No destination seems to be able to morph into any setting better than Hawaii. From cities to beaches to jungles, the islands really do have everything.
On This Site…
No production utilized the variety that the islands have to offer more than Lost. The show used Hawaii to portray locations like Australia, New York, Niagara Falls, London, and Africa, not to mention the mysterious Pacific Island.
For many years, Hawaii has been a beach setting, for classic films such as Blue Hawaii and From Here To Eternity. More recent films like 50 First Dates, Blue Crush, and Forgetting Sarah Marshall add to the long allure of Hawaii as a paradise destination.
In the early 80s, Indiana Jones changed the landscape of filming in Hawaii. It really opened the industry to how Hawaii could portray many exotic settings and be a home to action films. This brought films like the Jurassic Park and Jurassic World movies to Hawaii.
The Turtle Bay Resort
Most production facilities and soundstages are located in Honolulu, but productions often want to show a more isolated resort compared to the hustle and bustle of Waikiki. The Turtle Bay Resort on Oahu’s North Shore is the perfect setting for this scenario. The large oceanfront resort has been featured in many movies and TV shows over the years.
The Road To Hana
If you find yourself on Maui, I recommend renting a car (a convertible or jeep would be ideal) and driving the famous Road to Hana. This route winds along the northern coast of the island, right to the easternmost point. You’ll pass breathtaking views and countless waterfalls, and a cute black-sand beach awaits you in Hana.
Keep in mind this drive is along a winding narrow road, and much of it is along the side of mountains, next to cliffs. While the trip is beautiful, I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone afraid of heights.
Paradise Cove Luau
There are a number of Luaus to choose from on Oahu, all with pros and cons. They are all geared to tourists, so their authenticity is questionable. That being said, my favourite is the Paradise Cove Luau. I’ve been a couple times and always thoroughly enjoyed it. The setting on the islands west coast is a perfect location to watch the sunset. The Luau also includes several traditional customs including bring in the fish net and uncovering the imu (underground oven).
The food served is all-you-can-eat and features all the items you’d expect, like kalua pork, poi, salmon, and fresh pineapple. The show that follows is well done and the dancers are very talented.
One of my personal highlights on Oahu is malasadas from Leonard’s Bakery. They have several locations around the island, including their Malasada-Mobile Wagon at the Waikele Center.
Malasadas are essentially Portuguese donuts, which come sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar. You can also get them filled with custard. I highly recommend the haupia (coconut) one!
If you want a nice dinner on the North Shore, I highly recommend Hale’iwa Joe’s. This restaurant has fantastic food and great service. It does get quite busy so try to go in off-peak hours or expect a bit of a wait.
While the menu is varied, I highly recommend both the sticky ribs for dinner and the Paradise Pie for dessert. They were both ono (delicious).
How To Get Around
If you are planning on staying in Waikiki and not exploring at all, you could get by without a car. But if that is your plan, why go? There is SO much to explore on Oahu and the other islands, you’ll miss out on so much. Definitely rent a car and go explore. You’ll be glad you did!
*Please note I haven’t received compensation for any recommendations on this site. These are my own opinions*
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