Category Archives: Hawaiian Islands

Blogs about the Hawaiian Islands culture, destinations, sightseeing activities and the beaches and beach lifestyle.

Thanksgiving Weekend Top 10 USA Beach Destinations

Waikiki Beach Leads The List That Includes California & Florida

Waikik Beach sunset sailboats
Sailboats frame a gorgeous sunset in Waikiki Beach.

You don’t have to be huddled around a fireplace, freezing when you step outside and stuck watching football for four days during Thanksgiving weekend in the USA .

You can be on a beach!

And here are Surfside Sam’s top beach destinations for Thanksgiving Day Weekend.

Top Beaches List

1.) Waikiki Beach

This is a fun, lively beach with tons of activities. But the reason it’s #1 is because there’s also a big bonus – on the Friday after Thanksgiving there’s a Christmas parade right down Kalakaua Ave. Plus, the water is warm, the temperature is great and it offers the perfect combination of being laid back without the possibility of anyone getting bored.

2.) Kaanapali Beach, Maui

This beach near Lahina offers good snorkeling, a walkway with a few popular outdoor restaurant/bars, sunset cruises and serves as a launching point for seeing the rest of the island.  This is prefect for couples and families but single people can have a good time, here too.

3.) Hermosa Beach/South Bay, CA (Los Angeles)

Hermosa Beach, CA
The wide beaches of Hermosa Beach make for plenty of beach recreation.

The South Bay Beach Cities have a bike path – take a guided tour with Beach Cities Bike Tours – great weather and a long, sunny beach. Hermosa Beach is the center of activity but there’s also Manhattan Beach and Redondo Beach. All connected by the bike and running path known as The Strand. And oh, the sunsets!

4.) Mission Beach, CA (San Diego)

How does riding a rollercoaster sound? Not one of those really scary ones but a milder one, right at the beach! There’s one at Mission Beach in San Diego. There are tons of restaurants, a good beach and, like the above South Bay beaches, a bike, walking and running path that connects to Ocean Beach and Pacific Beach. La Jolla, too, is just up the coast.

5.) Key West

Of course the Conch Republic has to be on this list.  There’s so much to do in Key West and yet so little if you choose to spend your time just wastin’ away. Of course, one must-do daily ritual are seeing the sunsets from Mallory Square

6.) St. Petersburg, FL

Ft. DeSoto Park is continually ranked as one of the nation’s best beaches (this is in addition to St. Pete Municipal Beach and others), there’s the St. Petersburg Marina with all kind of boating and fishing opportunities, plus the usual Florida activities such as Par-3  and themed putt-putt golf courses.

7.) Siesta Key, FL

If Surfside Sam were doing a list of top family destinations, this would probably be at the top. This beach by Sarasota is as white, as, well, someone who has not been to the beach in a while. And while there’s enough activities to keep you busy, it’s also pretty quiet. In other words, it’s a good place for a siesta for a few days.

8.) Ft. Lauderdale, FL

Always active Ft. Lauderdale provides for boating, hanging out on a warm beach, going for a swim, walking along it’s intracoastal waterways and having food and drinks at any of its many restaurants and bars overlooking the beach. Surfside Sam likes it better than South Beach because it’s less “intense.”

9.) Florida Keys

This is a different kind of way to spend your long weekend – on the move! You can make your way down the Keys by staying in the little towns along the way: Key Largo, Islamarada, Marathon.  Make your Thanksgiving dinner at at Dockside Tropical Cafe at Sombrero Beach where you’ll hear the best live trop/rock music in the Keys.

10.) Tybee Island, GA (Savannah)

Historical Savannah is 20 minutes away and Tybee Island provides a beachy place to stay for Thanksgiving. The summer crowds are long gone and you can enjoy peel-and-eat restaurants, a couple of bars with character and there’s even a Civil War fort to explore.



Pearl Harbor Tour A Memorable Experience And A Must-Do Honolulu Activity

USS Arizona Memorial Provides Many Moving Moments

USS Arizona Memorial
The USS Arizona Memorial sits gently over the sunken ship.


