Island Adventures


Julianna Musser, Op-ed Editor

Aloha! Over the week of Mar. 31, 2023, to Apr. 7, 2023, 23 AE students, including myself, and 4 Neshaminy High School staff members got to go on a vacation to Hawai’i! We, students, spent a week in the beautiful state surrounded by delicious foods and new cultural experiences that we had never previously been exposed to.

While the trip had its ups and downs, everyone can agree that it is something we will never forget and we will cherish the memories we made forever. Every single day we spent was packed with different places for us to visit and sights for us to see. Let me take you through a brief run-through of everything we did throughout the week!

Our first day was a travel day in which we took two flights, adding up to about 12 hours of flying into Honolulu. Once we arrived, we went to our hotel to settle in and then went right back out to the beach for a little swimming time. After we freshened up, we had dinner at Hard Rock Cafe and then got our first night’s sleep in the unfamiliar hotel rooms.

On day two, we went to a multitude of different museums, ships, and monuments including Pearl Harbor, the USS Arizona, the Bowfin Submarine, and the USS Missouri. After learning about the history behind these beautiful areas, we discovered that there was a festival in town on the street our hotel was on and a lot of us spent some time there shopping! We ate dinner in a shopping mall right next to our hotel and then a handful of us ended our night in the pool’s hot tub.

On day three, we barely had a moment to rest until our curfew at 10 pm. To start up the day, we hiked up the ginormous Diamondback Mountain and got to see the beautiful sights from the very top. Afterward, we went paddle boarding, just to be met by a thunderstorm while we were all hanging out in the water. Due to our beach adventure being cut short by the weather, we went back to the hotel to change into some dry clothes, and then my friends and I went back out shopping all around the area. We tried some udon noodles from a restaurant in a shopping mall, went to a marketplace selling loads of jewelry and small trinkets, on a long walk taking in all of the nature around us, and then to a Japanese steakhouse for dinner.

The fourth day was no less busy than the third. In the morning, we traveled to a pineapple plantation and got to try tons of different flavorful treats. Then, we went to the North Shore to take some pictures on the beach (without actually getting time to swim in the water) and then went to some shopping areas where we could get lunch and shaved ice. I got a temporary tattoo and my friends got hair feathers that stayed with us for the rest of the trip. Although this didn’t take us very far into our day, we spent the second half at the Polynesian Cultural Center. Here, we got to see and participate in many different demonstrations and watch shows and performances that were unique to Polynesian culture.

Day five was full of different places to sightsee, but first, we had to fly to Kona which was about an hour away from Honolulu. Once we arrived, our first stop was a rainforest where we got to walk around all of the island’s nature and see a waterfall cascading down a mountain. Then we stopped for a quick lunch at a few fast food chains that we were all accustomed to, including Taco Bell, Subway, and Jack in the Box. Next, we went to explore different spots on the top of a volcano where we were met with a beautiful view and steam to heat us up. On the way back home we went to Big Island Candies and bought some sweet treats before making our way to a different hotel that we would be staying in for only one night. A few of us settled in and then spent some time at the hotel’s pool, before going to a pizzeria for dinner.

Day six started pretty similarly, in which we traveled to Rainbow Falls to take a look at the stunning yellow waterfall and gigantic trees around the area. Then, we went to a black sand beach followed by a deliciously smelling bakery where we settled to get lunch and some snacks. Afterward, we spent much time on a beach, jumping into the water and shopping around the area. We met some locals on a boat there that showed us some cool spots to shop and take a dip in the water. For dinner, we went to a pasta restaurant, then shopping again afterward before heading back to a different hotel in Hilo for the night.

On our final day of adventure, we took a very eventful boat ride to a spot where we could snorkel, which took up  most of our day. We got to see tons of creatures under the sea, while also learning about the history of the area. We ended the night at a luau where we got to try tons of different foods and watch a show.

Finally, we had one more day of travel where we took three flights, one from Hilo to Honolulu, then Honolulu to Los Angeles, then Los Angeles to Philly, taking about 12-13 hours in total. After such a fun-filled trip we were all exhausted and ready to sleep on the planes for as long as we could. Heading home left us all with a bittersweet feeling, but getting to spend a week’s time together created new friendships that never would’ve been presented to us otherwise.

Thank you so much to the team of staff that accompanied us and put this entire week together! None of us will ever forget our time together in Hawai’i. Aloha Everyone!