Island Paradise: A Photo Diary

I love going on vacations to explore beautiful parts of the world. The Hawaiian islands are one of my favorite places to visit. On our recent trip, we did a good amount of exploring and also took a few days to simply relax and soak up the sun. It is always fun to go back and sift through the many photos after a great trip, and so I've compiled a little photo diary of our time in the islands. Have you been to Hawaii? I'd love to hear your recommendations...there's so many cool local hangouts to discover.

 Ho'okipa is a popular surf break, especially during the winter months. Even on one of the less sunny days, it's still beautiful! It's one of my favorite places to visit, as the waves, surfers, and view provide endless entertainment.
The best place to lay out and get some sun, right? In the afternoons, someone would bring around fresh fruit juices, dried coconut, and even extra sunscreen. Perfection.

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Obviously gelato shops are a must-visit on vacation. This one in particular serves a flavor called Lilikoi Quark, which has passionfruit and goat's milk. It sounds totally bizarre, but trust me, it's ridiculously delicious. 

We took a day and hiked to a couple of waterfalls on this trip, and plan to come back with swimsuits next time so we can hop in one for a swim! Doesn't it look fun? This is one of many, many falls on the island. Around each curve of the road is something even more beautiful to discover. 

These painted eucalyptus trees look like something out of a Dr. Seuss book, but they're 100% real! The neon colors of the bark are even more dramatic and stunning in person. Nature is just the coolest!

One of the things I loved most about the islands is that the valleys are just exploding with beautiful plants, flowers, and trees. Everything is so lush and filled with wild beauty!

Many of the roads are so close to the water's edge. Funny story, we were driving along this road and I had my window down to let in the breeze. All of the sudden, a couple of big waves came in, and I got splashed with water! 

This is an entire eucalyptus forest that exists halfway up a volcano. If you've ever wondered what heaven smells like, I'm pretty sure it's something close to this. We were lucky to catch it right after a rain shower, and it seemed to intensify the scent even more than I had remembered from previous visits.

 These sea turtles were so fun to see up close! We got the chance to both snorkel with some, and watch them sunning themselves on the beach. In recent years, these turtles have come up on this particular beach during the day, and no one seems to know why. I like to think that they are enjoying the sun just like the rest of us! ;) 

I highly suggest a trip out to snorkel, see the beautiful reefs, and even swim with turtles, colorful fish, and other creatures. It's an experience you'll not forget! There's all kinds of beauty beneath the water's surface to be explored. 

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If you visit the islands, I strongly encourage you to get out on the water and view the islands from the sea. It provides an incredible view of the stunning beaches, valleys, and mountains. There's nothing like it! 
Acai bowls are always delicious, but having fresh fruits, coconut, and local honey all from the island makes this treat even more fantastic. On both Oahu and Maui you'll find a fabulous new shop called Wow Wow Lemonade which makes the freshest lemonade (choose from a delectable variety of flavor options), smoothies, and acai bowls. Wow Wow is definitely worth the stop, especially after a day at the beach! 

Each evening we were treated with the most spectacular sunset display. While every one was different, there's nothing better than watching a brilliantly colored sky, accented with swaying shadows of palms, all to a soundtrack of sweet hawaiian songs being sung into the night. 

Have you been to Hawaii? I'd love to hear your favorite spots and recommendations...

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