A Hawaii Vacation!

October 2019 – Sometimes we get a little busy in our full-time traveling lives, and not all of our adventures make it onto the pages of this website. That’s how it was in the spring of 2017 when we were still posting our photos of our mind-blowing trip to Thailand and Cambodia even as we hopped on a plane to Hawaii.

Hawaii Vacation on Oahu

A wonderful tropical vacation on Oahu!

Once we got back to the mainland after reveling in the Hawaiian tropics for a week, we dashed off in our RV in such a flurry of excitement that we never even mentioned our Hawaii trip on this blog (although we did later publish an article about it in the Nov/Dec 2018 issue of Escapees Magazine!).

View of Waikiki from Diamond Head Oahu Hawaii-min

View of Waikiki from Diamond Head on Oahu

So, this week, as we embark on a little blogging vacation, it seemed fitting to share our pics and stories from this classic vacation destination!

View of Waikiki from Diamond Head Oahu Hawaii-min


We stayed on Oahu right in the thick of it all next to Waikiki Beach. There is nothing like getting off of a long plane ride and moments later strolling along a tropical beach!

Waikiki Beach Oahu Hawaii-min

Waikiki Beach is a short trip from the airport!

Waikiki Beach Oahu Hawaii-min

Waikiki Beach.

Our hotel room at the Sheraton was just steps away from the beach, many stories up in the air, with a balcony that hung out over the inviting pool far below.

Swimming pool Waikiki Oahu Hawaii-min

A palm tree’s shadow fills the water in the pool below our balcony

Waikiki is a bustling tourist city of high rises. There is a special beauty along the waterfront at night, and we discovered wonderful pockets of tranquility tucked away in quiet corners during the day.

Waikiki at night

Night lights.

Palm trees at sunset in Waikiki

Palm trees and volleyball at sunset.

Hawaii palm trees-min


On other parts of Oahu, away from the urban hustle and bustle, we found remote beaches that were pounded by wild seas. As we strolled along the water’s edge, the seething surf crashed so hard the ocean had dug deep valleys in the sand.

Surf on Oahu in Hawaii


Surf's up in Hawaii

Surf’s up!

Beautiful beach north side of Oahu Hawaii-min

Vivid turquoise waves carved patterns in the sand.

Everything about Hawaii is tropical, from exotic flowers to familiar birds dressed in fabulously outrageous outfits.

Flower Oahu Hawaii-min


Red crested cardinal Oahu Hawaii-min

A red crested cardinal

A hike up Diamond Head gave us incredible views of the city and a wonderful glimpse of Diamond Head Lighthouse far below.

Diamond Head Lighthouse Oahu Hawaii-min

Looking down on Diamond Head Lighthouse

Our favorite spot was Hanauma Bay State Park where a crescent bay embraced a vibrant reef system soaked in warm, shallow turquoise water.

Hanauma Bay State Park Oahu Hawaii-min

Hanauma Bay State Park

Hanauma Bay State Park Oahu Hawaii-min

The brown patches are a coral reef that’s teeming with tropical fish

We rented some snorkeling gear and waded in from the beach!

Snorkeling Hanauma Bay State Park Oahu Hawaii-min


We had done a lot of snorkeling on our sailing cruise of Mexico’s Pacific Coast and we’ve both snorkeled quite a bit in the Caribbean on various bareboat charters and commercial cruises. We also had a great snorkeling adventure in Thailand. But the variety of fish here at Hanauma Bay may have been the best of all!

Fish light Hanauma Bay State Park Oahu Hawaii-min


Reef fish Hanauma Bay State Park Oahu Hawaii-min


Tropical fish Hanauma Bay State Park Oahu Hawaii-2-min


Colorful fish Hanauma Bay State Park Oahu Hawaii-min


Spotted fish Hanauma Bay State Park Oahu Hawaii-min


Tropical fish Hanauma Bay State Park Oahu Hawaii-min


Many of the fish swam alone, but when we turned a corner around a coral head, we found ourselves in the middle of a huge school of fish!

Reef fish Hanauma Bay State Park Oahu Hawaii-min


Years ago when we were sailing Mexico’s Costalegre (which cruisers have nicknamed the Gold Coast), we’d visited the aptly named (and little visited) Paraiso anchorage and seen a school of tiny fish that was so massive we thought it was some sort of rock or sea grass darkening the sandy bottom. At the time, we were scouting out spots to drop the anchor, so what a shock it was when this huge dark patch on the sand moved away!!

Back in Hanauma Bay, once the wall of fish parted and let us through, we saw a parrot fish hanging out with his pretty little orange buddy.

Hawaii Parrot fish and friend Hanauma Bay State Park Oahu-min


Parrot fish and friend Hanauma Bay State Park Oahu Hawaii-min


Parrot fish and friend Hawaii Hanauma State Park-min


Hawaii is one of those “you can’t go wrong” types of destinations. This wasn’t our first trip and it won’t be our last, but every visit is utterly unique. A trip to any part of Hawaii is a wonderful way to spend a week immersed in tropical beauty.

