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Need help with overzealous itinerary

sandy, utah
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Need help with overzealous itinerary

This will be my husband's and my first and probably only trip to Hawaii. We're in our mid-50's (I'm in fair and my husband in good shape) and coming for 6 nights in mid-August before spending 5 nights on Kauai. I have a tendancy to go way overboard in my trip planning (you should see my pile of guidebooks from the library) and would appreciate your comments on my itinerary, especially ways I can reorder sightseeing days/attractions to make it more enjoyable, inexpensive eating places near sightseeing locations, etc.. I'll be buying a 4-day Go Oahu card at Costco and want to really get my money's worth so that's why some days are fuller than others. We'll be staying in a rental close to Kailua Beach so I figure that if I want down time in the evening, I can go hang out there. Otherwise, I'd rather be sightseeing. I'm sorry that this is kind of long. Thanks a lot for your advice.

Mon. Aug. 11

Leave SLC at 7 am. Arrive at Honolulu Airport at 11:44 am. Find lunch somewhere (Manoa Marketplace?).

Drive 11.3 miles (27 min) to the Manoa Falls trail (1.6 miles RT). Park at the Tree Tops Restaurant near the trailhead ($5.00 parking). Allow 1 l/2 hours. If have some time left over, visit the Lyon Arboretum, just up the road, (donation; 8-4).

Drive 6.4 miles (17 min). Buy groceries at Costco.

Drive 13.6 miles (29 min) to our rental in Kailua, stopping at the Pali Lookout on the way (parking $3.00). Walk down Old Pali Road for about 10-15 minutes. (Or figure out a day to do this when we don’t have luggage in our trunk.)

Walk to Kailua Beach, one block from our rental, or Lanikai Beach, .6 mile. Sunset is 7:05 pm; moonrise 8:01 pm. It will be a full moon that night.

Tues. Aug. 12 (would it be better to move this schedule to a day later in the week?)

Take pictures of Lanikai Beach or Waimanalo Bay Beach Park at sunrise, 6:09 am (or any other day we’re there). There's a l/2 mile pillbox hike we could take for better views.

Drive 10 miles (18 min). Visit the Byodo-In Temple; get there before its 9 am opening (free with Go Oahu card).

Drive 6.1 miles (10 min). Take the 10 am 1-hour Kualoa Ranch Movie Sites or Jungle Tour (free with GO card). (Which one is more scenic?)

Drive 14 miles (23 min) to the La’ie Hawaii Temple for some pics, stopping at scenic viewpoints like Chinaman’s Hat, Laie Point State Wayside

Drive 1.14 miles (2 min). Tour the Polynesian Culture Center from 12-6; buffet dinner followed by Ha: Breath of Life Program from 7:30-9:00 pm (free with GO card; parking $8.00). Visit my nephew after the buffet and before the program. He lives about 5 min. away. Drive 60+ min. back to our rental.

Wed. Aug. 13

Drive 14.6 miles (32 min) to Hanauma Bay for snorkeling. *Arrive by 6:45 for free entrance. Check out the Toilet Bowl on the left side of the bay?

Drive 2.9 miles (10 min) to the Makapuʻu Point Lighthouse Trail, stopping first for pics at the Lana’i Lookout and Halona Blowhole. The hike is 2 miles RT. Allow 1 l/2 hours.

Option: Stop at Makapu’u Beach Park, across from Sea Life Park. Check out the tidal pools in the lava rocks on the other end of the beach. (which end?)

Drive 14 miles (29 min) to the Mu-Ryang-Sa Broken Ridge Buddhist Temple (9-5, $3.00).

If didn’t do this on Monday: Drive 12.2 miles (22 min) to the Pali Overlook.

Drive 5.2 miles (11 min) to the Ho’Omaluhia Botanical Garden (free; 9-4 pm).

Option: Check out some of the beaches/shops around Kailua.

Thurs. Aug. 14

Drive 18.6 miles (36 min). Hike Diamond Head early before it gets too crowded (6-6pm; 1.6 miles RT; $5.00/car). Stay to the left when the trail forks for the easier hiking option. Allow 2 hours.

