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Milestone Birthday Trip - What are the must sees?

New Jersey
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Milestone Birthday Trip - What are the must sees?

My husband and I are planning a trip to Hawaii for my milestone birthday in September. We have never been and don't know what areas are must sees. We've heard that Kauai and Maui should be definites - but, also Lanaii as well. We'll have 10 days there. Hotel suggestions and possible itineraries are much appreciated! BTW - we love relaxing ocean or poolside, child free hotels (or separate activites for adults), great food, some nightlife and a bit of opulence. I want the feeling of pampering and luxury. Thank you!

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1. Re: Milestone Birthday Trip - What are the must sees?

You have posted to the Island of Hawaii forum..... which has a focus on The Big Island.

Could you define your idea of "Opulence" in a nightly accomodation budget. Easier to suggest with a rough idea of $$ per /night. There is a wide range of choices out there.

Child free hotels...while an interesting theory...would involve leaving the Planet I'm afraid...

10 days, while wonderful is a relatively short period of time....recommend 2 Islands tops.

Laguna Niguel...
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2. Re: Milestone Birthday Trip - What are the must sees?

While there's a lot of detail you're still working through, here're some suggested places to start.

I recommend you do only 2 islands as well. Everything feels just a little too rushed if you try for more, especially for your first time.

Start with Maui, for two reasons. First, you'll want to do Haleakala for sunrise, and you'll still be on east coast time that'll make it much easier to accomplish. Second, Kauai is such a laid back soothing experience that fits much better after than before Maui.

For hotels on Maui, I'd suggest looking into the Grand Wailea in South Maui or the Sheraton Ka'anapali for West Maui. You can get all sorts of reviews for them.

If you really want to see Lana'i, consider a daytrip on the ferry. You can then either hang out on Hulopo'e Bay within walking distance of the harbor, or grab a Jeep and explore.

Make time to explore upcountry around Makawao and Kula. If you're into hiking, consider either the Pipiwai Trail or Waihe'e Ridge/Valley trails. If you're not, dig into the sand at the Hual Grill and test their Lava Flow-making abilities!

On Kauai, choose either the Grand Hyatt on the southern tip, or the St. Regis to the north. I'm a southern boy myself, but the northern end of the island is gorgeous as well.

If you want an unforgettable birthday meal, make sunset reservations at the Beach House in Poipu. By the way, keyword search anything that's of interest to get details.

Kauai is also the island for a helicopter tour, doors-off if you're adventerous.

Again, if you like hiking, there are tons of options, especially around the top of Waimea Canyon or out the ridges of the Na Pali coast. If you're not into hiking, you can still get some tremendous views of both the canyon and the coastline by driving up the canyon and using the lookouts.

September is a great time to go as well. The crowds are a little thinner, and it's easier to do the stuff you want whenever you want.

Good luck!

Island of Hawaii...
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3. Re: Milestone Birthday Trip - What are the must sees?

The Kona Village Resort has May and September as child-free months, but that's basically it. I certainly wouldn't put Lanai on the "must" list. I love Lanai and the Manale Bay Hotel, it's great for pampering, but I wouldn't spend more than a long weekend there.

Palm Springs...
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4. Re: Milestone Birthday Trip - What are the must sees?

in truth I cant think of one "must see" for you because you are not me.

Anyone who thus suggests a must see is telling you his wants and desires which may be or may not be what you want to do, afford or like.

What you need to do is get the book Hawaii for dummies or a good travel agent.

Read the book and things will pop up to you.... and that will tell you what to do..... This is something only you can do... we cant... we are not you.. no matter how much you tell us about you.... we are not you.

Use the search function to further research those topics and then if you need more infor that you cant find... then cone to the fourm with those difficult qusetions, which after all your reading, research, you canf find answere to..

Maryland, USA
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5. Re: Milestone Birthday Trip - What are the must sees?

What are your must sees? What do you know, so far, you must do. It will help with picking and island.

Opulence and fancy, shopping, night life and restaurants are Oahu.

Much of that with a more laid back Island feel is Maui.

Don't waste precious vacation time in airports and check in lines. Choose two max. One would be even better.

Denver, Colorado
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6. Re: Milestone Birthday Trip - What are the must sees?

Kauai is the closest to what most people think Hawaii should be like. Gardens, waterfalls, beaches, quaint villages, laid back. Yep pick a high end hotel in Princeville or Poi Pu or a little bit of both. You can burn up 10 days on Kauai very easily and still have beach time left over. Your probably only gonna find nightlife in Honolulu or maybe Lahaina.

Island of Hawaii...
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7. Re: Milestone Birthday Trip - What are the must sees?

I always respond to the question of what to see for first-timers in the same way as Hawaiidan. When you start with no knowledge of the place and ask the forum, you are started on the road of seeing what other people like.

As Dan said, the best thing is to start with a book, which will go over all the visitor attractions in an orderly fashion, by geographical area. When you read the book, circle, check, note the stuff that lights you up inside reading about it.

Put a list together of those things, then come back to the forum and describe something about yourself and ask if any of things are over-hyped and for the good stuff, is it practical to see it in the time you have.

People on TA love to talk about their favorite things they did on vacation. It's a way of reliving the experience. But they don't know YOU. There are hundreds of things to do that would be fun. You do need to sit down and read about them (in a book). I just don't think it works as well to take the short cut and plan from forum advice only without reading a book.

Another thing you'll learn is that the things on your wish list may not all come together in one place.

You need something that organizes each island in your mind and tells you what is where. Otherwise your understanding will be all fragmented.

Also, sit down and look at photos of the islands, color photos. There are lots of photos on the web. Google images is a great tool for finding travel photos as well as pro shots of the various places in the islands. Just be wary of colorized photos and those taken in perfect conditions. I like travel photos because they show different conditions, unlike brochures and magazines which go for the beauty shots.

All that said, the part on your wish list about opulence, pampering, luxury, and great food seems to me like a description of the Four Seasons guest. However, you won't find a lot of "nightlife" around the Four Seasons in Hawai'i. The upscale nightlife tends to be very gentle, some serene Hawaiian music floating in the breeze. There is no Four Seasons in Kaua'i. You can look at the new St. Regis reviews and at the Grand Hyatt reviews. Also check out the Ritz on Maui.

(and without knowing which milestone birthday you mean, it's hard to suggest entertainment. Are you turning 30, 40, 50, 60? But overall, if you can do without exciting nightlife, I think you want Maui. Maybe a week on Maui with a 3 day diversion to Lana'i.

Have fun!

8. Re: Milestone Birthday Trip - What are the must sees?

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