Hukilau Beach and Laie

I used to be a city person.  I loved the fast pace of life, the activities, the amenities, and the people.  Now that I have a bunch of children and have lived in different places, I am finding that I do not love living in a city.  I like to visit and like having a large city in close proximity, but I want to live somewhere a little quieter and secluded.  Funny how that happens as you grow older and experience more – our tastes can drastically change.

Because we live on a small but beautiful island, seclusion is a foreign concept.  When I am trying to find activities and places to see, I try to balance them between what is popular and what is private.  I literally typed into Google, “less popular beaches,” and came up with a whole list of places to try.  Today, we tried Hukilau Beach and the Laie area.  It promised to be a hidden gem and to be popular with locals only.

You know what?  It did not disappoint.  You can reach the beach by Kamehameha Highway past Turtle Bay Resort, and if you are not tracking it on the map, you may drive right past the parking entrance.  We pulled in, and there were only 4 other cars in the lot.  4.  This seemed promising!  We loaded up our wagon (FYI, beach wagons are a fabulous thing) and headed to the shoreline.

IMG_4042The waves looked larger and stronger than they actually were.  The water was aqua blue and not too cold, although the girls complained about trash in the water (lots of fishing nets and ropes).  There were maybe 20 other people on the beach.  There were a large group of people camping there, which always confuses me because all the posted signs restrict camping in public beach parks.  Maybe they have permits?  I don’t know.  There were at least 2 tree swings we found, the favorite for the girls.  The beach stretches along the coastline, and there are many parks along this to park at.  We spent a few hours here swimming, snacking, playing volleyball, and just relaxing with the sound of the waves in the background.

***Did you know that Hukilau was once a popular tourist destination on Oahu?  There is a plaque here that talks about this.  I only remembered this name from the song that I heard on “Cougar Town.”  “Oh, we’re going/to the Hukilau/the huki huki huki huki Hukilau..”***

After our beach time, we drown further into Laie.  We saw beautiful houses, tiny schools, and the Hukilau Market and Polynesian Cultural Center.  We did not enter the center, as this is a pricy excursion and an all day event, but we did buy crepes and tour the shops in the market.  Honestly?  If you are a tourist and already at the cultural center, the Hukilau market is a perfect one-stop shop for gifts, food, and entertainment.  If you live here, it’s just another shopping center.

Food at the Hukilau Market

On our way back home, we stopped for food and entertainment at some food trucks in Kahuku.  We also browsed the Haleiwa Farmer’s Market, which is at the Waimea Falls center on Thursdays from 1400-1900.  I love how the markets here travel from place to place; it reminds me of the weekly markets in Italy, which also varied in location and size each day of the week.  We bought some produce and listened to music before making the drive home.

As we drove around Laie and past the North Shore, the girls and I wondered why we have not tried this area sooner.  There are plenty of activities – from beaches, golf courses, horseback riding, motocross tracks, hikes, food trucks, and markets – so we have plenty to see and do.  For today, our little beach and shopping adventure was a perfect Thursday in the eternal summer break.

Is it time for school to start again????


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