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#1 of 16 Old 10-09-2012, 02:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hello! 

 

We are looking to travel to Hawaii some time in 2013.

 

We have some questions for you.

 

When is the best time to come?

 

We will have a 10 year old, 8.5 year old and two under 2 by next year. Which island will have the most fun things for us to do?

 

Where can we find volcanos to see, a luau, snorkel, surf and swim? 

 

We also love aquariums, zoos, and science museums/centers

 

Thanks in advance for any help you can provide!


DP to Sara, two crazy kids running around, lil dude born 11-1-11babyf.gif and the new guy is home !! babyboy.gif  (5/2/12)

 

 

 

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#2 of 16 Old 10-09-2012, 03:15 PM
 
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Sara--if you go in May the weather should be good (it can rain quite a bit in "winter"--so I'd stick to May-September just to be safe) and the humpback whales should still be offshore (they go to Hawaii to calve in the winter, they leave in May).  I know the most about Maui--there are a ton of options for snorkeling, Haleakala Crater is amazing (think lunar landscape...it's a dormant volcano), and the old Hawaiian Luau is well known (it's in Lahaina--a kitschy town, but still very fun, the kids would probably really enjoy seeing the banyan tree there), there is also a cirque de soleil inspired show called Ululena that the older kids would probably love (and you two as well).  The Maui Oceanarium is amazing.  The drive to Hana is worth it as well (tons of waterfalls, seven sacred pools is nice for swimming--just be smart about the ocean in general, it's beautiful but can be dangerous--especially in rocky areas, you always hear about tourists being swept away, usually because they are doing something they shouldn't or somewhere they shouldn't be).  There are some more reasonable condo options within walking distance of the beach in Kihei (the kama'ole beaches are kid safe, lifeguard supervised and have bathrooms--I like Kam III the best).  If you decide Maui let me know and I can private message you.  Keep in mind, the cost of living is VERY expensive in Hawaii...spending a bit more to get a place with a kitchen would probably pay for itself.  


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#3 of 16 Old 10-10-2012, 11:49 PM
 
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Yes, I agree, summer is the best season here if you want to swim. I can get cold (believe it or not!) in winter and it is very rainy. Too rainy and cold to swim. May through Sept. or even as late as Oct. is best. If you can, try to come when school is still in and you'll have the beaches to yourself. :)

 

We live on the Big Island and it is so awesome here. I would prefer to vacation on this island, personally. It's much cheaper here and most activities are free if not very inexpensive. Our hotels are cheaper or if you want to rent an entire house, you can. It's just so much more affordable.

 

We have the zoo which is open every day until 4pm and is always free. (Petting zoo on Saturdays) We have black sand beaches on the East side and white sand beaches on the West side. We have snow on the mountaintops that you can drive to, but mostly in winter, not often in the summer, though we did have a blizzard last June. You can drive right up the mountain for free to see the observatories. My husband and I went up and stayed to watch the sun set. It was SO. AWESOME. (Can't take little kids up the mountain, though. Bummer.)

 

We have an erupting volcano on this island (it's not at all scary like you see in the movies, trust me) which you can go see for only $10 per vehicle and it's good for a week. Free at night if you want to go see the lava in the caldera glowing. Our island is the only one with a volcano.

 

It's not very touristy here, so you won't see any crowds and there are hardly any tourist areas except a little bit in Kona. We have tropical botanical gardens, waterfalls and lava-heated hot ponds which are pretty neat and fun to swim in. All free.

 

There is a suuuuuuper awesome playground in Waimea called Anuenue Playground:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/tbenedict/5173021325/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TEXK_Aupp0o

Free, of course.

 

The best snorkeling on the East side is Kapoho tidepools (you MUST have surf shoes - those water sneakers kids sometimes wear) and there is fantastic snorkeling in Kona, especially at Captain Cook.

 

The only thing you have to pay money for here for the most part is if you want to do something like paragliding, bus tour or other guided tourist activity.
 


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#4 of 16 Old 10-18-2012, 09:28 PM
 
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The only advantage to Oahu (where I live) is that if you stay in Waikiki, you don't have to rent a car. If you go to Maui or Big Island, you will definitely need a rental car (and gas is $4.40+/gallon right now.) We have all the things you mentioned except a volcano- only Big Island has that! I suggest looking at VRBO for a house, it would be about the same as a hotel and the kitchen is a huge plus as others mentioned. Be prepared to pay a cleaning fee the cost of one night's stay! This is some trickery that all rental places have going here, apparently paying the nightly fee doesn't include the cost of cleaning, ha ha! Unfortunately they all do it, so it's hard to get away from. Look at the Honolulu Groupons/Living Social/Crowd Savings sites for big savings on luaus, whale watching ,etc- they have specials every day for that stuff. 

