Hawaii questions (especially re Maui)

Old Nov 21st, 2021, 05:22 PM
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Hawaii questions (especially re Maui)

I'm doing preliminary research on doing a visit to Hawaii, happening no earlier than September 2022 and more likely occurring on September 2023 or later. Had originally considered spending about a week in Honolulu and about 4 days in Maui (Lahaina), and am expecting this will be the only time I'll ever visit the state. Not going to Kauai, Molokai, or any of the smaller islands. I cannot drive and will be relying on walking, public transport, and tours exclusively. I also cannot swim, snorkel, or surf. Got some questions:

-had originally considered the possibility of doing a day trip tour from Honolulu to the Big Island (Hilo, Rainbow Falls, Volcanoes NP, a black sand beach), but prices have gotten scary high for these last I looked. Plus they say not to do such a trip if you have asthma or similar conditions. Am thinking this will be off the table.

-am debating whether to go to Maui or not. Would base in Lahaina, if so, preferably in town and not Kaanapali (hotels at the latter look crazy expensive and sterile). Will likely spend one day doing a Road to Hana tour, another doing a tour that focuses on Haleakala, Iao Valley, and Wailuku. The other two days would include a self guided walking tour seeing the various small sights in Lahaina such as the Old Courthouse and Banyan Tree, Baldwin Home, and Wo Hing Museum as well as some beach time. Would include a luau dinner here. Not sure if it's worth a jaunt to the Maui Ocean Center Aquarium or not. I'm honestly a bit iffy about this island, as it's not clear if the things listed are worth the visit.

-Honolulu is the one thing for sure, as there are attractions of sufficient interest such as the stuff at Pearl Harbor, the Bishop Museum, and the Polynesian Cultural Center (would do the luau here and probably start the day with their scenic Oahu tour drive). Would stay somewhere in Waikiki.

-re the attractions at Pearl Harbor. Am assuming a tour for this isn't necessary, but could be wrong? There are four attractions here: Arizona Memorial, USS Missouri, Bowfin Submarine, and Pacific Aviation Museum. The hope is that all four can be seen in one day without a car (boat shuttles and walking).

-how far ahead should things be booked?

-would like to go as off season as possible. Best I can tell, that would be sometime during September, October, or November before Thanksgiving. Want to avoid things like hurricanes, monsoon rains, and similar nasties, though. As I understand it, summer and winter are high season, while spring and fall are low season.

Thanks!
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Old Nov 22nd, 2021, 07:52 PM
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Welcome to Fodor's forums!

Without a car I think Oahu and staying in Waikiki is the only practical idea. I think you need a guidebook and more research to even get started. I think some of your worries are unfounded (like hurricanes, and about high and low seasons). Sounds like you are planning 11 days total? There's plenty to see and do on Oahu to easily fill that amount of time. I've been there a number of times in November and it was a great time to go.
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Old Nov 23rd, 2021, 07:47 AM
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Thanks for the welcome and feedback. Got more questions:

-maybe the question is, which months constitute low season -- IOW when things are potentially least crowded and least expensive? No reason to be concerned about hurricanes or a rainy season? No point in going during low season if all it does is rain.

-how far ahead should lodging and such be booked? Do things sell out more quickly here as opposed to other popular US destinations -- or is it about the same, say 3-4 months ahead or so?

-so that's a no on the need for a Pearl Harbor tour? Would prefer not to have to book one, but maybe it's wise to do so.

Sounds like Maui isn't a good option without a car, looks like. Probably going to pass on that also.

I've actually done the research and drawn up an itinerary for Honolulu -- found about seven days worth of things to do. Will order these depending on attraction hours. Have set up several of the days for relatively light sightseeing to build in some beach time before or after.

Bishop Museum
Chinatown walk and explore.

Polynesian Culture Center, with Oahu driving tour from them beforehand.

Foster Botanical Garden
Queen Emma Summer Palace.

Waikiki Aquarium
Honolulu Zoo
US Army Museum in Ft. DeRussy Park.

Honolulu Museum of Art
Hawaii State Art Museum.

Pearl Harbor attractions: USS Arizona Memorial, USS Missouri Battleship, Pacific Aviation Museum, USS Bowfin.

Hawaii State Capitol
St. Andrews Church
Iolani Palace
Aliiolani Hale
Kawaiahao Church
Mission Houses Museum.

