First time Hawaii visitors this April

Feb 19th, 2019, 04:18 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 10
First time Hawaii visitors this April

Hi All
We have a 14 day trip planned for April, but have booked nothing but flights. We are two adults and 3 active kids ages 8-12. We are flying in and out of Oahu, but want to visit Volcanos National Park, Maui and open to other suggestions. We are very happy with low budget accommodations. We would rather spend our budget on activities and flights. We are staying with friend on Oahu and will let them help us do most of the planning there. Can anyone help me get started on planning the other "must dos"?
Thanks for your help!!
jenfromnj is offline  
Feb 20th, 2019, 05:53 AM
Join Date: Nov 2017
Posts: 118
I love this question - and I'm sure many others will chime in with their experiences and opinions. Like so many wonderful things in life, you'll never forget your first time to Hawaii. We thought ours was going to be a once-in-a-lifetime trip that became an annual trip for a decade and finally the purchase of a condo. So, watch out - you may get bitten, too!

General info - for your next trip, book into and out of different destinations. Inter-island travel is time consuming - an even bigger "cost" (in time) than the rather high price for short flights. We generally recommend to friends and family that you limit to no more than two islands on a two week trip. It's entirely possible, we did it many times, to spend all two weeks on Hawaii Island.

My advice is to remember to slow down and enjoy Hawaii. It's more than scenery, it's more than history, it's more than's our world's one of a kind place.

It's unclear from your question if you are aware that Volcanoes National Park (VNP) is on Hawaii Island - often called the Big Island - and not Maui.

Budget accommodations are possible with things like hostels, shared rooms or alternative accommodations. I've only read about these things as we usually opt for hotels or private condos (not shared).

What is your itinerary by island? If you don't have it all planned out, I'd go 6-days Oahu, then next island for 6 days and back to Oahu day before you depart. Depending on your flight times and overall schedule, your trip back and forth between islands is going to take about half a day and if you fly back to Oahu on the same day you fly home, the whole day becomes "lost" as you wait around for your eventual departure. Do it the day before and you can do something but still have checkout early the next day - a way around this is to book an additional night on your departure day so you have access to your accommodation for the whole day. It's easy to make it a beach day when you can go back to your room and shower, change, prepare for flight.

Sorry for this stream of consciousness type answer...what do you want to do while you are in Hawaii? What are your interests?
TJM_70 is offline  
Feb 20th, 2019, 10:26 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 91,798
We are flying in and out of Oahu, but want to visit Volcanos National Park, Maui and open to other suggestions. We are very happy with low budget accommodations.

Well you only have two weeks, and have committed yourself to 3 different islands (you don't need other suggestions -lol- that's more than enough).

"Low budget" accommodations in Hawaii and for 5 people are not very common, so I would work on that part first. If you state an actual price range (what "low budget" means to you) people will be better able to make specific suggestions.

Will you spend any time on Oahu? There's so much to see and do there. Both outdoorsy stuff (DiamondHead) but also cultural and historical (Iolani Palace, Bishop Museum, Foster Botanical, etc.). I have also found the most free music and dance performances available around Waikiki/Honolulu.

For Maui, I recommend going up Haleakala (you don't have to go for sunrise, later in the day is fine), it is spectacular. You can do some easy hiking, or just do it by car and use the lookout points.
suze is online now  
Mar 3rd, 2019, 01:20 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 10
Our new tentative plan is to fly into HildoTuesday afternoon. Drive to Volcano, stay there Tues, Wed, Thurs night while we explore the park and surrounds. Then Friday start driving toward Kona. We will fly out of Kona sometime on Sunday. Does anyone have suggestions of where to stay/stop in the days between Volcano and Kona? Planning to do mostly air bnbs or cabins. We are very outdoorsy. Want to do lots of hikes, swims, snorkles, etc
Sunday we will fly to Kauai. We will have all day Mon, Tues, Wed, and Thurs there. Then fly to Oahu to stay with friends for 5 days.
jenfromnj is offline  
Mar 10th, 2019, 02:39 PM
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 819
What can't be changed? You are running all over the place -- between islands and on them. Each transit between islands will consume 4 - 5 daylight hours, door to door. I see three such transits for your family.

I would not spend time and money to go to the fascinating Big Island and stay only Volcano -- and I would only stay there a night or two with more NW. (You do know that there is no big activity within Kilauea now, right?) You don't need to stay anywhere *between* SE and NW sides of Big Island. Do not plan any driving after dark on Big Island. The scenic route is up the Hamakua Coast, through Waimea, and over to the Kohala Coast, where Big Island's beaches are located. You only need to stay in two locations on the big Big Island. There's no need to split a stay on the smaller ones.

