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Am I being too ambitious?!! Oahu in one week

New York City, New...
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Am I being too ambitious?!! Oahu in one week

Thanks to everybody on this board - I've a done a ton of research based on what you wonderful people have written. I'm coming to Oahu this weekend for a one week trip with my family (parents, brothers, and all our spouses - 8 people in all, all in our 30s except for my parents. No kids). I'm pretty sure my itinerary is way too packed, but I'm have a very hard time cutting it down... perhaps you can help me decide what's unnecessary? Thanks in advance!!

Saturday - arrive in afternoon, relax

Sunday - rest of family arrives early morning. USS Arizona, USS Missouri, Swap Meet in the am. Brunch at Orchids if we have time (and there's space)... will we make it in time after Pearl Harbor? Free afternoon. Dinner sunset cruise (Star of Honolulu vs Navatek. I wanted Navatek, but tour company suggested Star of Honolulu to my mother. If Navatek is bad, I'm worried my mom will say "I told you so!")

Monday will be Memorial Day. Mother will shop all day (sales!) and the rest of us will do Wild Side's Morning Wildlife Cruise. Paradise Cove Luau this evening. 4 pm pickup means there's not much time to do anything else.

Tuesday - Surfing Lessons in the morning. Afternoon we'll pile into a car and drive around the coast to North Shore : Punchbowl, Pali Highway, Byodo-In Temple, North Shore beaches. Dinner in Hale'iwa, then drive back to Honolulu. Thanks to Dusty for the route suggestions!

Wednesday - In morning, drive around East Oahu : Hanauma Bay, Lanikai, Kailua. Then spend the rest of the day at PCC. I chose the Paradise Cove Luau because of the beach setting and the fact it got better reviews than the PCC luau, but I'm thinking for convenience, we'll just attend the PCC luau. My main reasoning is that food is mediocre at all the luaus and sunset cruises, and we're a family that loves good food - seems a shame to waste it all on tourist activities. At the same time, if we weren't at PCC all day, I definitely would have chosen Paradise Cove over the Ali'i Luau... what do you think? Should we just get admission and show (includes free Gateway buffet) or get the whole luau package at PCC?

Thursday - Hike Diamond Head, then play a round of golf. We wanted to visit Shangri-la this afternoon, but I don't know if we can make it to the 1:30 pm tour after 18 holes, especially if the course is further away. Perhaps we should hike Diamond Head, then do Shangri-la, and golf in the afternoon... is it ill-advised to get an afternoon tee time due to the sun? Dinner in Waikiki.

Friday - most of family leaves. Hubby and I might go mountain biking, snorkeling, or kayaking. Fireworks at HHV this night.

Saturday - Are there any good Saturday brunches? Otherwise, relax in Waikiki, then fly out in the evening.

Like I said... every day is PACKED. I like to be active, but I'm concerned that there's NO time for relaxation. I'm especially concerned about my parents keeping up. Part of the problem that all the morning activities require early departure (usually 7 am) and all the evening activities (cruises, luaus) get us back to the hotel at 10 pm. If you could help me shave down my itinerary, it would be really helpful! I haven't even added things like Punchbowl, Tantalus, and hiking to Manoa Falls.

*Dusty... do your driving tours include time for the shorter hikes, like the lighthouse, Manoa Falls, etc? Does it include time to jump in for some snorkeling at some of the beaches? Also, if the kids want to snorkel but the parents don't want to sit in the sun, which places would you suggest? Or are there other things they can do other than sit in the car? My mother is anti-sun exposure, so sitting on the beach is not a great option for her.

Thanks to everyone, again! I'm really looking forward to this trip... just having a hard time fitting it all in. Thanks for taking the time to read this and reply!!

palm springs
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1. Re: Am I being too ambitious?!! Oahu in one week

This itinerary seems WAY too ambitious. I think you know the answer to your question already. I would cut out half of the activities you listed, and save them for another trip. You will be in Hawaii, take time to smell the Plumeria. Its a beautiful place, and taking it slow, in my opinion, is part of the beauty.

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2. Re: Am I being too ambitious?!! Oahu in one week

Sunday - the Arizona Memorial and associated attractions will take time. You will want to go first thing in the morning. The swap meet is a giant waste of time and a terrible way to start your vacation.

Given that this is Memorial Day Weekend, I would start with Brunch - make reservations, and then go to Pearl Harbor on another day. Why? Chances are that that crowds at PH will be overwhelming this weekend and there may be special ceremonies that restrict your access.

If mom wants to shop put her on a bus (or taxi) to the Ala Moana Shopping Center. Love it!

PCC - eat at the buffet! Stay for the Horizons Show!

You do realize that you need reservations for Shangri La? Yes? And that you pick up the transportation from the art museum ...

I see no time reserved for the Bishop Museum and Iolani Palace. Get to know Hawaii's history and culture.

It sounds like you will have much more fun after everyone else leaves.

