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Ahgee Dec 26th, 2009 04:23 PM

Best Island to take 11 year old nephew?
I've been to Molokai and Kauaii and have spent a forgetable night in Maui en route. My nephew is really excited about Maui, but I'm having trouble getting too excited. We're both interested in snorkeling (which was amazing in Molokai and Kauaii, but awful in comparison to the overnight in Maui). I think maybe I'm being unfair and basing my opinion on a single park down the road from a residential area.

Any suggestions on 1) which island and b) what place is best once we're on an island. We're planning on going in August.

Thank you!

nanabee Dec 26th, 2009 05:51 PM

I've been to the Big Island, Kauai, Oahu, Maui. I have to say I still love Oahu because there is so much to do and it has more variety. There are historical sites (the Iolani Palace, Bishop Museum, USS Arizona Memorial), the North Shore which is more rural & home to the world famous surfing beaches (Sunset, Pipeline, Waimea) and most important I think it has the most diversity representing the spirit of Hawaii (Hawaiians, Japanese, Chinese, Whites, etc). There is Diamond Head, Honolulu, Waikiki, which has more night life, shopping, etc. I love the beaches in Oahu - my favorite is Hanama (sp) Bay which has wonderful snorkeling and is very safe as you just wander out to the water and pop your head under the water - no long boat tour required.

ksucat Dec 26th, 2009 05:57 PM

we have found that the snorkeling on O'ahu and Maui are way better than Kauai..don't know about Molokai.
I would suggest O'ahu and Maui.
Did you stay or snorkel in Maui that was so bad?
Some of my best snorkeling that I have done in the world is Moorea, Seychelles and O'ahu..Hanauma bay in O'ahu is in 3 tiers and with the myriad of sea turtles, monk seals and dolphins along with the colorful reef fishes, it is a stunning place!
just my two cents..

welch Dec 26th, 2009 05:58 PM

I think Kauai is ideal for an 11 year old. There are so many things do to that offer a sense of adventure.
Our kids loved staying on Poipu at Kiahuna Plantation in the summer as there were many other kids there and surfing lessons right out front - as well as great boogie boarding and snorkeling.

Melnq8 Dec 26th, 2009 06:42 PM

I'm a BI and Kauai fan myself, but I've also visited Maui several times, and Molokai once.

For good snorkeling right from the beach, you might want to take a look at the Napili Bay area on Maui. It's away from the hustle and bustle and the only place we stay when we visit - there are several condo options nearby.

Another good snorkeling spot on Maui is Molokini (you get there via boat), a volcanic caldera with incredible visibility.

I've always heard that water activities are more dicy on Kauai (rougher), but I suppose that depends on the time of year.

Good luck with your decision.

ksucat Dec 26th, 2009 07:52 PM

the islands of Hawaii are all something to not take for granted on swimming, snorkeling, never boogie boarding unless you are a pro or close to it and especially if your 11 year old is not savvy in the ocean.
having lived at the beach in SD and our family home in O'ahu for over 50+ years, I have seen so much tragedy when respect for the ocean is not adhered to.
we just got back from Kauai and the only time we went in was up in North Shore at Anini beach..Kauai is NOT known for their snorkeling beaches at all..good adventure but not snorkeling.
Napili bay is ok but Honolua is better in Maui.
Molokini has very little fish left but its fun to go out on the cats and swim.
please do not swim at dusk or dawn as the tiger sharks come up for food..
Waikiki is good for learning to surf since it has a protective outer reef and it is somewhat calm.

wbpiii Dec 26th, 2009 08:09 PM

If snorkeling is the main activity, the best island for snorkeling is Isle of Hawaii. It has more sites of excellent quality than the other main islands. Age is one reason why. It is the youngest of the islands and as such the water is generally clearer. Excellent areas include: two-step, kahaluu, kapoho tidepools, kealakekua bay, pawai bay, and puako.

I've been to all the main islands and I would rate them for snorkeling as follows: Hawaii, Kauai, Maui and Oahu.


welch Dec 26th, 2009 08:17 PM

I respectfully disagree.
The snorkeling near the point between the Koa Kea and Kiahuna is very good. A large variety of fish swim here and can be seen even without a mask.
This is the best snorkeling I've found in Hawaii.

welch Dec 26th, 2009 08:21 PM

Oops... posted too quickly!
Absolutely, point taken on water safety! No one should ever take that for granted, adult or child. I can't imagine taking a child of that age to Hawaii who isn't water savvy and still close attention is demanded.

dusty56438 Dec 26th, 2009 10:00 PM

There is more to see & do on Oahu than any other island.

Oahu is also much better for kids.

Maui or Island of Hawaii has the second most to offer for kids. If an active volcano is important than Island of Hawaii would be better.

Lots of info including sites with free brochures for all islands:

spirobulldog Dec 27th, 2009 04:55 AM

I have always wondered which island I would go to first as well. Doesn't sound like anybody agrees here either. lol. All the more reason to try and visit all of them at some point.

