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Family Vacation to Hawaii - Kauai and Maui or Oahu

Family Vacation to Hawaii - Kauai and Maui or Oahu

Old Apr 22nd, 2009, 08:47 PM
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Family Vacation to Hawaii - Kauai and Maui or Oahu

I am planning a trip to Hawaii around Christmas time for our family of 4 and my mom. We'd probably stay for 7-10 days. We're interested in a mix of everything - many family friendly things to do/beaches and hotels suitable for children (will be 3 and 5), outdoor adventures, hanging out at the hotel pool/spa.... as well as some shopping/restaurants/points of interest. We like being outdoors and exploring on day trips, so we'd likely rent a car wherever we are.

We live near Los Angeles so we aren't that thrilled with anything too "big city" and we probably wouldn't see much nightlife (except restaurants). My mom loves to shop in art galleries and nice boutiques (nothing too touristy) so anywhere suggestions of quaint towns to visit?

Which islands would you recommend and how long on each?

Are there any must-see Christmas events that would be suitable for families? Any other family-friendly activities for small children?

What is the best way to fly inter-island and how expensive is it?

Any great semi-reasonable hotels that are kid-friendly?

Thanks so much!
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Old Apr 23rd, 2009, 05:49 AM
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If you don't want "big city", stay away from Waikiki and Honolulu. For a good mix of kid friendly, good beaches, interesting shops, great restaurants, you can't beat the Kaanapali area of Maui. I would not recommend island hopping for the amount of time you'll be there. Just pick one island and stay there, otherwise you'll waste too much of your precious vacation time packing, unpacking, driving to airports and flying. Check out the website of the Hyatt in Kaanapali ---they have great pools for kids and beautiful grounds for the adults.
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Old Apr 23rd, 2009, 12:23 PM
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If you have never been, I would suggest spending maybe 3 days on Oahu/Waikiki area. Then finish up on Maui for a week. We took my mom with us about 5 years ago when she was 82 and she loved the hub-bub of Waikiki and thought our week on Kauai was boring.

On Oahu, we hung out on Waikiki, had drinks and pu-pus at Duke's. We did a tour of Pearl Harbor and toured the Iolani Palace on our own. We also spent one day at the Polynesian Cultural Center. No car on Oahu, but a car is essential for other islands.

If you do go to Oahu and can afford it, stay at the Hilton Hawaiian Village or the Outrigger right on Waikiki.

MY
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Old Apr 23rd, 2009, 12:44 PM
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I spent 3 weeks at the Sheraton Poipu Beach, Kauai and loved it! It is not as commercialized as Oahu and Maui. It's the Garden Isle...It is more laid back, but there is always something to do. We did whale watching from the zodiak, we went snorkeling, to Spouting Horn,etc. Here is a website that might help you out. http://www.kauai-hawaii.com/ I had also spent 3 days at the Moana Surfrider resort at Waikiki Beach, and all I remember was sitting on the porch of this beautiful resort and watching the prostitutes trying to pick up men (and these men were with their families)... couldn't believe my eyes. My suggestion... go to Kauai, where the people are friendly and the island is clean and you can experience Paradise.
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Old Apr 23rd, 2009, 01:38 PM
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Maui would be a good fit for your family. For a week to ten days, I'd avoid the expense of island hopping and changing lodging, especially with children. There is plenty to see and do on Maui! In addition to everything you mentioned, your mom might enjoy Maui Hands shops, that feature art, glass and jewelry that are made locally and sold on consignment. There is also a great farmer's market on Saturday with fruit, foods, crafts, handmade soap and other things that make good gifts and souvenirs. Aloha!
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Old Apr 23rd, 2009, 03:47 PM
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Allow one week per island, maximum of two islands for 10 nights. With a party of 5 people of different ages, just stay on one island.
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Old Apr 23rd, 2009, 03:48 PM
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Inter-island flights might be $100 per person each way.

