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Advice needed: first trip to Hawaii

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My husband and I, both recently retired, would like to go to Hawaii for the first time. We are not limited in trip length and are thinking of a minimum of ten days to visit two islands. Although we realize this is late planning, we are thinking of February into March. The question is, which two islands?

We definitely want to go to Kauai for one of them. For the other, we have been leaning toward the Big Island in order to see the volcano, but we are also interested in the historic sites on Oahu. We have not considered Maui, but should that go into the mix as well? We are not snorkelers but would enjoy walking on beaches, some hiking, visits to gardens and historic sites, and scenic drives.

One recent thought is to start in Honolulu to see historic sites, perhaps only a few days, then go to Kauai for the rest of the time. I understand that the better location on Kauai in the winter is the south shore.

So--lots of questions, and much advice needed. For starters, which island to tack onto Kauai, and then where to stay? We would like a condo on Kauai; what are good rental agencies beyond HomeAway?

All help welcome--thanks!

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