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Old    Dave (bcrider)      Join Date: Apr 2006       10-18-2013, 3:50 PM Reply   
Starting to plan a trip to Hawaii with my in-laws, brother in law (wife & daughter) and my wife and our son and don't know which Island we should be going too? We would like to find a house or condo that would sleep the 8 of us. Also, trying to get ideas for things to see and do when over there. I would really like to check out Pearl Harbour on Honolulu as I am interested in WWII history and I know my brother and father in law would be interested as well. Of course like every tourist I would also like to get on a surf board as it's been quite a long time since I have surfed and with wake surfing now I think it will help...even if just a bit. Although we will have the kids we will also be able to leave them behind once in awhile with the grand parents and take off. I'm down for hikes, beaches, check out some volcanoes, and overall just chill out. Probably go for about 10 days or so. Anybody have any pointers or things to look for or stay away from?

Cheers!
Old    Joe (ilikebeaverandboats)      Join Date: Jul 2007       10-18-2013, 4:37 PM Reply   
I spent a month on the big island with my buddy (local) one summer while i was in college.....had an absolute blast. Did a bunch of hiking, some camping, lots of swimming, and TONS of eating

I had a good time at waipio canyon, hiked back to waimanu and did some camping.
Enjoyed hapuna (beach) clear water and cool people
Did some spear fishing at night down the way from hapuna at kaui hi (cant spell it)
Lots of cool local stuff that would be tough for me to explain where to go....

I would definitely avoid waikiki....its like a dirtier version of San Diego...Its fun, lots of people, if you are into bars and all that go there.
Old    Ron T (Laker1234)      Join Date: Mar 2010       10-18-2013, 9:04 PM Reply   
Pearl Harbor is definitely a must see but get there early--before it opens. The longer you wait the more crowded it becomes--fast.
Old    Brett Yates (polarbill)      Join Date: Jun 2003       10-18-2013, 9:32 PM Reply   
Just spent a week on the big island for my honeymoon. It was amazing. The big island is ridiculously diverse and has something for just about everyone. That was my first time to Hawaii so I have nothing to compare it to but I would go back to the big island in a heart beat.

That said if you are wanting to surf and check out Pearl Harbor the only choice is Oahu. It has both from what I have read. Kauai is the sleepiest and tropical, Oahu is like the LA of Hawaii, Maui has a little bit of everything most people would like about Hawaii and the big island is the most diverse. My neighbors just got back from Kauai and absolutely loved it.

If you decide on the big island let me know. We saw pretty much everything possible on the big island possible in a week. We put 750 miles on a rental car and pretty much drove the entire outer roads of the island.
Old    Rob G (gunford)      Join Date: Jul 2010       10-19-2013, 7:17 AM Reply   
Just got back from my first trip to Hawaii, stayed in Waikiki. Would go to a Oahu again but would not stay in Waikiki, to busy. But was a good spot to take a surf lesson. We hiked the Diamond head crater, went to Lanikai Beach and would rent a place near there if possible. Snorkeled Hanauma Bay and Sharks Cove. Would even look at staying somewhere on the north shore maybe in Halewai.

Sent from my SGH-I337M using Tapatalk
Old    Joe (ilikebeaverandboats)      Join Date: Jul 2007       10-19-2013, 9:29 AM Reply   
Go to boiling pots on the big island in hilo!
Old    Brett W (brettw)      Join Date: Jul 2007       10-19-2013, 7:27 PM Reply   
Out of the 4 big islands, Maui is probably my favorite due to best beaches and snorkeling. It really depends on what you like. Pearly Harbor is great to see, and there's plenty else to see there. Whichever island you go to, make SURE you buy the Revealed book for that island like Oahu Revealed, Maui Revealed, etc. You can pick them up on Amazon, and they're probably the best guide books out there with tons of maps and such. Check VRBO for condo/house listings. The further you book in advance, the better choices and prices you'll find. I just stayed 2 weeks in Kauai in the Summer and got a great deal in a fantastic place on VRBO that couldn't have been beat anywhere. You'll have fun wherever you end up, so enjoy!
Old    Wes (pesos)      Join Date: Oct 2001       10-19-2013, 7:38 PM Reply   
I have yet to get to the big island, but of the rest overall Oahu is my favorite. Just avoid Waikiki - there's still plenty of great places on the island to get away, and more importantly (for me at least) all the good food is on Oahu! It's older and has all the delicious mom n pop shops, including the Angry Korean Lady. Don't miss her. Maui is gorgeous and relaxing for a resort-type vacation but all the construction is new (has that Irvine or WalnutCreek feel that I'm not a fan of) and all the restaurants are chains.

