Mauii or Oahu- last minute trip!

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Aug 13th, 2012, 12:42 PM
  #1
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Mauii or Oahu- last minute trip!

We weren't planning on going anywhere this summer. However, my husband and I are burnt out and decided we'd go to Hawaii next week. This is the first time I've just had a week to get myself informed! So, we need your help!

We want to go for 7 days (not counting travel) but may be forced to do only 5 (depends on work). Is that enough time? We only want to do one island. We're traveling with 3 teens. I'm not sure which though-- Oahu or Mauii?

1- We like the beach, but hubby and I don't swim (we relax). Kids do and they like snorkeling.

2- We love nature, hiking and just driving around. We were thinking to rent a car (since it's America, it'll be relatively easy to drive, right?!).

3- We enjoy history-- so if there's anything to visit that would be nice to see.

4- We want something relaxing most of the time, maybe physically challenging one day but definitely something to get back our energy.

5- Don't care at all for the "nightlife", don't care about shopping or souvenirs (my pictures are our souvenirs) and we don't care about "fine dining".

6- We do care about medium to budget hotels.

So-- which Island would be best for us? And, where should we stay on the island? I've read about Wakiki and North Shore but I'm so confused. Help me please
layanluvstotravel is offline  
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Aug 13th, 2012, 01:03 PM
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I've been twice to Hawaii - to Oahu, Maui, and Kauai. Kauai was my favourite but on that trip we were a honeymoon couple seeking seclusion and more privacy so its a bit of a different holiday. Great for natural surroundings but not as many hotels so you may be outside the medium-to-budget range and a lot of the beaches aren't quite as swim/snorkel friendly as on other islands. On Oahu we stayed on the Waikiki stretch and its quite bustling but the calm waters were great for swimming. You'd have quite a few dining and accommodation options for your family there and we took a day trip to hanauma bay which was amazing snorkeling and would highly recommend for your teens. you could also quite easily access pearl harbour to satisfy the historical interest, along with perhaps hiking at Diamond Head volcano which offered stunning views. If you only have about 5 days to travel, getting up to the north shore might feel a bit inconvenient unless you plan on staying there the whole time. If headed to Maui, I would imagine Kaanapali area will be best suited for a family with varied interests - Wailea is a bit more pricey, but Kaanapali has similarly reliable weather, calm waters, snorkeling just off shore near the black rock (or a half day boat to Molokini), some surfing and boating, and will have a range of chain hotels just like Waikiki so they often offer good deals (not to mention can use or collect some points). The challenge in Waikiki vs Kaanapali is the total relaxation factor - while both have high-rise hotels, Waikiki is much more dense with a busy shopping road behind the beach and Kaanapali has slightly larger resorts and is a bit less developed (but definitely still developed). Good luck in your search and have fun! I love Hawaii and its one of the only places I've been to that has something for everyone on a tropical vacation!
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Aug 13th, 2012, 01:40 PM
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1. Where are you traveling from?
2. Count the number of nights you have to buy accomodation. If you have 5 or less, I'd rethink this, considering you have 3 teens to take along.
3. Take a look at flight costs before you get too far along in this planning. No great bargains going around this year.
4. You'll need a car on any island other than Oahu.
5. You should look for condo accomodations. Most hotels will not allow 5 people to stay in one room so you'd actually need two hotel rooms. Ouch.
6. A condo allows you to feed the brood breakfasts, lunches, and snacks without breaking the bank at hotel restaurants.

Maui is a great place to visit. At this late date, I hope you can find flights and accomodations that will fit in your budget. Look to condos in Kihei if Kaanapali or north is too expensive.
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Aug 13th, 2012, 02:16 PM
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My vote is for Maui, the Kaanapali area or Napili. Napili being a bit less crowded but Kaanapali has nicer beaches. Kihei will be cheaper, but not as nice IMO.
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Aug 13th, 2012, 02:57 PM
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Do you have cheap airfare? Will your flight be 'endless' or are you on the west coast of North America?

What's the budget for a condo (or two hotel rooms)?

