A tour of Obama's Hawaii

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Hanuma Bay, with its Marine Life Conservation Area, is a popular snorkeling spot for the first family.
Hanuma Bay, with its Marine Life Conservation Area, is a popular snorkeling spot for the first family. Photo Credit: Heather Titus/Hawaii Tourism Authority
Tovin Lapan
Tovin Lapan

Barack Obama is taking his last winter vacation as the country's commander in chief in his home state of Hawaii.



When Obama first won the presidency in 2008, it brought new attention to Hawaii through the lens of the president's childhood. Curious visitors went to the Baskin Robbins in Oahu where Obama worked as a teenager, which still stands today.

"In the beginning there was a real interest in things tied to Obama. There were tours that were created to go by the Baskin Robbins, or the shaved ice place he likes," said Robyn Basso, senior director of travel industry partnerships at the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau.

Obama was born Aug. 4, 1961, at the Kapiolani Hospital for Women & Children in Honolulu. He was raised in Hawaii until he was 6, when he moved away with his mother. He then returned to Hawaii at age 10 and attended Punahou School.

Over Obama's two terms, the public has gotten a chance to feel out the first family's favorite things to do while they are vacationing on the Islands. And, thanks to the White House press pool, for one final time the U.S. public is getting daily reports on the first family's winter break.

While Obama does many activities at Marine Corps Base Hawaii at Kaneohe Bay, including working out at the gym, golf and beach time, he also gets out into the community with his family during the down time. Before he leaves office, here is a roundup of significant spots on the Obama Hawaii tour and some of the things he is doing during this current trip.

Hanauma Bay: The Marine Life Conservation District on the southeast coast of Oahu is a popular snorkeling destination that the first family has visited numerous times, including this holiday vacation. Nearby is Sandy Beach, one of Obama's favorite beaches when he was a child. Also in the vicinity is Halona Blowhole, near the area where his mother's ashes were scattered.

Ho'omaluhia Botanical Garden: The president and first lady took a hike at the botanical garden during the first few days of their vacation.

Golf: During the 2016 vacation alone, the president has worked in regular gym visits and several rounds of golf. He has played with a variety of partners at both the Mid-Pacific Country Club and Kapolei Golf Club this year.

Plate lunch: Exhibiting his true Hawaiian roots, Obama frequents the restaurants of Kapahulu on the outskirts of Waikiki. He's been known to get a local-style plate lunch from the Rainbow Drive-In and the 24-hour Oahu mainstay, Zippy's.

Breakout Waikiki: This year the president took his daughters and some of their friends to this attraction, where groups race against the clock in a variety of escape scenarios. To crack the code that will release them from one of six rooms, groups get 60 minutes to tackle a variety of puzzles, riddles and games.

Island Snow:
After making it out of the game with his daughters, Obama took the crew of teenagers to Island Snow in Kailua. Shaved ice, the local version of a snow cone, is a great sunny day treat, and this store is a regular stop for the first family.

Vintage Cave: While celebrating their final holiday season as POTUS and FLOTUS, the first couple dined at the swank Honolulu restaurant. The luxury French-Japanese eatery boasts a $295 tasting menu.

Buzz's Lanikai: The first family stays in the Kailua neighborhood of Oahu, and they recently dined at this nearby restaurant with friends.

Alan Wong's: This Asian fusion restaurant is an Obama favorite: He dined there with the first lady on his current trip, and has visited the restaurant several times in the past.

The first family has also dined previously at Nobu Waikiki, Morimoto Waikiki and the Side Street Inn.
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