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

Honolulu Travel Guide

Chelsea Thom

"Be the aloha you wish to see in the world." Growing up in Hawaii, this was always one of my favorite quotes. Hawaii has a thick culture of love, inclusion, and tranquility, and it's no wonder why those born and raised on the islands call it the "best place in the world."

From fitness to food to shows to nights out with family and friends, the Hawaiian islands are an escape for locals and visitors alike.

Having been here for 25+ years, I know the ins and outs of how to experience the grand island of O’ahu, including the insider scoop on everything from the best acai bowls to picnic spots to secret hikes to workout ideas! Enjoy your trip, and aloha!  ☀ ☀ ☀

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!

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

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

Aloha, O’ahu!