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Old     (ttrigo)      Join Date: Dec 2004       01-11-2011, 3:14 PM Reply   
so I know Hawaii has been beaten to death on these threads, but since I had no intentions of going, i never paid attention.
I am now heading there in March (courtesy of some free airfare), and am curious as to the best places to be.
here are a few things I want to do while there.
Pearl Harbor is a MUST.
sitting on a beach doing nothing for at least 1 day.
Snorkeling in at least 2 different destinations. (not a diver)
eating really good seafood.

we are up in the air about which islands to stay at, so we are up for ideas.
also, planning on staying 8 nights.

thanks WW's.

oh yeah, the free flights are for Hawaii only, so please no suggestions for other travel destinations. thanks.
Old     (magicr)      Join Date: May 2004       01-11-2011, 3:33 PM Reply   
My only suggestion is to get Hawaii Revealed travel books, they have them for each Island. Very informative.

P.S. go to Pearl Harbor real early in the morning, or you will have a long wait in line.
Old     (duncanwake)      Join Date: Feb 2010       01-11-2011, 3:48 PM Reply   
My family and I just went to Oahu over Christmas. We stayed at the Hilton Resort on Waikiki Beach. Its a nice place right on the ocean. You can surf and they have boats that will take you out snorkeling. Pearl Harbor is on Oahu and they have some good hikes around the island. Oahu is the most populated island though with around 750,000 people. Good for night life for sure but if you're looking for more seclusion then i'd go to a different island. Great place to visit and you'll find some good seafood restaurants. Dukes is one I highly recommend if you do go to Oahu. And you won't have trouble finding beaches, plenty of them on that island.
Old     (leaks)      Join Date: Oct 2005       01-11-2011, 4:09 PM Reply   
If you are going to Oahu, and want a secluded beach thats great for just relaxing, you must go to Kaena Point at the end of hwy 93. Its open ocean, and the waves get pretty big, so not advisable for toddlers. Gret food is Everywere. Ko Olina has a place called "Just Tacos" tah is off the hook. Believe it or not, Mexican food in Hi. they sport a taquilla bar with over 150 diff. taquillas. Seafood is available all over. You looking for more island style fare, or big restaraunt stuff. Kimos, Dukes, all the big names are in Waikiki. My sugestion, go outside into the smaller towns for real food. Cheaper too. Visit the shrimp trucks on the North side. Just ask, all the locals know where to find them.
Maui is a whole different vibe. You need to decide where your going, then get suggestions.
Old     (brettw)      Join Date: Jul 2007       01-12-2011, 7:27 AM Reply   
2nd the Revealed books. Get all of em if you don't which island to go to - Oahu Revealed, Maui Revealed, etc. There's something worthwhile on every island, so it's a tough choice. I did a couple of islands on one trip, although it's a pain the day you transfer. For just a half our flight, you kill the good part of a day checking out, hitting the airport, going through security, etc. etc.
Old     (pesos)      Join Date: Oct 2001 Location: Texas       01-12-2011, 9:19 AM Reply   
I usually stay with friends, but taking my employee and his gf this March so I used points to get a couple rooms at the moana surfrider - never stayed on waikiki before. Foodwise go to the shrimp trucks, Helenas kitchen, leonards bakery for malasadas, mitch's sushi
Old     (bendow)      Join Date: Sep 2005       01-12-2011, 11:08 AM Reply   
I'm from Hawaii, and visit my parents regularly. I'm not sure what they reveal in the books, but I'll give you some suggestions that may not be in there. Don't know if you have little ones or if you're bringing your girlfriend/wife who may be prissy like mine, but some things I mention may not be ideal. Of course I always stay with my parents when I visit, so I can't really recommend which hotels are good. Also, I didn't go to the other islands that much so everything I list is for Oahu.

