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drbob

Anyone one visited Hawaii recently?

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My family will be taking a trip to Hawaii early April. My plan is to spend 3 days on Oahu and 5 days on the big island. Two of the nights on the big island will be in Volcanos National Park. I am looking for recommendations of the different condo complexes in Kona. They must accept a 3 night stay (I know some have longer minimums). I really need the beach to be within walking distance so that the kids , ages17 and 15, will have some freedom without Mom or Dad having to get them there. I am hoping to keep the lodging near $200 a night. :D Places with kitchens are better so I am not spending $50-100 for every meal.

 

Thanx in advance

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When you are on Oahu you MUST, and I mean MUST visit Pearl Harbor. And go to the USS Arizona Memorial. You will not be disappointed. Get there early in the day.

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When you are on Oahu you MUST, and I mean MUST visit Pearl Harbor. And go to the USS Arizona Memorial. You will not be disappointed. Get there early in the day.

You absolutely took the words out of my mouth.

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You absolutely took the words out of my mouth.

 

Agree!

 

The Polynesian Center on the NE coast is a great way to learn about the culture as well, fun activities and demos/shows for family.

 

We did Pearl Harbor early, drove past the Dole plantation to the North Coast and watched the surfers before the Poly Cent. Long day but we only wanted to rent a car that one day on Oahu.

 

Great small Hamburger place next to a surf shop on North Coast.....

 

We did 3 days on Oahu (Wikki Beach) before 2 weeks on Maui for our Honeymoon.........very jealous.

 

Wish we'd done Diamond head though.....instead we got tanked by the pool with some people we met.

 

Haven't been to the big Island though.

Edited by nhoops

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All you need to know should be right here. For a low cost place to stay there are tons of houses along the coastline that you can rent, but I'm not sure how you would go about finding them and I'm not sure you will find anything you're looking for in that price range. I've never had to pay for lodging there, so I'm not sure what the prices are.

 

http://forums.thehuddle.com/index.php?show...3&hl=hawaii

 

http://forums.thehuddle.com/index.php?show...9&hl=hawaii

Edited by rajncajn

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Both of these are my posts from the two links above.

Ok, here goes…First off I’d like to find out where you are staying it could help me to point out some close-by attractions (edit got that from AIM conversation). I’d assume it’s in Kailua somewhere, hopefully along the water. Also would like to know where/if your team is playing. My Brothers play in an unofficial men’s league twice a week & you might just bump into them. For the most part I’m just going to give you some of my favorites other than Volcanoes National Park and recommend a few eateries’s & shops, these are all places that I highly recommend. Hope this all helps.

Kailua

Kailua is the biggest and most touristy, town on that side of the island. That doesn’t mean it’s not nice tho. I could spend forever there just watching the surf. The strip (Ali’i drive), where all the hotels are, have some of the best surfing spots on the island and you’ll see plenty of surfers out. There are also plenty of small beaches to enjoy there, some fair snorkeling and good shell hunting. Unfortunately, it’s also loaded with tourists. Most hang out at “Magic Sands” beach, which is named so because the sand disappears during certain times of the year. I think it actually has a different name (Hawaiian) but no matter, it’s easy to find. What’s best about it is there’s a breakwater so the kids can swim safely (mines 4). Just next door to it is a nice little black sand beach which I actually preferred, but be prepared, the sand gets hot. Further down Ali’i drive is the shopping village. It’s fun to go & look, but it’s just a tourist trap. You can get all of your cheap souvenirs there, but there is much better shopping elsewhere (get to it in a minute). There are some nice café’s in that area. One of my favorites was a local place (Huggo’s I think, building is green) at the end of Ali’i drive. It overlooks the bay where they hold the Ironman. There’s also a nice beach across from there. The last time I went, we went to a luau at the hotel across the street from there, it was typical, but pretty good. A couple of other food/drink places there I’ll mention, the rest is pretty easy. The Kona Brewing Company , very good beer, they have several to choose from & it’s a nice family oriented place with good food. The other is good for a quick lunchtime snack if you’re running around town, you may have to ask for directions. It’s called Killer Taco’s they have some of the best burrito’s/taco’s I’ve had & they have a local flavor.

