This escaping NYC winter story is a part of my #LetHawaiiHappen series and represents experiences that Danté and I had as guests of Hawaii Tourism United States, visiting O’ahu, Maui and Lānaʻi. Since our experience was a collaboration, most experiences were complimentary and others we paid for ourselves but all opinions are my own.
If you know me, it’s no secret that escaping NYC winter is one of my primary concerns every year! I struggle with being in my home city throughout the long, cold, often-gray months of the year because I don’t function well without the presence of sunshine and/or a change in culture. There are places closer to NYC that would have suited my needs as well as Hawaii but it was Hawaii’s characteristics that called to me. I wanted that physical distance of a longer than two-hour plane ride to remind me I was truly getting away. I wanted to still use dollars and still speak English but I wanted a culture that was different than mine in at least a few ways. All this, is found in Hawaii. It’s part of the United States of America but it is an entirely different thing separate unto itself in all the ways a [sometimes] savvy traveler like me needs. In alllllll good ways! There is a slower pace of life and a truly chill vibe in the islands that simply doesn’t exist anywhere else I’ve visited in the USA. And I’ve visited all 50 states!
Thankfully, I have a partner who wanted the same things I did. So we embarked on a 12-day journey through three Hawaiian Islands that began in January and ended just after my birthday in February….
Escaping NYC Winter by Visiting O’ahu
We spent five nights on the island of O’ahu, with the first two on the North Shore staying at Turtle Bay Resort and the remainder at The Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club in Honolulu. The North Shore is more residential and the culture of that area highly favors surfing. It’s the home of Hawaii’s famed “Pipeline” surf break which is at its prime in the winter. In fact, while we were on the island there were several surf competitions occurring and it was awe inspiring to drive by as waves larger than buildings crashed just off shore. Waikīkī, and the city of Honolulu, have a different vibe and offer a lot for the traveler looking to enjoy great shopping, dining and nightlife while on O’ahu.
If you’re Escaping NYC Winter on O’ahu I recommend:
- Exploring Waimea Valley (keep your eye out for the peacock!)
- Attending a dinner at Kakele House
- Spending the day at the Polynesian Cultural Center
- Visiting the Byodo-In Temple
- Going on a mural tour in the Kākā‘āko Arts District with Lana Lane Studios
- Dining at Mahina & Suns (located at The Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club)
- Taking a tour of the Queen Emma Summer Palace and Nu’uanu Pali Lookout
- Hiking the trail to Manoa Falls
Escaping NYC Winter by Visiting Maui
We continued our adventure by taking a short flight from Honolulu to the island of Maui. On a clear day, like we had, the views are just gorgeous. We were then spoiled by five nights at the Four Seasons Resort in Wailea. During those five nights, which included my birthday, I think we pretty much covered the entire island, driving somewhere every day. There’s a lot to do and as much as we experienced, we still didn’t even scratch the surface! My favorite part was the couple’s massage at Four Season Resort Maui at Wailea in the Oceanside Hales [thatched hut] where we could hear the ocean as our massages took place!
If you’re Escaping NYC Winter on Maui I recommend:
- Visiting the Lavender Farm and its splendid hillside gardens
- Shopping in Makawao and Paia
- Taking a tour at the Haiku Mill which is wonderful if you’re a Francophile like I am
- Snagging a permit to experience Sunrise in Haleakalā
- Driving the Road to Hana
- Visiting the Ocean Organic Vodka Farm & Distillery
- Eating dinner at DUO Steakhouse in Four Seasons Wailea with Cotton Candy for dessert
- Picking your own salad greens during a tour at O’o Farms
- Going on a snorkel sail with Trilogy Excursions
- Getting a massage in the Oceanside Hales at Four Seasons Wailea
- Experiencing the Scooter Snorkel at Four Seasons
Escaping NYC Winter by Visiting Lānaʻi
On the last and final stop of our Hawaii adventure we took the Expeditions Ferry from Maui to Lānaʻi to spend three nights at the Four Seasons Lānaʻi. The ferry takes approximately 45 minutes and if you’re traveling during the winter months like we did, be sure to grab a seat on the top deck for some whale watching. I published another post dedicated to this part of our trip which you can read here.
If you’re Escaping NYC Winter on Lānaʻi I recommend:
- Horse Back Riding with the Stables at Koele
- Renting a Jeep for the day and exploring the island, including Shipwreck Beach & Lānaʻi City
- Dining at One Forty & Malibu Farm in Four Seasons
- Learning from Aunty Irene at the Ho’okipa Cultural Center in Four Seasons
- Enjoying lunch at VIEWS, Four Seasons golf course-adjacent restaurant
- Taking in Sunset on the Beach between Four Seasons and Sweetheart Rock
- If you’re Escaping NYC Winter on O’ahu I recommend:
- a little bit more about the two properties we stayed at on O'ahu...
a little bit more about the two properties we stayed at on O’ahu…
This was the first property we stayed at while visiting O’ahu.
This was the second hotel we stayed at while on the island of O’ahu.
To see more of our photos and read our posts from this trip on Instagram, search #DKvisitHawaii or #LetHawaiiHappen!
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This looks like the most amazing escape from NYC – or DC! Hawaii is still on my travel list, so I will be bookmarking this for future use.
It was pretty amazing and I agree, from a NYC or a DC winter, it’s still a great escape. I’ve been to Hawaii now three times, so definitely let me know what I can help with when you’re planning your trip! <3
If I was on my phone or was tech-savvy enough to know emoji codes (do those even exist??), I would leave a comment with a hundred faces with heart eyes. Because..ahhh. I’m essentially living in tropical paradise here in Costa Rica but you had me wanting to jump on a plane to a different tropical paradise…I mean, I live in a house here and not a swanky resort so maaaybe that’s a justifiable reason to jump on a plane to Oahu?
Awwwww that’s so sweet! Thank you!! I’ve been to Costa Rica and Hawaii both and I can definitely tell you that while CR is fine, Hawaii wins hands down.
Fantastic night sky in that first set!
Thanks, Kyle! My partner and I took essentially the same photo but his turned out a bit better so that’s why I shared his. Stunning night sky visible from Oahu’s North Shore, if you’re into night photography I highly recommend visiting it.
Love those pictures. Miss Hawaii though. its getting expensive with influx of tourists from asia.
I agree Hawaii is so expensive. I still think it’s worth it to go but I agree it’s a pricey spot to vacation for sure.
Beautiful photos, as always. I loved following along on this trip on IG and IG Stories! Would love to see those enormous waves in the flesh someday.
Thank you so much, Dee!! That’s really kind. I am grateful to hear you follow me on IG and read the blog as well. There will be lots more blogging to come in 2017!
Looks like you had a blast! We are in NYC now and invite the cooler days after battling 105 degree days in Northern Thailand over the past 2 months. Either way, Hawaii is something else. Reminds me of my time Fiji.
Dazzling shots too. Thanks so much for sharing 🙂
Glad you like the shots, thank you, Ryan! How long are you in NYC? Or are you already gone and on to the next place? I think Fiji and Hawaii must have some similarities but I don’t actually know having only been to the latter.