How lucky can a girl get to take a family trip to Hawaii? This past week the whole family went to the big Island Kona for a vacation. It was a little piece of heaven on earth that I had never experienced before. Kona is incredible. As soon as we got off the plane you are hit with the smell, oh the wonderful smell of fresh flowers and happiness. We were told about the smell ahead of our trip but you really don’t understand it until you experience it first hand. We didn’t arrive until almost midnight (4am our time) so it was a very long flight for little ones but when it comes to paradise you really don’t care as long as you get there.
Upon arrival we were greeted by my parents who arrived a week earlier. They had beautiful fresh flower lays for us to wear, handmade at the market that morning. Our luggage arrived, rental cars were good to go and we were off to our beautiful rental home. Since it was late we really didn’t get to see much other than to quickly look around the house before passing out in our beds.
The next morning is when the beauty of Hawaii really hits home. Due to our time change we woke up at what would be 9:30 for us, which happens to be 5:30am in Kona and promptly got in our swimsuits and jumped in the pool! Thank goodness there wasn’t many neighbours because we were a little loud for 5:30am.
– The People! It is so refreshing to go to a place and have the people who are from there be so warm and welcoming. I’ve travelled to many places where people don’t have the time to hold open a door for you (even if you are struggling with a double stroller) and would rather you just get out of their way then offer a hand. I adored how everyone said Mahalo, Aloha and gave the Shaka sign (hang loose for those who don’t know). At first it felt awkward saying it back, kind of like an impostor but they really do appreciate it and it really became fun to do it. I was even asked how old my Keiki’s (children) were. You truly get the feeling of caring, appreciation and gratitude from the people, the life and island.
– Volcano National Park – This was beyond a super long trip to get there but the drive was really beautiful. What is really crazy about the Kona is the multiple climates that are on one island. Were we were staying the clouds would just border around us over the mountains but never actually fall upon us (at least when we were there) but as you take the drive up to the volcano and climb higher and higher and there was such lucious green and floral vegetation. Then it turned to ocean front with giant cliffs that went down to smashing waves which were then followed by nothing but black lava rocks. When you reached the Volcano National Park it was really cool, we all brought sweaters and quickly put those one. You can’t get too close to the volcano because of the gases still coming off but you are able to see the giant crater created by it, feel the steam coming from the steam vents and the coolest part was walk through a lava tube. These lava tubes run all over the island and are huge tunnels that the lava once travelled through bringing lava to different places across the island. After the lava tube it was time for lunch and we went to the Volcano House where we were able to experience such a wonderful lunch and beyond friendly staff.
– Beaches – We went to 3 different beaches. The very cool thing about Kona beaches is with the 3 different beaches they were so completely different. The first was a lava beach which we needed our water shoes for. We were able to walk on lava rocks along the beach and see turtles, fish and an eel. The second beach had huge waves, people were surfing, boogie boarding and enjoying the waves. We actually took the kids up and let the waves crash against them. These first 2 beaches were fun and a great experience but for little ones we had to hold both their hands to keep them from falling or being pulled into the wave. The last beach we went to was actually at a beach resort and had beautiful calm blue water. It was a great chance for the kids to really swim on their own and enjoy the ocean. Plus since it was a resort we were able to use their beach chairs and lounge in the water all day.
– Their Shops – I’m not a really big fan of touristy shops but Hawaii is definitely the exception to the rule. There was so much to love about Hawaii that we wanted to take as much of it was we could home with us. I always stay away from shirts that say where they were from, I just know I won’t wear them again. This trip I found the cutest tank top that had 2 little turtles kissing. We also bought 2 hanging bamboo carved wind chimes, every time I hear them make music I smile. Beautiful art, fun little sandal wine cozies and a welcome sign for our cabin.
– The Luau! Wow the food, the entertainment and the dancing! It was everything you would expect a luau to be. Emily, Brayden & I got up and learned a hawaiian dance, my dad and sister got tattoos, Emily went up on stage and danced with the dancers and the FOOD!!! Oh my goodness the food was so good! Such a wonderful experience that I would totally recommend.
– Glass Bottom Boat Tour – This was a pretty neat thing to experience. It was fun to get on a boat and be able to see all the fish right there going about their business like it didn’t matter you were just above them. When you looked up from looking into the ocean you could see we were actually very close to the shore and very close to huge lava rocks. They also took us to the drop off, just like in finding Nemo there is a drop off. We were also able to see dolphins swimming, jumping and spinning in the air. This was a bit more of a relaxed excursion but very cool all the same.
– The Beauty & Appreciation – I think the biggest take away from the whole trip was a new level of appreciation. Appreciation for the beauty of life, everyday life. Gratitude that I was able to experience such a great escape with my family. And a reminder to always take a break from the crazy and appreciate everything that I am so lucky and grateful to have in my life.
If you continued reading my long story about my trip thank you and I truly hope you get to experience your own trip to anywhere in the world that makes you feel so happy with your life.