Drive 7.2 miles (19 min) to Iolani Palace (free with GO card). Take a 45 min. guided tour, maybe 9:30? (Tues-Thurs: 9am-10am). **Where's the cheapest place to park?

Across from the front of the palace take a picture of the King Kamehameha statue in front of the Aliʻiōlani Hale building. Peek inside to see its rotunda.

Option: From the palace drive 1.2 miles (4 min). Tour some highlights of the Honolulu Museum of Art (10-4:30, free with GO card).

From the palace drive 1.7 miles (7 min) to Ala Moana Beach Park. Parking is free. Grab a takeout lunch somewhere? Walk l/2 mile (10 min) to 1009 Ala Moana Blvd (Kewalo Basin Harbor). Take the 1-3 pm Makani catamaran ride (free with GO card).

Walk back the way we came. Rent stand-up-paddle boards from 3:15-6 (free with GO card) at Ala Moana Beach.

Grab dinner at the Ward Center or Ala Moana Mall? (Any better food suggestions?) View the sunset from Magic Island. There's also supposed to be decent snorkeling here.

Option: Drive 2.3 miles (9 min) to catch the 6-7 pm Kuhio Beach Hula Show. It’s located at the Kuhio Beach Hula Mound, near the Duke Kahanamoku statue, beachside at Uluniu and Kalakaua Aves.

Option: Check out the street performers or some of the hotel lobbies on Kalakaua Ave. Is there metered or free pm parking? **Will we regret it if we don't spend time in Waikiki?

Fri. Aug. 15

Drive 32.7 miles (46 min) to the Dole Plantation. Take a 20-min. narrated train ride (free with GO card; 1st train at 9:30).

Drive 12 miles (20 min) to the Waimea Valley (botanical/cultural garden). It’s 1 l/2 miles RT to and from the waterfall. (9-5; free with GO card; allow 1 l/2+ hours).

Option: At Waimea visit the sacred Pu’u Mahuka Heiau, Oahu’s largest ancient temple, where you’ll also have great panoramic views of the entire North Shore coastline.

Drive about 2.6 miles (7 min) to Laniakea Beach a.k.a. “Turtle Beach” for pics of the turtles.

Drive 5.3 miles (13 min) to rent kayaks at Oahu Kayaking, Haleiwa Boat Harbor (11-2 or 2-5; free with GO card).

Lunch at a shrimp truck?

Go snorkeling at Shark’s Cove, Three Tables, or Sunset Beach, all east of Hale’iwa (could snorkel before or after kayaking).

Have shave ice at Matsumoto’s, Haleiwa (9-6).

Dinner in Haleiwa? Watch the sunset from Sunset Beach?

Sat. Aug. 16

Drive 34 miles (52 min). Arrive at Pearl Harbor by 7:15 am. Pick up tickets for our 8:15 reservation. Pick up audio guide (free with GO card) to tour the USS Arizona Memorial. Tour the USS Bowfin Submarine & Museum (free with GO card). Tour the Battleship Missouri Memorial (free with GO card). Allow about l l/2 hours at each site. Have lunch there or closer to the Bishop Museum. Suggestions??

Drive 10 miles (19 min). Tour the Bishop Museum (9-5; free with GO card). View the 45 min. Wayfinders planetarium show at 1:30 if arrive before then.

Drive 7.4 miles (18 min) to Tantalus/Round Top Dr. for great panoramic views of Diamondhead, Honolulu, etc. The view in Puu Ualakaa State Park is the best and is located about halfway around the 9 mile loop. Allow about one hour for the drive and stops.

Option: Stop at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific first (just below Tantalus Dr.). It’s open until 6:30 pm.

Drive 16.7 miles (35 min) to rental. Pack for our 8/17 9:05 am departure to Kauai.

Best place for dinner our last evening?

Northern California...
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1. Re: Need help with overzealous itinerary

On the day of your arrival - I would definitely scratch that walk down the Old Pali Road. I would not want to leave a car full of luggage and supplies from Costco unattended - that's a crime of opportunity just waiting to happen.

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2. Re: Need help with overzealous itinerary

This isn't a vacation itinerary, you have created an invasion plan for "D" Day. My suggestion is to throw it all away, scale things down so you won't expect so much out of your selves and have pressure to (for example)

"Drive 5.3 miles (13 min) to rent kayaks at Oahu Kayaking, Haleiwa Boat Harbor". Just my opinion on how to better relax on a vacation. Chuck.