-Lanikai beach. Not infested with tourist, beautiful, real chill, great swimming, fun to watch the kiteboarders.
-Sandy's beach. Fun, popular, but can be very dangerous when the waves are pumping. Regarded as one of the most dangerous beaches in the world as the waves can get big and break on inches of water, but a lot of fun for the average person when the waves aren't raging...just "know before you go"
-Tantalus drive. Cool twisty road up a mountain/crater that offers great views of Honolulu
-Kuloa ranch. Horse back riding at the foothills of the Ko'olau mountains.
-Dirtbiking. If you're into dirtbikes, my dads friends started a dirtbiking service. Hawaii as some of the best and most beautiful trails in the world
-Chinatown. A lot of neat stuff and really bizarre foods.
-Pali lookout. Great views of the windward side. Really windy, so windy that you can actually lean into the wind and be supported. Also great for watching female tourists skirts fly up.
-North Shore is cool and chill, but the waves will be big in March so not ideal for swimming.
-Hanauma bay. Real touristy, but one of the best spots for snorkeling, they have everything there for rent. There's also a barrier reef for those worried about sharks
-Olomana. Great hike, moderate difficulty, about 3 hours up, awesome views.

Tips and Dont's
-Always lock your car and hide your valuables out of site. Unfortunately Hawaii has a lot of meth heads who try to rip off naive tourist to buy drugs.
-If you rent a car, go for the jeep. Don't rent a convertible mustang, sebring, or moped.
-Don't go to the Polynesian Cultural's the biggest tourist trap ever.
-Stay away from Chinatown at night. It's perfectly safe during the day, but not a good place to be at night.

Last but not least, the pinnacle of things to do in Hawaii is climb the Stairway to Heaven. It's 3,922 stairs to the top of a mountain with amazing views. The Stairway to Heaven is walking distance from where I grew up so I'm very familiar with it. The stairs are "off limits" They opened them to the public, but soon closed them after inconsiderate tourist threw trash everywhere, and when they had to rescue fat tourist from the stairs that couldn't even make it up the stairs to the 2nd floor of their own house. There's a security guard there who may or may not be awake. They will stop you from going up, but don't do anything if you're coming down. I've been up many times, and my 53 year old dad climbs it on a regular basis with no issues. This is something tourist will typically never do, the base of the stairs is not easy to find, knowing where to park isn't easy either. Anyway if you think you might want to climb the stairs just PM and I'll give you details. Hope this helps and hope you enjoy Hawaii!

Stairway to heaven
Old     (brettw)      Join Date: Jul 2007       01-12-2011, 12:35 PM Reply   
If ever make it back to Oahu, I'm definitely hitting up bendow about the Stairway to Heaven.
Old     (lizzyb)      Join Date: Sep 2005       01-12-2011, 1:29 PM Reply   
Second Hanauma Bay for snorkeling. We went a couple of years ago and it was beautiful.. amazing.. will definitely go again if we return to Oahu. We also did Pearl Habor and the Missouri and you definitely need to get there first thing in the morning. It was packed by 7:30am.

We stayed on the north shore of Oahu at a spot called Turtle Bay. It was pricey and the rooms were pretty disappointing. The location and view though, were awesome. We spent all of our time in a town called Haleiwa.. also on the north shore. Awesome area with great restaurants.

