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Oahu vacation help please!

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
I think I will also post in TAO, but I thought I'd try here as well! Dh and I are thinking about a Hawaii trip this winter...probably January-February-ish. We are thinking Oahu, because we have three small dcs and want to take as few planes as possible. If you have any suggestions about lodging I will be eternally grateful...without recommendations, it's really overwhelming to get on the Web and browse around. We are open to anything...hotels, condo, small house, whatever.

Anyow, the dcs will want to do lots and lots and lots of swimming in a pool, so a hotel (or whatever) with a good pool is essential. Hopefully if we can get a place that is also on a beach we can lure them away from the pool to the beach.

Generally I'm the kind of person who would prefer to go to more out of the way, back-woodsy kinds of places, but I realize that is probably incompatible with a fun-for-young-kids kind of vacation. Are there smaller towns that would be nice to stay in that are not too far from some of the main attractions (e.g., aquarium, Discovery Center, etc.)?

post #2 of 16
it depends on what else you really want to do. Do you want to do the touristy kind of things in the honolulu/waikiki area? If so, stay in a hotel in town. The north shore is more of an "authentic hawaii" feeling to me and very beautiful. Kailua is my favorite beach by far and I've seen a lot of cute vacation rental homes. Ko Olina has a couple of condo developments that are full of vacation rentals (1 month minimum though) and is a pretty central location as far as going different places... nothing is too far here though. The furthest you can really drive is about an hour and a half, even with traffic. Both of the developments I've stayed in in Ko Olina (coconut plantation & ko olina kai) have pools for the residents and both have zero entry wading pools for the kids. The hotels at Ko Olina are really nice too and there is a luau within the resort at paradise cove. There are also 4 man made lagoons that are great fo the kids because there are walls to block the waves. The first few months we lived here we were staying in KO and I really enjoyed it.
post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks SO much redhen!!!
post #4 of 16
no prob. I haven't been here too long but feel free to message me if you need to know anything else!
post #5 of 16
FYI - KoOlina is pretty but it's out there all by itself with little in the way of restaurants (kid friendly), etc. without getting on the Freeway. As someone born and raised here I don't think of the man-made lagoons as "real" Hawaii.

Take a moment to search old threads here - a lot of Oahu mamas have given great advice in this forum in the last year or so.
post #6 of 16
I didn't say the lagoons were the real hawaii. o_0 I said they were nice for kids because of the wave breakers.
post #7 of 16
I know you did not!
They are great for kids, but it is a bit isolated

I don't want to come off unfriendly at all - I'm sorry if the writing sounded that way
post #8 of 16
Ko'olina is a nice resort to get away from things. A family friend had her wedding there and it was beautiful. If you want to relax and hang out at the resort pool then it's a great place. If you want to go to the Discovery Center or Aquarium or Ala Moana Center, you're really far away. And the freeway traffic from that direction isn't the greatest. People sometimes get stuck in traffic for hours on the H-1.

I like the windward side. You could easily go from Kailua or Kaneohe to the places you listed without a hassle. Kaneohe and Kailua are both on the windward (eastern) side of the island. There are several ways to get from either town to Honolulu without being stuck in traffic for hours. There aren't any major hotels in either area. There are B&Bs in Kailua (it's the subject of much local controversy and political discussion) and Kaneohe. I don't know which B&Bs are good though. Usually relatives end up staying with us (what are relatives in Hawaii good for if not for lodgings! ) The beaches on the windward side like Kailua Beach and Lanikai Beach aren't as crowded as Waikiki Beach or Ala Moana Beach Park. Kailua Beach is esp nice for families. You see TONS of families there. There's a nice green grassy area where you can barbecue or set up a tent. The water is pretty gentle and you can rent kayaks to paddle around.
post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thank you all so much for your advice. The search for the right vacation spot is getting more doable by the moment! It sounds like Kailua and Kaneoho would be a good fit for us...smaller town and no big crowds, but not so far away from Honolulu that we can't go check out a few attractions if we want to. Are the beaches in Kaneoho nice for swimming/beach play? One of the lodging places I was looking at (Schrader's Winward Country Inn) says it's on a protected bay...is that a good thing?

Are there public pools in either of those towns? I'm really not big on pools myself, but it would be nice to have access to one if we end up renting a small cottage/house instead of a hotel room. Except for the pool issue, I think a house would suit our family better because we could cook or do take-out for most of our meals (dcs have little to no appreciation for fine dining - hah!).

Kailuamama, is there a way to search old threads? This Hawaii/AK thread only has 2 pages. I've searched TAO too for Oahu but didn't find too much mention of specific resorts or places to stay. Is there somewhere I can search that I'm not thinking of?