Teens will probably like Waikiki on Oahu or Kaanapali on Maui. You need a rental car everywhere outside of Honolulu.
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Aug 13th, 2012, 03:02 PM
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For a first visit, I'd suggest Oahu. Lots of variety, pretty well everything that you were looking for, and you can do it a bit cheaper than Maui, for most things, plus there are more flight options, usually. 5 days isn't really long enough for me (Eastern Time Zone), but you have work with what you have.
You can do Maui NEXT time!
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Aug 13th, 2012, 03:40 PM
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Waikiki is vibrant and fun but also "wall to wall". I read once that the Cheesecake Factory in Waikiki is the highest-grossing one in the chain.

There's a newer development west of Pearl Harbor called Ko Olina - it's where the new Disney resort is, also a JW Marriott and a Marriott timeshare resort. It's pretty and fairly quiet. I don't personally like the location (the drive is not attractive). Other than that , there's Turtle Bay Resort on the laid back north shore, and rentals on the Kailua coast (gorgeous beaches).

Except for also having a strip of hotels, Kaanapali Beach on Maui is nothing at all like Waikiki. South of Black Rock (excellent snorkeling right off the beach) there are I think 4 hotels and 3 condo developments, as well as the Whaler's Village shopping center in the middle. North of Black Rock has some more hotels and condos , then even lower key Napili has others (less upscale) and then there's Kapalua (upscale condos and Ritz-Carlton). Kaanapali
is about 3 miles from the touristy but fun town of Lahaina.

I have't been to south Maui in years so can't comment on that.

Kauai is lush and beautiful with great beaches etc. it's less developed in general. Unless the kids are really into outdoor pursuits, Kauai wouldn't be my choice with teens. I'd pick Kaanapali Beach.
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Aug 13th, 2012, 04:32 PM
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Your kids will love Waikiki. Last year we stayed at a suite hotel three blocks from the beach that was quite nice: Aston Waikiki Sunset, 229 Paoakalani Avenue, Waikiki, Oahu 96815, Phone: 808-922-0511. The rooms have kitchenettes, pull-out couches, and either one or two bedrooms. We had a family group-- my husband and me, my brother and sister, my daughter and son-in-law, 17-year-old grandson, and his best friend. The boys had a great time walking up and down Kalakaua Avenue on their own (with a curfew and their cell phones).

The International Market Place has oodles of shopping kiosks and a food court the teens will like. The hike up Diamond Head is fun, and we always rent a car for a day and drive around the island stopping at different places for the views, at the Macadamia Nut Farm for purchases (and free samples), and at the little town of Haliewa to eat and to buy shave ice with ice cream in the bottom at the General Store.

For some history, go to see the Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor and drive up to Punchbowl Cemetery as well as to the Pali Overlook where King Kamehameha defeated his enemies by driving them over the cliffs to become the first king of the entire island chain. You can also see the Bishop Museum for more history and island lore, and the kids will like a luau.

Maybe you can tell, I love Hawaii and particularly Oahu.
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Aug 13th, 2012, 05:06 PM
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Either would work for what you describe.

I think Oahu is generally less expensive and there are so many wonderful places you could stay in Waikiki. It also has the 'history' in Honolulu places like Pearl Harbor, Bishop Museum, Iolani Palace, etc. You could get a car but also it's possible to do Oahu using public transportation (and walking) onyl.