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#5 of 16 Old 10-22-2012, 12:43 PM
 
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If you are wanting to do all the 'touristy' things then I would recommend Oahu (and Waikiki like Erin mentioned) although coming from someone that lives on Oahu I often feel bad for the tourists that stay in Waikiki because they tend to not really experience Hawaii in my opinion since it is set up for tourists.  If you do come to Oahu I recommend getting out of Waikiki bubble and experiencing the island.  Ko Olina has some great beaches (it is a set of 4 lagoons) and is awesome swimming for the family, we also take our snorkeling gear out there and have fun.  If you come in the summer the North Shore is also beautiful and we have had fun snorkeling there to.  There are also aquariums, zoos, and science centers here on Oahu that are a lot of fun.

 

We are actually planning a family vacation over on the Big Island sometime next year :)


-Meagan

 

A Christian, crunchy, homeschooling southern wife to D and mama to A (5) who loves ( treehugger.gif, knit.gif,teapot2.GIF, and reading.gif)

 

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#6 of 16 Old 02-11-2013, 08:40 AM
 
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subbing.  

 

We are planning to spend July and August (or parts of it) on Oahu.  Whenever we've taken extended vacations we've always camped, and camping looks tricky here.  Gates locking, no camping on thursday nights, etc.  We've spent several months camping in other areas (mainland US, puerto rico,etc) but Oahu has us stumped.  And I worry about the expense since we tend to do things on the cheap.  Kids are 12, 9, 5, 5 and two moms.  Any advice from the locals would be great. 

 

Edit-or anyone who needs a place to stay near boston for july and Aug 2013 and wants to do a house swap!??orngbiggrin.gif  Boston in the summer is great!


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#7 of 16 Old 02-19-2013, 11:00 PM
 
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Yes, camping takes some planning here. You can get permits online (here: https://camping.ehawaii.gov/camping/welcome.html;jsessionid=F83A3B99E0BCB6FC2584142830C5512F.olomea)  and there are some private camp grounds- my husband just stayed here last weekend: http://www.malaekahana.net/. Definitely plan ahead, campgrounds fill up fast, and get a car! You'll need it to get around between campgrounds/grocery stores etc. 

 

One cool place to camp that lots of people don't know about are the Kaneohe Botanical Gardens: http://www1.honolulu.gov/parks/hbg/hmbg.htm

When I checked in December, the permits were still free!

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#8 of 16 Old 02-20-2013, 04:14 PM
 
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Erin77- Thanks for the reply.  I think we've figured out campgrounds.  Between Friends of Malaekahana and Camp Timerline/kamaaina kids we'll be able to cover the deal with Wed and Thursday nights.  But Malaekahana is $$.  $90 a night to camp!  We've never paid that much anywhere!  I've also heard the place has gone downhill the past few years with lots of trash, poor upkeep on bathrooms, etc  and that theft is a big issue.  What did you husband think? 

 

I've been reading more and more about theft and am a little worried.  On our last camping trip our car was broken into, bags stolen (including passports!) and it really messed with our minds regarding our safety, never mind the cost involved of damaged rental car, replacing all the stolen item, getting new identification while not in US, etc.

 

The Kaneohe Botanical garden is on the list for the 3 days they are open!  Also Keaiwa Heiau SR looks neat.  We will spend some time away from the ocean.

 

How pricey is the cost of living?  We'll need to buy things like boogie boards there, as well as food, personal hygeine items, etc.  And I'm sure someone will outgrow their shoes on vacation.  Never fails!lol.gif  Will we be totally shocked?  How much is a gallon of milk?  lb of apples?  Loaf of decent bread?  lb of cheese?  Are gas prices still about $4.50? 

 

I've looked into a couple open water swims (I'm a swimmer) and will do two while there.  I'll miss the Wakiki Roughwater by just a bit, so bummed!  I assume I'll be able to find plenty of road and trail races also?  

 

Our best times seem to come from a cool rock where we can jump into the water, or a tree stump that looks like a bum, a little playground where we just happen to run into kids my kids click with.  Things they don't point out in the guide books!


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#9 of 16 Old 02-23-2013, 11:19 PM
 
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mummm- he didn't think anything was wrong with the bathrooms and I didn't see any trash- the only thing was that it was really windy, but that's North Shore in the winter for you.

 

I haven't had any break-ins in 2.5 years here, but I too have heard property crime is a problem! Most things are really pricy- a gallon of milk is $4-5, bread $3/loaf, 8 oz of cheese $3. I was frankly shocked when I first got here. 

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#10 of 16 Old 02-24-2013, 12:40 PM
 
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If you have a Costco card take advantage of it! On Hawai'i in November butter was $8 a pound at Safeway but only $4 for 2 lbs at Costco. And on Kauai earlier this month gas all over the island was about $4.40 but it was $3.90 or so at Costco. And I heard a rumor that most of the produce from farmers markets comes from Costco redface.gif

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#11 of 16 Old 02-24-2013, 12:41 PM
 
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For boogie boards and the like I saw a ton at thrift stores

 treehugger.gif *CPST*  mama to my three year old DS1 broc1.gif1.31.09 and wedded to angel 8.07  hola.gif

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#12 of 16 Old 02-25-2013, 01:25 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erin77 View Post

mummm- he didn't think anything was wrong with the bathrooms and I didn't see any trash- the only thing was that it was really windy, but that's North Shore in the winter for you.

