First trip to Hawaii - 11 nights

Old Jun 18th, 2024, 09:05 AM
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First trip to Hawaii - 11 nights

I had a free companian ticket so decided to use it for Hawaii. The only catch is it has to be roundtrip to/from same airports, so no open-jaw. I was able to get round trip non stop to Oahu. I'd like to split time between Oahu and the big island (will get separate air tickets for that). From what I've been told, the big island deserves more time. I am not looking for a quiet beach vacation, but access to a beach and/or pool after a day of touring would be nice. I do like to explore and photograph scenic spots. We are walkers so a little hiking (3-4 miles at a time) is good. I also definitely plan on doing Pearl Harbor and other historical sites in that area.

Right now I'm thinking the 1st 3 nights in Waikiki area, on a beach, with day trips to Pearl Harbor and Diamond Head. Then fly to the big island for 6-7 nights, splitting time between east and west sides. The last few nights back in Oahu, with day trips to Lainikai Beach, Pillbox.

Will rent a car as much as we need it. Thinking maybe those first few days in Waikiki area, we can do tours with pickups to pearl harbor and diamond head so may need need car for that, but this is all TBD.

I'm thinking on the big island we'd use a car to do lots of exploring on our own, and not necessarily stay at beach properties. Possibily B&B type places or smaller hotels.

Thoughts? Any hotel, B&B recs? I'd like to keep the hotel budget averaging no more than $300 (preferably less, but I know Hawaii isn't cheap).
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Old Jun 18th, 2024, 09:07 AM
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Forgot to mention, this trip is late April, early May 2025.
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Old Jun 18th, 2024, 01:47 PM
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You can rent a car from the airport at HNL. I think a day trip to Pearl Harbor is too much. I used to live and work there. You only need a few hours to enjoy it. Waikiki offers the strip and the beach area. There are free fireworks every Friday at the Hilton Hawaiian village around 7-8 pm. If you plan to stay at a hotel in Waikiki, ask them for parking. Most places charge $50+ per night. So it might actually be easier to just Uber or Lyft from the airport and enjoy walking around Waikiki. You can rent a car on the day you decide to go to Lanikai / Diamond head.
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Old Jun 18th, 2024, 02:18 PM
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For Waikiki area I'm considering the Kaimana Beach Hotel. From what I read it's on a quieter beach than the main Waikiki Beach.
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Old Jun 18th, 2024, 02:23 PM
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Originally Posted by MFNYC
For Waikiki area I'm considering the Kaimana Beach Hotel. From what I read it's on a quieter beach than the main Waikiki Beach.
That's farther down from Waikiki strip but you can still see the fireworks from that side. That hotel is a lot closer to Diamond head as well. They also have their own private beach.
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Old Jun 18th, 2024, 02:47 PM
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As it turns out, we will be on the big island on the only Friday while there, so will miss them in any case.
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Old Jun 18th, 2024, 02:49 PM
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Originally Posted by MFNYC
As it turns out, we will be on the big island on the only Friday while there, so will miss them in any case.
No worries! It was just extra icing on the cake. You're going to have a great time there. Especially because April-May won't be too hot. Summertime can be really hot and humid.
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Old Jun 18th, 2024, 06:37 PM
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Kaimana is a very nice hotel at the far end (towards DiamondHead direction) of Waikiki by Kapiolani park. No pool. But nice hotel and restaurant. Maybe 15 minutes walk other direction into the heart of Waikiki. I don't think you can get a view room for that price though.

No view and not on the beach in Waikiki I like the Wayfinder, White Sands, Surfjack. And have visited or heard good things about Alohilani, Outrigger Reef, Laylow, Twin Fin.

I can easily spend (and have) 9-10 days only on Oahu. Love it there. Really aren't "B&B type places" just get a hotel. A rental car is good for getting out to see the rest of Oahu but not necessary for Waikiki and downtown Honolulu as there is fine public transportation (The Bus, troley lines, also taxi, uber, shuttles, etc.).

Adding that I would not split the Waikiki time into two visits. On one end or the other I'd just go thru the airport. To much checking in and out of hotels to stay in 3 places in only 11 nights (for me that is

Last edited by suze; Jun 18th, 2024 at 06:40 PM.
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Old Jun 18th, 2024, 06:39 PM
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{They also have their own private beach.}

Pretty sure no one technically has their own private beach. Aren't all beaches in Hawaii public?
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Old Jun 20th, 2024, 06:01 AM
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Keep checking car rental costs. Hawaii can be wild with costs, $1100 one day than $450 the next, for a week's rental. Costs are really all over the map, especially for the Big Island. I have knocked down an 8-day reservation by about $350 by continually checking the price.
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Old Jun 20th, 2024, 07:27 AM
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Originally Posted by suze
{They also have their own private beach.}

Pretty sure no one technically has their own private beach. Aren't all beaches in Hawaii public?
All beaches in Hawaii are public. But that doesn't stop some wealthy landowners from trying to restrict access to the beaches in front of their homes lol.

