By Kathryn Drury Wagner
What’s more fun than a scavenger hunt? Maybe you’ve played one with your kids, or participated in an adult version. Well, think of Hawaiʻi as an amazing scavenger hunt, with playtime for both kids and grown-ups. Here are some clues as to what you’ll find: sugar-soft beaches, chic boutiques, and delicious food. You will also discover a mix of renowned attractions—such as Kīlauea volcano, Diamond Head Crater, the Road to Hāna, as well as, hidden, out-of-the way gems. In the Islands, you play at your family’s own pace. Can you collect the following?
A NEW SPORT UNDER YOUR BELT
The warm waters surrounding the Hawaiian Islands (the water averages 76 degrees in March) make it an ideal place for families to test out sports they’ve been meaning to try, like stand up paddling, also known as SUP. Or try Hawaiʻi’s most revered and ancient sport, surfing. Even small keiki (children) around age 4 can take surfing lessons; all you need to bring is a swimsuit and lots of sunscreen. Outrigger canoeing is another sport popular in the Islands—the traditional wooden waʻa (canoes) can still be seen, and people also race modern, fiberglass designs. These
stable craft are a perfect way to get your family out onto the ocean.
A RESTAURANT NAPKIN
Hawaiʻi has an abundant food culture. Everywhere you turn, you’ll find ‘ono (delicious) offerings, everything from a refreshing shave ice—try it drizzled with condensed milk—to a multicourse
meal at an internationally acclaimed restaurant. But don’t stop there. Have lunch at a shrimp truck on O‘ahu’s North Shore. Eat your way through the Hilo Farmers Market, held Wednesdays and
Saturdays. Taste Upcountry produce on Maui and slurp noodles at the mom-and-pop shops on Kaua‘i. And try the crack seed stores, which despite the name, offer a variety of snacks, including dried fruit, nuts, and savory chews, in flavors you might not have ever sampled before. Dried cuttlefish, anyone?
A FAMILY PHOTO PERFECT FOR FRAMING
Bonus points awarded if a photo you take on your trip shows someone in mid-air, jumping into a pool, or off a boat. Other photo ops: Smiling with the denizens of Hawaiʻi’s reefs, like the angelfish, yellow tang, and green sea turtles; giving a shaka next to your six-story sand castle; or somehow fitting all generations of family members into one lounge chair before the camera autotimer goes off.
The “I Can’t Believe We’re Here Moment”
You’ll know this one when it happens. You’ll get “chicken skin” as they say in Hawai‘i (goose bumps as they call them on the Mainland). Maybe it will happen when you watch a malo-clad runner lighting the tiki torches at dusk, or when a fragrant lei is placed around your neck for the first time. You might feel it when you hear slack-key guitar and the trademark falsetto singing commonly found in Hawaiian music. It might be the sun creating shapes on the emerald green, jagged mountains in the distance, or the timelessness of the ocean swaying against her partner, the shore. Maybe it’s when you look up at the faces of your family, in the glow of the golden Island light, and see everyone looking perfectly content. That’s your “I can’t believe we’re here moment,” and you, my friend, have just won the game.