Rainy Days in Oahu: An Itinerary

Although the Aloha State is known for its ideal weather of constant sunshine and cooling trade winds, there are days where Mother Nature decides to look the other way. In the event of a rainy day or week, it can be hard to figure out what to do in a state known for its outdoor activities. But, there is nothing to fear. The island of Oahu is well-prepared for inclement weather, and has a variety of attractions should the day consist of rain.

Rather than staying inside your hotel room all day, consider taking a trip to Kahala Mall. This indoor community has over 90 stores and restaurants for all family members, with authentic Hawaiian-made clothing, boutiques, and more. Oahu’s indoor shopping does not end there. The Honolulu Night Market consists of a large array of goods, including clothes, art, food, and even live music, all contained within a large warehouse.

The new International Marketplace in Waikiki, which opened August of 2016, is another indoor playground consisting of 75 different retailers, seven signature restaurants (with three more coming soon), and a banyan tree that is over 100 years old. It also features Hawaii’s first Saks Fifth Avenue. The construction of the marketplace has been greatly beneficial to all locals, as Robert Taubman, president and CEO of Taubman Centers, stated that over 2,500 jobs were created, and part of the marketplace’s revenue will be donated to hospitals around the island.

Similarly, the Ala Moana Center is the largest shopping mall in all of Hawaii, and the seventh largest in the entire country. With more than 290 stores, it’s easy to get lost in a day of shopping and dining. Many of which are considered luxury stores with high-end fashion brands and name brands. Additionally, the mall houses many locally-made products from the Aloha State. Transportation here is made easy by the Ala Moana Shopping Trolley, that takes visitors to the mall and 10 separate locations around Waikiki.

If what you’re truly missing due to rainy days is the water or ocean life, look no further than the Waikiki Aquarium. Home to all of Hawaii’s natural marine life, this aquarium is the second oldest in the United States. The most remarkable feature of this attraction is its variety of exhibits. Coral reefs, local marine communities, monk seal habitats, and marine protected areas are all things visitors can see while learning a lot about the subjects themselves.

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Beach Safety in Hawaii

Like all travel destinations, practicing proper safety and maintaining your health when visiting another state or country is extremely important. In Hawaii, the same precautions should be followed. For those planning to visit the Aloha State in the near future looking to indulge in the beautiful beaches, here are a few tips and guidelines that will allow you to have a fun, safe stay.

With the high temperatures of the South Pacific comes an increased risk of dehydration. Always be sure to drink plenty of water, and have a bottle or two on you at all times, especially when hiking, or performing other recreational activities. When enjoying some time on the beach, the sun’s rays can be deceptively dangerous; a place you’ll want to ensure hydration, as well as protect your skin with a proper SPF level sunscreen.

People unfamiliar with the beaches of Hawaii should not assume that they are just like every other. First, pay attention to any aggressive currents or undertows. Swimming in these conditions is extremely dangerous. When in the ocean, stay within a reasonable distance of the beach to remain visible to those you are with, as well as lessening your chances of losing your footing in deep waters.

A safe rule of thumb for dealing with the waves along Hawaii shorelines is “Never turn your back on the ocean.”  What this means is that when you are exiting the water along the shoreline, always walk sideways towards the beach, looking over your shoulder at the incoming waves. It is not uncommon for people to get knocked down by unexpected waves and then have to struggle to get out of the water.

Pay attention to the surf warning flags along all of Hawaii’s beaches.Here’s a quick guide to beaches and conditions for all Hawaii island beaches, published by the Hawaii State government: http://www.hawaiibeachsafety.com/

A common misconception about Hawaiian beaches is that sharks pose a serious threat to beachgoers. Surprisingly, sightings are so infrequent that many locals look forward to spotting them offshore. However, swimming with the mindset that a sighting is impossible would be unwise. Avoid swimming at sunrise or sunset, as this is when sharks are most active. Also, stay away from murky bodies of water with little vision, as a shark’s eyesight is negatively affected in these areas as well.

