I’m still rocking the tan from this trip, so I figured I best be getting this blog done while the skin is still glowing and the aloha is still alive. Sammy and I got the opportunity to fly out to Hawaii for a week to photograph Jessica & Jarod’s wedding at Turtle Bay resort on the North Shore of Oahu. We left the kids behind and had the most tropical, relaxing vacay of our lives. Seriously the perfect break for summer.
Before our departure, we phoned a friend, Kevin Voegtlin, to shoot us over a list of recommendations. We took every suggestion we possibly could and he nailed it every time. So this is pretty much all his suggestions with some fun photos attached. Enjoy!
First up, one of the most important things when I travel. FOOD. Where the good food at?
We’d be completely blowing it if we didn’t mention this place. Started by pro surfer Koa Smith and his brothers, this place is legit the best freshest smoothies, acai bowls, bulletproof coffee and everything you want in life. Get a Monkey Bowl the first time you go, because I’m positive you’ll be back. Take a photo while you are there and DM it to me cause I want to enjoy it with you. @tonywodarck
Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck
You know a spot is good when it’s a Tuesday at 11:30am and there’s a 100 person line. The wait goes fast cause this place cranks. Everyone recommends the popular shrimp scampi, butter and garlic shrimp, yum! I was about to go that route too until I saw the “No Refunds” shrimp. Their take on hot and spicy, and hot and spicy it was. If you know me you know I love spicy food. This was freaking spicy, 10/10 would get again.
Other Good Eats
Kahuku Superette - Bomb poke bowls in an unassuming (rundown) super market.
Foodland - Nicer grocery store poke, but not as good as Kahuku. Still really good though.
Doraku Sushi - A little pricey but super good sushi in Waikiki.
Matsumoto Shave Ice - A classic.
Lei Lei’s at Turtle Bay - A nice place to have dinner on the North Shore.
Leonard’s Bakery - Fancy donuts called Malasadas.
What to see
Ehukai Pillbox Hike
Ehukai Pillbox Hike - Starting at Sunset Elementary school this hike will take you about 25 minutes and isn’t very hard. The view at the top is an epic lookout over the famous North Shore and Banzai Pipeline.
Manoa Falls Hike
Manoa Falls Hike - Where they filmed some of Jurassic Park. This place is a beautiful, wet, lush jungle. The top takes about 30-40 minutes to get to and has a giant waterfall. Not a crazy rushing one, but pretty and tall and the hike is beautiful along the way. Expect it to rain on you.
Here are some of the million of great beaches on Oahu:
Sandys - My personal fav, but also if there is any sort of swell, the shorebreak will pound you, so hard to swim.
Sunset - Sammy’s favorite.
Waikiki - Rad to surf, cool to see cause Diamondhead and nostalgia and all of that, but very touristy.
Waimea Bay - Don’t forget to jump off the rock.
What to Skip?
You don’t need to go to the tourist trap Dole Plantation. The Dole Whip is good, but not a million tourists good. You can also probably get out of Waikiki sooner than later if you’re not surfing. It’s just a big busy city full of shops and probably good restaurants. But really, did you fly to Hawaii to go shopping? Get out of there.
Go on a helicopter ride. I did for the couple’s wedding day portraits, but honestly I would highly recommend doing it for fun. We flew on Paradise Helicopters and it was awesome.
Where to Stay
Depends on your situation but I for sure would stay at Turtle Bay again. It was actually pretty reasonable and so clean and nice and hospitable and in the perfect spot and awesome and I freaking really liked it and good mai tais, and so pretty and yeah. Phew!
If you need a print of any of these images to bring some more aloha into your home, hit me up, or check out the available selection here:
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