Destination: O’ahu, Hawaii!

J&A Wanderlust

Oct 25, 2017

Last month we had an amazing adventure in Hawaii! {To hear all about how this last-minute 2 week trip came to be, you can check out all the details on our Destination: Maui post!}

We shared some of our favorite stories from Maui, and now we’re headed onto O’ahu! This island is home of Honolulu, the big waves of the North Shore, and reportedly the best place to get shaved ice.

While we decided that we’re actually not shaved ice fans (I think we’re one of the few!), we did love our time exploring the capitol city of Honolulu, experiencing Pearl Harbor, and watching North Shore surfers. Not to mention some of the best coffee during our trip to the islands!

After a few days in Maui, we jumped on a plane to head back to the island of O’ahu. This was the beginning of Joel’s work part of the trip, but we still found plenty of time to explore! We were here over a weekend and made the most of every moment!

Joel finished up his meetings early Friday afternoon. And just take one guess at our first stop?

The state capitol building, of course! We’re on a quest to visit all 50 state capitol buildings, and this was definitely an exciting one to knock off our list! It was a very fascinating capitol building. The inside was totally open to the sky, and the Senate and House chambers were simply doors going straight into the chambers.

It was under construction, of course. I think we’re at about a 50% construction rate right now. :) Very unique, very interesting. My favorite part was the pool of water surrounding the building. It was just so fitting!

Across the street had a few historically significant buildings from the kingdom of Hawaii. I was really fascinated by all of this because of a book I had read recently about the story of Hawaii’s royal family before it became a US state.

These buildings were under construction, of course, but seeing all this stuff in real life was so amazing! A few pictures down is a statue of Queen Lili’uokalani. She was the last monarch of Hawaii. The history is sad, as so much of history is, but it was special getting to be among these important places.

We stumbled across a hula performance in the park! It was such a fun cultural experience. :)


King Kamehameha was a pretty big deal. He was the king that ultimately united the Hawaiian islands under a single ruler. Also a very sad history of events, but war and power struggles always are. But he was a major historic figure in Hawaii’s history and gets a pretty epic statue!

Ahh! This palace!! This was the Hawaiian palace from all the Hawaiian princess stories I read before coming! :)

P.S. My head always goes sideways when I’m super excited! Lol!!!

After I got my fill of Hawaiian princess palaces, we headed over to Pearl Harbor. On the tour, we got to watch a really powerful and moving film about what happened that day. If you’re ever in Hawaii, it’s definitely worth a visit.

After Pearl Harbor, we spent our last couple hours of the day exploring the east side of the island. I think we both agreed that this was our favorite part of O’ahu!!! We found a quiet beach with lots of fun shells washed up by the tide. Then we drove through the most BEAUTIFUL mountains at sunset!! Ahhh!!!

I mean, these trees and mountains at sunset!!! There was a photographer doing a session just off to the side of where this pictures was taken, and I’ll admit. We were more than a little jealous!! ;)

Saturday morning called for a #jacoffeeadventures at Downtown Coffee Honolulu! I decided not to overwhelm you with coffee pictures in this blog post, but we found some really delicious coffee in Honolulu! We stayed right in the middle of downtown, so we had Brue Bar (totally made our Top 10 list!), Kai Coffee, and Downtown Coffee Honolulu all within easy walking distance from our hotel. Yuuuum.

3 of our 4 coffee adventures in Honolulu made our #jacoffeefavorites list. Not too bad, Honolulu. Not too bad! :)

Saturday was coffee, pineapple, and chocolate day! We drove toward the west side of O’ahu and stopped first at Green World Coffee Farm to frolic through coffee fields!!

Our next stop was the Dole Pineapple Plantation! I’ll be honest – it was kind of a tourist trap. But if you’re on Hawaii, it’s just a fun place to explore! :) Seeing the pineapple fields was really neat. It was our first experience with a Dole Whip, and it was deee-licious!!

Probably my favorite spot of the trip was this out-of-the-way Waialua Coffee Estate! They had a free coffee tour that was super interesting because you actually got to explore a real coffee and chocolate production. We saw the coffee beans drying, the equipment the use to process it, AND got lots of samples.

Since Joel and I are kind of nerdy when it comes to coffee, we loved going through the samples to taste the wet processed vs natural processed vs light roast vs etc, etc, etc coffees. ;) This was definitely a highlight of our time in O’ahu!

They also had a Saturday morning farmer’s market there where we stocked up on dragonfruit for breakfast!

The cacao pod that holds the chocolate beans!

Saturday night we were so exhausted that I pretty much crashed and didn’t take a lot of pictures. But Sunday was a wonderful restful day! We found an OPC church in Honolulu, and we really loved worshipping with them!

Sunday afternoon took us on a hike to Diamond Head State Monument. It was a fairly strenuous hike (you pretty much hike up the side of a crater), but the views were amazing!

I LOVED this view right here!!!

A bird’s eye view of the famous Waikiki Beach!

After our hike, we headed to spend a little time relaxing on the beach before we headed back to our room for some quiet time to work on Joel’s Sunday school study. Such a great day!

Monday morning! We made one more beach visit and grabbed one more delicious coffee before heading to the airport! We’re catching a flight to Kaua’i next, and we can’t wait to share that island with you! It was our top favorite!

And I totally wish you could see it in this picture, but this surfer’s swim trunks exactly matched his surfboard. To the exact hue of blue. I was highly amused! :)

And that was a quick highlight view of our time in O’ahu!! It definitely had more a city feel than the other islands we explored, but there were so many charms to love! The coffee, for one. We only found one other amazing coffee shop on our entire trip, so Honolulu will always have a special place in our coffee-loving hearts. :)

Thank you for coming along on our adventures!



  1. Rachel says:

    Goodness, seeing some of these photos was like a gut punch of nostalgia. We honeymooned on the north/northeast side of the island, so some of these pics are the exact views we saw, with incredible clarity. It was like I was there again. Thanks for sharing!

    • Joel and Amber says:

      I’m so glad it could bring back some fun memories! It’s such an incredible place! We’ll have to share stories next time we see you guys! :)

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