Hey friends!! I had some interest in our Hawaiian vacation and thought I’d share some insight! <3  To all my clients…I don’t often post personal things here and if you’re wanting to see client work…scroll right on past all this. <3

Ok first and foremost, we booked the vacation early on…around January and got a killer direct flight from San Diego to Lihue, roundtrip and non stop for about $300 per person. I’m not sure how beneficial this information is to anyone, but I do know I was and am so stinkin proud of that killer deal that I have to share it every chance I get. 😛 From there, we knew we wanted to stay at the Grand Hyatt in Poipu…this place did.not.dissapoint. Yes, it’s a big spend – but we paid 5 months in advance which gave us a much better deal and honestly, traveling with a family of 5…having a hotel to unwind in and come “home” to makes it feel like a true vacation. I’ve had some amazing VRBO’s sent my way when we were in the planning stage, and whew! they were amazing. However, we live at the beach in San Diego and go weekly…so if we rented a condo in Hawaii, it would feel kind of similar to home. AKA…laundry everywhere, dishes, grocery shopping etc., and we really wanted to full on vacation. That being said, there are incredible options in the way of VRBO and Airbnb if you want to go that route. Typically, the condo options are available on the north shore and the resorts are on the south shore. There are exceptions, but generally speaking that’s the gist. Soooo…we went to Hawaii to celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary (actually in November of this year) and knew we wanted to go big! We didn’t have a wedding or honeymoon and have been waiting for this opportunity to make up for that! 🙂 One quick tip – there is a Costco about 20 minutes from the Lihue Airport. We literally got our rental car, loaded our luggage and heading straight there! We got a bunch of snacks, waters and pre-made sandwiches to load our fridge with. This paid off big time for hungry littles who are bottomless pits. I will say, the waters were not needed – shockingly! We usually fly through water when on vacation but the Grand Hyatt gives you re-usable water bottles and have filtered water fill stations ALL OVER the hotel. It was so helpful – they also have a HUGE community size sunscreen tub with a pump at the pool..this blew our minds because sunscreen is expensive when you’re applying to 5 people ALL DAY LONG. So this was a really big deal and we swung by and covered every one before heading out every day! 🙂 Side note, the sun is hawaii is different. You’ve been warned. We live in the sun in San Diego and never burn here..we all got burnt a little within an hour there!! You need to reapply A LOT or just cover up. We saw more people blistered and red than I’ve ever seen in my life!

Ok, now on to more details of the experience!! Some of our absolute favorite experiences were :

Napali Coast Tour – click here to check them out. Our guide was Manu and he was just a cool person and so kind and informative – taught us about the island cultures, old legends and stopped so many times to let us hang with dolphins! He also sat with our youngest kiddo while we were snorkeling out at sea – little dude went for a few minutes and was over it –  gave him snacks and chatted with him and allowed us to explore under water 😉 He was amazing and we loved the whole experience so much. We did the morning magic tour and we decided on the private charter so that it would just be the 5 of us. WORTH IT.

Another adventure we decided on was an ATV tour!! Absolutely bonkers fun!! We went with Kauai ATV and it was easily one of the most fun experiences of our lives…literally, our entire lives! 😉 The kids had an absolute blast! They provide helmets, goggles, t-shirts to destroy and a bandana to go over your mouth and nose. MUCH NEEDED. 🙂 We went on Mother’s Day and somehow…no other mothers wanted to go that day! haha So we were the only people on our tour, just the 5 of us! Usually the groups are 15-25 people…so we got super lucky They took us on a tour through mud and puddles where we got completely filthy, and then we stopped at a private waterfall and swam and relaxed while our guides set up snacks and drinks for us. DREAMY!!

Other than those two big experiences, we just traveled all over the island and experienced and absorbed as much as we could. We bought cheap snorkel gear and snorkeled at nearly every beach we went to. We did learn a great lesson here, go ahead and splurge on the good gear. It’s zero fun when goggles keep leaking and kids get frustrated. 😉 Ya win some and ya lose some.

Our favorite south shore beaches were Lawai and Poipu for snorkeling and baby beach for letting the kids hang out…and this is where we had sea turtles come up out of the ocean and hang with us. Favorite north shore beaches were hands down Hanalei and Anini – you MUST go to these two places. Mind blowing beauty!! 🙂

Waimea Canyon was one of our favorite and most memorable days – we drove up, hiked a few trails, stopped at all the lookouts and just absorbed the sheer magnitude of the island from up there! 🙂 DO IT.

Fave food places included – little fish cafe for coffee and light meals

Da Crack for killer Mexican food, and reasonable prices and quick service!

Puka dogs is bonkers GOOD, like holy moly…but it’s expensive!! If you venture there with two people you’ll be fine, but for us with a family of 5…hot dogs ended up being a little $$$.

Hmmmm what else…oh! ware house 3540! super cute little pop up shop warehouse with locally made things – jewelry, clothing, snacks, photography prints…we loved this spot! 🙂

Ok…now onto some photos, duh!! I actually hardly shot with my big camera at all because I was busy enjoying the moment, so this is a mix of my big camera, GoPro and a LOT of iPhone shots. 🙂

Ohhhh and we are a no device family and I got a lot of questions about how we kept the kids busy on the 6.5 hour flight!! Here are my best items. First of all, I started packing their backpacks about 4 months in advance. I added things every week and did it slowly so it wasn’t a huge expense all at once! They were very well entertained the entire time, and I kid you not..even my husband was entertained with some of the things! haha Side note…I read Daisy Jones and the Six on the flight…easy reading, entertaining and a great novel. 😉

Ok, these were the biggest hits!

kanoodle game

checkers game

best rainbow scratch paper ever

transformer toys

our fave markers ever

I got a pack of these and split them evenly and gave them each a blank notebook for drawing.

stencil kit

water paint pads

awesome activity book

Ok, there we go..I think those are the main things I was asked about. <3

Ok….that’s all with the big camera. 😉 The rest is iPhone..if anyone is interested in what gear I shot all of the above with – Canon 1dx Mark 11 and either my 24mm or 35mm…and a drone for a few shots. DJI pro. I also brought my GoPro’s – Black hero 7 and GoPro Fusion. Couldn’t live with out these on footage coming soon 😉