Maui would suit all in your party.
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Old Apr 23rd, 2009, 05:04 PM
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My perception was that Kauai was a must see.... not so?
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Old Apr 23rd, 2009, 05:06 PM
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And .... christmas traditions/must sees? I'll be sure to arrange our trip to be on the right island at the right time (if we do island hop) if there are any shows/lights that our family would love.
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Old Apr 23rd, 2009, 05:15 PM
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If you do two islands, I'd recommend Kauai and the Big Island. Maui not so much. I remember the first time we stayed at Maui, I was disappointed because I'd expected it to be more tropical and exotic. Instead, it reminded me of southern Cal!

If you don't want to fly to a different island, the Big Island is wonderfully diverse and you could stay up north and then down south. We've done that three times with our family, and we did not get bored with that island.
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Old Apr 24th, 2009, 06:07 PM
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With 7-10 days I would suggest that you pick either Maui or Kauai based upon which one offers you the best air connections from your location. It is probably Maui.

Others on this board can suggest various family oriented resorts -or- you might consider a condo rental for the holdiay. A two bedroom/two bath condo might suit your family well and save money over a resort.

If you shop carefully there is value to be found now becasue tourism in the islands is very slow. This applies to both lodging and airfares although the holiday period will be more difficult.

I would urge you not to travel among the islands - it is too time consuming, and the security checks are a pain, but you can check the cost easily using the Hawaiian Airlines website.

As your plans develop you can check lodging possibilities using www.tripadvisor.com. A very valuable guidebook (for each island) to help you with your plans is 'The Ultimate Kauai (Maui, Big Island, etc.) Guidebook by Andrew Doughty and the related website. The guides are available from Amazon. We just returned. We had many of the usual guides but found this one to be most helpful.

Happy travels.
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Old Apr 24th, 2009, 06:43 PM
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I've stayed on all three islands you are interested in.
Personally I find Maui to be very very similar to southern California where I live. I didn't find as much to do there, unless you want to stay at a resort type hotel.

I love Kauai because the island is beautiful and has a varied topography. There is the spectacularly beautiful north shore, and the drier sunnier south. To me Kauai is what I would imagine Hawaii was 100 years again. Breathtaking.

I think Oahu gets a bad rap, I love Oahu because there is so much for families to do. Pearl Harbor, North Shore and famous surfing spots like Pipeline, Sunset, Waimea. Then there is the palace of the Hawaiian Royal family, the Bishop Museum and I still think Waikiki is a lot of fun, especially for young families.
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Old Apr 25th, 2009, 07:29 PM
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Kauai is beautiful and my favorite - the Hyatt Regency there is awesome - very old hawaii feel to it. No high rises like Maui. I agree with nanabee about Maui. too many T shirt shops, etc. There is more to Oahu than Waikiki shops. Worth a stop but not a long stay. Very interesting to visit in waikiki and beyond - Pearl Harbor, Bishop Museum, Iolani Palace, Doris Duke Estate. The north shore of Oahu is very funky and laid back.
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Old Apr 27th, 2009, 12:54 PM
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I agree with some posters that Maui is very much like S. Calif., and I feel very commercialized. (Many people are crazy about it.) I love Oahu and Kauai. The former has a good blend of action (Honolulu/ Waikiki) and quiet (north shore/ Kailua). Kauai is quieter and has a huge variety of natural sites: rivers, canyons, cliffs. As I'm writing this I realize that all of Hawaii has beautiful nature, I guess I feel that Kauai is more unspoiled.
For a family group I'd suggest finding a condo or home on www.vrbo.com. We are going to 3 islands in Sept. and are selecting all of our lodging through that web site. (many places have pools)
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Old Apr 27th, 2009, 07:49 PM
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I've never been to Kuaui, but I think you would have a great time on Maui or Oahu. Keep in mind that staying on Oahu doesn't have to mean staying in Waikiki. If you go 10 minutes outside Honolulu it's like a different world, extremely laid back and you still have access to the restaurants in the city.
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Old Apr 27th, 2009, 08:28 PM
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Another thing to remember is the Christmas holiday time in the islands is extremely popular and places are already booked for Dec. The hotel prices literally double or triple during this time.
If you don't have to go Christmas week you will save a lot of money.
However, the best time to be in Honolulu is for New Years Eve. Everyone on the entire island celebrates by setting off fireworks. It's truly an amazing event.
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Old Apr 27th, 2009, 08:43 PM
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If you go to Kauai, I have bought some great things at BananaPatch in the Lighthouse area.

