A day at the beach when I was growing up in New York City was a big deal. It included everyone in the family, meaning a caravan of multiple cars heading to Jones Beach. Food preparation started the night before, usually Friday night, when the whole family got together at our house to cook and pack the food we’d be taking to the beach.
The next morning my dad would get us up at the crack of dawn to load all the food, towels, beach toys, etc. in the cars. He insisted we had to leave the house by 5:00 am to avoid the beach traffic, get a parking space, and a good spot on the beach before the crowds rushed in. We’d get to the beach sometime around 7:00 am, cart all our stuff to the “perfect” spot, and eat, swim, build sandcastles, and play until 1:00 – 2:00 pm when we’d have to do the whole routine in reverse. My dad insisted we had to leave the beach by 3:00 pm to avoid the traffic home. We’d get home by 5:00 pm, tired, sunburned, and sleepy. A day at the beach was more of an ordeal than fun!
In the mid-70’s my family moved to Hawaii. I was thrilled that I could go to the beach pretty much anytime without all the hoopla and preparation it usually involved. Best of all no one had to wake up at the crack of dawn to head out to a beach!
These days I don’t get to the beach as often as I’d like, but this summer with my grandson’s visiting from Georgia I’ve been taking them to the beach as often as I can. Today we headed out to Ala Moana Beach Park, particularly to Magic Island, the man made peninsula within the park.
A day at the beach means a beach picnic so our day began with a quick stop at the Aiea Manapua & Snack shop for a box of Char Sui and Shoyu Chicken Manapuas, some fried chow mein, a bag of Crispy Gau Gee (fried meat filled pastries), and cold bottled drinks.
We were stocked and headed into town (we say town when we go to Honolulu from our home on the west side of the island). After another quick stop at the vet’s office (not really part of the beach day, but it was on the way and we needed to pick up flea and heart worm meds) we made it to Magic Island before 11:00 am. (We left home about 10:00 am).
Surprisingly the beach wasn’t busy. We found parking close to the beach and a spot on the sand not far from the water’s edge.
Magic Island is popular with the locals it has a nice sandy beach, mostly calm water year round, and shady trees, barbecue pits, and tables for picnics. Best of all it’s located in the middle of the city across the street from Ala Moana Shopping Center and close to many Waikiki hotels.
The kids played in the water and dug a huge hole in the sand with my cousin Chris, a new transplant from New York and Las Vegas.
Then it was lunch time! So we dug into the manapuas, noodles, and gau gee.
For dessert we had sweet lychees. The only thing we brought from home!
By 1:30 everyone had enough food and sun so we decided to head home, but a day at the beach wouldn’t be complete without a cone of shave ice, the refreshing island version of a snow cone.
When in town the best place for shave ice is Shimazu Store on the corner of School and Frog Streets in Kalihi.
So that’s where we headed, it’s on the way home, sort of!
After a huge shave ice (what you see is the smallest size) it was time to go home. With a stop at Lowe’s and the supermarket we were home by 3:00, plenty of time to clean up and even cook dinner!