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First time going to Hawaii

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First time going to Hawaii

My fiancé and I are currently trying to plan our honeymoon to Hawaii. We will be going the last week in November 2014 flying in on Saturday and flying out a week later on Monday. We want to do certain items but not sure of the best place to go. We were thinking of splitting our time between Oahu and the Big Island.

The following items are what we would like to do:

Snorkeling

Luau

Volcanoes

Pearl Harbor

Hiking

Waterfalls

Whale watching

Botanical gardens

If we have time we would also like to do Diamond Head, a coffee plantation, and lei making.

Does anyone know if the best places to do these things or of any tours that would help us cross these items off our wish list?

I really appreciate any help we could get. Thanks and have a wonderful day!

Oahu, Hawaii
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1. Re: First time going to Hawaii

Aloha,

Welcome to TA.

Best wishes on your upcoming nuptials.

Have you read any guide books yet? Lonely Planet and the Moon series are good ones. Also Frommer's.

November is a bit early for whale watching, but you could get lucky and see one.

(Maui is best for whale watching, but later in the season.)

The Top Questions above will also help you pin down your focus.

Nine days is borderline for splitting your time.

Aloha

pzp
Kauai, Hawaii
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2. Re: First time going to Hawaii

Nine days is really not enough for 2 islands, especially if one is the Big Island. The interisland travel could eat up as much as a half day. If you can bear to give up Pearl Harbor and Diamond Head I think the Big Island would work for you. You'd want to split your stay 2-3 days east side (volcanoes, gardens, waterfalls) and the balance west side (snorkeling, coffee plantation, lu`au). You can hike either side. Whales in November are a matter of luck.

You do know that the last week of November is Thanksgiving week? Prices and crowds will be high, and lodging and car may be hard to find. If you could delay until the next week you might do better.

Washington DC...
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3. Re: First time going to Hawaii

I agree with pzp, you don't have time with 9 nights to see what you want to see on Oahu and the Big Island. I think 7-8 nights is the minimum amount of time recommended to see both sides of the Big Island. The Big Island is larger than all of the other islands combined and sights are much more spread out, requiring longer driving distances. Only spending 2 nights on Oahu, you wouldn't be able to see much on your list (only 1 full day so you could see Pearl Harbor and Waikiki but not much else) and you'd really be short changing your time on that island and it would feel rushed.

Where are you coming from?

Can you add 2-3 nights to your itinerary? If so, then I think you'd be able to see both Oahu and the Big Island. Do you have your flights already? If not, try to fly into your first island and out of your second island so that you don't waste time flying back to the first island.

You could potentially split your time between two of the smaller islands, but I just think it would be too rushed including the Big Island and Oahu with only 9 nights.

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4. Re: First time going to Hawaii

Thanks for the information. Hopefully I can answer some for your questions.

We have no looked at guide books only websites.

Pearl Harbor is high in my fiancés list. Diamond head can be dropped not high on my list.

Our time frame is pretty much set due to work schedules but will look into shifting a week later.

We are from the Central Valley in California.

We have not booked anything planning to do so in the next week or two.

Overland Park...
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5. Re: First time going to Hawaii

They call it the big island for a reason. With your limited time you might want to consider exploring a smaller island like Maui or Kauai. Especially if you want to build in some relaxation and down time.

Oahu, Hawaii
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6. Re: First time going to Hawaii

Aloha,

Welcome to TA, DKJZ2014

Are you also Diana K?

Check hotel rates and airfares for both weeks to see which is less pricey. Use a flexible dates search for the arifares.

Aloha

Washington DC...
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7. Re: First time going to Hawaii

Yes, Maui might be a good alternative to the Big Island unless Volcanoes National Park is very high on your priority list (understand that there may not be any accessible lava flows at the time of your visit). Maui is smaller than the Big Island and therefore requires less time (you could get away with 5 nights here and 4 nights on Oahu). Big Island has the best snorkeling in the State followed by Maui with the second best snorkeling. Maui has the inactive volcano Haleakala, which would be cool to explore too. Maui also has some of the most highly recommended luaus in the State (the Old Lahaina Luau, which is more traditional and the Feast at Lele, which is a Polynesian revue and includes the fire knife dancer).