 

I haven't had any break-ins in 2.5 years here, but I too have heard property crime is a problem! Most things are really pricy- a gallon of milk is $4-5, bread $3/loaf, 8 oz of cheese $3. I was frankly shocked when I first got here. 

Awesome!  Good to hear.  I've been a little bummed about the cost of it when I was also fearful of it.  The food prices seem the same as here, so that seems good.  We've also heard good stuff about farmer's markets and road side stands.  When we did southern coastal CA we basically lived off roadside stands and stalls set up in people's driveways.  It was awesome.

Quote:
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For boogie boards and the like I saw a ton at thrift stores

Good to know!  We don't do costco but we love our thrift stores!  Just before we hit the airport to return from our summers  we always drop off the stuff we've accumulated but can't bring home.


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#13 of 16 Old 04-08-2013, 12:30 AM
 
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Awe, bad rap on the farmer's markets.  Sure, some people do try to make some money by doing that ~ but there is a lot of great, local produce! Many of the items you find at the markets aren't even sold at Costco.

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#14 of 16 Old 04-08-2013, 12:36 AM
 
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Erin77- Thanks for the reply.  I think we've figured out campgrounds.  Between Friends of Malaekahana and Camp Timerline/kamaaina kids we'll be able to cover the deal with Wed and Thursday nights.  But Malaekahana is $$.  $90 a night to camp!  We've never paid that much anywhere!  I've also heard the place has gone downhill the past few years with lots of trash, poor upkeep on bathrooms, etc  and that theft is a big issue.  What did you husband think? 

 

I've been reading more and more about theft and am a little worried.  On our last camping trip our car was broken into, bags stolen (including passports!) and it really messed with our minds regarding our safety, never mind the cost involved of damaged rental car, replacing all the stolen item, getting new identification while not in US, etc.

 

The Kaneohe Botanical garden is on the list for the 3 days they are open!  Also Keaiwa Heiau SR looks neat.  We will spend some time away from the ocean.

 

How pricey is the cost of living?  We'll need to buy things like boogie boards there, as well as food, personal hygeine items, etc.  And I'm sure someone will outgrow their shoes on vacation.  Never fails!lol.gif  Will we be totally shocked?  How much is a gallon of milk?  lb of apples?  Loaf of decent bread?  lb of cheese?  Are gas prices still about $4.50? 

 

I've looked into a couple open water swims (I'm a swimmer) and will do two while there.  I'll miss the Wakiki Roughwater by just a bit, so bummed!  I assume I'll be able to find plenty of road and trail races also?  

 

Our best times seem to come from a cool rock where we can jump into the water, or a tree stump that looks like a bum, a little playground where we just happen to run into kids my kids click with.  Things they don't point out in the guide books!

Waimea Bay has a great rock to jump off of! I would suggest the O'ahu Revealed book ~ that is the number 1 Hawaii travel book, and he does point out a lot of things you would not see in a typical travel book.  There is a fantastic new playground near Kailua at the Aikahi Elementary school, fantastic! Also, there is a Teddy Bear Museum in Waikiki that in my opinion is a must see.  They started in South Korea and opened a second one in Hawaii. Check it out http://teddybearworldhawaii.com/  It may seem a bit silly, but it was a big hit with our family, my husband and I both enjoyed it just as much as my 3 year old.

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#15 of 16 Old 04-09-2013, 09:25 AM
 
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Our family on Maui has really tried to direct us away from camping.  So we are looking at apt rentals and the cost seems really reasonable for a small 2 bed room in the waianae area.  Again, I keep hearing that is the "bad" area or should be kept for locals only.  We are not typical tourists in that we have no $ (fly free, typically camp) and won't eat at a restaurant more than twice in the two months we are there, and then only for lunch.  We like to meet locals and have the kids make "little while friends" with kids they'll only know for a month or so.  We don't mind poverty, but don't handle violence well. 

 

Another area is Haleiwa.  A little more expensive but we might be able to swing it (DP is working OT as I type!)

 

Is one better for the being able to get around the island on day trips?  Who new planning a trip to paradise could be so much work!  winky.gif


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#16 of 16 Old 12-20-2013, 12:48 PM
 
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I just thought I should follow up on this.  We spent July and August on O'ahu and it was amazing!  We camped all but the first night, last night and two nights in the middle when our campground kicked us out bc of an impeding tropical storm.  

 

We never had a bit of trouble!  People were like people everywhere!  Some were kind and wanted to tell us all about their area, some just ignored us.  I never felt unsafe or uncomfortable (well, I was really hot for the first few weeks until I got used to it!)  

 

We hiked, and jumped water falls and cliffs, and swam and surfed and snorkeled.  We climbed Haiku stairs and spent a full day clipping fishing line off turtles.  It was an incredible experience and I feel so grateful that I got to see such a beautiful area and explore it by foot and bike and get to spend so much time out of doors with my family.


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