A Playcation With Visiting Friends

A lot of people joke that you suddenly have lots of family and friends when you move to Hawaii.

It’s true.

Now I’m not talking about fair-weather friends who simply use the connection for a free place to stay. No, it’s real friends who come to Hawaii and want to spend some of their vacation with you. It just so happens I’ve had a lot of old friends and family visit during the past month and a half – always a treat. On top of reconnecting, it’s a chance to play tourist at their resort.


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Turtle Bay Resort is the perfect spot for a ‘playcation’ | Tannya Joaquin photo

It’s more of a playcation than a staycation, hanging poolside and catching up while catching some rays. Plus it’s a good opportunity to see the state’s No. 1 economic engine, tourism, at work.

Lately I’ve been hanging out at popular resorts in all of the tourism hot spots around Oahu: in Waikiki at Hilton Hawaiian Village, on the North Shore at Turtle Bay and at Ko Olina’s Aulani and Marriott Beach villas.

I recall recently reading a story during our 6 o’clock news about the record summer tourism numbers for 2013. Trying the visitor experience reminds me why people love coming to Hawaii so much. It just so happens all of the properties we played at had water slides. That’s always a big draw for my son, but the resorts have much more to offer everyone in the family culturally and recreation-wise, including some new additions. I really was impressed with the fire knife dancers at Turtle Bay and love the big movie showings on the great lawn at Hilton Hawaiian Village. And what’s not to love about Aulani?

Sometimes you get so busy in your day-to-day routine you forget to take in everything and enjoy your own town. I grew up in San Francisco, for instance, and never visited Alcatraz Island, one of its most popular tourist attractions.

It’s been a nice escape to simply enjoy the surroundings and relax, but I will make a conscious effort to get out and do some of those touristy things on my bucket list. I checked off one recently by learning to surf at Queen’s Beach. I look forward to checking more off my list. Who knows? Maybe another friend will be the catalyst for doing that.