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What to do/see in Hawaii?

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jet2ks

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Hey there,

I have been planning on proposing to my gf in early March. Well, last week, we were informed that one of the purchases I had made as a buyer for our small hardware company won a trip for two to Hawaii The owner decided he didn''t want it, so he gave it to me to use (and before you ask--no, he has no clue that I am planning on getting engaged). As it is a voucher and not for specific dates, I would like to use it as a honeymoon.

Since I am sure that there are more than a few people here that have been to Hawaii, I am looking for suggestions. Keeping in mind that my gf doesn''t do water (no snorkeling or beach lounging), what suggestions would some of you have for unusual/out of the ordinary things to do & see in the islands?

Thanks in advance.
 

ladyciel

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Mar 24, 2007
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If you make it to Maui, definitely make the effort to watch the sun rise from the top of Haleakala. There's nothing else like it. Several of the bike tour companies do sunrise bike tours, where you park at their shop, they drive you up the volcano, you watch the sun rise, they give you a tour of the park (basically views from the crater), and then you ride mountain bikes back down the volcano (along the side of the road) and back to the shop. Hardly any peddling, cuz it's mostly downhill. We used Haleakala Bike Company and definitely recommend them. Photos just don't do it justice, but to give you an idea of the view:

ETA: The clouds are actually settled down into the volcano's crater. You stand on the west side of the volcano and watch the sun rise over the crater. When you turn around, you can see the volcano's shadow over south Maui. Amazing views if you get a clear day.

sunrisesmall.jpg
 

Structenggirl

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Personally, I think that if your girlfriend doesn''t like the water and won''t go snorkeling/swimming or even lay on the beach and relax, that you might be better off thinking of another honeymoon destination. I know the trip is free, but we go to Hawaii (we''re actually getting married there and honeymooning there) to relax on the beach. Yes there are other activities, but depending on what you both like to do, I''m not sure there''s enough to do to keep you busy and away from the beach for your entire trip. There''s hiking, and the volcano on Maui, the road to Hana on Maui, Waimea Canyon on Kauai...but I don''t know if that would sustain you for your whole trip.
 

jet2ks

Ideal_Rock
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ladyciel--awesome photo! I will suggest that when we sit down to do some more planning.

Structenggirl--congrats and have fun with the Hawaii wedding!

Re-reading my first post, I wasn't very clear on a couple of things. The trip is not a surprise to my gf, making it a honeymoon is. We have already found a lot of things to do while there through the travel agency, but the list is all typical "touristy" things. We will spend some time on the beach, but neither of us really want to spend a whole day there--a little time each day will be enough. After going to a destination several times, you start to find some of the places not listed in all the tour guides. I am just looking for a couple of other things that only a local or someone who has visited many times would know. Maybe it's an interesting cafe or some great shop that is a little off the beaten path. We are open to ideas
 

Skippy123

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 24, 2006
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I would get the Hawaii Revealed books and look at them and decide which island appeals to you the most. http://www.wizardpub.com/main/home.html I have been to all of them and each has its own personality; they all or beautiful. The one that has the most shopping and a big city is Oahu. I guess it depends on what you want to do, luau, shopping, eating, etc? Oahu has so much to see and do, such as Pearl Harbor Memorial, luau's and , hike Diamond head and see views of the city (just a few examples).


here are some threads too
https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/hawaii-how-to-decide-which-islands.88312/

https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/which-is-your-favorite-hawaiian-island.51132/

https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/hawaiian-honeymoons.63867/
 

NewEnglandLady

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Ooo, how fantastic!

My husband and I took our honeymoon there (Maui and Big Island)...we aren''t beach people, though. He''s not that comfortable in deep water and I find beaches boring. We did spend a half of a day at a beach while we were on Maui, and that was nice, but that''s plenty for me. Like Ladyciel, we did the sunrise Haleakala tour and it was great. We did a lot of hiking--the Revealed series that Skippy recommended were fantastic for finding more off-the-beaten path hiking trails and those are some of my favorite memories. Whale watching (if you go in season), zip-lining, golfing, etc. are all great. I also loved the Road to Hana and would love to stay in Hana for a night if we ever go back to Maui. The Big Island is full of great state parks and you can''t beat live volcanoes--plus we wanted to bag the highest peak in Hawaii. I find the ocean relaxing to see, hear and smell, so it was a great tropical destination, but there were so many other great things to do that we hardly spent any time at all in the water.
 

jet2ks

Ideal_Rock
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Skippy, thanks for the links. Those threads have some great suggestions. We are probably looking at visiting two of the islands. It sounds like Maui, Kauai and the Big Island would all have good stuff, the hard part will be narrowing it down. I will get the Hawaii Revealed books so that we can look through them together.
 

musey

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Date: 2/7/2009 6:51:35 PM
Author: Structenggirl
Personally, I think that if your girlfriend doesn't like the water and won't go snorkeling/swimming or even lay on the beach and relax, that you might be better off thinking of another honeymoon destination. I know the trip is free, but we go to Hawaii (we're actually getting married there and honeymooning there) to relax on the beach. Yes there are other activities, but depending on what you both like to do, I'm not sure there's enough to do to keep you busy and away from the beach for your entire trip. There's hiking, and the volcano on Maui, the road to Hana on Maui, Waimea Canyon on Kauai...but I don't know if that would sustain you for your whole trip.
Oh wow... you have NOT been to the same Hawaii that I have!!!!

