Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Hawaii Advice Please

I need the advice of all you experienced Hawaiian travelers.  There is a dental convention in Honolulu the end of April and Mike and I are considering making a family vacation out it.  What I really want to know is where you recommend staying (hotel vs. condo/house) and would it be best to stay in Honolulu or somewhere else and rent a car?  Keep in mind none of us have been to Hawaii and this would be a family vacation.  I want to be able to hang out with the kids at the beach or pool while Mike is in classes, but see the sights when he is done in the evenings.  Thanks in advance for all the great advice!


KC and the Sunshine Kids said...

Oooh, Fun!! Dolly, I've only ever been to Maui...but I CAN say that I SO say stay in a condo or rental that has a full kitchen and a washer/dryer. The washer/dryer was a lifesaver!! So handy for wet towels/clothes. The kitchen was perfect because we nearly always had breakfast at "home" and it was so nice on those off times to be able to make 'easy Mac or something between actual meals out. Just some thoughts! Enjoy!! :)

The Soptich clan said...

Turtle Bay condos! My mom stayed there when she visited me/Toby at school and it was mahhvelous. Condos are the way to go, esp. with kids. And Turtle Bay has a few pools, a slide, golf course, and a "yuppie" beach (one with showers and lounge chairs on site) they love it, I love it, you'll love it. Plus the beaches are so much better up there, and Honolulu is just an hour drive away.

Joel said...

Oahu is a big enough island that a rental car is merited. You should take time to go to the northern side of the island to see the temple and the Polynesian Cultural Center. If you are there over a Sunday you will really enjoy Church with the islanders. I also recommend going to see the USS Arizona memorial. There is also an old WWII submarine call the Bowfish I believe. Hanaama (sp?) Bay is a place to snorkel and feed the thousands of fish. I don't know the age limit. It's very crowded and closed some days. I would recommend going on the first day it opens up -- less murky. If you really get adventurous you can go on any number of trials up the mountains. The vegetation is unreal, but there are some beautiful waterfalls and vistas. Have fun and use lots of sunscreen (I made the mistake of underestimating the equatorial sun and paid for it dearly).

Former Oak Haborian,

Matt said...

Both times we've been to Oahu, a rental car has been very helpful. Totally recommend it so you don't feel trapped.

There's a ton to see on the island if you want to, even while Mike's in meetings.

Personally, I'd stay in Honolulu as a base. Everything else is within your reach from there.

Linda said...

Can I fit in your suitcase? I have been trying to take a vacation to Hawaii for about 4 years. We were going to go for our 10th. Now we are planning to go for our 15th in a year. I have no advice but I hope you have a wonderful time!!

Danielle said...

definately rent a car and stay somewhere else.

Jennifer said...

We usually go to Maui, but have been to Oahu as well. We definitely prefer a condo -- groceries end up costing a lot less than eating out, and you don't get sick of the restaurants!

I wasn't in Honolulu long, but it is quite crowded there. Just know that traffic during rush hour will be slow. So you may want to plan where you are staying based on when you would be in the car :)

The Polynesian Cultural Center is amazing, and something the kids will enjoy!

I don't know how long you will be there, but we found it worked well with the kids to switch off between having a beach/pool day and then an "activity" day.

Have fun!

Ashley & Josh said...

Turtle Bay would be a nice option, its very family friendly. We were just talking to other day that if people came here and only stayed in Honolulu they would really be missing out. It is so pretty on the North Shore and the beaches are way better. Maybe you can stay a few days in Waikiki and then come over to the North Shore. And definitely rent a car! Oh its going to be so much fun for your family, don't forget your sunscreen. :)

Marriott Fam said...

You guys will have so much fun! I wish I could fit into your suitcase! Turtle bay is a nice place to stay, however there are several vacation rentals along temple beach and bathtub beach right in Laie-Hau'ula area. Those are nice beaches and close to the "island" lifestyle. They are also close to Grocery store and McDonalds. Kailua is also a nice area with a nice beach. It's about halfway between Waikiki and Laie on the windward side. You can't miss Matsumoto's Shave Ice in Haleiwa. It's the best shave ice on the island. Get it with ice cream and beans. MMMM! You have to watch a sunset on Sunset beach on the north shore it is more than breathtaking, but don't leave any valuables in or near your car...even in the trunk...on that beach or any other beach on the North Shore...even for 5 minutes. PCC is alot of fun for the whole family...go for the Luau package-it's better than the rest. BYUH is fun to tour around and the temple is gorgeous. You have to go to an L&L for some yummy food. The best one is in Haleiwa. Pearl Harbor is neat to go to, but not overly exciting for kids. It's worth it though. In Waikiki at the Hilton Hawaiian Village hotel they have fireworks every friday night...at least they used to...you might check for sure before you drive out there. Shorebird is a fabulous restaurant to go to where you cook your own meat and it feels like you are bbq-ing on the beach. I can't remember which hotel it is in. Dukes is also yummy. Stop in at a Wyland gallery. They are awesome! If you are looking for cheap souveniers go to the Swap Meet at Aloha Stadium, ABC stores or the International Market Place in Waikiki. The Dole Pineapple Plantation is kind of fun if you are into Pineapples! It's one of those places you stop for about 15 minutes to get out and stretch your legs and get some Pineapple sorbet. As far as beaches go, Temple beach and Hukilau beach are pretty tame, bathtub beach is nice and secluded, Waikiki beach is very tame also and a great place to learn to surf. I don't recommend swimming on Sunset, Pipeline, or Waimea beaches. They have a pretty strong current and drop off quickly in some places. Waimea beach has a pretty cool rock that people jump off of. Not for kids though. Turtle bay has a nice pool. I don't know if you have to be staying there to go to them. We used to just go! If you want to go snorkeling, Hanama bay is good, but over crowded. Sharks cove is a good place to go too. That is on North Shore. And, No, there isn't usually sharks! Kailua beach park is fun because you can rent kayaks and surf and boogie boards. It's not as crowded usually as Waikiki is. Also around that area is Sea Life Park. It's probably fun for kids, but it wasn't that exciting as an adult! At Waikiki beach there is always Catamarans that take you for a ride. It's really fun and you see the water a blue you've never seen before in an ocean. It's beautiful! Well, I'm sure I've written enough! My cousin Shane is still over there and would probably be willing to show you around a bit. Talk to Anita Hall if you are interested in that. It's been about 7 years since I've been back, so things may have changed a bit since then. I hope you guys have a great time!

Place Family said...

Hi Crystal,

Becky and Ashley are probably the best when it comes to Oahu, if you ever go to the Big Island, let me know...we have tons advice and can point you to where the locals go. I concur with the post above about the condo with a kitchen. It is so much nicer making your own food, especially if the family is along for the ride. Also, washer and dryer is a must...you are on the beach or in the pool all day and you need it for sure. I have been to Oahu once and I can tell you that you definitley need a rental car and Pearl Harbor is a must.

Brown Family said...

Hey Crystal,

Kevin and I are also going to Hawaii with the kids for the dental convention. We should hook up while we're there and find some fun things to do. We have also never been, so it's a first for us too. We would love to see you.

Trish :)