All the best hangouts, in all the best cities, from the locals who know…
Last week we held our third FP Lets Move event in Honolulu, Hawaii, its first as part of our wellness tour, featuring gifts from our friends at Kopari and hosted by the amazing Surfjack Hotel. As not all of us could jet off for a day filled with beach side pilates and Haku Lei-making, we thought it only befitting to bring some of the island to you. We reached out to five of our Honolulu Free People employees to share with us some of the island’s best-kept secrets!
Bri Hugins: Store Manager
Ka’ena Point – Satellite Tracking Station Rd Waianae, HI 96792
The westernmost tip of O’ahu — desolate, untouched and captivating! There are two ways to get to the point, from either south or north, with just a walk along the beach needed to enjoy the endless ocean! You’re sure to capture there all of the varietal terrain Hawaii has to offer. Along the way, be sure to make time for pit stops, searching out little tide pools filled with fish, crabs and snails. Keep your eyes peeled — if you’re lucky, you’ll spot some Hawaiian Monk Seals!
North Shore Sunflower Fields – 66-320 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa, HI 96712
If frolicking around in 6ft tall sunflowers is your thing, make this a must-see. Keep an eye out for The Red Barn Farmstand, pull into their lot and, directly beside the highway, you can’t miss the offering of beautiful, mature sunflowers. They’re sold by the bunch at the farmstand, along with fresh locally grown produce, farm-fresh prepared food, and island-made goods. The perfect start or finish to your day on the North Shore. Be mindful of the bees!
Egghead Cafe – 885 Queen St Honolulu, HI 96813
This is my go-to for breakfast and brunch! Serving up fresh quality food made with local ingredients and an east meets west fusion, Egghead puts a unique spin on classic favorites. My usual is the California Eggs Benedict with mixed greens. (They also serve up one of the best iced lattes around.) They boast a huge menu, with eggs served up just about any way you could want! Like strawberry shortcake or s’mores pancakes or choco Crème Brulee french toast! They’ve got lots of great sweets, too. If it’s lighter fare you’re after, Egghead also has healthier options like the Quinoa or Pitaya bowls, and plenty of salads! You really can’t go wrong here; from the stellar service to their cute Kaka’ako location, this place it a must.
Waimea Canyon – Waimea Canyon Dr, Waimea, HI 96796
Located on the western side of Kauai, Waimea Canyon is known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. And boy, does it deliver! Approximately ten miles long and up to 3,000 feet deep, the views are unparalleled. Pictures simply don’t do it justice! There is a scenic drive up to the top where you can stop along several lookout points or even set out on various hikes. Be sure to grab some fresh local pineapple or coconuts, and some banana bread to fuel the rest of your journey.
Na Pali Coast State Park – Kapaa, HI 96746
Pretty much heaven on earth, Kauai’s Na Pali Coast is famous for a reason! The Na Pali Coast State Park is a 6,175-acre Hawaiian state park located in the center of the rugged 16 miles along the northwest side of Kauai. The only way to see this coast is by hike, boat or helicopter. Block out an entire day to hike to Hanakapi’ai Falls, an 8-mile roundtrip hike its 300 ft-fall waterfall reason enough to take it on! Swimming under this waterfall has probably one of the coolest experiences of my life.
Along the way to the falls you can catch panoramic ocean views and beautiful native plants — the entire hike smells of strawberry guava! Stop at Hanakap’ai Beach, about 2 miles in, and take in some gorgeous sights of the untouched coastline. Experienced backpackers can get permits and take the 11-mile hike each way to Kalalau Beach, camping along the way, which is definitely on my bucket list!
Ava Trobee: Assistant Visual Manager
Seven Sacred Pools and Waimoku Falls – Haleakalā National Park, Hana, HI 96713
The drive down Hana Highway is gorgeous and lush, with waterfalls all along the narrow oceanside road. Once you reach the Kipahulu Visitors Center, there are two trails that lead out from it — the Kuloa Point Trail and the Pipiwai Trail. The Kuloa Point Trail is a short 0.6-mile loop that offers a view of the Seven Sacred Pools, a series of cascading waterfalls and pools that lead straight into the ocean. The Pipiwai Trail is 3.5 miles out, a back trail that leads up the mountain following the Palikea stream, boasting multiple waterfalls, a huge banyan tree, lush rainforests, a bamboo forest, and ends at the 400 ft Waimoku Falls. Despite the quick increase in elevation, Pipiwai’s constant manicuring makes it pretty easy to navigate. The end of both trails offer a nice area for enjoying a packed lunch with an ocean view!