I've been three times now with my husband (and various other people, one trip with his parents, one with mine, one with friends), who's been there countless times as his dad grew up in mid-island Oahu. A bunch of our friends are Hawaii natives, so every time we go we have a "to-do/see" list from them. I think we spent 1/8 of each trip on the beach, if that! We're not really beach people, and I don't think of Hawaii as simply a "beach" vacation. But I guess living in SoCal, I wouldn't go anywhere just to relax on a beach


I'll second/third the Revealed series that skippy and NEL suggested, those are invaluable (and written by locals with the goal of helping you see Hawaii as you would with locals).

Without knowing which island(s) you're going to, it's hard to give much focused advice, but I'm somewhat bored right now so I'll give you an overview of my most-favorites. I've only been given the 'local' treatment there, so I won't be able to help you as much with the real touristy-resort areas. I also have only spent 2 days on Kauai (blasphemy!) so I won't bother with that island, someone else will help you there



Restaurants/Snack Spots

Ono Hawaiian Foods (Oahu, in Honolulu) - best local foods you'll find on any of the islands. I ate here the first time with my husband's old roommate who grew up on Oahu - and now whenever he's home he'll call me just to say "Guess where I'M eating??"
If you go, make sure not to skip the potato side, they're purple and DELISH (called okinawan sweet potatoes). YUM. Other personal favorites are the Kalua Pig (an obvious one), Pipkaula, Chicken Long Rice (my big fave!), Haupia (mmmmmm... making this with hubby tomorrow and CANNOT WAIT) and Poi (get the day-old, you're wasting your time with the fresh!).

Wailoa Shave Ice (Oahu, in Honolulu) - best shave ice on any of the islands, and that comes directly from someone in the Matsumoto family (so you know they're not lyin'!)

Leonard's (Oahu, in Honolulu) - Don't ask questions, just go get a custard-filled malasada. Seriously. They have monthly specials, and if it's mango or guava month, get that.

Haleiwa Joe's (Oahu, in Kaneohe) - Fantastic restaurant, a little more upscale than we usually do in Hawaii (though that isn't saying much). A local favorite according to our Kaneohe native friend.

Charley's Restaurant (Maui, in Paia) - Great breakfast spot on the way to Hana. We've eaten there twice now - love it!

Fruit/Snack Stands on the Road to Hana (Maui) - There are two favorites for us... the first being soon after mile marker 2. Get some coconut (they'll cut it up for you and put it in a snack bag), and some cane juice (SERIOUS YUM). The second is just after mile marker 17, with a "Halfway to Hana" sign on the side of the road. I'm partial to their Saimin soup, and they have great ice cream... but their real pièce de résistance is their banana bread, which claims to be "the best in the world." It's not, but it is really really good.


Attractions

Old Laha'ina Luau (Maui, near Laha'ina) - Don't waste your time with any other luau (especially not the one at the Royal Hawaiian). This is the only one that our local family and friends ever bother with, besides the high school productions.

Dole Plantation (Oahu, mid-island) - Hubby makes fun of me for this, but I still love it. It's the only super-touristy thing I get into (besides OLL). It's fun, what can I say


Pearl Harbor (Oahu, west of Honolulu) - This is an obvious one, if you're into US History, of course it's an interesting/worthwhile thing to see. They'll show you a little video and take you out to the observatory on the water. It's moving if you're into it. My husband's grandma, who lives on Oahu, goes every year on Dec. 7. Make sure to go as early as possible, before it gets busy.


Sights

Halona Cove (Oahu, south-east coast) - If you go to Hanauma Bay, keep driving east (and eventually north) to get to Halona Cove and Blowhole. It's started to get discovered by tourists, but it's usually not busy. It's a fantastic place to ride waves on a boogie board
or jump into the water from a short cliff. Just great. This is the only "beach" we bother with on Oahu. Anyway, it's about 1.5 miles after Hanauma, and you'll see a parking lot on your right.

Waioka Pond (Maui, past Hana by a few miles) - Also known as Venus Pool. You can find directions to it in the Revealed books, which give a great overview of Hana and the road to it. I cannot tell you how magical this particular spot is! I want to go back to Maui just to swim/dive here. After swimming at Waioka, O'heo Gulch (known as the "Seven Sacred Pools" to tourists) felt like a waste of time!