Here is my 2 (more) cents. Groups like yours ... people will ditch out and do their own thing. Oahu is a real "candy store" of things to do and see -- and your family is going to see things that attract them ... and they will ditch. Bless you for putting this together!

With a group your size, make reservations for dinner in advance.

Where are you staying? You mentioned this early starts, so I just want to add that Waikiki at night is lovely. Concerts and hula on the beach, drinks under the banyan tree at the Moana Surfrider, cruising the shops. Your family may want to sleep in.

Kiawah Island...
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3. Re: Am I being too ambitious?!! Oahu in one week

Agree, you've got way too much planned...

We did the family thing w/a total of 7 adults, including 80+ mom. You won't move as quickly as you are thinking (one of my sisters was always late). We had 2 cars for our group, if we didn't want to do what the others were doing (or vice versa), others were free to go on their own.

Slow down a little and enjoy the scenery!!!

laguna niguel, ca
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4. Re: Am I being too ambitious?!! Oahu in one week

did you alreayd purchase Star of Honolulu?

California
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5. Re: Am I being too ambitious?!! Oahu in one week

jini -- make sure that you bring a good map of Oahu with you. The ones they give out at the car rental agencies are cartoonish and split up with pages of advertisements.

Try AAA or Borders/Barnes & Noble.

New York City, New...
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6. Re: Am I being too ambitious?!! Oahu in one week

You guys are the best! Thank you for the rapid response! I failed to mention that the only family activities are the evening activities (sunset cruise, luau), PCC, and the 2 island drives. Everything else is "free time" - I just listed the things I wanted to do.

We didn't want to do Pearl Harbor Sunday morning, but my parents' package includes it that day, so we thought it would be nice to go together... BLBL, you're right - we should just do it some other time and do brunch instead!

We were going with 1 car because I'm the "tour guide" for the drive around the island and I didn't know how we could do it with 2 cars... I figured any independent tours / activities usually included pickup and dropoff, so it wouldn't be too challenging to coordinate. Perhaps I'm being naive?

longboard - I haven't purchased anything as of yet... why do ask about Star of Honolulu? Does it book up quickly?

Kiawahbeth - you're so right... my family is always the last on the bus when we take a tour, which is why we don't want to take tours anymore!! I was planning on telling my family to meet half an hour earlier than we had to... LOL. Is that horrible? To be honest, my husband is the biggest culprit of sleeping in in the mornings, but at least I can physically kick HIM out of bed!

Again, thanks for all the responses. Anything on my list (other than Swamp Meet) you would just cross off the list? Maybe the luau?

BTW, anybody ever sneak liquor into PCC? I have an image of them kicking me off the premises after they catch me with a flask in hat. LOL. I'm just kidding ;)

Portland, Oregon
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7. Re: Am I being too ambitious?!! Oahu in one week

Eight people in one car? You'll need two cars I think, unless you're renting a mammoth SUV, and even then, it will be tight.

Just looking at the schedule makes me tired. I would cut out something and just allow some time to chill at the beach.

Kiawah Island...
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8. Re: Am I being too ambitious?!! Oahu in one week

Oh, I forgot to mention earlier, there are many of us who are great fans of the Swap Meet, we had a great time, even went twice!!! I brought back t-shirts for everyone at the office!!!

My sisters wouldn't go w/me the first time, so hubby and I went on our own (one of the b-i-l's went too), we went back the second time because sister couldn't believe all the "deals" we got there. Yes, there is lots of touristy stuff (and great deals on that if you are taking back to friends), but it's fun to look at all the stuff. Go for an hr. or two after you go to Pearl Harbor (remember it's only certain days)...

http://www.alohastadiumswapmeet.net/

laguna niguel, ca
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9. Re: Am I being too ambitious?!! Oahu in one week

I guess the boat I was concerned about is the Starlet. I would agree the navatek is nothing special. It goes a long way but the dining area is not very nice.

Saint Cloud...
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10. Re: Am I being too ambitious?!! Oahu in one week

I like the idea of Swap Meet on the first day. You can buy some clothing & beach towels there. It only takes an hour or so after the Pearl Harbor museums.

I didn't include Manoa Falls as part of a driving tour as it is right in Honolulu. It will take about 1 hour.

Each of the driving tours will take 3-5 hours depending on the number of stops & the duration of the stops.

Add 1 1/2 hours if you want to hike Makapuu Lighthouse trail.

Add some time if you plan to stay at a beach for swimming or snorkeling.

The kids could snorkel Pupukea/Shark's Cove. There is a Foodland across the street & a souvenir shop across the street to give the parents something else. There is also Pu'u o Mahuka Heiau just above Shark's Cove. It is at the only stop light in the area. So they could drive up to it.

Two North Shore maps on this link. You can click on either one to magnify:

http://www.oahunorthshoremap.com/

Some nice info on this site.

http://www.aloha-hawaii.com/ For a good Oahu map & a Downtown Honolulu map, click on: Hawaii Almanac

I have one more good Oahu map that I cannot download to the forum. If you want a copy, send me a private message with an email address.