The most common stings among swimmers in Hawaii are those of jellyfish. Two of the most common are box jellyfish and Portuguese man-of-war, both of which have different types of poison and should be treated respectively. Be on the lookout for floating bubble with a bluish hue and a long trail of tentacles. These are Portuguese men-of-war, and can cause painful, yet rarely serious stings. Box jellyfish on the other hand, are nearly invisible in the water, and tend to have much more painful stings. To avoid both, avoid swimming during morning hours, and when water temperatures are unusually high. If stung, do not scratch or rub the affected area. Apply an ice pack, and see a medical professional if symptoms worsen.  The box jellyfish arrive on Waikiki beaches on a rather predictable schedule, so you can check this calendar published by the Waikiki Acquarium:  http://www.waikikiaquarium.org/box-jellyfish-calendar/

An important consideration when walking into the water is to watch where you step. Many puncture wounds come from people not seeing sea urchins upon entering the ocean. Avoid areas where you can’t clearly see the bottom, and be mindful of where the current pushes you should be in a deeper area, as sea urchins tend to gather in colonies.
Open wounds or cuts should be taken very seriously. Prevention is important, and wearing wet suits, water shoes, or gloves can help. Should you experience an injury that causes bleeding, exit the water and seek the nearest medical area for help. Depending on what caused the wound, treatment may vary.

A Family Vacation to Hawaii

Most people consider Hawaii as a prime destination for honeymoons or romantic getaways. However, the 50th state of the U.S. is very accommodating for families of every size. With countless resorts spanning across the islands of Oahu, Maui, Kauai, and of course, The Big Island, Hawaii offers something for everyone. While some offer all-inclusive experiences that cater to your every need, every island allows you to create your own plan of travel tailoring to all members of the family.

On the island of Oahu lies the state’s capital, Honolulu. Seeing as flights here are frequent and less expensive than those to other islands, this may be your first destination. With points of interest like the Diamond Head State Monument, ʻIolani Palace, and the USS Arizona Memorial, Honolulu can start your family vacation off fantastic history lessons. For those seeking a more active trip, Hanauma Bay provides one of the most scenic snorkeling destinations in the world, as well as horseback riding, luaus, and the Turtle Eco Adventure Island Tour.

The Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club, just steps away from the beaches of Waikiki, is perfect for families with children, as they have two and three-bedroom suites to respect the privacy needed among larger groups. During your stay here, a dining experience at the hotel’s restaurant Mahina & Sun’s is almost necessary. This farm-to-table establishment specializes in crafting unique dishes of all sorts, with plenty of options for children.

Setting an entirely different scene, the farmland-covered island of Kauai is perhaps the greenest of all Hawaiian islands, lush with vegetation that spans across mountains and valleys. A hiking trip would be best fulfilled here, especially along the Napali Coast, though these trails may be best for more experienced hikers. If your family members would prefer less of a challenge, a drive to Waimea Canyon gives breathtaking views of coastal mountains and valleys.

Hotels like The Lodge at Kukui’ula provides amenities for all family members, like luxury rooms fit for parents, and a game room to keep the kids occupied. With the large variety of farms comes Kauai’s farmers’ markets, or “sunshine markets.” These offer some of the best produce in the state, and give great opportunities to experiment with flavor with their many exotic fruits, all of which contribute to the natural ingredients of JoJo’s Shave Ice; Kauai’s original home for sweets.

Home of the famous Wailea Beach, Maui allows you to get up close and personal with curious and friendly sea turtles through spectacular snorkeling adventures; something children of all ages can enjoy. For the early risers, catching the sunrise at the top of Haleakala National Park is an experience that won’t soon be forgotten. The Haleakala Volcano, naturally formed pools of Kipahulu, and bamboo forests set the scene for a truly breathtaking vacation. Maui’s beaches also come with a variety of sports to take part in, or view from the warm sand. Surfing, kiteboarding, and windsurfing are popular activities on this island.

If a family vacation is in your near future, Hawaii is one of the most accommodating destinations for families of any size. The numerous islands and seemingly neverending coastlines provide you with endless opportunities, with views to match.