“Mama, this is paradise,” says my six-year-old daughter, Rory, as she leans back on the white sand beach that stretches into endless turquoise water.
I’ll admit it, I had hesitations. I’m a single parent who’s used to travelling (even camping) alone with my kid. But never for seven days. When I considered the 11 hours of flying each way, I knew our trip couldn’t be shorter than a week. I thought I’d lose my mind by day three.
But as soon as I got off the plane and sensed the relaxed vibe, I knew this would be a trip we’d remember, especially because it was our last one together. (By the time this story is out I will have a new husband and a stepson in the house!)
Neither of us was ready to leave when the time came. Rory was right. We were in paradise.
A version of this article appeared in our October 2012 issue with the headline “Oahu, Hawaii,” p. 30.
All of Oahu’s beaches are public, even the ones in front of the big resorts. You can swim, snorkel and surf anywhere.Photo: iStockphoto
ABC Stores. They are everywhere and sell everything from sunscreen to groceries and souvenirs.Photo: iStockphoto
Take a guided hike to the 232-metre summit of the Diamond Head crater.Photo: iStockphoto
Learn to say humuhumunukunukuapua’a. That’s the name of Hawaii’s state fish (it means fish that grunts like a pig) and one of the longest Hawaiian words.Photo: Shutterstock
Oahu is easy to navigate and the loop around the island only takes four hours. We grabbed a map and headed east, stopping to see breathtaking scenery and eat tasty garlic shrimp at one of the many shrimp trucks on the side of the road. Rory (left) and I continued to the island’s famous north shore, passing by the Polynesian Cultural Center, Sunset Beach (stop at Ted’s Bakery for a haupia pie) and Laniakea Beach (the place to see green sea turtles). Our goal was to reach Haleiwa, a historic beach town. This is where to go for a burger at Kua’Aina’s and shaved ice (a snow cone) at either Aoki’s or Matsumoto.Photo: Kristy Woudstra
If you can, rent one of the gorgeous beach houses at Turtle Bay Resort on the north shore. It’s the perfect way to vacation as a family because it includes all the amenities of the 800-acre resort. (Pssst... the scenery is so beautiful that Forgetting Sarah Marshall and episodes of Lost were shot there.)Photo: Kristy Woudstra
The average ocean temperature of the waters around Oahu is 27 °C? And the average air temperature is 21 to 29°C? Oahu is the most popular of the five Hawaiian Islands for tourists for a reason.Photo: Lightguard/iStockphoto