You can see it on TV specials and documentaries but nothing can actually prepare you emotionally for visiting Pearl Harbor.

The tour is free but the memories are a treasure.  (There are paid van tours which can be set up and leave from every hotel in Waikiki Beach. They are as easy to find as sand. And at the venue, donations are accepted.)

First, you go to a waiting room of sorts, which is really a mini museum. Then you board a small boat and ride out to the USS Arizona Memorial.

When you step from the boat onto the white open-air structure, which is over the sunken ship, the mood of everyone changes. You go from chatting with friends and others to complete silence.

You move around the structure – which is small, only capable of holding a few dozen people –with a quiet respect. The monument is like a T-bone over the ship and on a wall are the names of those who died during the attack on that day of infamy.

It’s easy to spend several minutes just staring at the wall, slowly reading the names. But there are so many of them, 1,177. This is when the reality of the attack really starts to take hold of the mind. The list is so long it’s impossible to read all the names.

All around you there is silence. It’s like being at a funeral, but a funeral for people you don’t know and never knew, but respect.

This is a good time to peer over the side. Droplets of oil rise to the surface out of the ship. It’s said they are actually the tears of those who lost their lives.

You can stay as long as you like, but somewhere around 20 minutes is enough time. Then you board another boat and return to shore.

No matter what else you do in Hawaii, and how much you whoop it up in the bars of Waikiki Beach, those moments at Pearl Harbor will stay with you for a long time.


• 1,300 walk-in tickets are available daily at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center, which opens at 7:00 a.m. Tickets are free and available on a first come, first serve basis.

• You can also get tickets in advance by calling 1-877-444-6777 or on-line at:

• Hours: Daily, 7 a.m.-5 p.m.

• Address: 1 Arizona Memorial Place, Honolulu, HI 96818

Thanksgiving Weekend Weather Forecasts At USA Beaches

Sunny Skies And Warm Temperatures In Southern California

Coronado Beach San Diego
Coronado Beach in San Diego is one of the best places for weather over Thanksgiving.


It seems whenever I do one of these holiday weekend weather reports, the advice is always the same: Head west for the best beach weather.

And that’s the case once again for Thanksgiving Day in 2014. Southern California will be basking in 70-degree weather and sunshine.

Los Angeles – which has beaches including Malibu, Santa Monica, Long Beach and the lively South Bay consisting of Hermosa, Manhattan and Redondo – it’s the usual warm Thanksgiving weather. Perfect for hanging out on the beach and/or taking a bike ride along The Strand. On Saturday, USC takes on Notre Dame in the LA Coliseum; if you are going be sure and bring a sweatshirt (but NOT one that says ND, ha).

San Diego – Ditto for the most fun city in California. Have drinks on the deck of the Hotel Del overlooking Coronado, stroll the dramatic cliffs in La Jolla and act like it’s endless summer in Pacific Beach, Ocean Beach and Mission Beach. Or, get a convertible and cruise up the coast through the beach towns of Del Mar, Encinitas, San Clemente, Dana Point, Laguna Beach and Newport Beach.

Northern California – San Francisco will be nice with sunny skies and temperatures in the 60s but remember it gets cold in “the City” at night so always have a jacket or sweatshirt with you. If you’re going wine tasting, Napa will also be mostly sunny and in the mid-60s (Friday is going to be the best and brightest day). If you find yourself in Carmel or Monterey, consider yourself lucky! Plus, the weather will be mostly sunny and mid-60s but like in San Francisco it will get chilly at night. Up the coast 45 minutes in Santa Cruz, do all your outdoor activities before Saturday when rain is expected to arrive in this cool little beach town.

Hawaii – The weather in Southern California actually surpasses that of the #1 Thanksgiving destination according to, Honolulu. While the temperatures in paradise will be in the typical mid-80s, it will be mostly cloudy the entire weekend. This will not affect the parade through Waikiki Beach, which takes place Friday evening and honors Pearl Harbor survivors and victims.  Maui and the Big Island will have sunshine.

