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Heading to Hawaii this September

Discussion in 'Non-Vegas Chat' started by moses4969, Jun 18, 2013.

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  1. moses4969

    moses4969 Tourist

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    The past two years, the wife and I made trips to Vegas. The first year we got married there in April, and the second year for our first anniversary. This year, the wife wants to cross something off of her bucket list and go to Hawaii. Neither of us have been there, so this will be a new experience for us. Plus it will be the wife's 40th when we go so it will be extra special for her.

    Our original plan was to fly from Philly to Vegas, stay a night or two, then head to Hawaii for a week, then back to Vegas for another night or two then head home. Unforutnately due to budget constraints we had to squash the Vegas part of the trip.

    So our plan is that we are staying on the island of Oahu. We booked a place called Turtle Bay Resort on the North Shore. And we are also renting a car for the trip. Now since neither one of us has been there, we are looking for ideas on where to go and what to see. I know that thru the package we booked we have vouchers for the Pearl Harbor memorial, so that will be a stop. And since we have a rental car we will be free to drive around the island and check out other places. I was thinking for her birthday to take her to a luau, and it looks like Paradise Cove gets good reviews.

    If you have suggestions on where to go, places to eat, places to avoid, etc, that would be great!

    Thanks!
     
  2. smartone

    smartone VIP Whale

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    I will just say, "you're going to love it"! I went to Hawaii for the 1st time in 2005 I think and had the attitude of "oh... what's the big deal?". My wife and I had the BEST vacation of our lives. It's SO worth doing... Have a Blast!!!
     
  3. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

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    I like Turtle Bay, and it's had some recent renovations/updating. It's pretty low key and not at all stuffy, with great staff and a pretty setting. For eats on-site ... Ola is on the beach, and can serve up some great chow, but service is insufferable. When there I focus my meals on Lei Lei's at the golf club. Laid back, good service, great food and better value than Ola. Kula Grill, the resort's farm-to-table offering, opened since I was last there. Down the road in Haleiwa try Luibueno's for Mexican/Pacific seafood; it's awesome.

    Can't help on luaus as I feel about them as I do Vegas buffets. And I'm not a big fan of the mania of Waikiki or Honolulu in general, but you're not staying there (!). You probably should stick your toes in the sand there, however.

    What kinda activities you looking to do/experience, golf, snorkel, other watersports??? Pearl gets nutty crowded with turistas but it is well worth it, and don't miss the Pacific Aviation Museum, the Missouri and the Bowfin.

    Get the Wizard Publication guidebook, Oahu Revealed.
     
  4. VegasBJ

    VegasBJ VIP Whale

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    hike up to Diamond Head, snorkel at Hanauma bay, watch the surfers on the North shore if the surf is up.

    Also second Ken's suggestion about the Oahu Revealed book. Has lots of insights and hidden away gems, places to eat, what to avoid, etc.
     
  5. UTE

    UTE Plastics

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    Turtle Bay was a great pick. You'll love it. Do all the cheesy tourist stuff - you won't regret it. With a week there you'll be able to hit all of them.

    My Oahu must do: A Mai Tai on the beach terrace of the Royal Hawaiian on Waikiki at sunset. It just does not get better.

    Bill
     
  6. Joe

    Joe VIP Whale

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    We did the hike up Diamond Head. Well worth it for the scenery once you're up there.

    We are zoo fans, so we also did that. Several different species than you see at stateside zoos.

    The prices are ridiculous, but almost any west facing terrace at sunset for a cocktail, is worth the money.

    BTW, we did the two nights in Vegas before and after and used the Boyd Vacations Hawaii for the trip. I won a drawing at MSS for the trip to Hawaii.

    Let us know if you find any ABC stores in Honolulu.:wink2:
     
    Christmas
  7. warpdrvr

    warpdrvr Low-Roller

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    For the Pearl Harbor visit, make sure you get there early! There will be lines. Also, make sure you don't try to take any bags, backpacks, or purses in as they won't let them and you will have to get out of line to put them in your car or a locker nearby. Also while there, go and see the WWII submarine they have on display. You can also get tickets there for a short ride (by open air bus) to the USS Missouri. The last time we were there we did the Chief's tour. It was a completely guided tour that got you into places that the regular visitors don't see. It was very much worth it to me to see that additional piece of American history.
     
  8. Joe

    Joe VIP Whale

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    deleted.
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2013
    Christmas
  9. Big Tip

    Big Tip VIP Whale

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    Watch the movie "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" before you go. We stopped in to look at Turtle Bay when we drove up to the North Shore to do things. They were filming it there when we stopped in.

    The Polynesian Cultural Center touts themselves as "The number one tourist attraction" but don't let that put you off. We enjoyed it a lot. We ended up doing our obligatory luau there at the end of the day. The luau is about what I expected, but I am glad I did it. Been there done that type thing. I had shopped around and they weren't any more expensive than other ones.

    My biggest disappointment about Hawaii was that it was not as tropical as I thought it was going to be. I thought it was going to ALL be like the rainforest we drove through outside Hilo on the Big Island. But really a lot of it is just farm land looking and the like. Still pretty of course, just not what I was expecting.

    There is a little gathering of food trucks somewhat close to the entrance to Turtle Bay. Real food cheap. We stopped there and it was interesting.

    Have fun.
     
  10. dmr

    dmr Registered Abuser

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    OMG, where do I start? There's so much to do, day and night. I prefer staying down in the Waikiki area, closer to the action.

    Do the touristy stuff during the day and do a luau and swim in the ocean and walk along the beach and stuff at night. Shop in the International Market if you're into that. If you're into history and culture, do the Polynesian Cultural Center tour. Be warned, there are no adult beverages at all, even real coffee or caffeinated Coke, on site! Withdrawal City!

