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1st Trip to Hawaii to Surprise my Wife - Itinerary Thoughts?

Grand Marais...
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1st Trip to Hawaii to Surprise my Wife - Itinerary Thoughts?

I have planned a trip to Hawaii for 14 nights in March/April of 2015. I know this is well in advance, but this is my wife's dream vacation and I want to do it right as this will push our budget a bit as I am hiding a "Hawaii fund" behind the scenes. Here is my proposed schedule, please feel free to share your wisdom and expertise!! Thanks to all of you, I have found this forum filled with great people!!

Day 1 - Travel day from Minneapolis to Oahu, Pick up rental car & Check into VRBO condo in Kailua.

Day 2 - Nothing planned but picking up some groceries, maybe lunch at Crepes

Day 3 - Kailua Beach, Buzz's steakhouse for dinner

Day 4 - Pearl Harbor and the Historic Parks

Day 5 - Lanikai Beach

Day 6 - Tourist Day of Driving the East and North Shores of Oahu. Stops include: Pali Lookout, Diamond Head Crater, Sandy Beach Park, Valley of the Temples, Gionvanni's Shrimp Truck, Sunset Beach, Haleiwa

Day 7 - Another Beach somewhere or maybe Kailua or Lanikai again? (We are within walking distance

Day 8 - Fly to Maui for 7 more nights!!

Thoughts or suggestions? We are both around 40 and we are leaving the four kids home. My wife loves the beach and could spend hours there. Me, not so much but I am dedicates to making this her trip......I think she will get this for Christmas. I am leaning toward getting airline tickets with an Alaskan Visa to get the $99 companion fee.

Any of your wisdom would be appreciated!! Thanks so much for the frozen tundra of Minnesota!

Dallas
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1. Re: 1st Trip to Hawaii to Surprise my Wife - Itinerary Thoughts?

I'm sure she will be thrilled and surprised. I think your itinerary is just fine, but I suggest that maybe on day 7 you should go to Waikiki Beach and have a cocktail at one of the great bars that sit next to the beach and take in the views of Diamond Head and the beautiful beach and water there.

You might even want to consider a sunset catamaran sail that leaves from right there on the beach, and then a nice dinner at one of the beautiful restaurants with a great view.

Alhambra, California
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2. Re: 1st Trip to Hawaii to Surprise my Wife - Itinerary Thoughts?

What a great gift from a very sweet husband..... Your trip plans sound amazing!!

Chicagoland
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3. Re: 1st Trip to Hawaii to Surprise my Wife - Itinerary Thoughts?

I'd stay less time Oahu, and possibly in a hotel -- just enough to do the historic and city stuff and take a day's drive around the island. Maui has plenty of uncrowded, easy-access beaches -- and better sea life if you plan to snorkel. It's also whale season, best viewed from Maui. (Just 'provision' ONE condo, on Maui.)

California
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4. Re: 1st Trip to Hawaii to Surprise my Wife - Itinerary Thoughts?

What a sweetie you are! We'll be your co-conspirators ...

Some comments and questions:

+ Are you traveling over Easter?

+ You are wise to reserve a full day at Pearl Harbor. Make sure to book your Arizona Memorial reservations on-line far in advance. Perhaps cap off the day with dinner on Waikiki.

+ Your "Day 6" is waaaay too much! Don't you want to stop anywhere? Waimea Valley? Kualoa Ranch? Polynesian Cultural Center? The Pali and Diamond Head are the opposite direction from, say, Sunset Beach. You have time to break down this list and take it at a more reasonable pace.

+ There is no time set aside for the Iolani Palace or Bishop Museum in Honolulu. Either or both will greatly enhance your trip!

+ Christmas is a good idea. Perhaps wrapped up with a good travel guidebook and map for each Island? She'll want input on the itinerary as well ... but it is SO smart of you to start your planning now ... learning about the Islands now. Getting a grip on your options.

Will you be giving her some time to shop in Honolulu? Any time on Waikiki Beach?

Santa Monica, CA
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5. Re: 1st Trip to Hawaii to Surprise my Wife - Itinerary Thoughts?

Please do not overlook evenings in Waikiki! Listening to good Hawaiian music, watching a hula dancer, strolling the festive streets at night, dining at the rail looking at a beautiful sunset, all magical, romantic things you don't get to do at home.

Botanical gardens - Ho'omoluhia BG is close to Kailua, is large, free, and mostly empty on weekdays. Lyon Arboretum is another great garden. If you visit Honolulu (Iolani Palace and the Honolulu Art Museum are very worthwhile and walking tours there can be very fun), Foster Botanical Garden is a nice stop.

Kapaa, Hawaii
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6. Re: 1st Trip to Hawaii to Surprise my Wife - Itinerary Thoughts?