Another fairly pleasant beach to be at on Turkey Day Weekend is South Padre Island, Texas. There, it will be partly sunny Thursday and Friday with full sunshine arriving on Saturday, with temperatures in the mid-60s and upper 50s at night.

The South and East Coast will be coming out of a period of thunderstorms by Thursday with overall mostly sunny skies. Here’s a breakdown from Florida to Martha’s Vineyard.

Florida –In South Beach, rain on Wednesday gives way to to partly sunny skies the rest of the weekend with highs in the low 70s dropping to about 60 at night. The situation is similar in Key West with rain on Wednesday, mostly cloudy Thursday and Friday and showers Saturday morning. Temperatures will be in the mid-70s and mid-60s.  In the Keys, it will be cloudy and windy Thursday and Friday and sunny on Saturday. On the West Coast of the Sunshine State, St. Pete will be very pleasant, mostly sunny Thursday thru the weekend with temperatures a mild 65.

South Carolina – Myrtle Beach will be nice, albeit cool at night, on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday (55 high, 40 low) with rain coming in on Saturday night. The nice resort area of Hilton Head Island will be sunny but a tad cool, especially at night. The daytime highs are expected to be in the mid-50s with the evening temperatures dropping to the low 40s.

Ocean City, MD – This popular beach town will be cool and sunny with temperatures stretching to 50 on Friday but lows in the mid-30s.

Martha’s Vineyard – A warm stretch of weather hits the East Coast on Thanksgiving and that is going to make Martha’s Vineyard rather pleasant, at least by November standards. It will be mostly sunny with temperatures hovering near 50 and lows a tolerable 38-39. Rain is expected to arrive on Saturday.



Hurricane Ana To Miss Hawaii But Drench Honolulu And Maui

Tourists Better Take Their Mai Tais Inside For Shelter

Hurricane Ana Hawaiian Islands
As this AccuWeather graphic shows, Ana will bring rain to the Hawaiian Islands.

If you’re vacationing in Hawaii the good news is that Hurricane Ana will bypass the islands.

The bad news is that you won’t be going back home with a suntan.

The weather forecast for Honolulu and Maui is for heavy rains and not just through the weekend. Honolulu is expected to be drenched for at least a week. Maui will get a break with some sunshine on Tuesday and Wednesday but the clouds return on Thursday.

As for Ana, the Hurricane Center expects an area of high pressure will prevent the hurricane from hitting any of the Hawaiian islands.

Therefore the strongest and most destructive winds will be offshore. So there goes your chances for that romantic sunset cruise in Kanapali, Maui, or taking one of the booze cruises in Waikiki Beach.

The impacts of Ana’s presences in the area will spread across Hawaii in an east-to-west fashion late Friday through Sunday.

The Big Island, mainly southern areas, and Kauai are at greatest risk of experiencing flooding rainfall and tropical storm-force winds. Such winds could cause tree damage and power outages, while isolated mudslides may result.

Based on Ana’s current forecast path, downpours and winds of 40 mph could graze the other islands. Localized flash flooding and power outages would result, including in Honolulu and Hilo.

Rough and dangerous surf will develop throughout the islands.

So you’re going to have to enjoy your Mai Tais and other rum drinks from inside the bar rather than on the lanai.

Hawaii Weather, Waves Effected By Hurricane Iselle With Julio To Follow

Tropical Storm To Hit Big Island With Another One To Follow

The storm track of Hurricane Iselle as it approaches the Hawaiian Islands.

Like a Mai Tai that’s been left sitting in the sun, Hurricane Iselle will become weak, but it still will pack a punch when it hits Hawaii.

Heavy rain, strong winds and  rough seas will affect all the islands, and will bring big surf during the second half of the second week of August.

