Milk and Honey Magazine gets the details on the perfect Hawaii vacation from expert travel guide Chelsea Tom!

Honolulu Travel Guide

M&H Staff

Every so often in life, we meet special people who make life look... effortless. Santa Monica based Chelsea Tom (above, middle) is one of those rare breeds, sporting a cute smile, a contagious giggle, and a comforting aura. Life with Chelsea is not boring. From surfing, to spin class, to yoga, to biking, to skipping on the Santa Monica beach (she does live a block away from the pier, after all), Chelsea keeps busy with activities that fill her up to the point of overflow into all who (have the dear pleasure to) meet her.

Chelsea is wise - a woman of the faith. She understands the beauty of this world is not a coincidence; it is the mighty hand of God. Chelsea finds the beauty, light, and joy of this world and heads in that direction. Daily. Oh, and one more thing - Chelsea Tom is a certified expert of Hawaii.

Having grown up in Honolulu, Chelsea knows the ins and outs of how to experience the grand island of O’ahu. Chelsea travels back to her homeland often from LA to see friends, family, and to visit her favorite childhood spots. Chelsea was kind enough to write M&H an exclusive travel guide. She gives us an insider look on the perfect Hawaiian vacation - from acai bowls to picnic spots to secret hikes to workout ideas.

Milk and Honey Magazine gets the details on the perfect Hawaii vacation from expert travel guide Chelsea Tom!

Where to stay:

It really depends what you want to experience! If you want the “city life” experience, definitely stay in Waikiki (Royal Hawaiian Hotel, Modern Honolulu, or even Air BnB!) For more of an escape the North Shore/Turtle Bay Resort is beautiful, definitely more of the relaxed, Hawaii vibe everyone thinks of when they imagine Hawaii.

Where to spend the day:

If you stay in Waikiki, rent a car one day & drive to Haleiwa (North Shore). Go Paddle Boarding or Kayaking at Haleiwa Beach, eat lunch at Haleiwa Joe’s or Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck. Drive along all the beaches, and snorkel (since the water’s so crystal clear)!

Where to go for a fancy dinner:

Watch the sunset at Ko Olina, then go to Roy’s Ko Olina for dinner!

Where to brunch:

Cinnamon’s in Kailua (perfect after watching the sunrise at Lanikai), Koko Head Café, Liliha Bakery

Where to get a cheap, yummy meal:

“Plate Lunches” are a staple in Hawaii! Check out Bob’s BBQ, St. Louis Drive-Inn.

Where to get dessert:

Waiola Shave Ice for sure! Bubbies Ice Cream & Wing Ice Cream.

Where to shop:

Ala Moana Shopping Center

Where to get coffee:

Morning Glass Coffee, Island Vintage Coffee, Honolulu Coffee Co.

Where to workout:

The beach! Go for a swim, run along the beach! My favorite yoga studios are Power Yoga Hawaii & Core Power Yoga.

Where to go for a night out:

Downtown Honolulu has some fun bars/clubs (Manifest, Nashville, M Nightclub). The Republik is also a popular music venue.

Secret favorite spots:

I absolutely love hiking! My favorites are Makapu’u, Koko Head, Manoa Falls, Makiki Valley Loop Trail & Hawaii Loa Ridge Trail.

Where to watch the sunrise/sunset:

Sunrise at Lanikai, or even hike up Lanikai Pillboxes to see it! Sunset at Ko Olina!

Shows to see:

Paradise Cove has an amazing sunset luau with a show. Polynesian cultural center is also a fun day trip with the show “Ha” at the end.

Where to picnic:

Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden in Kaneohe is definitely my favorite place for a picinic! It’s so beautiful & lusciously green! The Ko’olau mountains are also like no other mountain range I’ve seen before.

Destinations to visit:

For some Hawaiian culture, Bishop Museum is the place to go! I don’t really go to aquariums, the ocean is our fish tank - I go snorkeling to see the real thing. My favorite snorkeling beaches are Lanikai, Yokohama & Waimanalo Beach.

Best Acai Bowl spots:

Haleiwa Bowls, Diamond Head Health Bar & Tropical Tribe.

Best 'Poke' spots:

Ono Seafood, Pa’ina Café & Fresh Catch

What to pack:

Clothes that you feel comfortable movin’ & groovin’ in! Swimsuits, hiking clothes, fun summery dresses, shorts, sandals/flip flops, tennis shoes. That’s basically everything I bring whenever I travel home!

With a travel guide this glorious, there's only one thing to say:

Aloha, O’ahu!