Anything else I'm missing, considering I won't have a car? Will stay in Waikiki and get around with local bus service.
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Old Nov 23rd, 2021, 05:17 PM
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That's a fine list but probably too much to fit in for only 7 days, especially without a vehicle. And your order could be sorted better. For example, Iolani Palace and Foster Botanical Gardens are fairly close. I'd do them on the same day. You can actually walk between them thru Chinatown (I did).

The system is called The Bus and will get you most of the places on your list. TheBus

Yes there is a rainy season in the winter-time. Like most places "off season" and slightly lower prices is also when the weather is not as good. But Waikiki/Honolulu is popular year-round and does not come cheap. I would not base your travel dates on that.

I've never booked very far in advance, but what kind of hotel or condo are you looking for? General price range and amenities you are seeking? Or maybe you have already chosen a place to stay?

No you don't need to pay for a tour to go to Pearl Harbor.

With only one week and no car, I would not try to do Maui as well.

Last edited by suze; Nov 23rd, 2021 at 05:20 PM.
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Old Nov 26th, 2021, 05:25 PM
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I am surprised more people have not replied. If you are considering Oahu now (not Maui, per the title of this topic) you might want to start a new thread and use Honolulu or Oahu instead).
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Old Nov 26th, 2021, 07:30 PM
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I do not think there was much of a low season this year. Hawaii is expensive unless you want to go where the rain is.

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Old Dec 3rd, 2021, 05:38 AM
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What else do you enjoy doing other than swimming and ocean based activities like snorkeling and diving?
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Old Dec 3rd, 2021, 06:09 AM
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Originally Posted by AaBanks View Post
What else do you enjoy doing other than swimming and ocean based activities like snorkeling and diving?
Museums, historic houses and churches and similar buildings, landmarks, zoos, aquariums, parks, lazy beach time (nothing fancy or involved), walking neighborhoods, light hiking. No for snorkeling, swimming, diving, surfing, and the like. Am potentially open to day tours such as the two I mentioned above for Maui, depending on price and what is covered cannot drive. Yes for good food, tend to be budget fare oriented, interesting in trying local cuisine. I stick to walking and public transportation only, normally will avoid taxis, Uber, and the like.
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Old Dec 4th, 2021, 08:51 AM
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There is no shortage of interesting things to do in/around Honolulu, and you could have a great vacation. But I'd want to see more of the state's scenery and geology and less museums and buildings.

It sounds like budget might be a consideration... However, if I didn't drive, I'd consider Norwegian's 7-day, 5 port cruise, before or after a couple of days in Honolulu.

https://www.ncl.com/cruises/7-day-ha...GGITOKOANWKHNL
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Old Dec 4th, 2021, 02:09 PM
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Museums, historic houses and churches and similar buildings, landmarks, zoos, aquariums, parks, lazy beach time... by public transportation

That definitely sounds like Oahu to me !! staying in Waikiki is the easiest, most choices, more reasonably priced options, car not required.

~~aloha~~

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Old Dec 5th, 2021, 11:41 AM
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Just left Maui yesterday for a superb five nights in "north" Lahaina -- Kahana. If you do get over to Maui, do stay in downtown Lahaina -- a historic, plantation Hawaii town, unlike the unappealing Wailea and Kaanapali resort areas which have absolutely no charm. Beautiful harbor, shops, restaurants. There are marvelous small "walk on" beaches just before entering Lahaina from the north, and there is a fabulous state park beach with a large restroom pavilion, grass lawns, outdoor showers, foot showers, pergolas for partial shade, picnic tables in total shade, and convenient parking lot. It is connected via pathway to the Westin on its north side, and along the south side path continues past private homes/villas. It is called Kahekili Beach Park. But understand your not changing islands. On our first trip 30 years ago, we did the Big Island and Kauai, so Maui has now finally been checked off.
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Old Dec 5th, 2021, 11:43 AM
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P.S. from aliced above -- by all means if on Maui, skip the Road to Hana, which we found extremely disappointing and a waste of 8 hours r/t from Lahaina. We've seen better scenery along Pacific coast, Amalfi Coast, Switzerland, et al. The drive becomes annoying after about 5 miles, but held fast with high expectations for Hana -- hah! Nothing there.
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Old Dec 14th, 2021, 05:50 AM
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As far as low season for Waikiki, look at the window from about the Tuesday after Thanksgiving until the middle of the second week on December (eg Dec 1 or 2 to about Dec 14).
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