Five biggest problems mainland kids have in Hawaii: #1 Knowing which beaches to go to, “the cool Spots.” 

The common public beaches in Hawaii are easy to find and access.  Those are usually overcrowded.  Locals know where the private, secret beaches are.  These are the beaches that aren’t on the maps and are accessed through neighborhoods.  For example, Gas Chambers is a beach on the north shore that’s secluded. It can be difficult to find because you have to know which entrance walkway to follow starting in the neighborhoods. A newbie to Hawaii wouldn’t know where this is. I didn’t know where it was until right before I left the islands for college! It’s things like these that mainland kids have a tough time with because they are new to the islands.

girls on beach

This is one of my favorite pictures of my girlfriend and I! Copyright Celina Ma Photography used with permission

Five biggest problems mainland kids have in Hawaii: #2 Knowing which beaches are too dangerous for newbies

There are some beaches with really strong currents and really big waves that are far too dangerous for Hawaii newbies. For example, the beaches Makapu’u and Sandys (located on the east shores of O’ahu,) have some of the strongest waves and currents. My dad and I describe the waves at Makapu’u as a hammer and Sandys’ waves are like an ax. The waves are so powerful that they’ll push you down and keep you under – and that’s when people panic. It can be difficult to know which beaches are dangerous because it’s not like there’s a “Yelp” page for surfing conditions at beaches. You have to be friends with the locals who grew up here and learned from past generations how the surf is different at each beach.

man bodysurfing at Sandy Beach

This guy is an expert and he’s not going to get creamed. But you would!

296 Bodyboarders in Sandy Beach Park by Matt Sims is licensed under CC BY 2.0. Image may have been resized or cropped from original

Five biggest problems mainland kids have in Hawaii: #3 Living far from town.

“Town” is considered downtown Honolulu, located on the south shore of O’ahu. Living far from town in neighborhoods like Mililani, Aiea and Kalihi are considered far from town. The drive is long, and the traffic is usually pretty severe. In addition to this, some of the best beaches are on the east side of O’ahu, like Makapuu and Sandys whereas these neighborhoods are on the west side. This can make it difficult for a newbie to make friends and meet people when they’re living far from town. However, if they attend their locals schools and befriend those living near them, that would be a great alternative. For those attending private schools in town though, the commute from the west side into town can be frustrating at times. 

Oahu explored by Nancy <i ‘m gonna SNAP! is licensed under CC BY 2.0. Image may have been resized or cropped from original.

Five biggest problems mainland kids have in Hawaii: #4 Not having the right gear.  

If I haven’t emphasized this enough already, I’ll repeat myself. You need a lot of bikinis and the right gear to have fun in Hawai’i. It’s important. For guys (or girls,) board shorts are the prime attire. Rash guards aren’t common. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone wear a rash guard at the beach. It’s a very haole thing to do. Newbies sometimes have a difficult time wearing the right fashionable gear or picking a good brand in fans (or any surf product.) DaFin has some great fins (can be found online or in stores.) Hawaiian Island Creations, a local chain, offers great surf products, bikinis, fins, surfboards. It’s the place to go for getting gear.

clothing in Hawaii

This is what comes up when you search for “homeless hawaiian sandals,” available at!

Five biggest problems mainland kids have in Hawaii: #5 Not accustomed to the traffic.

Hawaii traffic is intense, especially if you’re traveling from the west side into town. I once waited in traffic at 10 pm at night on a Wednesday night – no accidents, no out of the ordinary occasions – just traffic. It can be a lot for a newbie to adjust to, especially if they’re not accustomed to traffic from where they came from. Hawaii is a very urbanized city – unlike what most people think of it as. Although Hawaii is tropical and beautiful, there are a lot of people living in a small area. It’s like an urbanized city here.

bad traffic is anothe reason not to move to Hawaii

Yes, even our Sunday morning drives are packed in!
Sunday morning traffic by kimubert is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0. Image may have been resized or cropped from original