Barbara5353 Dec 27th, 2009 05:37 AM

My kids...and then my grandkids... all loved Maui the most. They love to be in the water and on the beach; driving around and exploring...not so much! I particularly like So. Maui's Kamaole I, II, and III beaches because there are lifeguards at each. Good for swimming, a bit of snorkeling, and some mild boogie boarding.
We usually stay in a condo, which we enjoy for the extra space. It is nice to have a kitchen for snacks and light meals. On a family trip with 4 kids I splurged for 1 night at the Grand Wailea. The kids got use of the fabulous pool complex for 2 full days. Good bang for the buck compared to boat trips and other paid activities that only last a few hours.
I took one 12 year old to the Poipu area of Kauai a couple of summers ago, thinking it would be similar to So. Maui. There was way too much wave action while we were there. Red flags were out and we had to drive to Anini or Kalapaki beaches to get in the water.

wbpiii Dec 27th, 2009 05:46 AM

Welch, with whom to you disagree? Are you disagreeing with the statement that Kauai is not known for snorkeling? Or, the big island has the best snorkeling in the State?

Spirobulldog, I fell for the first island I visited (Hawaii). I do at a two week trip every year. I visit two islands always end my trip on the Big Island. I have friends who loves Kauai so they do the same but always end in Haena.

It's depends on what you like. Very personal. I like hiking and snorkeling. Those who love Oahu love the pulse, the restaurants, the cultural facilities, the beaches and yet still have some wild places.

No right or wrong, one likes where the place that sings to your soul. You only find that by doing all the islands.

Placename Dec 27th, 2009 07:55 AM

Maui would be much more suitable for an 11-year old. There is much more to do- snorkeling, take surfing lessons, visit the aquarium, miniature golf, ferry to Lanai, etc.

This trip is about the kid, not you, so put aside your prejudices about Maui.

welch Dec 27th, 2009 09:05 AM

Sorry not to be clear. I believe that Kauai has fantastic snorkeling.
Although Maui a beautiful island, the proliferation of high rise hotels makes it less than perfect for me.
I don't think Maui offers an 11 year old anything Kauai doesn't.
As with everyone here, just my opinion and I'd love to find out what the op decides.

Placename Dec 27th, 2009 09:31 AM

If the kid is excited about Maui, then by all means chose Maui.

I would consider Honolulu full of high-rise hotels and condos.

You haven't seen much of Maui if you believe it is full of high-rise hotels. Kids don't care about the height of the hotel or condo if there is a good beach nearby and fun activities. Some hotels on Maui have terrific pools that kids also really love. Sometimes the pool is preferable to snorkeling if the water is rough, or cloudy, or the beach is windy, or the kid feels overwhelmed in the ocean.

ksucat Dec 27th, 2009 10:22 AM

we love Poipu but the surge can be brutal but when its clear between Koa Kea and Kiahuna, it's gorgeous and you do see the bigger fish which you usually see in deeper waters.
I just cannot stress enough the water safety and to never lose your respect of the ocean..
We love Kauai, never had much luck on snorkeling much aloha spirit!!!!

I think everyone has their favorite island and no one is right or wrong..just depends on what they want to do.
Maui has great pools for the kids with great resorts without breaking the bank..Costco had one hell of a deal for 6 days for around $100+ a day at the Westin Maui.
Dusty is so knowledgable on O'ahu..he should write a book!

Would loved to know if your 11 year old is ocean/water savvy?

suze Dec 29th, 2009 10:07 AM

My 1st place vote goes to Oahu, for having the most variety and the most things to see & do. Second choice would be Maui.

SandraJoy Jan 1st, 2010 11:13 PM

Just so you know, my son owns a scuba business on Kauai..Now for my opinion:

Depends on what you and your nephew want to do. Are you outdoors types who like to hike and explore? Do you want to go to quiet spots or where the "action" is? We've been to all the islands with and without children and grandchildren.

Mauai is getting like Miami Beach...Kanapali is crowded with high rise condo's and hotel and crowds and not much greenery.
the other part of Mauai (Waimea) is more lush from a tropical standpoint...but far from the action and not as lush as Kauai.

The big island (Hawaii) is beautiful and great for golfers and interesting for it's volcanic soil and the volcanos near Hilo...but the air near Kona can be foul from the "vog" (volcanic sulfur in the air)

Honolulu is very big and commercial...but the part of O'ahu near Kahala is quietier and the surf is calm...and the area around the Turtle Bay resort was great for my grandkids.

But I still prefer Kauai. It's the most "Hawaiian" of islands. There's a "grand canyon" to explore, loads of waterfalls to hike to, "tube riding " through streams of former cane fields, "tree-top" rides through the jungle greenery, and yes snorkeling through coral reefs on the North
\Shore at Tunnels Beach. August is the time to stay on the North Shore...and even my year old grandson could crawl along the ocean's edge at the beach. But, your nephew needs to be water safe...that's a given. Or send him on a snorkel tour from the shore with one of the island's professional scuba and snorkel dive masters. (I could recommend one...but I am biased)

But if shopping malls, movie theaters, lots of restaurants to choose from and big beaches are your favorites...then Kauai is not for you.

Just my opinions...hope this helps

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