Hard to go wrong on any island though, enjoy!
Old    Surf Addict (Desi) (phathom)      Join Date: Jun 2013       10-19-2013, 11:26 PM Reply   
Went to the Oahu on my honeymoon. It was cool, but definitely felt more like a big city on the beach than a tropical paradise. Everyone I have talked to about it said the same thing and recommended going to Maui if you have the chance/choice.
We plan on going back on our 10 year anniversary and taking that advice. With all the wakesurfing I do, I definitely want to try some ocean surfing when we go.
Old    Markj (markj)      Join Date: Apr 2005       10-20-2013, 9:26 AM Reply   
X2 on the Revealed books. They contain better/more exact info than any of us can give you. Down to the last little detail.
Old    Brett Yates (polarbill)      Join Date: Jun 2003       10-20-2013, 2:38 PM Reply   
X3 on the revealed books. It was great.

Another thing I remember hearing when looking which island to go to is that for first time Hawaii visitors Maui is recommended.
Old    Train (ttrigo)      Join Date: Dec 2004       10-20-2013, 10:48 PM Reply   
I'm in Maui right now, and can't say enough awesome things. I hated Waikiki, but it was a must because if Pearl Harbor. This is my second time in Maui in the last 2 years, and I absolutely love it. Renting a condo in kihei this time, and will probably do Napili next time.
Here is a few pics of the last 2 days:

Tonight's sunset dinner on roof of condo
Iao valley state park
Watching kids getting pummeled in the tiny waves
Old    Dave (bcrider)      Join Date: Apr 2006       10-21-2013, 8:51 AM Reply   
Thanks for the feed back everyone. Brett, at this point it sounds as if we are going to be going to be the big island so lay it on me.lol.
Old    Miguel (migs)      Join Date: Aug 2006       10-21-2013, 9:13 AM Reply   
Train - If you havent yet, go to COCONUTS in Kihei. Voted #1 best fish tacos in the nation.
Old    Boarder 42 (jhartt3)      Join Date: Jan 2012       10-21-2013, 9:15 AM Reply   
big fan of Kauai. Its the oldest island and is green and lush. we went their for our honeymoon it was great
Old    Train (ttrigo)      Join Date: Dec 2004       10-21-2013, 10:59 AM Reply   
Miguel, thanks for the tip. We will check em out. Heading to lahaina in a few minutes to take kiddos on glass bottom boat. Maybe we will try it out when we get back to town.
Old    Charlie Zulu (Pad1Tai)      Join Date: Jan 2013       10-21-2013, 11:09 AM Reply   
I second that up on Kauia.... I wouldn't stay in the princeville side (rainy side)..

Been to hawaii a couple of dozen times when I lived in LA..'

Oahu is nothing but Los Angeles and is for first time tourists..(sucs)

Maui is cool but has gotten very commercialized over the last 10 years.. but ok....... Stay in Kihei...