Crouching Lion Trail – 52236 Trout Farm Road, Hauula, HI 96717
This trail is a part of a longer trail, the Pu’u Manamana, but I recommend the 0.8-mile trail to the crouching lion rock formation. This hike yields beautiful sights at its apex, but it is very challenging — definitely for more experienced hikers. Consider wearing longer leggings, shoes with good traction and mosquito repellant. My amateur rock-climbing skills definitely came in handy on parts of this hike, as you have to often utilize roots and branches to scale the steep trails. Be warned, you’ll probably get muddy, especially since this hike is on the windward side of the Oahu ,but you can always head to the beach afterward and rinse off!
Kalapawai Café & Deli – 750 Kialua Road, Kialua, HI 96734
While this local restaurant has two spots, and a market, its Kailua location is the one I like to frequent. Kalapawai is a great place for grabbing a meal on your way to the beaches in Kailua, serving their own gourmet line of Hawaiian-roasted coffee. The cafe deli menu is available until 5pm, after which they have seated service and a nice dinner selection. My husband and I like to come here for date nights away from the hustle and bustle of Honolulu and Waikiki.
Lulumahu Falls Trail – 4459 Pali Hwy, Honolulu, HI 96817
One of my favorite quick day hikes, this 1.7-mile trail rarely takes more than 1 1/2 hours, and has some beautiful scenery. Make sure you wear clothes you won’t mind getting wet and muddy, and don’t forget your mosquito repellant. The trail starts off through a bamboo forest which leads up to the Nu’uanu Reservoir. A dirt trail to the mountains leads you to a graffitied wall, where a set of stone steps then take you upward to a muddy rainforest trail. Follow the trail, keeping along the stream, and eventually, you’ll come to a gorgeous 50ft-tall waterfall with a small wading pool at its bottom. It’s a fun hike and the trail is pup-friendly so your furry friend is welcome to tag along.
Kono’s – North Shore Marketplace, 66-250 Kamehameha Hwy g110, Haleiwa, HI 96712
Kono’s is known for their Kalua pork, which is a must-eat if you’re a carnivore in Hawaii! They have several locations, but the original sits in Haleiwa. Open from 7am to 2:30pm, it’s a great place to stop for breakfast or lunch on the way to the North Shore. If you stop by in the morning, get a Breakfast Bomber — that’s their big claim to fame. For lunch you can’t go wrong with any of the Kalua pork menu items, and if you’re wanting something sweet to finish off the experience, they make wonderful milkshakes. They also serve vegetarian options such as avocado BLT’s and avocado veggie wraps.
Lindsey Richtsmeier: Visual Manager In Training / Content Creator @fphawaii
Haleiwa Bowls – 66-082 Kamehamaha Hwy, Haleiwa 96712
I eat acai bowls religiously, and Haleiwa Bowls arguably makes the best on the island. Served out of a tiny shack on the North Shore, you can also opt for one of their delicious smoothies or kombucha. I recommend loading up the Surf Bowl with toppings (my go-to includes the basics: strawberries, blueberries and bee pollen) and enjoying it at the beach or while exploring the boutiques and surf shops in the town center.
Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail – Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail Rd Honolulu, 96825
This hike is one of the easier ones on the island, with a paved trail that offers incredible views of eastern Oahu. On a clear day you can see the neighboring island Molokai and even spot whales during the winter! For those more adventurous, hike down the cliff to the tide pools, but be warned: this trek can be dangerous. Be wary of the tide levels and the size of the waves. And watch out for sea urchins, because those really hurt, too.
Leonard’s – 933 Kapahulu Ave, Honolulu 96816
One word: malasadas. Leonard’s serves up the best Portuguese donuts I know, and offers a variety of cream fillings to satisfy any sweet tooth. Because what’s better than sugar-coated, deep fried dough packaged in a bright pink box? Nothing. You won’t be disappointed.
Kuliouou Ridge Trail – Hahaione St, Honolulu 96821
For some killer panoramic views of the Windward side, take this moderate 5-mile hike. I love this one in particular because of how much the landscape changes throughout the trail. It starts off in rocky terrain and slowly turns woodsy before it takes you through an impressive pine tree forest that will make you forget you’re in Hawaii! You’ll then be led towards lush, tropical vegetation and finally up several stairs towards the summit where you’re met with amazing views of the Mokes in Kailua, the beautiful beaches of Waimanalo, and the impressive craters of Koko Head and Diamond Head.
Kahuku Land Farms Stand – 56-781 Kamehameha Hwy, Kahuku, HI 96731
From exotic fruits and fresh veggies to homemade breads, this little farm stand is a must! My personal favorites are the $1 fried bananas, lilikoi and rambutan. Go for the mixed bag of fruit to try it all, and don’t forget a fresh coconut!
