Believe me, there are times when all I want to do on vacation is show up with my good book, have everything planned for me, and never ever leave the beach. But that rarely happens because I am the planner, and once I am on a trip, I want to see things. Hawaii – the ultimate lounging vacation – is no exception.
On my recent trip that I have written about in the past couple weeks, I took a family hike along a trail that is totally enjoyable and lush. I have taken the Manoa Falls hike a couple times now, and it really is an easy outing if you are staying on Oahu. If you don’t stay on Oahu, don’t worry, there are plenty of good hikes on other islands, and plenty of guide books to tell you where.
But what makes Manoa Falls special is that it is fabulous for kids – it is easy enough, yet the path is also interesting to hold their attention. It is about a 1 1/2 mile hike round trip… and the reward is a pretty waterfall.
Along the way you go through enormous bamboo forests….
and a rain forest that resembles Jurassic Park.
There are also bridges and other natural structures along the path that the kids find fun.
The other thing I like about Manoa is that if you aren’t with kids, you can extend the hike with a pretty strenuous and steep detour to the left once you reach the falls. If you go on that path it will take you another good hour higher. Although the lower portion of the hike – to the falls – is plenty aerobic, this second portion will have you comatose. Good comatose, however, because when I hiked it on another trip with my girlfriends, we rewarded ourselves with the best burgers in Oahu – The Counter in Kahala.
Overall, it is a couple hour outing, and longer if you do the extended hike. It is a great way to spend time with your kids- lots of time for good conversations – and pointing out some of the beauty of nature. We saw some brilliantly colored birds… as well as a friendly chicken
It is an easy drive from Waikiki… there is a parking lot right there for $5, and you can buy water at the cafe about 100 yards from the parking lot. Better yet – bring water on your own. Don’t leave valuables in your car – there have been some reported problems with thieves. Remember to wear comfortable walking shoes with good traction – it can be slippery on parts of the trail because it is so moist.
I have been on some equally beautiful hikes on Maui as well… If you motivate to get off the lounge chair, there are some good resources to help you plan a hike on your next trip to the islands:
“The Hiker’s Guide to Oahu”…..by Stuart M. Ball Jr. and “The Hiker’s Guide to th e Hawaiian Islands” by the same author…also “Day HIkes in Hawaii,” by Robert Stone