The coronavirus is radically changing our daily lives. One of the key terms we are all getting used to is Social Distancing. That means keeping a safe distance away from other people and avoiding unnecessary physical contact as much as possible. If you’ve already decided that you’re coming to Hawaii despite coronavirus, you absolutely should make the most out of your time here. Here are some of the fun things you can do outdoors in Hawaii while maintaining social distancing.
Go to the Beach
Pack your beach bag with towels, sun protection, sanitizer wipes, and bottled water and head to the nearest beach. Pick a spot on the sand that’s not super close to anybody so you won’t have to worry about it. Then just enjoy your time on the sand and in the cool and refreshing ocean. We like it because it because you’re outside in the warm tropical sun and not around things like tables, door knobs, or other things you might touch that may have some germs on them. Some of our favorite beaches for visitors to check out are Hanauma Bay (to swim with fish) or beaches in Lanikai, Waimanlo, or the North Shore.
A little sand between your toes to take away your woes
Here’s another one of our favorite outdoor activities. And just like going to the beach, you’ll spend time away from potential coronavirus hotspots and surfaces. There are many trails to go on from the short and easy Makapuu Lighthouse Trail or Diamond Head Trail to the longer ones like Aiea Loop Trail or Hawaii Loa Ridge. Be mindful of the time on some of the longer trails so you give yourself enough time to finish before it gets dark. Years ago we had to jog down one of the trails because it was getting dark and we didn’t have a flashlight.
View of the Mokulua Islands or "the Mokes" from above Lanikai
Go on a Self-Guided Sightseeing Drive Around the Island
There are tour buses that can take you to see various parts of the island. Those are relaxing and convenient. But if you don’t want the stress of worrying about whether or not someone sitting near you has coronavirus (or flu for that matter), you should just drive yourself. When you pick up your rental car, it is probably a good idea to wipe down the steering wheel, gear shifter, and other knobs and switches on the dashboard and doors with sanitizing wipes. The rental company may have already done this, but for peace of mind, you should do it yourself so you don’t have to worry about it. Then just bust out your map and drive out to your various points of interest at your own pace and on your own schedule. Some of points of interest that have minimal contact with potentially germy things include Volcanos National Park (Hawaii Island), Waimea Canyon (Kauai), Haleakala (Maui), and easy to get to places on Oahu like Blow Hole, Waimea Bay, Lanikai Beach, Tantalus Lookout, and many more.
Halona Cove became iconic when Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr did their romantic beach scene in "From Here to Eternity" in 1953.
Go on a Picnic
Rather than dining at a restaurant where there are so many things touched by so many people, why not go on a picnic instead? If you’re coming from Waikiki, go to one of the many take out places in the area to buy your food (spam musubi, bentos, plate lunches, sandwiches, fast foods, etc) and head out to your chosen picnic destination. For somewhere close to Waikiki, you can check out Magic Island which is across the street from Ala Moana Shopping Center. There are picnic tables and nice grassy areas where you can eat and not be surrounded by people nearby. Or you could try Kapiolani Park (at the base of Diamond Head), or Fort DeRussy Beach Park. Another place you might like is Moanalua Gardens which has wide open grassy areas and trees for some relaxing picnic action.
Roast pork is a popular item in Hawaii and a perfect picnic food.
Stay at a Beach House (Instead of a Hotel)
This is one of our favorites. When you stay at a beach house, you’ll be away from the dense crowds and the higher risk of disease transmission. As usual when you arrive, wipe down tables and commonly touched surfaces and objects with disinfectant wipes, just to be safe. Once that’s done, it’s time for the fun to begin! Start your morning with coffee and a tropical sunrise. Some beach houses have gas or charcoal grills / pits where you can cook steaks, seafood, and whatever you want to your heart’s content. And with the beach at your doorstep, you can beach all you want morning, afternoon, or evening. Stay at the house or venture out and explore by foot or car. End the day with a glass of wine and front row seats to an enchanting island sunset or spend the night under the stars to the soundtrack of the ocean. It doesn't get much better than that!
Grilling in matching Magnum PI Hawaiian shirt and sundress at a North Shore beach house
The main things to keep in mind are to do activities that do not put you in close contact with crowds or things that many people may have touched and to wash or sanitize your hands before eating, especially if you just touched something that many people have touched. The new reality (for now anyway) requires that you have a heightened situational awareness to reduce the risks of being exposed to the coronavirus. But do not let that get in the way of you having a great time. Actively doing things to avoid exposure as well as choosing actives with lower transmission risk will give you peace of mind so you can relax and concentrate on having stress free fun. Aloha!