My family is planning a trip to Hawaii this June. We've got a timeshare on the Big Island reserved.. but we're wondering what there is to do there! We'd also like to go to Oahu to see Pearl Harbor, Waikiki, etc. Never been to any of the Hawaiian Islands.. is there anyone out there who can shed some light on what there is to do? .. and, which island is the best (in your opinion)? Thanks!
My favorite subject! We love the Big Island and took our kids there when they were small, along with my mother.
There is a lot to do there! It is big so you definitely will need to rent a car to see the many natural and cultural wonders of the island.
Things I have done on the Big Island: snorkled with hundreds of wild dolphins and one whale shark, visited and sampled wares at coffee plantations, swum in hot sea water heated by underground steam vents, sat for hours on a beach just watching sea turtles nap while drinking a few beers with locals, got as close as possible to flowing lava, felt the heat on my feet from while walking on ancient lava beds and learned the many names for different kinds of lava in the Hawaiian language, hiked through and swam through lava tubes, bought fresh fish from a man named Sam, then steamed it in aluminum foil at a beach park while watching the waves and an incredible sunset roll in, sat in a hot tub in a lovely Hawaiian garden and then surrendered to a heavenly Hawaiian massage, walked 45 minutes across a lava field in search of a spot called "The Aquarium," found it and became one of the fish in it, put wild orchids in my hair, left $2.00 each in a mailbox for beautiful handmade leis hanging there for sale, searched out ancient pictographs and sat in an ancient "birthing pond" with markings depicting childbirth on the cave walls, rode horses in the high country, danced in clubs, attended a luau, watched a movie in a converted plantation villa, drove a jeep down lots of dirt roads just to see where they ended, watched my husband jam with local musicians in a vintage movie theater...I could go on!
There is a lot to do on the other islands as well. Each is different and gorgeous. My absolute best advice is to obtain a book called The Big Island Revealed, Wizard Publications. They have one for each of the islands.
You will have a great time!
I'm from Oahu...highly recommend checking it out...Lately a lot of people have been complaining about the vog on the Big Island. I work for Wyndham, maybe you could reserve the timeshare there?
Definitely check out pearl harbor, waikiki, north shore!!! And try surfing!
I'm partial to Hana, Maui for it's remoteness and natural beauty. I lived on Oahu for a year and love it too. Many expect Oahu to be the South Sea paradise they see in movies, and are forgetting that Honolulu is quite a large city. Oahu is the Urban Island, but even with the traffic and beach crowds, it's heaven to me (best Chinese food anywhere! - super shopping at Ala Moana), and great beaches as long as you head Windward or N. Shore (Waikiki is the pits!)
My suggestion - stay out of those mega-resorts and mega-hotels - this is not the real Hawaii!
HI Visitor's Bureau at: www.gohawaii.com/
All the Hawaiian islands are beautiful. I visited Maui, Oahu, Kauai & the Big Island. Stay on the North Shore if you go to Oahu, it's the best. Good snorkeling in June there. But the other side of the Island is also nice. The only thing I don't like about Oahu is honolulu & waikiki. Not really nice. But Pearl Harbour is a must!!!!
My wife and I visited Hana, Maui and loved it! Away from the main 'strip' if that's what its called in Maui (though Maui itself isn't very commercialized for the most part) and close to check out Wailea if you want to check out normal malls. Also, when we went to Oahu, we did NOT stay in Waikiki (way too busy) but we stayed in Ko Olina which is an amazing family-friendly place about 40 mins drive from Waikiki - definitely check it out as an option.
As another poster mentioned, pretty much all of the Islands are incredible so it's a little difficult to single out a favorite.
I will say though that I rather liked Kona on the Big Island and there's tons of things to do there so the kids won't be bored. On a budget you can easily rent bikes, go boogie boarding, beachcombing, snorkeling, hiking, shell shopping, ice cream eating, etc. You may also want to visit the Hulihee Palace which has an interesting history as every Hawaiin Monarch resided there much of the year. The Palace is an interesting mix of indiginous architecture with Victorian furnishings and oriental rugs.
If your family is adventurous and money is no object, then parasailing, submarining, horseback riding, sunset cruising, or a luau at the Kona Beach Hotel are fun activities.
I also really enjoyed Lahaina on Maui where ther are similar activities and the beauty of the Island is stunning. Of course Kauai with it's beautiful lush landscape is also hard to beat.
You may want to check out the site http://www.hawaiidiscountactivities.com/index.asp for more activites on each of the Islands. It is recommended that most organized tours be booked somewhat in advance as the worst thing is to have your heart set on some activity on a certain day only to find out some huge cruise ship just pulled in and 2,000 people are scrambling to do the same thing.
Lastly, enjoy a good drink, a good book, and a leisurely day enjoying the sand, sun and water.
LadyMacWilly ^..^ ~
[ Edit: Edited on May 23, 2008, at 1:10 PM by Ladymacwil ]