TIA!!! I cannot begin to say how much I appreciate your sharing your firsthand knowledge about Oahu with me !
post #10 of 16
Schraders is in an interesting location - it could work out quite well. Pretty fast access to H3 but it is on the "far" edge of what we'll call Kaneohe on the Kahaluu edge (towards N. Shore). A friend who suggested the location for her wedding guests told them;

However, if you are expecting upscale facilities redirect your search. This small resort is located in a residential area and the rooms are very modest but the folks are full of Aloha.
I think any of these would be a step up. Although some parts of Kaneohe Bay are nice for swimming, other parts are not based on lack of beach, etc. Kailua is almost all swimmable and I'm much more into the beach and you'll be closer to the "cooler" of the two little towns. ie. Quick hop to a local coffee shop, a cookie shop owned by Famous Amos where he does story time for kids, etc.

The fun crunchy thread gives lots of ideas for things to do, for a Kailua stay I'd add;

Thursday night farmers market behind Longs/CPK - eat there, try the deep fried mochi, fresh ginger ale, taro poke, etc.

Buzz's Steakhouse - Great place, need a reservation but worth it even with kids, great salad bar and the fish (they have specials each day) prepared Asian Style (or is it Chinese?) is freaking crave-inducing.

Lanikai Juice has really yummy Acai Bowls and is right next door to Aloha Salads where I've run into Matthew Fox twice in the last year.

Morning Brew is our kicking local Coffee Shop (across the street from where Starbucks roared in) and the Ginger Peach Iced Tea, Curry Chicken Salad and a.m. Waffles with Strawberries & Whipped cream are ono (Hawaiian for good - pronounced oh-no with no pause).

The best breakfast is hands down Cinnamon's where the Guava Chiffon Pancakes or the Kalua Pork Benedict are awesome, really really awesome. Get a table outside and let your kid watch the birds fly around.

The Kalapawai Deli near the beach is good (it's green, you cant' miss it) but the one in the center of Kailua town (15 minute walk, 2 minute drive) has the most awesome variety of foods to make an instant picnic.

In Kailua you can get delivery from some local places through Room Service in Paradise, but even better use Mama's Island PIzza and the Pig Out Deluxe Pizza that is SO yummy (like BBQ chicken but with Hawaiian Luau Pork).

We have a district pool in Kailua which is right next to the Library and a big baseball field, but honestly - with Calm Easy Kailua Beach I'd be surprised if you wanted to sit there with little/no shade at a non-resort pool (as in no water slides, water falls or anything but four square sides and swimming lanes, and no waiters!).
post #11 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thank you thank you thank you KailuaMama! This information is SOOOO helpful!

One more question...am I correct in that there are no big resort-type hotels in Kailua? There seem to be lots of B&Bs and individual houses available for rent, but I'm not coming up with any big hotels. I'm not sure that's what we want anyway, but I was just curious.

So do your kids mostly just swim in the ocean, or do you go to the district pool you mentioned?
post #12 of 16
No hotels in Kailua

We swim in the ocean - the only time we've been in the pool here is for swimming lessons.

Calm ocean? Lanikai (which is a part of Kailua easily found on the map)
Calm-Medium ocean? Kailua
Rough ocean? (fun to look at) between Hanauma Bay and Sandy's beach
post #13 of 16
There's also a pool at the Kailua YMCA which you should be able to use even if you aren't a member. I think they have visitor rate.

But Kailua beach is so much better than any pool.
post #14 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks SO much ladies. I have one more question...could anyone just go swim at one of the resort/big hotel fancy pools (e.g., in Waikiki or elsewhere)???? (I'm just thinking that would be an easy way for the dcs to get a pool fix if they need it)

I think a nice rental condo on or near the beach in Kailua is going to be right up our alley !
post #15 of 16
That's a good question. I don't know the answer to that anymore.
The beaches in Hawaii are supposed to be open to the public. We don't have private beaches. I don't know what the situation is for the pools but I suspect they restrict it to hotel guests. I hardly go to Waikiki anymore. We go there for the Zoo and the Aquarium and occasionally to hang out at Kapiolani Park. In the old days, like 15 years ago when DH and I were poor college kids dating on a budget, we used to go to the hotels in Waikiki and hang out by the pool. I look like I could be a tourist so no one bothered us. I don't know how things are now. Maybe someone else will chime in with an answer to your question.
post #16 of 16
Originally Posted by Mere View Post
Thanks SO much ladies. I have one more question...could anyone just go swim at one of the resort/big hotel fancy pools (e.g., in Waikiki or elsewhere)???? (I'm just thinking that would be an easy way for the dcs to get a pool fix if they need it)

I think a nice rental condo on or near the beach in Kailua is going to be right up our alley !

no, you can't. they have wristbands for guests and there is usually a person who goes around checking them. We were just for a walk once and stopped and sat by the pool so I could nurse and we got kicked out within 5 minutes.
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