Hawaii 2017


This website has been home to our travel stories and the tips we’ve learned about the sailing and RV lifestyles since we first created it while camping at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon back in the summer of 2008. Not only was that some 165,000 truck miles (or so) ago, but it was also long before we bought a sailboat and cast off the lines to cruise the Pacific coast of Mexico!

Sailboat in Hawaii sunset-min

Hawaiian sunset.

We’ve had a lot of fun posting articles here ever since, producing new articles anywhere from 3 to 12 times a month. In the process we’ve created a travelogue and travel lifestyle resource for RVers and sailors of around 1,000 articles!

At long last we’ve decided to take a little blogging vacation. Among other things, during this time we’re going to revisit some of our older articles on here that are still read hundreds of times a day (even though they were first published as much as 10 years ago) to make sure they remain up to date.

If you’re on your way to the beautiful Sonoran Desert in Arizona with your RV for the winter, that’s where we’ll be. You’ll find dozens of articles on this site to give you ideas for places to go, things to do and sights to see in this rich desert landscape.

Click here for an index of all our Arizona travel articles.

Thanks for reading. Happy travels. Back soon!

RV under the Milky Way-min


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Tropical and Subtropical Destinations in Mexico
Tropical cruising – What to expect! and How to plan!

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33 thoughts on “A Hawaii Vacation!

  1. The spectacular sights and tropical colors of Hawaii create a paradise for photographers – your pics are gorgeous. We spent our 10th anniversary there (30 years ago!) and had an absolutely delightful time.

    Emily, I trust that you and Mark will enjoy your well-earned sabbatical. I (and I’m sure countless others) will look forward to your return. Meanwhile, I’ll deal with my “Buddy withdrawal symptoms” by perusing past posts. 🐕 Travel safely and take care!

    • What a wonderful and memorable 10th anniversary that must have been, Mary. Hawaii is such a special place, and each island has its own unique beauty. We really appreciate you being such a loyal reader all these years — Buddy is happily lying in the sun right now, munching on a bully stick, and he thanks you for hunting down pics of him on past posts!!

  2. Be well! Your posts have been an inspiration to me as my wife and I soon embark on the great Canadian Snowbird adventure! 5 months in the South during winter, and 7 months back home in Canada.
    Thanks again, you’re awesome!

    • Thank YOU for reading, Leonard, and have a blast down south. There are lots of great things to see on the way here and back, and the Sonoran desert is a landscape like no other. Enjoy every minute of your adventure!!

    • I remember watching old game shows on TV in ages past, and the prize was often a trip to Hawaii which seemed kinda plastic and touristy from the way it was presented. It is nothing of the sort and has plenty of wild and rugged and remote places to explore. We were astonished by the beauty when we visited Kauai years ago, and even this quickie outing to the most touristy part of all was still filled with wonder. Don’t wait — book a plane ticket and go!

  3. Hope all is well for you both, take care and enjoy the break but stay in touch with us- I so look forward to traveling with you since we gave up our RV and settled in a stationary home.

    • What a wonderful compliment, Kathy. We haven’t disappeared but we won’t be doing much sightseeing for a while as we visit friends and family. Naturally, we’ll continue to stay in touch as beautiful images appear on our cameras, but I wanted to remove my self-imposed deadline of publishing something new each weekend while we retrace our own well worn path. Thank you very much for looking forward to our posts. That is truly heartwarming and has put a smile on my face this morning!

  4. Wonderful pictures, Emily. However… the RLT Fan Club is in a closed-door meeting to determine if Hawaii can – under any circumstances – be considered part of the Roads Less Traveled. This post may be more appropriate for other sites such as Travel & Leisure, Finest Luxury Vacations, or Jetsetter. We will reach out to you once the club has reached its decision. 😉

    • Very funny, Bob! Hawaii is definitely on a More Traveled Road, and it is also well worthy of those fancy publications, but there are many options for budget travelers (including a youth hostel right in Waikiki), and there are loads of places to go to get away from it all. Years ago, when I flew to Australia, I had layover on Oahu each way. I had such fun spending a few hours relaxing on the beach before climbing back on the plane to cross the rest of the Pacific on the way to OZ that on my way back I stretched my layover to four days!!

  5. Rekindling fond memories of Hawaii….and yes, there is a youth hostel on Waikiki – just around the corner from the beach. Enjoy your well-earned break with family and friends. Trust Buddy will enjoy the reunion with his four-footed relatives too….

  6. I am sad we won’t hear from you for awhile, but totally understand! Since we have retired to part-time jobs and travel often, it feels like work to step outside of my “vacation” to post on Facebook pictures and descriptions, and then to answer friends’ and family’s questions and pay attention to all of that Facebook activity! I totally get it! Your photos are awesome good and Hawaii looks amazing! Enjoy your “vacation” 😊

    • Thank you, Deborah. Isn’t it crazy how the internet is both a blessing and a curse for us all? It gives us unlimited entertainment and answers to our questions and puts us in instantaneous touch with friends and strangers all over the world. Yet it also demands our full attention even at times when a little peace and quiet, in-person socializing, and restful thinking would be far more beneficial. I often wonder what the people of 100 years ago would think if they could beam themselves here and observe the incredible wonders and challenges our technology provides us. Happy travels to you!

