Experience Honolulu Pride, Explore Oahu • Instinct Magazine

Visiting Hawaii has been on my bucket list since I found out the islands existed. The beauty, the history and the people seemed like something to be seen, experienced and met. We had the fortunate opportunity to visit the archipelago last month Honolulu pride.

Our best Friday flight option from the East Coast was a 6:00am EST flight from Fort Lauderdale (FLL) to Los Angeles (LAX) for a 10:00am PST flight from LAX to Honolulu (HNL). Get that window seat because as you approach Honolulu you see other islands. The views are breathtaking and just the beginning of the geographic eye candy that is Hawaii.


We picked up our Avis rental car and made the short drive to Prince Waikiki Honolulu, our beautiful home in the sky with an amazing view for the next three nights. In addition to a great room, we enjoyed the breakfast buffet at the property’s restaurant, 100 Sails Restaurant and Bar, there was also the late light meal. We also enjoyed the hospitality at the poolside Hinana Bar and the live music they offered. The hotel was a great retreat from walking, shopping and traveling and yes I miss those views, those sunsets, the relaxation and the service.


But we were there for PRIDE yes all caps as that was the first Pride in years!

This is the first in-person Pride celebration since 2019, and this year’s theme is “Rooted in Pride” – an expression of Hawaii’s culture of diversity and inclusion. The focus will cover the history of LGBTQ culture in Hawaii over the years.

*The parade starts from Magic Island and follows its traditional route Waikīkī along Ala Moana Boulevard and Kalākaua Avenue to Waikīkī sleeve.

The Pride parade was supposed to run from 10:00am to 11:30am but was a little longer, but really it was still the perfect amount of parade. The energy, the diversity of the participants, the amount of people excited to be there and to watch was amazing. I met many people on my walk to see the parade and when I said hello the conversation turned to pride. “Are you going? See you there!” And they were all straight couples and straight couples with their families. Everyone was thrilled to have PRIDE back. And I was excited to see all the beautiful, happy people. Here is an Instagram post I made on my personal account about the footage I took during the parade.


I walked down to the festival, listened to great music, danced and then meandered my way back to the hotel while I shopped and sight-seeing and of course people-watching. With a 4% sales tax, much lower than most states, Hawaii is a great place to shop.


We had a little more time and with the rental car from Avis we explored different things on the island. One thing I wanted to do was just drive and see the beauty of the island. If you could tar the road, you could just stop and go to a beach. There were beaches everywhere and many were simply uninhabited. I mean yes it’s an island and you expect beaches to be there but they were just everywhere and were beautiful, accessible and you just didn’t want to leave. The island’s beauty really became apparent on this little drive around Oahu. Waikiki Beach is visible, but it’s quite crowded and right in town. So if you don’t have a car, yes go there, but explore if you can. I think it took me about an hour and fifteen minutes to drive along the windward side (east coast) to the north part of the island and then about the same to drive down the middle of the island. I didn’t go down the leeward side (west coast) as many said it wasn’t that touristy, not much to see and well the locals didn’t really want this island to be that touristy or a draw for outsiders. I was okay with what I saw. One issue is that if there’s an accident or a delay on the road, you might get stuck for a while like I did, but it cleared up quicker than the GPS warned.


I also made a reservation to go there Kualoa Ranch. I’m a movie geek, a lover of Jurassic Park/World movies, and I knew I wanted to check this out. Only a very short drive from Honolulu (about 20 or 30 minutes but I kept stopping to take photos) this was a highlight of the trip. We’ve seen where so many movies and TV shows have been filmed. I did the 90 minute Jungle Jeep Expedition Tour. I would love to go back and do the 2.5 hour tour or the UTV Raptor tour, but that would require 4 people in total as per the registration rules. Who wants to go?!?

When I come back, I’ll take note of that Recommendations by Mark Kanemura. He was the Hawaiian Airlines guest of honor on the Hawaiian’s Rainbow Runway float at the Honolulu Pride Parade and Festival. We actually had the chance to talk to Mark about Hawaii and will mention that in a future post. In the meantime you can see him on Instagram and follow him @mkik808 since its content is very entertaining.

This year, Hawaiian Airlines tapped Hawaiian-born dance star Mark Kanemura to open #RainbowRunwayChallenge for National Pride Month in June in a vibrant celebration of inclusivity and Aha. Most notable for his multi-year stint as a dancer on Lady Gaga’s “Monster Ball World Tour” and Born This Way Ball World Tour, Kanemura encouraged his followers to create their own #RainbowRunwayChallenge dance or walk inspired by his video.

in the Mark Travel Guide to Oahu, he recommends his picks for the best beaches, activities, designers, artists, restaurants, karaoke spots, gay bars and more.


Meeting Mark was a highlight and he is proud of his heritage, but I would say THE highlight of the trip for me, a former social sciences teacher and sociology professor, was my visit to the Bishop Museum. I was lucky enough to make it during the final days of The Healing Stones of Kapaemahu exhibition at the Bishop Museum. The exhibition explored the Māhū culture, legendary dual-spirited individuals who brought healing arts from Tahiti to Hawaii.

Simply put, the Bishop Museum devoted an entire building to this exhibition. It brought to light the story of the two spirited individuals throughout Hawaiian history. It also immersed visitors in a more modern story, telling of the ordeal of the LGBTQ community in the ’60s and ’70s and through to the present day. It was a pleasure to spend hours in the Bishop Museum, especially this exhibition. It was inspirational and sad how you could learn about the history, but then you realized that there is nothing quite like it on the mainland among Native Americans/Indigenous Peoples. We all know they had two similarly spirited individuals, but it got washed away and wasn’t really talked about anymore. It was so refreshing and moving to see that a state really has no problem broadcasting such a story for all to see and embrace that story and point out the wrongdoings of the state, government and culture. Here is a link to a longer PBS coverage (56 minutes) of “The Healer Stones of Kapaemahu”. This PBS video also covers many parts of the exhibit, such as one where drag performers or men in drag could be arrested for wearing women’s clothing, for deceiving others unless they wore a pin that read ” I Am A Boy”. I’m including the shorter (9 minutes) video that played in the museum exhibit for all to see, a shorter and easier to consume version. It’s so well done and really educational and moving.

Again, this exhibit is no longer in the Bishop Museum, but I honestly think it would be a great exhibit to do a national tour, maybe even a different major US city each year for Pride. Luckily we have them longer PBS coverage.


would i go back In a heartbeat. Next time I do, I’ll plan more Hawaii-specific adventures, more outdoor activities, and maybe even visit more than one island.

I leave you with a few more pictures from the Bishop Museum.

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