Updated: Sep 9
While military life and constant moving can be a pain, it also provides military families incredible opportunities. Hawaii is one location on everyone's bucket list, and many military families have been lucky enough to receive orders to this tropical paradise.
Hawaii has eight main islands, but we are focusing on four that fellow milsos have enjoyed during their time in the pacific.
Hawaii Duty Stations
Hickam Air Force Base Bellows Air Force Station Base Fort Shafter Army Base Schofield Barracks Army Base Tripler Medical Center Army Base Wheeler Army Airfield Base MCB Hawaii Marine Corp Base NS Pearl Harbor Navy BAse NCTAMS PAC Navy Base Station Maui Coast Guard Base ISC Honolulu Coast Guard Base Station Maui Coast Guard Base
Haleakala National Park offers incredible sunrise and sunset views. The Road to Hana tour is a neat experience, and you can complete it with a guide or do it on your own using the narrated tour on the Shaka App.
Another great place to enjoy a self-guided tour is the Ali'i Kula Lavender Farm, a 13.5-acre farm filled with over 50,000 lavender plants of 20 different species. Finally, the Lahaina Pali Trail (Windmill Hike) comes highly recommended, but it's tough, so you have been warned!
The Maui Ocean Center aquarium has excellent exhibits and focuses on connecting to Hawaiian culture and educating visitors on conservation efforts.
A hot tip for coffee lovers, Paia Bay Coffee is a must!
Several trails come highly recommended in O'ahu. Diamondhead is, of course, on our list and one of the most popular. At the top of this hike, you can climb through a WWII bunker and experience a breathtaking view. Wiliwilinui Ridge Trail is a 4.7-mile hike. Still, every step is worth it. Waimea Falls is another beautiful hike and stroller-friendly since wholly paved. The family will enjoy seeing various tropical flowers, bamboo, and even bananas. Koko Head and Makapuu Lighthouse are highly recommended trails.
Paradise Cove Luau has unique packages for a complete Hawaiian experience! If Disney is what you want, the Disney Aulani Resort offers incredible character meals. Haleiwa Bowls has mouth-watering açaí bowls. Finally, let's not forget Matsumoto Shave Ice for a refreshing treat.
Let's talk museums and activities!
Military families know Pearl Harbor is a must. Visitors take a small boat to the USS Arizona, which still leaks oil into the ocean today. The USS Arizona is a memorial place, so visitors must remain silent while paying their respects. Immerse yourself in Japanese Culture at the Byodo-In Temple in Kaneohe. Or take a train tour through the Dole Plantation and learn about the historic pineapple fields. Adrenaline Junkies can take a shark cage diving tour. Our Milso informant Melissa suggests Hawaii Shark Encounters because the cages are in natural feeding spots. Sharks are not as aggressive because chum is not used to lure them.
If you are looking for fun for the kiddos, say no more. Sea Life Park has penguins, dolphins, a sea lion show, opportunities to feed the animals, and so much more Bishop Museum is a great interactive museum for kids. Of course, the Waikiki Aquarium and Honolulu Zoo are guaranteed fun!
Last but certainly not least, beaches; Hawaii is all about the beaches. Bellows beach on the inward side of the island. Located by Bellows Airforce Base, this beach is never crowded with tourists. Laniakea Beach on North Shore allows visitors to see sea turtles and sea lions But don't worry; these magnificent creatures are roped off and guarded by volunteers.
If you are heading to Kauai, look into the Marriott’s Kauai Beach Club. This resort has a great pool, beachfront, lighthouse, and Duke Kauai restaurant. Next, float down historic canals and tunnels with Backcountry Tubing. Finish with lunch in an enchanted picnic area and a refreshing swim in a natural swimming hole. Finally, take a catamaran tour to the Na pali coast.
The Big Island
The Volcanos National Park is incredible! Ask about the military-only cabin available to rent. This park has plenty of hiking trails with views of active volcanos. There are many hiking trails to see active volcanos. You can even take a boat tour along the coast and see the lava flow into the ocean.
I hope you all have enjoyed reading all about Hawaii through the eyes of a Milso. Let us know how you enjoyed this paradise Duty Station. Follow us on Instagram and Facebook for more Bucket List Monday fun!