 

Captain Cook Monument, Napoopoo beach, Two Step & The City of Refuge

The Captain Cook Monument overlooks Kealakekua Bay in Honaunau. There are actually a couple of ways to see it. One is by tour boat. I can’t remember the name of the tour, but there’s one that leaves the bay in Kailua near your hotel & brings everyone to snorkel there. It’s probably the best way to see it and there’s some great snorkeling to be done there. Just a tip, bring along some frozen peas, the fish love them.

The City of Refuge, Two Step & Napoopoo beach are an all-in-one trip. One of the best IMO. The City of refuge is easily found, just pick up any tourist map. It’s an old Hawaiian village & shows how they lived. It’s great, they have tours. Make sure that before you leave you visit the camp grounds, the shoreline there has some great waves, tide pools & shell hunting. Turn over a few rocks in the tide pools to see some starfish & sea urchins. But be very careful when playing in the tide pools. It’s very slippery & don’t get too close to the edge of the wall. You never know when a big wave will hit & people have been known to be washed off of there. Here’s a tip, if it’s wet, there’s a reason. Last time I went the park rangers made us get off the beach because of the surf & the beach is a good 30-40 yards from the shoreline. The waves were absolutely HUGE!

Two Step…As your going through the City of Refuge tour you’ll notice to the right a boat ramp with a small beach & a few people hanging around, that’s two-step. Ask any of the park rangers & they can tell you how to get there by car. This place has some of the best snorkeling you will find without a local guide & a brave soul. The reason it’s called two-step is that is how you get into the water. There’s a ridge you have to sit on and wait for the water to go out. Then the water comes back & you wash out with it. You will not believe the fish and there are always sea turtles there. When it begins to become evening time head over to Napoopoo beach, again you’ll have to ask for directions or get a very good map. Napoopoo beach, unfortunately is no longer a beach. It was at once the best black sand beach on the island, but a storm washed it all away. It is however one of the best places on the island to watch the sunset. It overlooks Kealakekua Bay, you can see the Captain Cook monument across the bay. My Mom’s house overlooks this bay & I can guarantee it’s the best place you’ll get to see the sunset. This area is one of my favorite places.

 

Shopping

Of course you can hit all the touristy places in what my Mom likes to call Disneyland that would be Kailua. But the best places to shop are along King Kamehameha Highway while driving around the island. One place in particular that I highly recommend it The Blue Ginger in Kainaliu. It’s a few minutes away from Kailua on the way to the City of refuge. My Sister-in-law (Devinney) works there. It features many local artists, some that my Mom knows, and won’t try to rip you off with cheap crap. There are a few other shops in the village, but this one is the best and I’d tell you that even if a relative didn’t work there. I have tons of their stuff in my home. While you’re there there is a fantastic café’ across the street called The Aloha Angel Cafe . They have great breakfast/lunch and a great atmosphere. It’s a must-stop for me when I’m visiting. If you’re interested in the cheap souvenirs, across the street there is also a general store that sells all the same stuff you get in Kailua only cheaper. There’s also a great shopping village, going the other way, called Halualoa. But a good time to go there would be when visiting the waterfalls.

 

Homakua Coast, Waterfalls & Waipio valley

I’m not real familiar with which roads to take, but there are only so many. Any of the tour guide books/maps that you get there will tell you how to get to them. When you go to see the waterfalls, anytime you see a sign that says scenic route, take it…it’s well worth it. When we went it took us pretty much all day to drive around that side of the island. There are lots of falls to see along the way and all are very beautiful. The Waipio Valley however is breathtaking. It’s postcard perfect. Looking at a website I found it says give 30 minutes to get down & 45 to get up…it’s a hike, but well worth the time. At the bottom of the valley is a nice black sand beach, ironwood trees & huge black sand dunes. There’s a rope swing in the woods that’s lots of fun. Be very wary of the surf there though, the riptides are pretty bad.