However, it’s a second system, tropical storm Julio, that bears watching more closely. While Iselle is expected to become a tropical storm by the time it reaches Hawaii, warns that Julio is also churning over the eastern Pacific and is forecast to become a hurricane and track towards the Hawaiian Islands right on the heels of Iselle.

AccuWeather meteorologists believe that this storm will approach the chain of islands late in the weekend or early next week. However, the exact track that it will take remains uncertain.

According to Meteorologist Mark Mancuso, “Julio will be passing over waters churned up and cooled by Iselle, which argues for weakening after initial strengthening.”

It is possible that the impacts of Julio could be greater than those of Iselle, especially if it tracks just to the north of the islands.

However, even as a tropical storm, Iselle will still pack a punch. Heavy rain, gusty winds and building seas and surf will affect the islands during the second half of the week. There is a possibility of isolated incidents of flash flooding, mudslides and damaging wind gusts.

“Tropical storm-force winds will cause at least scattered power failures on the islands, including in the City of Honolulu,” said Mike Smith, Senior Vice President of AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions.

The Big Island of Hawaii will be the first to feel the impacts from Iselle as it is forecast to reach the island by Thursday night, local time. It is expected to take a direct hit from the storm before passing just south of the smaller islands, such as Maui or Oahu. The northern and eastern portions of the islands will likely feel greater effects than the southern and western sides.



Hawaii’s Turtle Bay Resort Offers $200 Fall Room Rates

North Shore Oahu Hotel Has Activities & Surfing Competitions

Turtle Bay Resort Oahu Hawaii beach
The Turtle Bay Resort is on Oahu's beautiful North Shore beach.

One of the top resorts in Hawaii is offering what is – for the property – excellent hotel room rates for most of the fall.

The Turtle Bay Resort on Oahu’s North Shore has what it calls Fantastic Fall Rates starting at $209 a night for renovated ocean-view rooms.

The offer is good from Sept. 1-Nov. 27.

The renovations, involve the rooms, two new restaurants with farm-to-table and sea-to-table cuisine; the new Nalu Kinetic Spa and Wellness Center; and a pair of retail outlets.

Of course, you don’t go to Hawaii – and the Turtle Bay Resort – to sit in the room all day interspersed with a little shopping and dining. You need activities!

And here, there’s stand-up paddle boarding, surf lesson, Segway tours, hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, beachside yoga and, of course, 36 holes of championship golf on two courses. Better yet for us duffers, the golf is for free in October on either course.

And this also is the North Shore, one of the top surfing spots in the world. In the fall, there’s the HIC Pro at Sunset Beach from Oct.28-Nov.10; the REEF Hawaiian Pro at Haleiwa from Nov.12-23 and The Vans World Cup at Sunset Beach runs Nov. 24-Dec. 1.

To book, call *808) 293-6000 or go to the Turtle Bay website at:


Locals Flooding Oahu’s North Shore For Massive Waves At Sunset Beach

Massive 50-Foot Waves Brings Gawkers And Bumper-To-Bumper Traffic

North Shore waves
People line the street to see the massive North Shore waves. Photo; Hawaii News Now

Locals, normally to laid-back to care, are excited about the massive waves hitting Hawaii.

They are clogging the highway to the North Shore to check out the scene. Traffic is bumper-to-bumper, making the highway resemble the 4-5 freeway in Los Angeles at rush hour.

Cars are lined up on the edge of the road and people are watching as huge waves are crashing down seeming right in front of them.

Hopefully, they are doing it from a safe distance because it’s not wise to tempt nature just to get a good photo to put on Facebook or Instagram. The huge waves are a result of a Pacific storm that’s bringing high surf not just to Hawaii but all up and down the California coast, as well.

If you are going to join them, be patient. There’ s only one road in and out of the North Shore and it’s a slow two-lane burn. Make a day of it, in fact. Stop at the shrimp trucks for garlic shrimp. Have some shaved ice or a plate lunch and pie from Ted’s Bakery.

Here’s a slideshow of the waves: