Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > United States
Reload this Page >

Question regarding itinerary/days in California and Hawaii

Question regarding itinerary/days in California and Hawaii

Feb 12th, 2008, 12:58 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 489
Question regarding itinerary/days in California and Hawaii

Hello! Once more i need your great advice on a dilemma!

First i have to say that we're from Athens, Greece, we're getting married in July and as a honeymoon we have decided to visit Hawaii for one week and California for another week, end of August. (Unfortunately we can't extend our trip for more that two weeks.)

So i have made a draft plan and i need your advice:
Athens-San Francisco - 3 nights
San Francisco - Oahu - 7 nights
Oahu - LA - 4 nights

Some info on us:
We like big cities with nice restaurants and shops and just walking around (we love NewYork, London, Rome etc) so we definitely want to see San Francisco and LA and at the same time split the veeery long trip to Hawaii.

Now for the Hawaii part.
Everybody seems to prefer Maui to Oahu. I really don't know where to go. We have decided on Oahu because we wouldn't like more air travel (i can't find non-stop to Maui in decent prices).
Also from photos i think the beaches in Oahu are better..is this true? Finally we want an island with some nightlife. I don't mean clubs etc, but we don't like being in bed from 8.30 pm.
Do you think Oahu will disappoint us?

Thank you and i'm looking forward to your suggestions!!!
cristine27 is offline  
Feb 12th, 2008, 04:07 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 213
Hi cristine

I think Oahu is a great choice. A lot of people do prefer Maui - I don't! It depends on your interests.
Oahu is my favourite of the islands. My husband and I spent a week of our honeymoon on Oahu last year - we also like somewhere lively, and there is plenty of nightlife in Waikiki and beautiful scenery on Oahu. I love Waikiki beach and the view of the Waikiki hotels with Diamond head has to be one of my favourites. There are also lots of empty, really beautiful beaches on Oahu so I'd highly recommend hiring a car for part of your stay.

As for your draft plan, that is almost exactly the itinerary I had for my first trip to the west coast and Hawaii (I'm from London). It made me fall in love with Hawaii and now I've been back 3 more times (and its a very long way!) Although more time would be great, I think its a realistic plan. However, I imagine it will be fairly tiring and not a really relaxing honeymoon. But it sounds like that is not one of your priorities so I think your plan will suit you well.
optimystic is offline  
Feb 12th, 2008, 05:30 AM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 243
Your trip sounds wonderful!

I think you have made the right decision in selecting Oahu over Maui. I personally prefer Maui, but we ARE in bed by 8:30pm! Oahu will give you plenty to do. Be sure to rent a car and drive to the north shore.

One other thing to think about: We loved San Francisco and didn't care for L.A. much at all. You might want to make a list of what you want to do in each location to make sure you break up your time in each location for what suits you best.

Have fun and happy honeymooning
pijeta is offline  
Feb 12th, 2008, 05:48 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 489
Thanks for your replies! I feel better now about Oahu And we'll definitely rent a car there!

I've had some friend who visited Los Angeles and they didn't like it as much as they've hoped.. Do you think that maybe we should stay 4 nights in San Francisco and 3 nights in LA?
cristine27 is offline  
Feb 12th, 2008, 06:20 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,653
I think that 3 nights is perfect for San Francisco, depending on your arrival time from Greece.
Los Angeles is spread out, not a typical city, and whether 4 nights is right depends on if you want to trek to Disneyland, Universal Studios etc. You will probably want to stay in Santa Monica since it has the shopping and dining that you enjoy and since July can be blazing hot in Hollywood and away from the ocean. Hire a car for Los Angeles, get up to see Santa Barbara or down to Newport Beach...you'll probably end up wishing you had a day or two more in Los Angeles.
joesorce is offline  
Feb 12th, 2008, 06:21 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 213
I would be tempted for 4 nights in SF rather than LA. Having said that, 4 nights in LA is not too much (I stayed there for a week and never got bored) but I think I would prefer to stay longer in SF. It depends what kind of things you are interested in doing, pijeta has some good advice.
optimystic is offline  
Feb 12th, 2008, 07:51 AM
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 3,613
I would also change to 4 nights SF, 3 nights LA. You will be having big jetlag those first few nights/days, so you will likely lose the first entire day/night in SF.

And if you want nightlife in Hawaii, you really have to be in Oahu.
Marginal is offline  
Feb 12th, 2008, 07:57 AM
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 3,613
You could probably get cheaper airfare to/from Hawaii by using airports other than SF or LAX. For example, try looking at Aloha Airlines, www.alohaairlines. com for flights out of SF area using Oakland ( non-stop flights to Honolulu, Oahu and Kahului, Maui) and returning to LA area via Orange County (non-stops from Honolulu, Oahu and Kahului, Maui). If you flew into SNA (Orane county) you are right next to Newport Beach, and not far from Disneyland. The LA basin is very large, and driving from place to place can consume hours. It might help if you could tell us what it is you want to see in LA.
Marginal is offline  
Feb 12th, 2008, 07:58 AM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 64,354

I agree that your plan is wonderful. I would probably add one day to SF and take one away from LA. Not because you can't really enjoy more days in Los Angeles. But day 1 will be a VERY loooong one traveling all the way from Athens. I wouldn't count on doing anything the first day except maybe a short walk/light dinner.

Then you'll have 3 more days to "do" SF. By the time you get to LA, you won't have jet lag and you can really be on the move/see a lot in 3 days.
janisj is online now  
Feb 12th, 2008, 08:19 AM
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 758
I think you would be better to add time to San Franciso. It is a beautiful city with a lot to see and do. LA was ok, but I liked San Francisco a lot better.

In LA, be sure that you visit the Getty Villa. It is beautiful!
Kerry392 is offline  
Feb 14th, 2008, 12:29 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 489
Thanks for your suggestions! You're right about the very long trip from Greece so we will probably add one more day in San Francisco!
Is Union Square a good place to stay?
Also in LA i have two choices so far. We would like to stay in SAnta Monica either at Channel Road Inn Bed and Breakfast which seems lovely at 265$/night or the Ambrose Hotel at 225$/night.
Any suggestions? Is Santa monica a good place to stay while in LA or should we consider also other parts?
(for example I find the Omni Los Angeles at California Plaza at 180$/night which is a GREAT PRICE but what about the location?)
cristine27 is offline  
Feb 14th, 2008, 05:11 AM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 64,354
Just a real quick response now . . .

Union Square is a very good/central area of SF.

And Santa Monica is a good base for LA. Unlike SF, no one area in LA is close to everywhere, so you'll have to drive anyway. So you might as well stay near the beach and shopping in Santa Monica.
janisj is online now  
Feb 14th, 2008, 06:30 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 489
thanks janisj,
could someone please tell me how much time you need to get from downtown LA to Beverly Hills or Santa monica? (medium traffic with a car)
cristine27 is offline  
Feb 14th, 2008, 01:15 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 91,608
I love Oahu, it's a fantastic island to visit. So much to see and do.

If it were me I might drop Los Angeles (I grew up there) and put those 4 nights to 3 more on Oahu and 1 more in SF instead.
suze is offline  
Feb 14th, 2008, 01:17 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 91,608
Santa Monica is a great choice for Los Angeles. Union Square a great choice for San Francisco.

You definitely need a car in LA, definitely do not want one in SF, and on Oahu could go either way (car or not, if you base out of Waikiki you can get by with walking, The Bus, and various tours).
suze is offline  
Feb 14th, 2008, 07:01 PM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 49
San Francisco

There are a lot of "reasonable" hotels in San Francisco. Many are around Union Square and downtown. Beware of the exact location as parts of downtown are not good. Stay away from the area known as the Tenderloin.

You can take BART (train) or bus or cable car in SF

Friends are going to be staying at Washington Square Inn in North Beach in SF http://www.wsisf.com/ North Beach is a cute Italian area of SF
Family members have stayed at the following:


Chelsea Motor Inn
2095 Lombard Street
San Francisco, California 94123
Phone: (415) 563-5600
Fax: (415) 567-6475

The Chelsea Motor Inn is located on Lombard street in the Marina District, an area noted for its Victorian architecture and neighborhood charm, with many points of interest nearby.

Just a short walk from the Chelsea is Union Street, a charming shopping district with converted Victorian houses, fine restaurants, galleries, cafes and saloons.

Places to see:

Pier 39 and Fisherman’s Wharf (see the sea lions)
Ferry Building (if you go on a Saturday there is a nice farmer’s market)
Haight Ashbury
Ghiradelli Square
Golden Gate Park
Union Square
Japan Town
Walk around Russian Hill, Castro, Pacific Heights
Mission (this area is south of Market) – if you are in the area, go to Tartine (600 Guerrero St. @18th Street) and get the orange morning buns
Berkeley (in the East Bay)
Go to the wine country in Napa Sonoma, it is not that far from SF


Greens - vegetarian in the Marina

Le Petite Robert - I've only eaten here for breakfast on Sundays
Neighborhood: Russian Hill
2300 Polk Street
(between Green St & Union St)
San Francisco, CA 94109
(415) 922-8100

Antica Trattoria
Abigail06 is offline  
Feb 14th, 2008, 07:08 PM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 49
It takes approx. 30 to 45 minutes to get from downtown LA to Beverly Hills or Santa Monica

If you are going to Santa Monica, you might want to try this restaurant:
La Serenata De Garibaldi
1416 4th Street, Santa Monica, CA 90401
Excellent Mexican seafood restaurant.

You will also want to stop by the 3rd Street Promenade
Abigail06 is offline  
Feb 15th, 2008, 07:19 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 489
Wow!! Thanks for the great advice!!!
I think i've found our hotels for San Francisco (Chancellor Hotel on Union Square) and Waikiki (Renew hotel) but i'm still torn between:

a. Channel Road Inn (Santa Monica outskirts close to the beach at 265$/night.
b. The Ambrose Hotel (Santa Monica (?) at 220$/night
c. Omni Los Angeles at California Plaza at 180$/night. Great hotel but we'll need to drive everywhere from what i hear

Which one would YOU choose?
cristine27 is offline  
Feb 17th, 2008, 09:14 PM
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 157
I would definately stay NEAR where you are wanting to visit. Decide where you want to visit and stay fairly close. Traffic in LA is miserable....it is busy, congested and fast.

For example....If you want to go to Disneyland....then stay near the park. When needing to travel, try and travel at off peak periods, such as mid day.

You might want to go down to Monterey while in SF, although you are limited on time. It is a beautiful area along the ocean, well known for it's golf courses, beauty.

Oahu is probably a good choice, with all your flying...there is alot to do there. My favorite is maui or Kauai, but then you have to fly there, although you can fly direct from there, to oakland/SF.

Definately stay in Union Square. You can walk everywhere or take the cable car. There are passes for the cable car - I think 2-3 days, so you might want to get a pass for that. I also like to take the ferry to Sausalito, as it is an inexpensive fare and you get to see alcatraz from the ferry, the bridges, etc. We will have lunch in Sausalito and then take the ferry back.

Have a wonderful time.....also consider Napa....it is a beautiful area with wonderful restaurants and hundreds of wineries.....
marilee12 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 08:25 PM.