 

Hilo

Hilo is great, the only problem is you spend a good part of your day getting there since it’s on the other side of the island. If you leave early in the morning you can include this in your waterfall trip, but if you plan on going to Waipio valley I’d make that one on a separate day. In fact I’d recommend doing it that way…Waipio/waterfalls one day & waterfalls/Hilo another. Along the coast there they have some great beach parks. Some have natural springs that come out of the mountains & the water if cold as ice, great for swimming tho. Another nice place to visit there is the Japanese garden and they have lots of nice shops and restaurants to visit. I believe Hilo is the largest town on the island.

 

Pampered Resort fun/shopping/eating

One other thing I’ll recommend, when we went last time my Mom treated us to the Waikaloa Village resort. You can call them and get a day pass. Let me say, that is the most unbelievable place I’ve been to & would be perfect for a group like yours. There’s tons of things to do for the day. Kayaking on a lagoon, snorkeling, dolphin petting, HUGE pool, water slide, waterfalls, hot tubs, restaurants, shopping…you name it…be prepared to pay, but it’s worth checking into. Fantasy Island has nothing on this place.

 

While searching Google for names that I couldn't remember I found this site. It outlines a lot of the places that I've already suggested and gives a few directions. Hope all this helps & feel free to ask any questions, If I don't know the answer it won't be hard to find out.

 

 

Good info here.

North Shore is a must, Chinatown & Pearl. I don't know a whole lot about Oahu otherwise.

Good info 2

Kalua pig...yumm!!!

 

If you have the chance definately take the time to see some of the sights at the other islands. My Mom lives on the Big Island so I'll tempt you with a couple of must see places there.

 

Volcanos Nat'l Park- Pretty much speaks for itself. Check with some of the tour guides to see where & if you can see the flows. They look really cool at night, but that place is a b*tch getting out of in the pitch black.

 

Hilo- Love the parks here, especially the Japanese garden. There's also a very nice beach park (no beach, but nice tide pool) that I can't remember the name of.

 

Waipio Valley- It's utterly breathtaking & my favorite place to go. Honestly I could spend the entire time of every trip there. Words to the wise though, rent a 4 wheel drive vehicle. Otherwise you're in for a long hike down & up. Once there be careful of the surf, it's fun, but pretty rough. Do take the time to check out the Z-trail on the opposite side of the valley. The hike isn't bad & provides some fantastic views of the waterfalls. Also if you have time hike to the waterfall in the back of the valley. It's not too far & there's a huge pool you can swim in and a natural rock platform to dive from under the fall itself. Camping overnight there makes the experience all the much better. One more warning, don't feed the horses. They're very tame, but once you make 'friends' they never leave you alone.

 

Pololu Valley- Almost as nice as Waipio & a bit less traveled due to the only access being by foot. It's the subject of many postcard shots. I'd stay out of the water here though, the rip tide is pretty bad.

 

Kailua- It's a tourists paradise. Shopping and food galore combined with beautiful scenery. Many of the hotels along Ali'i drive have luau's as well. If you do plan to shop I recommend the flea markets. There are two of them & you can normally get much better prices from them. I recommend dinner followed by watching the sunset/surfers. The surfers can be found almost anywhere along Ali'i drive.

 

Hookena Beach- IMO by far the best beach on the Big Island. It has everything you could want in a beach as well as a lava tube nearby to explore.

 

Kealakekua Bay- Probably the best snorkeling in Hawaii. When you get there ask how to get to "Two Step". Guaranteed you won't be disappointed.

 

Aloha Angel/Blue Ginger, Kainaliu- Every time I go the Aloha Cafe for breakfast is a must stop. It's outdoor dining with a very nice view & atmosphere in tiny Kainaliu village. When you're done eating browse the Blue Ginger gallery across the street which features a lot of items/art/jewelry/clothing done by local artists.

 

I could go on, but I doubt you'd have time to see everything on my list. Given the choice of all the sights I've seen there (pretty much everything) these are at the top of my list for things to do during a short visit. If you want to ask any specifics you can shoot me a PM.