Kauai is pristine.. great hiking. you can wakeboard on the Wailua river to the fern grotto.. although the wake peeps are rookies.. all in all the best.. great beaches... stay in Poipu

Hawaii the big island is super cool but super huge too.. takes up a lot of driving time..
Old    Miguel (migs)      Join Date: Aug 2006       10-21-2013, 11:16 AM Reply   
Train - I promise after you try them, you will be eating there at least once a day.... Lol.
Old    Charlie Zulu (Pad1Tai)      Join Date: Jan 2013       10-21-2013, 1:48 PM Reply   
I don't know man... I just got back from Grand Cayman and Coconut Joe's fish tacos with Mahi were the best I've ever taste...... Mmmmmmmmmmmm
Old    Brett Yates (polarbill)      Join Date: Jun 2003       10-21-2013, 6:31 PM Reply   
Dave, we went crazy and were super busy the entire 7 days seeing everything possible. Heck, we even put 750 miles on our rental car. Although I haven't stayed anywhere else I would highly recommend staying in the Waikoloa Beach Resort area. Keep in mind there is also a Waikoloa Village that is 5-7 miles off the shoreline and probabaly 1000 feet up in elevation. I hear it is super cheap but not sure what there is to do there. There are quite a few different options for VRBO rentals, townhomes, condos, a marriot on A-Bay and a huge Hilton right there on the water as well. Although the Hilton has some cool features(a lagoon for snorkeling, dolphin encounter(this is with trained dolphins and crazy expensive) and a tram that takes you from one spot to another I wouldn't stay here and have heard other people that have say they won't if they go back. It is frigging huge and everything is super expensive. The Waikoloa beach resort area has the King's shops(high end restaurants and shops) and the Queen's market(more affordable). Waikoloa Beach Resort is about 15 minutes from the airport, 20 minutes from Kona(which besides the cool little downtown has a costco, walmart and target) and is close to most of the good beaches. Here is what we did and what I thought of each. Also, from Waikoloa Hilo is about an hour and a half via the saddle road(between Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea which are both almost 14k feet volcanos.