http://www.bananapatchstudio.com/new_store.htm

Realize that the northshore and east shore surf on Kauai is very unpredictable and often too dangerous to enter during the winter months. But the scenery is spectacular.

We enjoyed spending Christmas time on Kauai and Maui a few years ago. The decorations are fun. We even caught a little outdoor church at the packed St Teresa's in Kihei christmas morning after having our own spiritual morning at Makena.

Good luck with your plans. It is the busiest time of the year, so plan early - and I mean car rentals as well as lodging and flights.
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Old Apr 28th, 2009, 09:48 PM
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gypielou brings up a very important point. you will be there in december and the surf can be very dangerous. heed all beach warnings and only go in the water where there are lifeguards on duty.
i consider myself a very strong ocean swimmer (having grown up at the beach), but I have never experienced such powerful currents as I did at Waimea Beach on the North Shore of Oahu.
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Old Jun 5th, 2009, 04:32 PM
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We love the Hyatt on Kauai. However, I would not call it reasonably priced! With small children, you would be in heaven at the resort's children's lagoon. It is huge, very shallow, rough sand bottom (like little polished rocks, but it did not bother the skin) and was built about 50 feet in from the ocean. It is protected by a line of trees from the ocean breezes. It is not connected to the ocean. We were able to let our daughter play there for hours without worrying about her safety. We sat in the lounge chairs nearby, and there are hammocks strung in the trees. You can also use the pool complex, with a meandering 'river' and little islands that contain hot tubs. There is a slide, but our daughter was too short to be allowed on it.

The kids all gave a thumbs up to the pool-side service with hot dogs or turkey wraps for lunch and smoothies (Mommy gets the adult smoothie).

Both times we have gone there we've gotten a package through Pleasant Hawaiian Holidays and have saved more than $1000 off of what we could find on the internet. The breakfast buffet was included and was phenomenal. We also liked the straight flight from SFO to Lihue (we also live in CA). We got a car and went to Waimea Canyon and other sights also.

There is a spa which I didn't use, but I did use their workout facilities. I went to take a fitball class and was the only person who showed up. The class was in a separate glass-walled building on the grounds with a polished wood floor. The instructor gave me a private lesson for an hour and wrote diagrams of workouts for me.

The Keiki hula show is put on in the lobby 2 (3?) times per week. It features a little band, singer, and little girls from the area doing the hula. They are great. My daughter LOVED it. Prior to the performances the hula teacher will give little lessons on the lanai. You can order food there while you watch the show and that often turned into dinner.

I hope that we can afford to go back this year, it is so relaxing and posh. There is some promotion going now where you get 50% off of an adjoining room. Our room was huge, big bathroom too, with 2 King beds in it. Partial ocean view meant that we had to look at the ocean through a flowering tree! Room 4063 I think it was -- great for kids -- quiet, partial view, short walking distance to lobby and pool.

Sorry for such a long message!
Bridget
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Old Jun 5th, 2009, 06:30 PM
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I'm glad you enjoyed the Grand Hyatt Kaua'i - I act as narrator for the torchlighting ceremony that is Tuesday, Friday and Saturday nights at Seaview Terrace- and on Tuesday and Saturday nights it is followed by a keiki hula show from 7 till 8pm.
The teacher is Leilani Rivera Bond, who has a hula halau (school) here on Kaua'i with approx. 100 students - the little girls who dance in the show are all students and this is their first exposure to dancing in public (for most of them) - I'm very glad you enjoyed it, as did your daughter!

Come back again soon!
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