If Pearl Harbor is your priority, and you are not that interested in seeing the rest of Oahu (although it does have a whole lot more to offer with the beautiful North Shore and Windward Side), then you could just stay 2 nights on Oahu, and then spend the rest of your time (7 nights) on the Big Island (split your stay with 1-2 nights East near the Volcano and the rest on the West Side of the island to minimize driving time across the island). Just realize you will be missing a lot on Oahu, but you might be okay with that.

Everything else on your list besides Pearl Harbor and the Volcano (i.e., hiking, waterfalls, botanical gardens) can be done/seen on any island. The destination experts on the Big Island don't tend to recommend the luaus on that island, so that may be something you'd want to do on another island (if you had time).

You have a lot of options, how you choose to split your time and which islands you choose just really depends on your priorities. One tip is to try to fly into your first island and out of your second island so that you can save time.

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8. Re: First time going to Hawaii

For some reason I have 2 names on here Diana K and dkjz2014. Not sure how that happened.

Thanks for all the advice.

An additional question I have is we really aren't in the party/bar/club scene and I have heard some islands are known for that can you let me know what areas we should avoid to stay away from that.

Washington DC...
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9. Re: First time going to Hawaii

Hawaii in general is not really known for its party scene. Hawaii is really more of a family friendly place so I don't think you should worry about that at all. It's more that you'd have to go looking for a party atmosphere if you wanted one (i.e., you are not likely to stumble upon a rowdy/ party atmosphere unless you are out late at night specifically at a club or certain bars).

There are more bars and clubs on Oahu than other islands (because Honolulu is a big city), but just don't go to the bars/ clubs if you want to avoid them. I don't think you need to avoid a whole area because the bars are mixed in with the restaurants/ shops/ hotels, etc. at least in Waikiki. We didn't even notice where any clubs were in Waikiki, and the bars we went to were all attached to restaurants in a hotel and were just people quietly chatting with friends and enjoying a cocktail overlooking the beach or we went for happy hour once at a place overlooking the ocean that had a single guitar player (definitely not the rowdy scene). Avoid Dukes restaurant in Waikiki on Sunday late afternoon/ evenings because it gets crowded and loud with live music and is a lively beach party (with lots of middle aged/ older people dancing), but still even that I would say is more of a laid back but lively atmosphere (happy and harmless drunk people, not rowdy drunk people), but it is easily avoidable if that's not your kind of scene.

The Big Island is super quiet and pretty much has none to very very little party scene, so you should be fine there.

Chicagoland
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10. Re: First time going to Hawaii

You would save a lot by visiting early December. This is THE least expensive time of year to be in Hawaii, with plenty of availability for lodging, rental cars, restaurants, activities. Your whale-sighting chances would also be slightly improved. (Season is January - March.) Winter is not Hawaii's best season, yet visitors coming at Christmas will pay lots more for the same weather you'd have in early December.

You could spend a night or two Waikiki to see the historic sights, then hop to Maui. It has many easy-access beaches with good snorkeling; the best luau in the state (Old Lahaina Luau; Feast At Lele, second); Road to Hana for waterfalls; walk-in volcano Haleakala. It also has a wide range of hotels and condos.

You could also do Big Island, staying Kohala Coast (NW) and a night or two at Volcano (SE), but then you'll have more moving around than *I* would want for a honeymoon. (Living on the west coast, you can return another time for a more logical ten nights on Big Island.)

See if you can fly into HNL and home from OGG, leaving only one interisland flight. (Use Hawaiian Airlines.)

You will need to reserve a rental car for use everywhere outside of Honolulu.