What island do you call home?
Sunny (and slightly overcrowded ;)) Oahu!
What’s your “Hawaii life” like?
My husband and I moved to Oahu over 5 years ago courtesy of the military, but when we left active duty – we weren’t quite ready to leave the island life behind. We’ve called Oahu home ever since. I’m a freelance writer who works from home and I love traveling, eating and playing with my dogs at the beach. I’ve never met a cocktail I wasn’t interested in trying and I will ALWAYS make time in my schedule for meeting up with a friend.
What’s your favorite thing to do on your island?
We love exploring, so anything that involves checking out a new spot. Of course, we love the beach, too, and any opportunity to just be outside – running, walking our dogs, climbing a mountain.
What are your favorite local “gems” on the island?
I would be lying if I didn’t say that eating at Opal Thai wasn’t my favorite thing on this island. Since we started eating there 5 years ago, Opal and his family have become our family and we eat there at least once a week. It’s the best Thai food I’ve ever put in my mouth (and yes, I’ve been to Thailand!). I also love views from Kokohead Crater. It’s not exactly hidden or secret, since a lot of people hike it, but most are intimidated by the 1,000+ railroad ties to get up it. I always encourage our visitors by telling them the views are worth it. They never disagree!
What are some places you always take friends and family when they visit?
Well, Opal Thai, LOL! But also Doris Duke’s Shangri-la, Duke’s for Hula Pie, happy hour at Monkeypod Kitchen out in Ko’Olina, Pearl Harbor, Diamondhead, Kokohead Crater, Waikiki Beach, Waimea Bay and so many often say “can we go to where they filmed Forgetting Sarah Marshall?” So we usually make a trip up to Turtle Bay Resort.
Where would you go for a staycation on the island?
Without a doubt The Royal Hawaiian. It’s the iconic pink hotel on the Waikiki Beach skyline and it’s not to be missed if you visit – even if it’s just to walk through and gaze at her glory. Most people don’t know the history behind the pink walls, but The Royal Hawaiian was actually used as a military res-camp in World War II. The Navy rented it out! There’s a full museum in the basement, which is a must if you’re a little bit of a history nerd like myself. More on our staycation at The Royal Hawaiian here.
What does your perfect day on the island look like?
Definitely waking up early and grabbing coffee at one of my favorite coffee shops and going for a long run along the water. Watching the sunrise is so peaceful here and getting a workout in before the sun is super hot is CRUCIAL! Afterward maybe going on a hike and getting brunch somewhere. After brunch, it’s beach time! We usually pack a cooler and make an afternoon of it with the dogs. Around 4:30, we would head home and shower. Stay in or go out? That’s always our biggest dilemma! We are homebodies at heart and love nothing more than cooking up a meal together and catching something good on Netflix. If we went out, it might be to Buho for some tasty Mexican or La Tour for a good sandwich or salad.
What’s one “touristy” thing on your island that’s totally worth doing?
Honestly – a luau. I like Paradise Cove because the picturesque sunsets on the west side NEVER disappoint. I’ve never seen a bad sunset out there, plus the food is excellent, drinks are strong (albeit slightly expensive) and the show is second to none.
Lightning Round Favorites
Favorite beach: Sunset
Favorite hike: Kokohead
Favorite snorkel spot: Hanauma Bay
Favorite restaurant to celebrate something special: Arancino at The Kahala
Favorite spot to watch sunrise or sunset: Ko’Olina
Your most frequented eatery: Opal Thai
Favorite shaved ice: Matsumoto’s or Uncle Clay’s
Favorite happy hour: This is totally dependent upon what side of the island I’m on – how about…Mai Tai Bar at Royal Hawaiian if I’m on the south shore, Monkeypod Kitchen if I’m on the west side and Turtle Bay’s pool bar if I’m on the north shore.
Favorite breakfast spot: Kokohead Cafe
Read more of Kait’s Oahu travel advice on her blog.