Maui is beautiful too and would make a great family vacation. You definitely need a rental car there.
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Aug 14th, 2012, 10:29 AM
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I think teens would especially love Waikiki. Yes driving is easy around Oahu, maybe some traffic right in Honolulu on the freeway but no big deal. Oahu takes no advance planning imo, there's tons of information once you arrive. Just pick up free copies of Oahu Gold and 101 Things to Do (free in sidewalk dispensers) that will have maps and describe all the various activities.
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Aug 14th, 2012, 11:54 AM
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Re-reading your original post and I'm thinking Waikiki might be right for you, as long as you have a car and can get out of Waikiki, too! A day visiting the North Shore, visits to Kailua/Lanikai beaches (maybe kayaking, which was a ton of fun), Hanauma Bay, Diamond Head, drive across the spectacular highway that cuts across the center of the island (really amazing scenery), Pearl Harbor, Waikiki beach itself. Waikiki is very busy, both on and off the beach, but it's a relaxed beachy kind of busy -- you don't have to get dressed to leave the beach, everyone's wearing beach or "tropical" clothes. Lots of hotel and condo choices, lots of restaurant choices, bars and restaurants on the beach, etc. etc.
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Aug 14th, 2012, 03:49 PM
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We love Maui...especially Wailea- great relaxing vacation- great golf- shopping- restaurants....a bit commercial but so is Oahu.
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Aug 14th, 2012, 03:51 PM
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We love Maui...especially Wailea- great relaxing vacation- great golf- shopping- restaurants....a bit commercial but so is Oahu. If these things don't appeal to you & your looking for less expensive/fancy- maybe Kihei which is near Wailea
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Aug 14th, 2012, 08:37 PM
  #14
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Thanks everyone! We got our tickets to Oahu and will be staying for 7 nights. Now we're looking for somewhere to stay. Any suggestions for a family of 5?
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Aug 14th, 2012, 08:47 PM
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I don't but I'd highly recommend staying I. A condo rather than a hotel - first, you can have some meals in, even if only breakfast and snacks, and second, you'll have a living room to gather, rather than hanging out in someone's bedroom.

If you don't require a beachfront location, Carolyn (above) suggested a place.
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Aug 15th, 2012, 04:00 AM
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Wakiki is probably best all around for your family, and for a family - a 2 BR condo offers so much - and you can have a fridge for your food/beverages/snacks/left overs, and also keep things for your drives (buy a Styrofoam cooler and put ice in it and instant fridge for drives - and if it's squeaks - put some towels around it.

Check out the condos in/by the Iolani - on the south end of Waikiki beach. There are others there as well. see http://www.highrises.com/honolulu/io...-plaza-condos/

And definitely go snorkeling at Hanauma Bay ( http://www1.honolulu.gov/parks/facil...nformation.htm 20 minutes or so from Waikiki) - maybe more than once. Check out renting snorkel gear for the week from the likes of Snorkel Bob's (also adds in the various travel mags you will find at the airport).

Go early to beat the crowds, get a good parking space, and don't leave any thing valuable in the rental cars. Certainly not in plain sight.

From there - continue on the drive around the south side of the Island - to Kailua - and either come back to Waikiki through the Koolau's (tunnels through the mountains) or continue on up to the north shore - Turtle Bay - past the fabled surfing beaches (Sunset, Pipeline, Waimea) which will be flat in the summer, and have the obligatory shave ice in Haliewa, or do the north shore drive another day. Doesn't take that long really.
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Aug 15th, 2012, 01:34 PM
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<<>>

In fact, we went kayaking in Kailua one morning, and drove up to the north shore (Haleiwa) for lunch. Back to Waikiki in time for dinner.
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Aug 17th, 2012, 01:59 AM
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I would like to second the very good suggestions to at least a car for one day and drive around the island,, you can stop at various places and be back for dinner if you choose. Can't get too lost,, its an island, lol We stopped once just at some random North Shore beach and saw a sea turtle on the beach( they had a person "guarding " him so no one could bug him, but there was just our family and about 4-5 other people there!
Parking in Waikiki is a rip off, most hotels charge, and often more then 20-25 dollars a day,, so as you don't really need a car for most of Oauha I would suggest just a one or two day rental.

Definately check out Hanauma Bay, great safe snorkling, but get there early!
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Aug 17th, 2012, 05:16 AM
  #19
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Thanks! We finally got a place at Waikiki for the first 3 nights then we're off to a beach in the north ko olina.. Marriott.. I think that's it (hubby doing planning). Anyway, I'm a huge LOST fan. When we rent a car I imagine we should use it to check out their spots? Anyone have any info on this? Also, what's diamond head?
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Aug 17th, 2012, 10:01 AM
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Just to clarify - Ko Olina is not north - it's southwest.
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