What can be said about paradise? Glistening sand, rolling waves from deep blue oceans, moderate temperatures, indescribably tropical beauty, friendly locals, rich culture & heritage, and a plethora of outdoor activities. Immerse yourself in some of that culture at the Polynesian Cultural Center, affiliated with Brigham Young University - Hawaii., where you can see Pacific Villages come to life and take part in a Luau. If you're interested in exploring scenic views and rock formations, the Laie Point State Wayside park is a spot where you can explore, take photos and even cliff dive, if you're brave enough. Many hiking paths and opportunities to get in some exercise exist on the island. The hike to Laie Falls is about 7 miles round trip and ends at a small waterfall with a swimming hole. For a more rigorous hiking experience, including sets of stairs and a tunnel, check out Diamond Head State Monument, where you can hike a volcanic crater. For those that appreciate history, Pu'u o Mahuka Heiau State Historic Site allows you to tour a Hawaiian temple from the 1600's.
Paradise seems like a perfect spot for a temple. With only about a half-mile separation from the beach, gorgeous cascading pools and immaculate gardens, the beauty seems to resonate off the crushed lava rock and stone of the white exterior. The design is quite unique, being built in 1919. It was only the 5th LDS temple at the time, and the first built outside of Utah. These neatly maintained grounds also include a Visitor's Center. This is only one of three temples that doesn't include a spire. Two separate renovation periods have taken place since the temple was first constructed.
It is thought that the Church has been preaching the gospel on the islands since 1850 when missionaries from California were called to serve. Japanese history and ancestors have always held an important role as missionaries were able to baptize many from the culture. The land the temple is built on was purchased by the Church in 1865 for $14,000 under the direction of Brigham Young. Joseph F. Smith was onboard early on when he was prompted to dedicate a site for a temple when visiting Hawaii in 1915. According to a story recounted by LDS Living, after running out of lumber, construction of the Laie Hawaii Temple came to a halt. Two days later a cargo ship was found stranded on a coral reef. The captain told the Saints they could have the cargo, which happened to be lumber, if they unloaded the ship. Great faith and perseverance helped the temple become a reality for strong members in the area.
With food unique to the island and plentiful fresh fruit, you'll want to experience the Aloha culture and food as much as possible. Uncle Clay's House of Pure Aloha is a great introduction to one of Hawaii's favorite treats - Shave Ice. Using natural, fresh ingredients and a range of your choice of toppings and flavors will make your first experience with this specialty a real treat! Hukilau Cafe is a bargain for breakfast or lunch. A small greasy diner-type cafe. Ted's Bakery is more than just a bakery. With plenty of breakfast and plate lunch choices, you'll be pleasantly surprised. But, don't forget about the Chocolate Haupia Cream Pie! Papa Ole's Kitchen is known for their fresh peanut butter rolls. Go for the rolls, stay for the plate lunches. Another bargain. If you want a real treat, Alan Wong's serves each dish as a beautiful masterpiece. Superb entrees, fresh, unique food. But, pricey. You get what you pay for. If you can swing it, you definitely won't regret it.