I'm not familiar with the Kaimana Beach Hotel (I avoid going into Waikiki at all costs) but perhaps the poster meant it was a beachfront hotel.
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Old Jun 20th, 2024, 09:26 AM
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For Waikiki days with a car, if a King bed is ok, try the Junior Suite rooms at Queen Kapiolani. Or if you don't want a pool, Lotus is near Kamaina. Look on the hotel websites for sales. The advantage of staying near Diamond Head rather back by the Canal is the free overnight parking along Kalakaua Ave.
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Old Jun 20th, 2024, 12:54 PM
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Yes, Kamaina Beach directly in front of the hotel is public. That's where I was able to see the monk seal and her pup last month. But from the looks of things there was very little access between the hotel and the water because the beach was eroded. So you might have a nice view, but you'd be walking up to the public beach anyways if you wanted to lay on some sand instead of your lanai. The Lotus is also at that corner, but set back from the beach.

Last edited by mlgb; Jun 20th, 2024 at 01:02 PM.
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Old Jun 20th, 2024, 01:32 PM
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We don't plan on spending much time on the beach. May just want to take a dip after a day of touring.
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Old Jun 20th, 2024, 06:20 PM
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Our first trip to BI we flew into Kona, 4 nights in Hawi and 4 nights in VV. via private rentals. It was perfect for us.
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Old Jun 20th, 2024, 06:39 PM
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I'm not familiar with the Kaimana Beach Hotel (I avoid going into Waikiki at all costs) but perhaps the poster meant it was a beachfront hotel.

Yes Kaimanais a true beach-front hotel. I love Waikiki. I plan entire trips around staying there.

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Old Jun 27th, 2024, 04:27 PM
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Ok, I'm am zeroing in on a plan. We fly roundtrip to Honolulu (had to do RT instead of openjaw for my free companian ticket)

Day 1, arrive in the evening , head to Vive Hotel (I know this is nothing fancy, but most recent reviews are very good and I don't care about pool or being on the beach) They have a great earlybird special on their website, $207/nt all taxes and fees included. This is our only budget stay of the trip. We'll be jet lagged from NYC nonstop, so will take it easy.
Day 2 and 3, explore nearby area including Pearl Harbor and Diamond head. Probably a little beach time, but that's not the focus. We won't have a car here so will use Uber or public transportation to get around. We also are fine with walking a few miles.
Day 4, morning flight to KOA from Honolulu. Rent a car, drive to condo rental in Shores of Waikoloa (I know some of the units are dated, but the one I booked gets rave reviews).
Days 4,5,6,7 will explore west coast of Island
Day 8, drive to Volcano City, staying at Hale 'Ohu B&B
Day 8 and 9 visit volcanoes national park, explore area. Hoping to see some glowing lava at night.
Day 10, morning flight back to Honolulu from Hilo. Rent car. Drive to Kailua, staying in a beachfront rental
Day 10 and 11, explore that area
Day 12 drive to airport, fly home

All of the accommodations can canceled up until a few days to a month before, so still subject to change if something better comes along, but flights are booked.
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Old Jun 28th, 2024, 08:23 AM
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Sounds OK to me
Vive is in a busy and central location and right on the main street (as far as catching The Bus). You won't need to walk a couple miles unless you want to. Waikiki is not all that large. Things I especially enjoy doing there (all free) are the KCC Farmers Market on Saturday morning, the in-town "Farmers Market" (more a crafts fair) at Hyatt Regency on Mon & Wed 4-8pm. Also the performances of Hawaiian music and dance and classes like lei making, hula lessons, ukelele, etc. that happen at Royal Hawaiian Center, IMP, and Ala Moana mall.

Kailua is not all that far from Waikiki. What are you planning to do there that will take up two full days? Besides the beaches, you could see Byodo-In Temple, Ho'omaluhia botanical Garden, Nu'uanu Pali Lookout.
aloha, suze
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Old Jun 28th, 2024, 01:32 PM
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Suze, thanks for the info. As far as Kailua, I wanted something a little different from Waikiki, and at that point we'll have a car so wll drive around to see scenic spots, maybe do a hike (Pillbox), snorkel, and things like that. I like photography, so good photo ops in scenic places would be great.
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Old Jun 28th, 2024, 06:09 PM
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Sounds like a plan!
I love staying in Volcano Village and exploring the park very early and very late before and after the day trippers. And during the day exploring other places.
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