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3. Re: Need help with overzealous itinerary

I agree black belt. Never seen an itinerary like this in my life.

Destination Expert
for Oahu
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4. Re: Need help with overzealous itinerary

Way too much IMO you are staying where some really nice beaches are Kailua and Lanikai are you going to spend anytime enjoying them?

All I see is mileage and go go go!

Kapaa, Hawaii
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for Maui, Hana, Oahu
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5. Re: Need help with overzealous itinerary

1. Which Costco are you planning on going to? I too think it is foolhardy to go to the Pali Lookout with luggage and groceries in the car.

2. The Toilet Bowl at Hanauma Bay is off limits. Definitely not for someone who isn't an expert snorkeler.

3. Don't bother trying to snorkel at Magic Island. There is no decent snorkeling there.

4.You will be passing Haleiwa and Laniakea Beach on your way to Waimea Bay. Really, if you want to enjoy this day, go early, don't stop to do the train ride at Dole. Go straight to Pupukea which includes Shark's Cove and Three Tables if you want to snorkel. They are right next to Waimea Bay. Then go to Waimea Valley and work your way back to Haleiwa. Not knowing which roads you are planning to take to get to the north shore could change all this!! But since you put the Dole Plantation first I'm assuming somehow you are coming over the Pali first then going up. Does that make sense?

I truly hope you have room for flexibility. Traffic and timing things just don't work on Oahu. I also hope you don't have much planned for Kauai because you are going to need some down time!!

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6. Re: Need help with overzealous itinerary

I don't mean to pick on you but this itinerary was stressing me out just reading it. I hope you will allow the magic of Hawaii to help you to take time to relax a bit. I like to sightsee too but it is good to mix in some quiet beach time or just time to chill.

Destination Expert
for Maui
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7. Re: Need help with overzealous itinerary

PLEASE, hun, make a list of all these things you would like do but don't create this kind of minute by minute "must-do" list. You will have a much more enjoyable time. As others have hinted the islands are much more about getting on to island time and deciding over coffee each morning what appeals for the day. List, make a list, NOT an itinerary.

South Coast NSW
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8. Re: Need help with overzealous itinerary

My ears started ringing about halfway through that list, and I couldn't finish reading it.. :(

How much of that free with go card stuff would you want to do if it wasn't free?

I think you have way too short a time there for this much stuff..

Oklahoma City...
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9. Re: Need help with overzealous itinerary

I stopped reading after the second day. This itinerary does not sound like fun at all. How do you know you won't love a place so much that you don't want to leave after 15.5 minutes? As posters above have said, let the majic of Hawaii sink in. Hawaii is as much about just being there as it is about hitting every tourist site.

I have two comments though. I am on Oahu now and get up at 5 AM every day to watch the sunrise. You need to be at at the beach by 5:30 to see the best colors. By the time the sun breaks the horizon at the time of the actual sunrise the show is on the way down. Also, not every day is going to be great. It all depends on the amount of cloud cover. If your sunrise day is cloudless or totally overcast your view will be relatively impressive.

Also, I do not understand why you ar so focused on getting into Hanauma Bay before 7 AM in order to get in free. From what I understand you are not experienced snorklers. You have no business in the water before the opening time. Go at 7 AM, watch the movie like ALL first time visitors are required to do, and enjoy the bay safely.

On this trip we have so far gone twice this before opening time. The first group down to the bay will find it still uncrowed. In addition, we drop a 10 for each person into the donation box so it isn't "free" at all. The bay is expensive to run and maintain and if you visit without paying you are relying on the fees of others to support your experience. If you have money for for a trip to Hawaii you have enough money to pay $15 to snorkel at Hanuama.

Newcastle, Australia
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10. Re: Need help with overzealous itinerary

If you love planning then you seem to have covered it all BUT I hope that once you land at Oahu airport, you feel the magic and love that many of us know. I hope your holiday is all you want it to be but please remember to take a deep breathe, smell the frangipanis (plumeria) and relax, remember you're on Hawaiian time now.