Christy Paulino: Manager In Training
The Harold L. Lyon Arboretum – 3860 Manoa Rd, Honolulu, HI 96822
A hidden secret in the back of Manoa Valley, the Harold L. Lyon Arboretum is the perfect place for a shaded stroll through gardens of Hawai’i’s native plants. For a small donation, you’ll gain access to 200 acres filled with trails and water features. The greenery gives you a chance to escape the city and appreciate Mama Nature. Perfect for candid photo ops and intimate conversation, just remember to bring the bug spray! @uhlyonarboretum
Bread + Butter – 1585 Kapiolani Blvd, Honolulu, HI 96814
For all of my weekend brunch lovers, Bread + Butter is one of those places that will definitely not disappoint. From avocado toast to bottomless guava mimosas (or both), you really can’t go wrong with whatever you choose. The macadamia nut lattes are also amazing and a personal fave. They also serve lunch and dinner but, honestly, who doesn’t want to brunch? @breadandbutterhi
Makai Research Pier – 41-305 Kalanianaole Hwy., Waimanalo, HI 96795
The Makai Research Pier is the perfect pit stop for a scenic view of Rabbit Island. You can walk down the pier on weekdays, but underneath is a different story. You can access the beach on either side of the pier and locals often fish there. If you’re driving along Waimanalo towards the Windward side, be sure to take a short breather here.
Honolulu Museum of Art – 900 S Beretania St, Honolulu, HI 96814
If you’re not in an outdoorsy mood but still want to experience a little piece of paradise, the Honolulu Museum of Art is the place. Its exhibits are inspired by the many cultures in the Pacific, but are not limited to just that. The museum also features the Doris Duke Theatre where they feature films and various speakers. All of the outdoor courtyards between exhibits give you open space to take in some Vitamin D before heading onto the next. From classic to modern, you are sure to find something that speaks to your inner artistic self. @honolulumuseum
Waiola Shave Ice – 3113 Mokihana St, Honolulu, HI 96816
Shave ice is a beach day must, and Waiola’s is one of my favorite go-to’s. Like snow cones, shave ice is finely shaved ice that you can customize by choosing your own flavors and toppings. They have your typical ones like strawberry, banana and apple, but also feature tropical flavors like lychee and lilikoi. My favorite combo, hands-down, is an ice cream bowl with li-hing powder with POG (Passion Orange Guava) flavor. Whatever concoction you choose, make sure to snap a pic before it melts! @waiolashaveice
Kaci Weight: Manager in Training
Leahi Health -3441 Waialae Ave, Honolulu, HI 96816
I didn’t have to think twice about this place… without a doubt a weekly pit stop for me. With three locations on the island, you won’t have a hard time finding this place. They pride themselves on farm-to-table standards, all of their organic foods are locally hand-picked and they provide an array of plant-based food and smoothie options. They even make their own kombucha which you can add to any smoothie. My go-to is usually the kale tacos and the king green smoothie. Nothing short of satisfaction.
Pali Puka– Nu‘uanu Pali, Honolulu, HI 96744
Beginning the ascent from the Pali Lookout, the Pali Puka trail is a short and sweet hike that climbs the ridgeline of the Koʻolau Mountains. It offers breathtaking views of Oʻahu’s windward coast, from Kailua to Kaneohe, all the way to Kualoa. At the end of the trail is the Pali Puka, a small “window” or hole in the rock face of the mountain, said to be a hiding spot for Hawaiian warriors as they kept watch for approaching enemies. Definitely up there on my list of favorites, with the history of the Pali adding to the overall experience.
Diamond Head Lookout -3483 Diamond Head Rd, Honolulu, HI 96816
This lookout has always been a favorite stop of mine, whether before or after work or even when I’m just passing through. Just a short drive from Waikiki, it provides great views of the south shore. Whether you’re checking out the surf, posting up to enjoy lunch or taking in the views, it’s always a good place to stop and relax for a bit while in town.
Koko Crater Arch – 8699 State Hwy 72 Honolulu, HI 96825
A rather simple hike that takes you to a natural arch located on the back side of Koko Head Crater. It provides views from one of the most scenic parts of the island and the arch makes for the perfect photo opp moment. About 30 minutes roundtrip, it’s the perfect mini-hike that offers an amazing view at the end. I would bring a friend or two and go at sunrise
Arvo– 675 Auahi St, Honolulu, HI 96825
Arvo – meaning “afternoon” in Aussie slang — is a cute and quaint Australian-inspired cafe nestled in the creative up-and-coming community of Kakaʻako. Tucked inside the local botanical boutique, Paiko. You can admire or purchase a variety of succulents while sipping on a lavender latte. They serve up healthy treats like matcha chia pudding, vegemite or loaded avocado toast (my personal favorite is the smoked salmon toast). Perfect for breaky, lunch or an afternoon pick-me-up, be sure to go early since seating can be limited.
+ Have a Hawaiian destination of your own? Let us know in the comments below!
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