It’s the tropical American dream. The Bostocks—Tim (Dad), Melanie (Mom), and kids Jasmine (Jazzy), 16, Kai, 14, Leilani, 10, and Grace, 4—live on Oahu, the most culturally abuzz and action-packed of the Hawaiian islands. In a nod to their mother’s native-Hawaiian ancestry, the children speak Hawaiian and, on occasion, pound their own poi, the staple starch. But thanks to Tim, an arts promoter from Britain, they’re also tapped into Oahu’s urban side—from the concerts at Waikiki Shell to the teen poetry slams at ARTS at Marks Garage, a Chinatown gallery where Dad’s a partner. Home is Honolulu, but on weekends they drive 45 minutes north to their beach place in undiscovered Waialua. They’ve invited us on a tour of their hot spots—don’t mind the two friendly dogs in the backseat.
An Amazing, Easy Hike
Even four-year-old Gracie can handle the gentle route around Puu Ualakaa. It begins at Puu Ualakaa State Wayside (Round Top Dr.; 808/587-0300) and offers views of southern Oahu from Diamond Head to Pearl Harbor (the memorial is also worth a trip; see pearlharbormemorial.com).
At Matsumoto Shave Ice (66–087 Kamehameha Hwy.; 808/637-4827), on the North Shore, Leilani recommends coconut with adzuki beans; Jazzy likes the Rainbow, straight up.
Brunch and Browsing
Amid the knickknack shops and dive bars of Chinatown are three Bostock musts: Mei Sum (65 N. Pauahi St.; 808/531-3268), for dim sum; M. P. Lei Shop (1145 Maunakea St.; 808/531-3206), for garlands of fragrant pakalana; and Maunakea Marketplace (1120 Maunakea St.; 808/524-3409), for everything from embroidered pj’s to dragon fruit .
The family’s best hangout is Mokuleia Beach Park , on the North Shore. From there, stroll to Kaena Point to get a glimpse of red-footed boobies.
Place to Create a Stir
Honolulu’s Bishop Museum (1525 Bernice St.; 808/847-3511; bishopmuseum.org) has feather capes, dog-tooth anklets, and an adventure center: Walk through a model live volcano and cause it to erupt.
A Hawaiian-Style Picnic
Mom’s recipe: Pick up beef teriyaki and vegetable tempura at Mitsu-ken (1223 N. School St., Kalihi; 808/848-5573). Drive on Route 72 along the black volcanic sea cliffs of east Oahu to Waimanalo Beach Park , hit the water with your body boards, then lunch under the ironwood trees.
Where to Stay
On the North Shore, Sunset Homes (808/637-2400; sunsethomes.net) rents beach cottages , starting at $1,225 a week. In Honolulu, the Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort & Spa (2005 Kalia Rd.; 808/949-4321; hiltonhawaiianvillage.com; doubles from $249) has sub-marine tours, ukelele lessons, and Friday-night beachside fireworks.
How about a dashboard hula dancer or a tropical top?Bailey’s Antiques & Aloha Shirts (517 Kapahulu Ave., Kapahulu; 808/734-7628) is the source for prime Hawaiiana.
Big Meals Out
At Sam Choy’s Breakfast, Lunch, & Crab (580 N. Nimitz Hwy., Honolulu; 808/545-7979; www.samchoy.com), there are three big aquariums filled with crabs and lobsters, plus a 30-foot boat in the middle of the dining room for kids to play on. Order the crabmeat-stuffed Mahi Mahi, macadamia-nut chicken, and the coconut-glazed "onolicious" babyback ribs.
Some of the world’s best Chinese fare is served in Honolulu. The Bostocks swear by Little Village Noodle House (1113 Smith St.; 808/545-3008), which serves its dishes family-style, amid bamboo, a rice paddy mural, piped-in bird noises, and the constant clatter of plates. Don’t miss the sizzling black cod, dried green beans, and crispy gau gee (fried dumpling).
A New Hotel
In Honolulu, the Bostock’s recommend the recently opened Embassy Suites Waikiki Beach Walk (201 Beachwalk St.; 808/921-2345; doubles from $399). "Afterall," says Melanie, "when you’re with kids, the more space you have, the better."
Kai suggests a no-frills puka shell necklace: unadorned white disks strung on fishing wire. Get ’em at the Aloha Stadium Swap Meet (Aloha Stadium, 99-500 Salt Lake Blvd., Aiea; 808/486-; open Wed., Sat., and Sun., 6 a.m.-3 p.m.). And you thought these faded with Greg Brady.