Kilauea Volcano Hike (Big Island) - This is bound to be an experience. This was a 12+ hour hike for us (yikes) because the flow had recently moved further from the parking lot. People told us that if you approached from the other side (east instead of west) the hike was only 1/2 hour
Of course, we were only told this by people we met at the flow, after dark and facing about a 6-hour trek back. Anyway, go to Tripadvisor to find recent visitors and ask them which side is best to approach from these days, since it changes all the time.

Haleakala (Maui) - Do the bike tour if you can. My husband does not ride bikes, so we did a hike instead. No matter what you do, make sure you're on top of that mountain for sunrise!

Saddle Road (Big Island) - This is the road that cuts through the center of the Big Island. It is quite an experience. You really run the gamut of sights along here... desert, mountains (volcanos, extinct and otherwise), lava fields, and eventually lush Hilo.

BI Hot Springs (South-east coast of the Big Island) - This area is littered with hot springs, some mixing with sea water and some isolated. Ask some locals to point you in the right direction. We have some favorites, but it's more fun to 'discover' these on your own!

Black Sand Beach (Hana, Maui) - There are lots of these, but I'm talking specifically about the one in Hana. If you follow the beach to the right (facing the ocean) side, climb over the rock outcropping, and look down you'll find a tiny red sand "beach" (not really big enough to go on, even if the climb weren't safety-prohibitive). Beautiful!



If you get the revealed books you'll be more than covered, but I thought some of this stuff deserved extra-special mention!

If you're only going to visit two islands, it's gonna be tough to narrow it down... but from my experience and the advice of all our local friends and family, Maui is the only CANNOT MISS island. Just don't waste your time with the touristy resort areas... concentrate your efforts in the north-east side of the island, where Hana is!
 

musey

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
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BTW we''re currently planning our next trip for this December, to visit hubby''s family... you''ve definitely started my wheels a-turnin'' for some island hopping
 

ImpatientOne

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Oct 19, 2006
Messages
1,394
As others have said, there are a ton of things to do in Hawaii that have nothing to do with water/beach. My hubby does not like the water and we have found plenty of things to do.

My daughter is a student over at HPU and we are going next month to renew our vows on Kauai, where we were originally married. We will spend a few days on Oahu then fly over to Kauai for a week. Like I said, plenty of activities outside of the water!

If you happen to go to Kauai, be sure to do a tour of the Napa'ali Coast - absolutely gorgeous.
 

jet2ks

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Feb 3, 2009
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Thanks for the great ideas. musey, you should be writing the tour guides


Hopefully, I will be back soon with a proposal story.
 

musey

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
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Date: 2/8/2009 4:54:19 PM
Author: jet2ks
Thanks for the great ideas. musey, you should be writing the tour guides
No problem
what a great gig THAT would be!

You''ll have a great time no matter what you do, or which islands you visit. It''s hard to go wrong with Hawaii... but there are certainly things that are easily missed if you don''t do what you''re doing, which is asking for the ''inside'' scoop
 

kittybean

Ideal_Rock
Joined
May 2, 2008
Messages
4,125
My favorite things I''ve done in Hawaii:

Maui
- Horseback riding in Haleakala crater. The crater looks like a moonscape--very eerie and cool. This is great if you''re not a sunrise person (which I emphatically am not) and if you love horses.
- Black sand beach in Hana
- The Hotel Hana Maui. It is expensive, but one night there is totally worth it. You get to stay in a gorgeous bungalow with an amazing view, and you get access to their private black sand beach in Hana. Hana is an amazing place--it''s so remote, and it is gorgeously lush and tropical.
- Impromptu hikes off the road to Hana. FI and I saw beautiful waterfalls, lots of native birds, almost-deserted beaches, and other natural beauty just by stopping on the side of the road a few times and walking around to see what was there.
- Mama''s Fish House. This is a restaurant near Haleakala. Make reservations pretty far in advance, as it is quite popular. It''s pretty touristy, but it''s an amazing meal.

Oahu
- Swimming with dolphins at Sea Life Park outside of Honolulu. The dolphins are adorable, smart, and sweet, and it is amazing to interact with them. This was one of my favorite things I''ve ever done, period.
- Snorkeling at Hanauma Bay.
- Watching the huge waves on the North Shore.
- Shopping at Ala Moana Mall.
- People-watching on Waikiki Beach.

Big Island
- Hiking in Volcanoes National Park
- Touristy but amazing: helicopter tour over the volcanoes. I also did one over Maui, but for some reason, the one over the Big Island made a bigger impression on me. If you''ve never been in a helicopter, that''s reason enough to go!
 
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