-Hiked Pololu Valley-This was great. It is about 45 minutes or an hour from Waikoloa beach resort. It is about a 15 minute hike down to a kind of cool treed area and a black sand beach. This place is cool because of the waves that smash up against the huge cliffs. Looks like Jurassic Park kind of. On our way driving away there was a local selling fresh fruit out of a cool trailer. MAke sure and stop and get a sugarloaf pineapple from him if he is there. This is a white pineapple and is amazing. It doesn't have the acidity of a nomral one. The guy also sold yellow pineapples, bananas and limes. HE said he had 33 acres right there and they were as fresh as possible. Stop in Hawi for some ice cream.
-Went to Waipio Valley but didn't go down to the bottom. This is another place with an amazing view and is very similar looking to Pololu. Waipio is the more well known and you can horse back ride. It is a longer hike down I believe and is just walking down a super steep road instead of a hiking trail. You can also pay someone to take you down in a truck or if you have a 4wd can drive down although they don't recommend it. If you go to Waipio make sure you don't go down Mud Lane to get there. Horrible single track jeep road and I am surprised we made it in our rental Rogue.
-Helicopter ride from Hilo to the active volcano. This was awesome. We did it in a smaller copter with the doors off and it was so worth it. We got to see some actual active lava flows, lava flowing into the ocean, amazing coast line and some waterfalls. I believe we went through paradise helicopters. The drive from Waikoloa is to Hilo is pretty cool. You go from the hot/dry west side of the island up into beautiful ranch lands of Waimea(PArker Ranch area), between the volcano's and then back down the other side into Hilo which is crazy green and tropical.
-We then drove south of Hilo about 40 minutes I think to a geothermal pool on the coast. It was a unique little spot but might not be worth it unless you are spending a full day or 2 on that side of the island.
-We drove to the town of Volcano which is where Volcano's national park is. They have a bunch of bed and breakfast places here and we stayed in one. IT was kind of unique although I wish we stayed in one of the nicer rooms at the place we went to. The park is pretty cool although I think you could spend a full day or 2 exploring it. We walked through the Thurston Lava tube, visited the sulfer banks and saw the red glow of the volcano at night.
-The next morning we drove 45 minutes or so to the black sand beach south of volcano. This is a popular spot for sea turtles and kind of a cool beach although I am not sure it is a place to hang out all day.
-From the Black sand beach we drove another 45 minutes or so to South Point(the southern most point of the united states. There are 2 things to see here. First we took the Y to the left which goes to the green sand beach. I thought this was awesome. The key is paying a local to drive you out there. A lot of people hike but it is dry, windy, dusty and probably 2.5 to 3 miles to the beach from the parking lot. This is one of only 2 green sand beaches in the world. The other sight here is actually South point. There are 30-40 foot cliffs that local fish from. they actually use remote control boats to run their lines way out(probably half a mile out or so). We actually jumped off the cliff. You may want to be careful as I think this is a place that can have bad currents and waves. Most people climb up the metal ladder back up but we actually found a place real close to where we jumped in that we could just wait for a small wave to luft us up high enough to step on a rock and then climb up. Both places here were really cool. Far out but I thought it was worth it to say we hung out at 1 of 2 green sand beaches in the world and to jump off the southern most point/cliff in the USA.
-From there it was probably an hour or so drive back north to Kona.
-The next day we got up early and went on a dolphin encounter cruise. We went with sunlight on the water which has a 35 foot or so custom dive type boat. there was lots of seating, some area to rest in the shade and even a head on this boat. The captain and crew were great. We ended up finding a pod of about 20 dolphins and got to get in the water and swim with them. At times were probably within 5-10 feet of a couple of them. I thought this was way better than the idea of paying triple the money to swim with trained captive dolphins. We also got to cruise of the beautiful coastline, see some eagle rays getting their 3some on and saw a couple sea turtles. This was one of our favorite things. they also provide drinks and snacks as well as have a high def camera. they post free pictures on facebook but you can also buy high def copies of the pictures if you want.
-That night we went to the Luau at the Mauna Kea(real fancy resort about 15 minutes north of Waikoloa up by Kawaihae). We chose this one because it is supposed to be the best on the big island. They only do it on Tuesdays and Fridays I believe. Honestly, it wasn't anything special other than to say it was my first luau. I probably don't ever need to go to another Luau again if most are like this one. I think it is still worth doing if you have never been to one but it was expensive, the food was just ok, you only got one drink included and the show wasn't really anything special and was kind of short. That said I was glad it was short because I was bored as crap.
-The next morning we went to Kiholo Bay. This is a must do in my opinion. Kiholo Bay is actually a large bay but I think a lot of people get the north end lagoon confused as being the actual bay. you can drive down to the bay and then have to walk about 15-20 minutes north to the lagoon. The entire bay is home to lots of sea turtles but the lagoon at the north end is the sight to see. It is this crazy blue. It doesn't have good snorkeling as there is a fresh water run off that enters right there and makes it cloudy. We did get to swim real close to a few sea turtles though and it is jsut such a cool looking spot. There are a couple little secluded beaches there. The crazy thing was just the other day I was reading reviews of it and someone posted there was a 12 foot tige shark right where I was swimming probably 2 or 3 days before I was in the water there. We also saw a sea turtle trying to swim up this flume that was a conduit for a draining lagoon/pond. It was fun to watch. Real close to where the road comes down to the beach there is also a place called the Queen's Bath. It is a lava tube that has a fresh water spring filling it. You can hop in and clean the saltwater off. Between the parking lot and the north lagoon you also walk past the PAul Mitchell(hair care) guys house he brought over from Bali and also a crazy huge compound with security that is owned by the doctor that invented the pacemaker. Make sure to bring sun screen, decent shoes and a hat. It is a hot walk down the beach. This place is probably 5 minutes south of Waikoloa.
-Hapuna beach is about 15 minutes north of Waikoloa and is the protypical beautiful beach. It is long, wide and gently sloping. Not a lot of shade on the beach and there was no surf but still a great beach. When we were there a crazy wind storm hit the beach and we had to leave. This beach isn't my cup of tea as it is more of a just hang out and sun bath type beach.
-The next morning we went to Waialea Bay/Beach 69(because of the mile marker it was on). This beach was my favorite. It has tons of areas to set up a picnic spot in the shade, great snorkeling and easy access. It was crowded when we went but we went on a sunday so the locals were out. This would be a great place to go with kiddos.
-We did a night manta ray snorkel which was cool. Basically they just hook up some high powered LED's to a surfboard, make a PVC frame around the surf board and let everybody hold on. You don't really swim around, you just hold on to the board and try and lay flat on your stomach. The lights attract plancton which the rays feed on. We only saw one when we did it but the ~10' ray did back rolls within a couple inches of my face. The experience was well worth it although once you see it backroll a bunch of times right next to you there isn't much else to see unless there are more.
Old    Brett Yates (polarbill)      Join Date: Jun 2003       10-21-2013, 6:32 PM Reply   
I wish we could of snorkeled Captain cook, explored Waipio Valley and had time to go to the top of Muana Kea.