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I have been to Kona a couple times - nice little city. However, if you need to be by a beach, then not sure it's your place. Kona is very rocky, and I am assuming it is due to the nearby volcanos. Regardless, you defintely won't find the kind of beaches in Kona when you think of Hawaii beaches. There might be a few small ones.... There are some decent beaches north of Kona, but it is a good drive. If I remember correctly, about 45 minutes.

Edited by Donny Kerabatsos

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Thanx for the info guys. The wife and kids want to do lots of snorkeling, so we will spend one day at Hanauma Bay on Oahu. I think we might also hit shark's cove or Turtle Bay. The convenience of the snorkeling beaches at Kona does seem to be a problem.

I still haven't made up my mind of where to stay on the big island, but I think I have found a decent deal on Oahu so that I can spend a little more on big island. I think I will look into that book Big Island revealed.

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have fun.

 

 

 

over the past 10 years we have been going to maui.... been too long since i've been to the others for me to give good info.... just amy fond of pacific rim cuisine and would reccommend dining at either roy's, sam choy's, or alan wong's

Edited by Bier Meister

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Thanx for the info guys. The wife and kids want to do lots of snorkeling, so we will spend one day at Hanauma Bay on Oahu. I think we might also hit shark's cove or Turtle Bay. The convenience of the snorkeling beaches at Kona does seem to be a problem.

I still haven't made up my mind of where to stay on the big island, but I think I have found a decent deal on Oahu so that I can spend a little more on big island. I think I will look into that book Big Island revealed.

 

Sharks cove is GREAT snorkeling, as is Three Tables, which is just down the road towards the North Shore. WAY BETTER than Hanauma Bay, mainly because there will be no tourists there. (compared to Hanauma) And you will see bigger fish there.

 

Be careful, because the surf may still be up a little in April. If it's calm, I would bypass Hanauma alltogether and visit Sharks Cove and Three Tables. (they are literally less than 5 minutes from each other.

 

If are looking for a local beach with NO TOURISTS at all, but with decent snorkeling, go to Kailua. There is a beach there that is great for families. As you are looking at the ocean from Kailua Beach, if you go farther right, there is a neighborhood back there. You can park in the neighborhood and walk through the pass-throughs to the ocean. There is a VERY quiet beach there that faces the two Mokulua Islands. The beach is called Lanikai. The two islands look like 2 boobs on the horizon. BEST beach on Oahu, IMO. And there are a number of sea turtles there that will come real close to you while snorkeling. Don't touch them, though. Illegal.

 

I would rather go to Lanikai than Hanuama, but that is my personal preference. Hanauma is great if you have younger children because the surf is always calm, and you will see plenty of fish.

 

Post here if you are into hiking. I can point you into the direction of some great and short hikes that terminate at waterfalls. If it were me, I probably wouldn't go to the Polynesian Cultural Center.

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A couple of hikes would be great. I figured I would get my hining in at Volcano NP but one to a waterfall on Oahu would be great.

 

Are there issues with leaving rental cars at trailheads? I would hate to have one broken into.

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A couple of hikes would be great. I figured I would get my hining in at Volcano NP but one to a waterfall on Oahu would be great.

 

Are there issues with leaving rental cars at trailheads? I would hate to have one broken into.

 

 

It's a possibility, but leave nothing of value in the car. Take your cameras, et al in your backpack on the hike.

 

On Oahu, climb Diamondhead. Easy hike and great views of Waikiki. Also do the Manoa Falls trail. It's very easy with a nice waterfall at the end. And pretty short. A little over a mile if I remember correctly. And it's pretty close to the Waikiki area, so you could do Manoa and Diamond Head in the morning and still hit Waikiki Beach in the afternoon.

 

If you are looking for a trail that is off the beaten path and close to my brothers house (and where I proposed to my wife), let me know. I can give you directions.

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I booked a condo in Puako. I was able to keep it close to $200 a night even with the cleaning fee and taxes. I am sure it will not be fancy but it is a short walk to the beach (Kona seemed to have lots of ocean front but not much beach front), and the kids each have their own bed.

 

I will give an update after we get home in April. Thanks again for all the help

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