This was my first trip to Hawaii, but will definately not be my last. I went with my husband, my son,6, and my 4-year-old daughter. We had a direct flight from SLC on Delta which was great, but one warning. We did curb side check-in, but hadn't heard that they now charge $3.00 per bag. I guess the trick is to check in online and then drop your bags off curb side. It saves money. But, starting 1 May most of the major airlines are starting to charge $25.00 per bag. Well, you get one free and then anything additional is $25.00/each. Crazy.
Day 1: Picked up our rental car from Budget. I got a pretty great deal (I thought). I called around every few days to get the best deal and then would ask, is that the best deal? Well, I think I got it. :) The total ended up being $98.00 for a midsize for 6 days. There are shuttles that go to Budget/National/Dollar/Hertz, but we just got a cart and walked. It's not too far. We were pretty tired, so we just ate at the first restaurant we recognized that wasn't fast food, which was Outback. I was diagnosed with pneumonia the day before, so I can't tell you how the food even tasted. We checked into the Hale Koa, which has EXCELLENT rates (military only). Ours was $99/night, no tax. The rooms were simple, but the grounds were nice and it is a good location. Decent restaurants, too.
Day 2: We snorkeled at Huanama Bay. Beautiful area, but I was really suprised to see roosters and chickens on the beach. That was fun for my kids. We at some fast food and then hiked Manoa Falls. It was beautiful, but very muddy. We ate at Duke's that night, which my husband really liked. Again, I still wasn't able to taste food, but the scenery was amazing.
Day 3: Hiked Diamond Head. My kids did awesome on this hike! I was a little worried at first, but I was SOOOO proud of them every time I saw the look on the other hikers faces when they saw my little troopers on the trail. I wouldn't say it was easy, but very reasonable. We passed many older people that were having a difficult time with the stairs, but if you take your time, it is so worth it. They aren't doing the certificates anymore, but I want a t-shirt that says "I HIKED DIAMOND HEAD... with pneumonia!" Went shopping and swimming on Waikiki. ATe at PF Changs.
Day 4: Aloha Swap Meet. I really enjoyed myself here. I found a few things that I hadn't at the International Marketplace, but I don't think the prices were THAT much better. That afternoon we went to the Polynesian Cultural Center. It was fun, but I wouldn't go back. I think my expectations were too high. Samoa was DEFINATELY the best. We did the luau and the night show. The luau food was not very good and I thought the entertainment was cheesy. We only stayed for 1/2 of the night show, because my kids had fallen asleep and it wasn't worth watching. I'm sure it would have gotten better towards the end, but I wasn't impressed.
Day 5: North Shore. I love North Shore and wish we would have spent more time here. We swam Waimea (I can't remember) Bay and the undertow was incredible. I wouldn't let my children go more than a foot away from me for fear they would get sucked out. We did see a sea turtle swimming just 4 feet off shore. We shopped and ate Matsumotos, which are even better than people say. They are awesome! We went to Lanai (I think that's right) Beach hoping to see the sea turtles on the beach. We saw about 10 of them swimming offshore, but none were on the beach. We ate pizza for lunch at Spaghettini's. It was okay. We rode the train at the Dole Plantation. The kids liked it. Their gift shop is huge and I learned how to properly pick/cut a pineapple. Ate at the Cheesecake Factory.
Day 6: Went swimming/surfing at Waikiki. Went to Dog's bail bonds on Queen Emma St. My idea, not my husband's. Nobody answered, but there is a gift shop around the corner, that was closed at the time. I was bummed. Shopped at Hilo Hattie's. Which is nothing special. Ate at Planet Hollywood. Drove to Kailua. Got Lanikai smoothies, yum. Drove to a small town called Waimalo, or something. Dive of a town, not much there. We ate plate lunches that were okay. Went to Hickam AFB to see if we could get cheap souvenirs, which we did. Dropped the car off at Budget, which was fast and easy and caught our flight at 10 pm. Very sad to leave Hawaii and come back to cold Utah weather. I know some of you will think that I am crazy for not visiting Pearl Harbor, but honestly, with my husband active duty military for more than 15 years, I just couldn't do it. Just the thought of going there gives me chill bumps and makes me teary. I am pumped full of pride for our service people and every time a civilian thanks my husband for his service I lose it, so I just couldn't go. I would have been a mess. And with his 3rd deployment in 3 years coming in a few weeks, I am a little more emotional than normal. :) My husband was stationed at Schofield Barracks in the early 90's, so he's already visited it several times. I hope all of you have a wonderful time on your trips! Thank you ALL for this great forum. It helped me a great deal when I was planning our trip.