We decided to go BIG for Christmas this year since we have been through so much as a family the past couple of years.  So, we chose Hawaii!  I wanted to share some of our pics and tips as it is a bit daunting to plan a family trip to Hawaii.Jenny Tamplin Interiors | College Station, Tx | Family in Hawaii

Jeff and I have been twice now.  The first time we flew American and this time we flew United.  American gets my vote.  The on flight accommodations far surpassed those of United… Just FYI…

Pearl Harbor

We began our trip on the Island of Oahu to visit Pearl Harbor.  Definitely something everyone should do in their life time.  It is really amazing to stand over the Arizona Memorial and see where the Arizona still lies on the harbor floor.  To hear the stories, see the pics and even view some rare footage of December 7, 1941 is chilling to say the least.  We noticed that the Arizona is still leaking oil.  I’d say the most interesting thing I heard was that it is estimated that it will leak for 75 to 100 years before depleting its reserve.  Hawaiians being the spiritual people that they are, say that it is the tears of the survivors and that it will stop leaking oil when the last survivor has passed away.  Ironically this will more than likely fall within 75-100 year estimate.

We went early one morning and the girls decided they MUST purchase matching Pearl Harbor sweatshirts and my dad has an extremely high-tech flip phone in which to document the event.  🙂

I do suggest visiting Pearl Harbor first thing in the morning for two reasons.  You will find it easy to wake up early the first day, due to the time difference.  And secondly, it is less crowded and not yet too warm for comfort.

Hiking and Kayaking in Kauai

From Oahu we flew to Kauai, where we spent the remainder of our trip.  Kauai is where my soul rests.  It’s AMAZING!!  Totally tropic, small, no need for makeup or fancy anything, and NO SNAKES!

This excursion was so fun and so BEAUTIFUL!  First we kayaked down the only navigable river in Hawaii to a spot.  Then we hiked a couple of miles through buckets and buckets of mud.  But here’s what we saw along the muddy way…

Jenny Tamplin Interiors | College Station, Tx | Family in Hawaii

Jenny Tamplin Interiors | College Station, Tx | Family in Hawaii

This was right after we got off of the kayaks and before the hike began.  We were still relatively clean.  It got bad from here.

Jenny Tamplin Interiors | College Station, Tx | Family in Hawaii

I mean we go MUDDY!!  But it was so worth it, because we hiked to this waterfall that can only be reached via the river.

Jenny Tamplin Interiors | College Station, Tx | Family in Hawaii

Jenny Tamplin Interiors | College Station, Tx | Family in Hawaii

Jenny Tamplin Interiors | College Station, Tx | Family in Hawaii

Jenny Tamplin Interiors | College Station, Tx | Family in Hawaii

We were able to rinse off several pounds of mud before resuming our hike back through the mud to our kayaks.

Jenny Tamplin Interiors | College Station, Tx | Family in Hawaii

Jenny Tamplin Interiors | College Station, Tx | Family in Hawaii

This person looks somewhat native right?  But wait!  No, it’s my son!  Lol!  Still questioning the hat choice.

Jenny Tamplin Interiors | College Station, Tx | Family in Hawaii

Jenny Tamplin Interiors | College Station, Tx | Family in Hawaii

Whale Watching and Snorkeling

This is whale season and they say any time you go out on a boat this time of year, you will more than likely encounter one.  We certainly had no problems.  We must have seen dozens.  I cannot express to you how cool this experience was.

Jenny Tamplin Interiors | College Station, Tx | Family in Hawaii

My daughters are (always have been) strangely obsessed with whales.  This was a dreamy experience for them.  I was actually afraid they may try to jump in and swim to one!  Not even kidding!

And for me, God sent these guys!

Jenny Tamplin Interiors | College Station, Tx | Family in Hawaii

You can’t tell by these pics but they were huge!

Jenny Tamplin Interiors | College Station, Tx | Family in Hawaii

Here’s my crew floating right near the coast about to snorkel for a bit.

Jenny Tamplin Interiors | College Station, Tx | Family in Hawaii

The sunsets were phenomenal, btw

Luau On The Beach

The first time Jeff and I visited we did “Smith’s” Luau.  The grounds were so stunning but it was pretty crowded for our taste.  This Luau was actually on Poipu Beach via the Sheraton and the entertainment was 1st rate!  Really cool experience.  And it was Christmas eve which made the entire experience even more special!

Rainy Beach Days

We did have a few rain storms.  But that didn’t deter us at all!  Well maybe a little but it didn’t defeat us!

Jenny Tamplin Interiors | College Station, Tx | Family in Hawaii

Zip-Lining

I did not, but these 4 zip lined for several hours and came back with some fun stories and Go-Pro footage.  Plus those helmets!

Jenny Tamplin Interiors | College Station, Tx | Family in Hawaii

Waterfalls To Die For

Do you see what I mean?  Can you even believe how beautiful?  The entire island is this way!

Jenny Tamplin Interiors | College Station, Tx | Family in Hawaii

Even the hogs like to sight see!  Dangerous move around these Texas Ranchers!  This one survived to live another day.

Jenny Tamplin Interiors | College Station, Tx | Family in Hawaii

They call it the rainbow state, which is a no brainer as a day does not go by in which a rainbow is not visible at some point!

Jenny Tamplin Interiors | College Station, Tx | Family in Hawaii

A few things to leave with you…  Don’t use a travel agent.  Just decide if you want a condo experience or a resort experience.  Read blogs, do your own research.  You won’t save any money with a travel agent.  Also if you go to Kauai I found Tanya at Kauai.com to be a huge resource.  She knows all there is to know about the island, excursions, restaurants, beaches and is more than helpful!

Happy Family Friday and Happy Travels!  Take plenty-o-pics!

Jenny Tamplin Interiors | College Station, Tx

 
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