Food
-in Waikoloa beach resort there is a place on A Bay called Lava Lava beach club. It is a cool spot and has live music but is crazy expensive for what you get. At least in my opinion.
-there are numerous restaurants in the beach resort area but we didn't really go to any of them. When we were staying around there we just made our own food at the condo we rented.
-If you go to Hilo make sure and go to Ken's House of pancakes. Huge portions, great food. this place is not fancy by any means but is a place where locals eat. My wife had a really good omlette and it was the best loco moco I had on the island(I ate loco moco 3 or 4 times).
-In Waimea(about 20 minutes from Waikoloa BR) there is a place called Hawaiin Style Cafe. Another local spot with super duper crazy huge portions. Their side of pancakes comes as 2 12" diameter pancakes. The loco moco here wasn't as good but I got one with spam, sausage and something else instead of the traditional hamburger. There is also a little brewery called big island brewery in Waimea. I only had one beer but it was good. The place is a mexican joint and the nachos we got were good.
-In Volcano we went to a Thai place called Thai Thai. It was the best yellow curry I have ever had although it almost burnt my face off. I got a mild/medium and it was the equivalent of a white boy 3 or 4 star out of 5. So good though I couldn't stop eating. I was sweating and crying by the time a finished. Good thing I had a super good chick drink(lava flow(same thing as a miami vice I think)).
-We ate at the Kona brewery in Kona. It was ok pizza. Nothing special though.
-We ate a couple time at a bar and grill in Kona called splashers. It is on the second floor of a place and all open air. It was a good spot for evening dinner. Nothing really special but the food was good bar food with big portions and the beer was good.

In my opinion renting a condo/townhome/house is the way to go so you can buy your own food for some meals as well as have the ability to wash your clothes. We stayed in a 2 bed, 2 bath really nice condo for ~120/night I think. Our condo even had boogie boards and some snorkel gear.
Old    Brett Yates (polarbill)      Join Date: Jun 2003       10-21-2013, 6:36 PM Reply   
Pictures in order. Pololu Valley, Waipio Valley, A-Bay sunset
Attached Images
   
Old    Brett Yates (polarbill)      Join Date: Jun 2003       10-21-2013, 6:41 PM Reply   
Lava flowing into ocean(might be hard to see), Water falls, Glowing volcano
Attached Images
   
Old    Brett Yates (polarbill)      Join Date: Jun 2003       10-21-2013, 6:46 PM Reply   
SEa Turtle at black sand beach(easter shore), green sand beach, Southpoint cliff jump
Attached Images
   
Old    Brett Yates (polarbill)      Join Date: Jun 2003       10-21-2013, 6:51 PM Reply   
Kiholo Bay North Lagoon, Kiholo bay panorama, Waialea Bay/beach 69, Waialea Bay
Attached Images
    
