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!!