My 3 Best Hawaii Travel Secrets

Gray Cargill who writes solo travel advice at Solo Friendly has tagged me to share my top three travel secrets. This fun travel blog meme started at TripBase with the purpose of highlighting those hidden travel spots that you most likely won’t find in a guidebook. So, here are my top three Hawaii-focused travel secrets.

Pastries from Liliha Bakery

1. When you go to Oahu, please do yourself a favor and stop into Liliha Bakery in Honolulu for coco puffs. These creamy pastries are absolutely onolicious. I hate to use this overused phrase, but it truly describes you’re first bite of a coco puff – it melts in your mouth.

Liliha Bakery is very popular with the locals, but I’ve never seen it mentioned in a guidebook. On a flight from Oahu to Maui, I noticed several locals carrying Liliha boxes, which I’m sure would delight their friends and family.

I’ve written about Liliha Bakery’s coco puffs and how I highly recommend you give it a try. One reader, Aja, wrote this comment on my post about coco puffs:

“All I can say is WOW – stumbled across this post before going to spend a week in Oahu and it was more than worth the $50 round trip cab ride from Waikiki just to taste one of those amazing coco puffs!! Of course, I couldn’t just stop at one and after buying a box to go I was left licking the wrappers after the last one was eaten. Thank you so much for this recommendation!!”

Yes, wrapper licking is a side effect of coco puffs. 🙂 Liliha Bakery is located in Honolulu at 515 N. Kuakini Street.


2. How would you like to brag to your friends that you slept in a volcano? Well, on the Big Island you can stay in some wonderful Bed and Breakfast and inns in the town of Volcano. You won’t find any big name resorts here, but what you will find are small locally owned and operated accommodations that will provide you with a unique experience of the Big Island.

The town of Volcano is located adjacent to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and the world’s most active volcano, Kilauea, which makes it a great base for exploring that area of Hawaii Island. For first time visitors to the Big Island, I always recommend staying in Volcano for one to three nights in addition to several nights on the Kona side.

Though the historic Kilauea Lodge is a favorite of many, I prefer the B&B’s that are surrounded by rainforest filled with Hapu’u Ferns. I’ve stayed at Volcano Rainforest Retreat (Note, this Web site doesn’t open in Firefox, you must use Internet Explorer) and on my upcoming trip to the Big Island, I’ll be staying at the Volcano Teapot Cottage.

Poipu Sunset3. Hit any beach at sunset in Hawaii and you’ll most likely find it deserted. Can you believe it?  Even the bustling Waikiki Beach becomes a semi-private beach at sunset. I still find it hard to believe myself. My theory on why the beaches are deserted is that folks are either in a restaurant hoping to have a table with a nice sunset view or they’re preparing to go out to dinner. My advice is to use this secret to your advantage and plan a sunset picnic. I’ll bet that it will end up being your most memorable and possibly one of your cheapest dinners in Hawaii. See my post on the best sunset view dining in Hawaii.

So, those are my three favorite Hawaii travel secrets. Please add your secret tips in the comments.

Now, I must tag 5 other bloggers to participate in this meme. I’d love to hear the insight from these folks:

  • Melanie from Travels with Two – Melanie and her husband, Adam have practically traveled the world.
  • Bobbie and Jerry from The Right Blue live on the Big Island of Hawaii have travel extensively to find new adventures in their “lifetime of ocean devotion”. What will their top three secrets be?
  • Surely Gary from Everything Everywhere will have a challenge whittling down to just three top secret spots from his nearly three year long around the world travels.
  • Kris from Maui by Photo and Kaanapali Dreamin’ is blogging pal who is nuts about Maui. Hopefully, he’ll share some of his secret spots from the Valley Isle, Maui.
  • Jim and Martha write Wanderlust Journey. They love traveling and Hawaii is one of their favorites.
  1. Great tips, Sheila! I especially love the idea of a sunset picnic on the beach (that is a gorgeous photo). I can’t believe people miss out on that view!

    “Wrapper licking”…heh heh. You know something is good when you’re reduced to wrapper licking. 🙂

    1. Thanks for the tag, Gray.

      Yeah, it’s the strangest thing to find that one of the most magical moments of the day (sunset) is best seen from the beach, and yet the beaches are practically empty!

  2. Not really a secret – But… There are no private beaches in Hawaii.

    One time I drove with my wife down the Pacific Coast Highway in California (All-day drive) and we decided to spend some time on the beach. It was extremely frustrating for us because most of the coastline was private property, off-limits or otherwise inaccessible. Getting to the beach was a LOT harder than we thought it would be.

    In my opinion – This is significant because the state of California only has about 100 more miles of coastline than the accumulated coastline of Hawaii which is almost 100% accessible to the public.

    The only exceptions I can think of would be a few places that are off limits for security reasons like airports and military bases. Even some of those beaches are open to the public.

    1. Dave – thanks for pointing that out. We are all so lucky that Hawaii’s beaches are free and open to the public!

  3. Love this list! Can’t wait to try a sunset beach picnic on Maui next Valentine’s Day :).

    Per your #2, our Volcano inn recommendation would be for the Hale Ohia Cottages They’re not exactly a secret…just intimate, cozy and a three-minute drive from the park entrance.

    1. Melanie – I can’t wait for you to try a sunset beach picnic, too! And, gosh, on Valentine’s Day — does it get any more romantic than that?!

  4. My other secret is: During the winter months – If you float in the ocean with your ears underwater, stay very still and listen closely… You can hear Humpback Whales singing off in the distance. It can be an almost spiritual experience. 🙂

    1. I’m going to try this listening for the whale songs next month! Wonder what’s on the Humpback Top 40 this year? 😉

    1. Hi Katie – it’s a brilliant idea! I’m glad I could participate.

  5. These 3 are yours btw:

    Bobbie and Jerry, The Right Blue
    Kris, Maui by Photo and Kaanapali Dreamin’
    Jim and Martha, Wanderlust Journey

    Don’t want to confuse you!


  6. thanx for sharing,been to few places and some of them i missed that i would cover in my next tour

  7. Per #2 We are new and interesting, our lodge is located in a lush tropical forest featuring an old growth crater and lava tube entrance, peaceful! beautiful! birds!
    Aloha Danny

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