You Had Me at “Rainforest”: O’ahu’s Pu’u ‘Ualaak’a State Wayside Park

The ‘Ualaak’a-Makiki Valley Hike

High above the urban sprawl of Honolulu on the Hawaiian island of O’ahu, you’ll find a cool and loamy respite from the city way up in the lush hills and rainforest of Pu’u ‘Ualaak’a State Wayside Park.

Which is, by the way, pronounced: “Poo-ooh you-ah-lah-ah-kaa-ah.”

And yes, that is a lot of apostrophes. It’s the Polynesian way of things.

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O’ahu: Where to Stay (Or Not) in Waikiki

The Shore Bird’s beach-side porch at Waikiki’s Outrigger Reef on the Beach

On my recent trip to the Hawaiian island of O’ahu, I was given the opportunity to travel around the island, and to visit/experience several hotels along and near Honolulu’s Waikiki Beach.

The following are my picks, for where to stay — and not stay — on your own fun, relaxing and/or romantic Waikiki vacation.

Go forth and book responsibly.

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Dear O’ahu: I Love You

Heart-shaped tidepool on the (western) Leeward Side of the Hawaiian island of Oahu

Just got back from the Hawaiian island of O’ahu, and I miss it already.

(Heck, I was already missing it by the time I’d settled into the plane ride home.)

Back here in my regularly-scheduled life, there’s no crash of 40-foot waves in my kitchen, no tropical breeze in my bedroom, no daily flourish of rainbows outside my windows, no lilt of ukelele and birdsong in my ears. Instead, my soundtrack is the far-off squeal of a firetruck siren, the text buzz of my iPhone, and the hornet-hum of a gas-powered leaf-blower.

Having spent a futile half-hour attempting to will myself back to O’ahu, I’ve decided instead to give in to reality and simply share my favorite photos from the island with you.

This way, we can all escape the noise — and feel the love.

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Palms Cliff House Inn: Between the Jungle and the Sea

It’s always summer in Hawaii…or so we like to tell ourselves, once autumn takes hold.

One of my favorite versions of Hawaii, the northeast coast of the Big Island, has lush and frondy jungles, windswept coves, freakishly enormous flowers, tumbling waterfalls — and the comfortable elegance of the Palms Cliff House Inn.

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He Shoots, She Scores: Lana’i Pine Sporting Clays

Holding a gun for the first time at Lana'i Pine Sporting Clays

I was initially, shall we say, wary of our trip to Hawaii’s only clay shooting range, Lānaʻi Pine Sporting Clays, on the island of Lānaʻi. I’d always envisioned living a long, full life without ever shooting a gun, but Adam was game to bust a cap in something.

And so, in a spirit of sharing and pretend violence, off we went to hit our targets.

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