I love your mix of Oahu and Maui and am sure your wife will be thrilled. March is the pinnacle of humpback whale season. I would go as close to the middle of the month as possible. Take your wife on a whale watch tour on Maui. You will find more whales in the waters around Maui than any other island.

Do either or both of you snorkel? Maui is a great place to do that. Either from shore or by boat or both!! You might want to research going on an Hana journey. It's a slow drive that goes around Haleakala, Maui's volcano. It goes through a rain forest and has waterfalls that you can see from the road or just a short hike from your car. You may also want to visit Charles Lindbergh's grave at the end of this drive.

You can also drive to the summit of Haleakala. It's at 10,000 feet,dress warmly!! Have you decide on a place to stay on Maui yet?

Edited: 06 April 2014, 20:25
Grand Marais...
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7. Re: 1st Trip to Hawaii to Surprise my Wife - Itinerary Thoughts?

Thanks for the advice and feedback....exactly what I wanted. Yes, we are on vacation before Easter, we will actually return home the day before Easter. Please keep the advice coming!! = )

Some of you alluded to Maui already, so here is what I had planned for Maui:

Day 8 - Arrive in Maui in morning and drive to Lahaina and then move on to Ka’anapali Beach. Drive down to Kihei and settle into VRBO.... possible takeout at Eskimo Candy.

Day 9 - Early Breakfast at Kihei Caffé. Go to Keawakapu Beach and then maybe dinner at Coconut's Fish Cafe.

Day 10 - The Hana Highway early so we can Hike Kipahulu and the Pīpīwai Trail

Day 11 - Napili Beach and then Dinner at Mama’s Fish House

Day 12 - Sunrise at Haleakala

Day 13 - Wailea Beach. Feast at Lele (Is this a must or is this overrated??)

Day 14 - Go to a Beach…..Makena Beach (Big Beach) or Kama'ole Beach Park I, II, or III

Day 15 - Stop at Iao Valley State Monument and then fly over to Honolulu, and then fly back to states

Day 16 - Back in Minnesota

Kapaa, Hawaii
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8. Re: 1st Trip to Hawaii to Surprise my Wife - Itinerary Thoughts?

I don't consider the Feast at LeLe to be a must do but it's not over rated either. Take one of those beach day's and go on a whale watch. You will be doing a lot of driving but all in all it's very doable. You might want to go to Lahaina and Napili on the same day as they are both in the same general area.

California
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9. Re: 1st Trip to Hawaii to Surprise my Wife - Itinerary Thoughts?

Coach - I recommend posting the rough Maui plans on the Maui Forum.

+ You're staying in Kihei? I wouldn't hang out in Lahaina or Ka'anapali with luggage in the car. If you have time to kill, why not take a later flight? You'll need time to get to HNL from Kailua, and you will need to be at the airport 90 minutes in advance at least. That morning will fly by (pardon the pun!).

+ The Road to Hana is a good idea. Early is good. Don't plan anything for that evening. It's a looong day.

+ <<Day 11 - Napili Beach and then Dinner at Mama’s Fish House>> You're headed in two different directions. If you want to hang out on Napili Bay or Ka'anapali Beach - visit Lahaina for dinner on your way back. It's a great place to stroll. Historic sites, shops, evening entertainment.

+ Maybe visit the Iao Needle or Upcountry areas after Haleakala. Or the Maui Ocean Center.

+ Feast at Lele is very popular. Make you reservations early ... it is Easter Week.

+ Maybe Day 14 would be good for dinner at Mama's or have lunch at Mama's (some of us prefer lunch there) before flying home.

+ <<fly back to states>> That's a real faux pas! Hawaii is a State. Minnesota is on the "Mainland."

You have a lot of beach time, and you have mentioned that your wife loves the beach - but have some alternatives that take her out of the Hawaiian sun for a while.

+ Again -- shopping? The best is on Oahu, but Whaler's Village on Ka'anapali and Lahaina are also fun. Whaler's Village is great for dinner, too. To the south of Kihei is Wailea - which has its own (rather pretentious) shopping and dining. Lots of good restaurants in both W Maui and S Maui.

+ How about snorkeling? From shore or a catamaran sail? A whale-watching sail? Or you'll see the whales from a snorkel catamaran, too. Definitely get out on the water! We can help you will ideas.

Edited: 06 April 2014, 21:42
Grand Marais...
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10. Re: 1st Trip to Hawaii to Surprise my Wife - Itinerary Thoughts?

Thanks so much for the feedback....one question: Here on the mainland (thanks for the correction) in MN, we live 2 hours from civilization, so when you say two different directions, I feel like these distances are short compared to drives we normally take. Although, the suggestions so far are perfect so I can maximize time seeing things rather than driving. However, how much time does it take to say drive from Kailua to the airport? Or how long is does it take to drive the North Shore? Am I driving 50mph, 35mph or slower? Thanks everyone...you have helped so much already.

Edited: 06 April 2014, 22:53