What do you want to see/do on Maui? Do you really have time to explore THREE islands? Do you have rental cars reserved?
ChiSue is offline  
Mar 14th, 2019, 04:17 PM
Join Date: Mar 2019
Posts: 7
Hi! I want to go back to Hawaii now.

No matter what you choose, you can't really go are in Hawaii.

I just wanted to throw a quick rec for Mama's fish house in Maui. It is a bit pricey...but it's so worth it. We went for Lunch and it was just amazing. The beach that it is on is so picturesque. It's one of those places that gets recommended a lot...and for good reason. It's at the start of the road to you could make that part of your adventure. We had a great time. Place is no problem for kids. I took my 2 year old....might be better to choose the lunch time. They can play on the beach while you relax having drinks.
coddiwompler is offline  
Mar 14th, 2019, 04:43 PM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 5,685
Mama’s Fish House is amazing, but it is not a bit pricey, it is very pricey. Probably not what a family of 5, talking about budget accommodations, is looking for. My 2 cents.

Looks like Maui might be out anyway.
socaltraveler is offline  
Mar 15th, 2019, 04:19 PM
Join Date: Mar 2019
Posts: 7
You are probably right, I didn't take that into consideration. Then I would recommend monkeypod kitchen at the whalers village in Kaanapali. Fun, not too expensive and good for families.
coddiwompler is offline  
Mar 16th, 2019, 03:51 AM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 16,473
If you have not already arranged flights to/from Oahu, you could fly home from the Big Island. Staying overnight in Volcano Village and spending a few hours of the next day in the park should be sufficient, given the sights available to see (there are still closures, and the volcanic landscape might not be a kid's cup of tea for long). Then enjoy Hilo (Hilo Bay Cafe has beautiful views, and a reasonable lunch menu, and is in a park area so the kids can enjoy some RnR outside the car), maybe the free zoo there (on the way down from Volcano, so maybe that first; the grounds are beautiful), spend the night, and then do a leisurely drive up the Hamakua coast; stops at Akaka Falls and Lapahoehoe Beach Park (and tsunami memorial) are among many good options. You can get a 2b/2b condo in the Waikoloa Beach resort area for less than $150 (plus tax, and cleaning fee, which vary, but still good options for a family) and from there visit some great nearby beaches (the two shopping centers there have some good dining options for kids, even a food court, and a grocery store). Then fly back (or back to Oahu) via Kona.
The distances are not as great on Hawaii as you seem to think; for example, Hilo to Waikoloa Resort on the Daniel Inouye Highway is 1 hour and 30 minutes.
sylvia3 is offline  
Mar 26th, 2019, 01:03 AM
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 33
A few suggestions from a local
1. There isn't any lava flow in volcano national park right now...its still cool to see, but I wouldn't dedicate an entire day to it. Personally I'd rather stay in Hilo and day trip to the park (it's an easy drive imo).

2. Highly reccomend staying in Hawi on the big island for a couple of days...really cute small town and a good base for exploring pololu valley (great hike with black sand beach at the bottom) and waipio valley

3. Alternatively Airbnb in Kona and visit kiholo bay for turtle sightings galore. Also the manta night dive or snorkel is absolutely amazing.

4. On Oahu I'd reccomend the Kalawahine trail (easy trail with great mountain views) or Kuliouou (moderately difficult trail with a stunning mountain and ocean view.... about 3 hours hiking if you are in good shape/experienced hikers). North shore shark adventure is probably the only tour I would reccomend (but it is amazing---do the 7:30am tour---best visibility in the early am)

5. On the Oahu food front I would reccomend:
The Pig and the Lady (contemporary vietnamese---approx $40 per person --not factoring drinks)
Lucky Belly (contemporary pan Asian---also about $40 per person)
Fat boys (garlic chicken plate lunch is epic!!! $10 per person)
Waiolas (best shave ice on island--- reccomend mango with lilikoi topping or strawberry with li hing powder...about $5 per person)
Legends Dim Sum...great for brunch....stick to the dim sum items/skip menu...about $10-$15 per person for huge breakfast
Sasabune...this one is a huge splurge at $150 per person for 10 course omakase but you wont find better sushi without going to Kyoto or Tokyo
trailandtide is offline  
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