Next time I'd try Maui.. but I thought Oahu was great. I am glad though that we stayed away from Waikiki and the main hotel zone.
Old     (pesos)      Join Date: Oct 2001 Location: Texas       01-12-2011, 1:35 PM Reply   
Maui is beautiful but the food is a letdown. Since things are more "untouched" there, all the construction is more recent, has that fake Newport/Irvine-esque feel to it, and all the restaurants are chains like Outback. Although Oahu is more developed overall, there are still so many amazingly beautiful areas, and its age gives it more character I feel like. Plus you get all the great mom n pop food...
Old     (migs)      Join Date: Aug 2006 Location: SF Bay Area       01-12-2011, 2:38 PM Reply   
^^^completely disagree. Maui is my #1 hawaii dest. Just stay on the Wailea side. Grand Wailea, The Kea Lani fairmont, The Four Seasons or the Maui Prince. If your looking for a cheaper place to stay, then get a condo in Kihei which is just down the street from Wailea. Go into Lahaina/Kaanapali maybe once max for the touritsty things. The eats in Maui are phenomenal.
Oahu is like staying in San Francisco with nicer/hot beaches.
If you want to relax in peace and beauty but still have options - Maui.
If you want to relax with no one around at all - Kauai or Hawaii.
Old     (pesos)      Join Date: Oct 2001 Location: Texas       01-12-2011, 2:39 PM Reply   
Don't get me wrong, I love staying at Wailea - the Mariott there is great as are all the places you mentioned. But the food is no contest... There's a lot more to Oahu than Waikiki =)
Old     (lizzyb)      Join Date: Sep 2005       01-12-2011, 3:28 PM Reply   
^^^ True story.
Old     (bendow)      Join Date: Sep 2005       01-12-2011, 8:00 PM Reply   
Originally Posted by migs View Post
Oahu is like staying in San Francisco with nicer/hot beaches
Not true. If you don't know where to go it may seem like that.
Old     (zuka666)      Join Date: Aug 2005       01-13-2011, 12:23 PM Reply   
Pow Hanna Bra,
What about Diamond Head?? Nice Views!,
Dole Plantation, Turtle Bay, etc. All good times. Just stay out of there in August, hot. hot. hot!
Old     (ttrigo)      Join Date: Dec 2004       01-13-2011, 1:45 PM Reply   
thanks for all the tips guys.
as of right now, we are leaning towards Maui, and staying at the Napili Point Resort. seems to be a good location, and we know people who have been there multiple times. nothing but good things to say about it. we still want to do 3 nights or so in Oahu though, so the Stairway to Heaven would be a must do. that looks awesome.
hey Migs, the Four Seasons? damn dude. I am saving money on airfare, but not that much!!! I dont have 7 hundy a night!!! I wish though.
Old     (migs)      Join Date: Aug 2006 Location: SF Bay Area       01-13-2011, 2:21 PM Reply   
^^yup - those resorts in the wailea side are super expensive no doubt. BUT SOOO NICE!!!!

Napili is on the other end of the island - about 15 minutes north of Lahaina & kaanapali. Nice & quiet in napili and right next to Kapalua - which is also very nice. The Ritz Carlton & The Kapalua resort are next to you too.

Even though youre on that end of the island, make sure to go to the Wailea side at least for a day. Go spend the day in Big Beach & Little Beach which are in Makena which is the next beach after Wailea. At the end of the day, go park in the public parking for Wailea beach, and walk over to the Grand Wailea and/or the Four seasons pool and chill poolside & relax before heading back to Napili.
Old     (eubanks01)      Join Date: Jun 2001       01-14-2011, 7:16 AM Reply   
Where are the Kauai votes?! We did a cruise to the 4 major islands and I thought Kauai was by far the most beautiful and peaceful place. We definitely enjoyed things at the other islands, but Kauai is one awesome place.
Old     (brettw)      Join Date: Jul 2007       01-14-2011, 7:22 AM Reply   
Napili Bay is really cool. That's one of our favorite beaches that we've gone to at least a few times each time while staying in Maui. Make sure you hit the Black Rock area in Kaanapali. You can snorkel around there, it's near some restaurants for lunch, and it's fun to jump off the rock. The Kaanapali area in West Maui is my favorite area to stay.

David Paul's in Lahaina is a fantastic restaurant, too.
Old     (psych3060)      Join Date: Sep 2002       01-14-2011, 9:28 AM Reply   
I will cast a vote for Kaui'i. Been to Oahu, but was young and didn't take the time to appreciate it. Went Kaui'i 6 years ago and if my husband ever had the desire to go back we would go back and stay in the Princeville/Hanalei Bay area. Kaui'i had all that we needed for a week. We had great food, snorkeled in Ke'e and Tunnel's beaches, hiked the Napli Coast Trail, Brian surfed and we hung out. We are not into tourist attractions or just hanging out at resort types though. I am sure whereever you go you will enjoy it though.
Old     (ttrigo)      Join Date: Dec 2004       01-26-2011, 2:36 PM Reply   
thanks for all the tips guys. so it looks like we are doing this trip at the end of May now, and have decided to do 3 nights in Oahu, and 5 nights in Maui.
we were thinking pearl harbor, and then either the dirtbike trail ride, or the hike up the stairway to heaven. I will be in touch with you Bendow sometime in early may.
still not sure where we are staying, but I am thinking that is going to be the least of my worries.
thanks again guys.
Old     (wake_upppp)      Join Date: Nov 2003       01-26-2011, 6:10 PM Reply   
Great thread. Supposed to go this year as well. Never been. Gonna learn how to surf baby!


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