 1952. Leonard’s grandparents came to Hawai’i from Portugal in 1882. The family originally thought the malasadas might be too ethnic to catch on, but they’ve since become an iconic local symbol of edible goodness. Leonard’s isn’t a long experience, but it’s a worthy local custom I wouldn’t want a friend to leave without trying.
4. Hanauma Bay Snorkeling – Check out this marine sanctuary with over 400 species of fish. It’s historically a place of fishing and entertainment for Hawaiian royalty. You can bring your own snorkels or rent them. They are closed on Tuesdays. Residents and military folks get in free, but tourists have to pay $7.50. Though an extremely popular tourist attraction, it’s an important part of the Hawai’i experience, featuring crystal blue ocean that hasn’t been overfished. The coral reef is breathtaking and a perfect environment for snorkeling.
5. Consolidated Theatres – $7 movie night. It may sound overrated to be in paradise and see a movie, but cool AC after a hot day will feel good on your friends’ sunburn. (Locals sometimes refer to northern visitors as “tomatoes.”) To clarify, only on Tuesdays do Consolidated Theatres have $7 movie tickets, except this year is their 100 year anniversary so it’s on Mondays and Wednesdays as well now.
My favorite Consolidated Theatres location is at Ward Theater. Locals come in droves and your visitor can get a taste of the modern downtown Ward district scene. It’s a pretty happening spot. There are plenty of lively restaurants nearby and if nothing else, your friend needs to see the two minute Consolidated Theaters hula trailer. You know? The one with the ancient Hawaiian footage, the conch shell, and the canoes? Maybe you need to go just to see it, too.
And one final thought. Maybe consider suggesting low-cost accommodations near your home and point those kind folks toward a handy rental car company. I mean, we all love our friends and family, but…ah…we also want to continue loving them, if you catch my drift!
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