    My personal suggestion is to take a day trip to Maui and/or the Big Island. Do the Volcano National Park. Maui is gaw-jus. If you're feeling lucky drive the road to Hana. :) You can take a submarine ride to view the fish and stuff in Maui, and I assume they have these other places but that's where we did it.

    And, as in Las Vegas, don't get sucked into one of those timeshare scams! :)
     
  11. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

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    Personally, I'd never island hop for a day, and I'd not even island hop for several days during a trip of less than a week. You are gonna wanna return, and then just try another island and take it in. Then the next. Then the next. Then ...

    But you guys know that about us, wanting more immersion, just the way we roll, ain't right nor wrong.

    I'm working on a Road to Hana article. I'm still trying to decide if it is tedious or tremendous. Likely both. lol
     
  12. vegasglenn

    vegasglenn Tourist

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    You'll love hawaii. This year I went for the first time and loved it. We stayed 4 days on Waikiki beach and 5 days on Maui near Lahainia town. Lahainia town was a lot of fun and they also have whale watching and sub tours there. Go whale watching in the smaller boats because they get closer.
    I believe they call them rafts.
     
  13. fadetheseven

    fadetheseven High-Roller

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    Oahu is all about the experience you want. When I go, it's about snorkeling every day and eating at every waking hour.

    I did the luau the first time in Hawaii and could have done without, but who am I to deny someone the obligatory tourist trap?

    Japanese and local food dominate our food agenda. When we go, we map out our daily eats from breakfast, mid morning snack (usually spam musubi), lunch, shaved ice, and finally dinner.

    We usually snorkel/beach all morning, eat lunch, shower up, then nap.

    If you are interested in our favorite eat/beach spots, post back. No sense in typing all the stuff out if these aren't important to you.
     
  14. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

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    Nice!

    Spam musubi, the Hawai'ian Power Bar.
     
  15. fadetheseven

    fadetheseven High-Roller

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    iyasume musubi is the second most redeeming thing about waikiki. The beaches between Queens and San Souci are the first redeeming thing. We stay in Waikiki but always rent a car and only sleep there. I don't even think we eat in Waikiki except to get spam in the morning on the way out to other beaches.
     
  16. makikiboy

    makikiboy VIP Whale

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    Sorry to be negative but I don't think you should stay at turtle bay on the north shore for your first hawaii trip. Staying on the north shore I relate to going to vegas for the first time and staying in primm or at the northside cannery (okay, maybe the M resort instead of primm). I would recommend staying somewhere in waikiki, it is in the middle of the action, easy to get in and out to various locations (some activities even take care of your transportation) and waikiki is open late at night. yes, waikiki is touristy and crowded and cheesy with a lot of traffic but like the vegas strip it is where most of the tourists go to see honolulu for the first time.

    Turtle bay is about an hour and a half drive or more or less (depending on traffic, etc.) away so IMHO you will be spending a lot of time commuting from your tourist locations. speed limits range between 35 mph and 45 mph (or less) on the drive to the north shore - watch out for the speed traps!, plus there is only one main road so you will have to join the caravan going into the north shore and fight the traffic out of the north shore with people driving to town. Turtle bay is a nice place to stay if you want peace and quiet, maybe lay on the beach all day and have a mai tai or go horseback riding. other than the polynesian cultural center there isn't much going on in the north shore, everything closes up early so you will be commuting all the time if you want to see the sights or the night life. there aren't a lot of street lights so at night you will be travelling in the dark.

    There are a lot of places to visit on oahu, I would recommend visiting hanauma bay, great snorkelling and seeing the fishes in their habitat. climbing the top of diamond head crater to get a view of waikiki and honolulu. paradise cove has a good luau. take a day off to drive to the north shore and visit the polynesian cultural center (which also has a luau and some show also), this place gives you a sample of all the polynesian islands (samoa, tonga, etc.) and they put on a decent show. the arizona memorial and missouri are great to see if you are into wwII history. You could also visit punchbowl crater to see all the soldier's graves (similar to arlington), visit the mausoleum to read the various battles waged during wwII. near paradise cove you can also visit aulani, a disney resort or ko olina, another resort next to paradise cove. you can even stay out in that area but hotel rates are IMHO very high. Iolani palace is the only home to former monarchy in america. go parasailing off waikiki or take a surf lesson in waikiki. skydiving is also available if you are into that. For the wives (don't let your wife see this, lol), there is ala moana shopping center for them to do lots of shopping. IMHO, the place is similar to many shopping centers in america, lots of high end stores and cookie cutter stores available in most malls but is very popular with our visitors from asia.

    You might also want to consider taking a cruise. there are cruise ships that visit all the main hawaiian islands, you can take a day visiting each island, rent a car and visiting all the sights that each island has to offer.

    for more information there are weekly magazines available. here is one web site for the mag: http://thisweekhawaii.com/ here is another with info for you http://www.oahumagazine.com/

    anyway, I wanted to make sure you were aware of your stay at turtle bay, while it is a nice place to visit it is far away from the action and sights and you may be disappointed in your hawaii trip if you are looking at doing the "tourist" things.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2013
  17. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

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    Very. Good. Point.

    Our first trip to the islands we did 10 days split between the Big Island's Kamuela and Kohala (though we traipsed all around the island). Next was Kauai, north and south sides. Then Maui -- Kapalua and Makena. When I finally made it to Oahu for the first time I did not feel cheated by the previous island experiences not including Honolulu and Waikiki.

    I'd also suggest about a jillion things people should see and experience in California before going to Disneyland or Sea World.

    Just how we run.

    But what makikiboy is saying rings so true for so many.
     
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