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Starting to plan our trip...some questions!

Pt. Pleasant, NJ
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Starting to plan our trip...some questions!

Hello all,

The good news? Airfare is booked! Now the fun begins of planning the actual vacation. It's our first time to Hawaii...

We'll be arriving at OGG (from LAX where we will be spending 2 days at the Breeder's Cup at Santa Anita with Mr jtwiz's best friend) on a Sunday morning and our plan is to stay 7 nights, then head over to Oahu for 3 nights (almost 4, since our flight home is at 9PM at night.)

We've pretty much decided to stay at Marriott Wailea Beach because I can use my Marriott points for our stay. I like the fact that there are some restaurants, shopping within walking distance and of course, the beautiful beaches of Wailea are right there as well.

So my questions are this...for a 50+ couple (in good shape, I run 25+ miles a week :-) what are your suggestions for "can't miss" activities?

In reading through the forum and looking at other sources, I am thinking of the Road to Hana (although I must admit, a 12 hour day sounds exhausting!) and definitely an afternoon exploring in Lahaina, with an early dinner. We will have a car, although I am considering a tour for Hana. I seems like a lot of personal driving time on roads you need to pay a lot of attention to! I'm not sure we are up for that on vacation.

We love to swim and body surf, but not into snorkling. We'd like to get a lot of beach time in - we both have very hectic work lives. Any other beaches beside Wailea that we should go to?

My BiL and SiL recommend the summit at Haleakala, but I wasn't sure what the best option is for that...I see biking, hiking, helicopters! People leaving their hotel at 2 AM, etc.

As said, I really want to relax and enjoy the island, but of course, we want to do some activities as well. We're looking for a happy mix, not an every-minute-filled-with-activity kind of vacation. And beside that, we'll be doing a lot of actual sight-seeing in Honolulu.

Thanks in advance for your help!

Nashville, Tennessee
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1. Re: Starting to plan our trip...some questions!

I would recommend tour to Hana. We were in Maui few weeks back for the first time. We only drove small portion of RTH due to time constraints but it was worth it. The drive is absolutely gorgeous but can be tricky for first timers. You have to concentrate on the on coming traffic all the time which can be stressful.

Haleakala- my recommendation would be hiking. You will have lottt of funnn.

Also if you get a chance checkout Iao Valley and explore Paia.

Happy planning!!!

Kapaa, Hawaii
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for Maui, Hana, Oahu
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2. Re: Starting to plan our trip...some questions!

i've done the trip to Hana both on my own and with a tour. Personal preference will dictate what you would like. The only down side to the tour that I can think of is you are at the mercy of the tour regarding where and how long you stop. Valley Isle Excursions is the tour company most recommend on this forum.

Doesn't really matter how or when you get to the summit of Haleakala, just go!! Most people drive themselves. You can go for the sunrise, sunset or any time of day your heart desires.

The Kamaole Beaches in Kihei and DT Fleming Beach Park in north/west Maui will be the best places to body surf.

S W Arkansas
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for Kihei, Maui, Hana, Haleakala National Park
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3. Re: Starting to plan our trip...some questions!

Since you like to run, I too suggest a mid morning or afternoon trip to the summit of Haleakala and a hike on Sliding Sands Trail. Take water and sun protection(hat, long sleeves). It will take you twice the time for youro ascent than it does for your decent. You don't have to do the whole trail. Such a strange beauty as you descend into the cinder crater. If you have hiking poles through them into your bag.

Another totally different but still awesome beauty is the Waihee Trail. If you drive to Hana get an early start, drive direct to Oheo gulch and hike the Pipiwai Trail then sight see as you return to Hana going back through Kahului to Waliea.


Frederick, Maryland
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4. Re: Starting to plan our trip...some questions!

Road to Hana is definitely a highlight! Infact, try to go around the island and not just the way back. Yes, it will take 10+ hours, but you will enjoy it. We used a Lonely Planet: Maui edition book for what stops to see on Road to Hana, and that was very helpful. We did the whole thing in one day, but I know people also recommend staying a night in Hana if you want to break up the drive.

Also try to go to Iao valley state park...it is much smaller in comparison to Haleakela but is still very pretty and different.

Birmingham, Alabama
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5. Re: Starting to plan our trip...some questions!

Beachfront path in Wailea is good for a jog. Road to Hana is great but I wouldn't feel obligated, necessarily ... if you don't like the idea of being in a car all day, don't do it ... or do it til you get tired (or halfway tired!) and come back. If you do the road to Hana, the Pipiwai Trail is a great hike, and a swim at O'heo gulch, if it's open for swimming, is a great way to cool off afterwards.

If you spend some time upcountry -- in conjunction with Haleakala, for example, you'll also get some amazing views. (Not that views from the shore or the low land or virtually anywhere else aren't amazing too!)

I personally think everyone should get out on the water at least once ... I really like the day trips to Lanai ... Trilogy does a great one and although it leaves from Lahaina, it leaves at 10 so you don't have to be up at the crack of dawn.

One thing I really enjoyed last trip was hiking from the end of the south raod (La Perouse Bay) out through the woods and lava ... really a different view of the island than you'll get anywhere else. Also a somewhat shady hike.

If you are up for trying snorkeling, I don't think you'd be disappointed. You can snorkel from where you are near the Marriott, or go south to Maluaka Beach (in front of the Makena Beach Resort).

I also did a kayak trip once with Maui EcoAdventures (or EcoTours) ... it left from DT Flemming beach and was great. (Might be too rough on that end of the island in Nov, but there are tours leaving from the South.)

We were snorkeling in a bay when a whole pod of spinner dolphins showed up. Very cool.

So many beaches -- I love Makena, Maluaka, Polo, Wailea in the south ... DT Flemming, Kapalua Bay, Napili Bay and Airport Beach west (airport beach for snorkeling, though ... not so much for swimming.) And, I also love Hamoa Beach in Hana if you get up there ...

Pt. Pleasant, NJ
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6. Re: Starting to plan our trip...some questions!

Thanks for the advice everyone! I just booked the Wailea Marriott and we're really starting to look forward to our trip - even if it is a long way off.

7. Re: Starting to plan our trip...some questions!

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