Old    Brett W (brettw)      Join Date: Jul 2007       10-21-2013, 8:04 PM Reply   
Dave, if you're going to the big island, my only real advice would be to stay in Kona. Get that revealed book and figure everything else out. Have fun!
Old    Phantom (phantom5815)      Join Date: Jul 2002       10-21-2013, 10:02 PM Reply   
My only advice since you have a large group - If you have a CostCo card if will come in handy on Maui & Oahu.
Old    DC (durty_curt)      Join Date: Apr 2008       10-21-2013, 10:13 PM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by phantom5815 View Post
My only advice since you have a large group - If you have a CostCo card if will come in handy on Maui & Oahu.
and now on Kauai too!
Old    Dave (bcrider)      Join Date: Apr 2006       10-22-2013, 9:22 AM Reply   
Wow, thanks Brett for the big write up. I'm not sure how much we will be able to do with 2-2 year old's but we will definitely try. Ever since I rented a house in Mexico with a bunch of friends I don't think I will ever stay in a resort again. As you said, having your own place and being able to cook is huge for me especially because we will have the kids. I can only eat our a couple times before I'm tired of it. To me it's a lot more relaxing anyway. We will be hitting Costco for sure. I'll have to see if I can swing the wife to do the helicopter tour. I did it years ago in Kauai with my family and it was awesome. I'll be ordering the revealed book here soon as well for the other details.
Old    Brett Yates (polarbill)      Join Date: Jun 2003       10-22-2013, 11:58 AM Reply   
the Mauna Lani resort is pretty nice I think. It is in between waikoloa and the Mauna Kea. I believe it has lots to do. I heard good things about some of the restaurants there but didn't actually try any. Also, if you want to do a heli tour there are some that leave from Waikoloa going through Blue Hawaiin Heli tours. I am not sure what options there are leaving from there but worth a look if you don't want to drive. I would definitely drive the 5 or 10 minutes to Waialea Bay. You will be able to setup a little picnic area in the shade for the kiddos.
Old    Brett W (brettw)      Join Date: Jul 2007       10-22-2013, 2:37 PM Reply   
Oh yeah, Costco is a must stop on any of the islands. I just spend two weeks in Kauai in July and was thrilled with my Costco trip. 6 different kinds of Ahi Poke at the seafood stand was a great way to start. I have a two year old as well as an older kid. I like the resorts with a nice pool and all to spend SOME time at each day with kids after the beaches/sites, etc., but being able to cook at home is a must. I found a GREAT condo complex in Kauai that a sweet pool with slides, BBQs around the pool and a super nice upgraded kitchen. You've got to have a separate room for the little ones to sleep in as well, of course. We also like having a decent Lanai with a nice view to hang out at while the kids are sleeping. I'm not sure what's available on the big island, but checking vrbo would be a good start.

I'm ready to go back to Hawaii again. (Oh yeah, and for those in SoCal, Seattle and some other places - if you fly on Alaska Airlines, get a credit card through them and you'll get a companion fare you can use to go to Hawaii, Mexico and other places for about $100). A friend of mine in Seattle got the credit cards for both him and his wife to take the 2 kids with them and saved about $1500.
Old    Dave (bcrider)      Join Date: Apr 2006       10-22-2013, 3:09 PM Reply   
We originally looked at Mauna Lani as it was a recommendation from friends but I think we are now looking and about to book a bigger condo in Waikoloa beach villas as they were slightly bigger and look a bit closer to that one beach you mentioned for evening cocktails. I will be looking in to the heli tour to see what it may cost us. I know they aren't usually cheap but worth every penny as well.
Old    Trapper (canucked)      Join Date: Jun 2007       10-22-2013, 3:37 PM Reply   
Best bumper sticker


If you love Kauai tell your friends about Maui
Old    Brett Yates (polarbill)      Join Date: Jun 2003       10-22-2013, 4:47 PM Reply   
Dave, here is the place we stayed at. Only downfall is it is on the 3rd floor. It wasn't the fanciest place on the outside but the inside was really nice.

http://www.vrbo.com/406389

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