If you live in Hawaii like I do, you don’t often take the time to explore your own “backyard” until you have excited guests who come to visit. And, just recently, I realized what a shame that really is. After all, why should we wait until we have company to explore one of the most beautiful places on Earth?!

Well, Tuesday (which happened to be my birthday), I put an end to the shame-spiral and booked a Circle Island Tour through Hawaii Jeep Tours. My visiting Brother (Kai) and Dad (John) came along for the ride, which turned out to be one of the most memorable days we’ve ever had.

So, why would a local book a Hawaii Jeep Tour that’s typically just for visitors? Read on to find out!

1. The North Shore Is Really Special (and we locals can forget this): Back in my newsroom days, I often had to make trips to the North Shore, but it was usually to get the “story” and get out. Not this time. THIS time, our guide, Beau, let us linger as long as we wanted at Waimea Bay, Ehukai Beach, and Sunset Beach. The waves were epic, the surfers were out, and the vibe was laid-back — the North Shore at its best.

Waimea Bay on the North Shore was one of our first stops on the Hawaii Jeep Tour.

2. Who Knew the Food Tastes Better in the Country?!: Sure, we have celebrity chefs and five-star restaurants in Honolulu, but who needs fancy food when you can eat fresh-caught shrimp out of a shack near Kewala Bay? During our Circle Island Tour, Beau took us to Romy’s Shrimp Shack for a feast of garlic-butter shrimp and rice. And, bonus: you can even visit the shrimp pond in which our “unlucky” shrimp were raised.

3. Four-Wheelin’ at Laie Point: Laie Point, on the northeast shores of Oahu, is an extraordinary place to visit no matter which time of year. But, in the winter, the enormous waves slam against the rocks, creating a scene right out of a movie. From the shore, the site is exhilerating. But, from the tip of the cliff’s edge, it’s off-the charts! Since Hawaii Jeep Tours’ 4 X 4 Jeeps are the only vehicles able to maneuver on the rocks leading out to the point, we were just about the ONLY ones able to see Laie Point in all its glory — from the very tip that juts out into the ocean.

4. Local Guides Know Things Even THIS Local Didn’t Know: I THOUGHT I was well-connected in Hawaii until I met Beau! Beau was born and bred in Hawaii, so his knowledge goes way, way, way back. I learned so much from Beau about the landscape, people, and culture of Hawaii, and he was patient and kind in communicating all his local knowledge to those of us who are from the mainland. We could barely drive a mile or two before he would see someone he knew, which made all of us realize we were in good hands!

5. Hidden Places…Undiscovered Hidaways: Hidden nooks and crannies on Oahu are everywhere — you just have to know where to look. On our Circle Island Tour, Beau introduced us to Kewalo Bay (can’t believe I never went there) and parts of Kaaawa that I may have never visited, had it not been for this excursion. Sure, a drive-by could be scenic, but to really experience these hidden gems, you need to stop and soak up the environment. On our Hawaii Jeep Tour, Beau allowed us the time to explore at-will, which is a luxury these days!

One of the most memorable parts of the Jeep Tour was a visit to Kewalo Bay. Right after this picture was taken, a wave got us all wet--oh well!

For locals like me, taking an entire day to explore Oahu isn’t typically on our to-do lists. So, sometimes, we need our out-of-town guests to force us to take the time to soak up our amazing island. But, you can be sure THIS local won’t wait so long next time!

 

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