  7. More beautiful photos, even while relaxing?? We’ve always wanted to get to Hawaii, but St Martin is beautiful also and closer!

  8. I just read your blog describing your visit with Toller Cranston. It moved me. I lived in San Miguel for 7 years. And got to know Toller. I saw him on subsequent visits. You describe him perfectly. He gave me a farewell the day he died as well…..something that seemed a coincidence, but couldn’t be really. Thank you for sharing your beautiful story.

    • Oh my. You are so very fortunate to have gotten to know Toller over the course of many years, Teresa. He was such an unusual man and creative genius. He brought a special glow to this world and I’m not surprised he said goodbye to you too.

      How I would have loved to be able to skate and choreograph and perform with him extensively and not just in the few brief encounters I had with him both on and off the ice. I am still stunned to realize that he is no longer with us. He was a very important part of my youth, even though my connection was ephemeral and mostly from a distance. Thank you for appreciating my story about meeting him in San Miguel (blog post here for others reading this). Lucky you to have had him as a neighbor in Mexico and to have seen and known him in many lights!

  9. Are you all continuing your journey this year? Been a while since the last update.

    I have learned so much from you both. I retire in about 4 years and I have been wanting to go full time by myself (well I have a cat coming and a dog that will come with me) since I was about 10 years old when boondocking with my grandfather a couple times a summer. Back in the 80s the travel trailer he had used a TV/VCR combo so we would bring our movies in the evening and lay on the floor eating popcorn while watching 80s flicks.

    • We are definitely continuing our journey, Gary. We have been camping in the Sonoran desert areas of Arizona and enjoying some truly exquisite weather lately.

      We have been very busy with things that aren’t RV or travel related during the last few months, and I’ve written so many dozens of articles about the areas we’ve been traveling in lately that I didn’t want to repeat myself.

      It sounds like you had a wonderful time with your grandpa camping in his trailer back in the 80s. What fun and special memories. I’m sure those memories will all come alive again when you begin your full-time travels when you retire.

      Thank you for checking in with us, and enjoy your planning for your future travels with your furry companions. It’s a great life!

  10. Greetings from the Northeast coast ! Had missed your posts the last few months so stopped by to see how you’ve been. Good to see that you are taking time to be with friends & family. Appreciate your site w/your many travel adventures. Stay healthy & happy!

  11. I too have missed your beautiful photos and just making sure you guys are doing well with all this craziness. Stay well and looking forward to when everything returns normal! Retirement is around the corner for us and I know my wife and I will be following your footsteps of adventure.

    • Definitely. Retirement around the corner for me. I kind of used this as a guide book to show where I would love to go and where I might stay away from. I LOVE the high desert, and AZ in the winter (lower desert), so I will be sticking to NV, AZ, NM, UT, ID, MT for the most part once retired. Might get the itch to go further east, but not as much BLM land east. Plus I don’t like humidity. YUCK!

  12. I assume just keeping yourself in Quartzsite, AZ for a couple months more would suffice, but then I think about all these VERY rural Walmarts where you have a whole rural area that uses it, and the thoughts of them running dry and not having any other retail/grocery options. That kind of stuff would scare me if I was boondocking, because I tend to only buy what I would need for a couple weeks, just to keep me active and out in public. If I bought a years supply of food I would become a hermit and never leave the trailer 🙂

    • I forgo going home to work remote so I don’t become a hermit during this time of crisis. I need to get out in the open. Since I am healthcare worker I have my “teachers note” so I can be out in the public 🙂

      • In many states there are no restrictions for being outside. As spring progresses, more and more people are getting out in the sunshine and fresh air which is restorative for both body and soul.

    • The pandemic has affected all RVers — and all people — differently, depending largely on where they are and how they usually live. Arizona has had very loose restrictions and very few cases, especially in the counties that aren’t home to a major city. There are food markets of various kinds in all towns and we’ve found the smaller stores are tending to be pretty well stocked while the Walmarts and Costcos are less well stocked and a lot more busy. I think it would be hard to keep a year’s supply of food in an RV, and we’d need to restock our water supply after just a few weeks anyway…

      • Seems like it’s over. Now we have this 24 hour news cycle of these looters and rioters using the death of a man as a reason to loot/riot. I am so sick of seeing all of this on TV 24/7 and here at work. I wish I were retired and could be in my own world boondocking. This is my main reason to do so.

        Quick question, where do you keep your RZR side by side? Do you tow it on a small trailer behind the 5th wheel? I have a nice scooter that can go offroad, but I really wanted a RZR but didn’t want to get a toy hauler.


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