Hawaii (State of) Travel Answers

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angelawithwife's Profile Photo

Quick trip advice

by angelawithwife Online Now Feb 23, 2013 at 4:28 PM

We are looking to book a 4-5 day trip to Hawaii the weekend of March 16. I realize this isn't nearly enough time to do alot whiole in Hawaii so I'm looking for advice on which Island to stay that has more to offer, where we won't have to do a whole lot of driving? Things we would like to do include: dolphin/whale watching, parasailing, volocano tour, dinner cruise, heard the helicopter cruise was amazing- I'd prefer to not get a rental car if I can help it. I'd like to be able to walk or take taxis. neither of us have been to Hawaii and it will be my first time seeing white sand beaches! Please help! Thanks!!!

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15 Answers
  • TexasDave's Profile Photo

    Re: Quick trip advice

    by TexasDave Online Now Feb 23, 2013 at 4:33 PM

    The only island where you could use public transportation conveniently is on Oahu, but on Oahu there is no volcano. The other islands have their different pros and cons but you would really need to rent a car.

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  • angelawithwife's Profile Photo

    Re: Quick trip advice

    by angelawithwife Online Now Feb 23, 2013 at 4:43 PM

    Ok so Oahu looks nice - is there still alot to do there, minus the volcano? Waterfalls, whale watching & maybe a dolphin swim?

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  • Rixie's Profile Photo

    Re: Quick trip advice

    by Rixie Online Now Feb 23, 2013 at 7:12 PM

    The Big Island is the only one where you can see a volcano.

    There are waterfalls on the Big Island, Kauai, Maui, and Oahu - although you might have to hike to see Oahu's waterfalls.

    As Dave mentioned, Oahu has a good public transportation system. TheBus is inexpensive ($2.50 each way) and goes all around the island. You can't be in a hurry, though, because it takes about twice as long as driving, but it's a good way to experience local life.

    Swimming with dolphins in the wild is against Federal guidelines. It's disruptive to the dolphins and can be dangerous to the humans. Please read this: hawaiinautical.com/no-swim-w... However, you can go dolphin and whale watching off both Oahu and the Big Island.

    There are helicopter tours available on all the major islands.

    All of the islands are beautiful! Which one you choose depends upon your expectations. People looking for a calm tropic isle generally don't like Oahu - for them, Kauai and Maui are better. The Big Island has the volcanos, great scuba diving, and Parker Ranch. I personally like Oahu because it's "town and country" - city activities and (on the windward side and North Shore) quiet beaches.

    Please take a look at the pages our members have written on each location. We've put a lot of time into them. :)

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  • angelawithwife's Profile Photo

    Re: Quick trip advice

    by angelawithwife Online Now Feb 23, 2013 at 7:34 PM

    Thanks Rixie! I will check out the pages! I saw a website selling the swimming with dolphins trip.. good to know its banned

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  • LoriPori's Profile Photo

    Re: Quick trip advice

    by LoriPori Online Now Feb 24, 2013 at 12:09 AM

    I would strongly recommend staying in Waikiki Beach on the island of Oahu . You do not need to rent a car here as bus transportation is excellent and there are many tours you can take. When we were there, we took Bus 22 - the beach bus - to Hanauma Bay where you can snorkel and see many brightly colored fish in the crystal clear water. This bus runs every hour on the hour. We also took many tours and booked thru one of the many travel agencies around town - check out the local brochures for prices. We took the Honolulu City Tour which included Pearl Harbour, the USS Arizona, Punch Bowl Crater and the Palace. Circle Island Tour was amazing and it included Dole Plantation, Macadamia Nut Farm and the Polynesian Cultural Center. We also did the Sunset Dinner Cruise and Whale Watching Tour. - both awesome! The Royal Hawaiian had a wonderful Luau with cultural dance and traditional dishes buffet, and with a view of Diamond Head in the background. Do some research, You will love it here.

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  • LoriPori's Profile Photo

    Re: Quick trip advice

    by LoriPori Online Now Feb 24, 2013 at 12:09 AM

    I would strongly recommend staying in Waikiki Beach on the island of Oahu . You do not need to rent a car here as bus transportation is excellent and there are many tours you can take. When we were there, we took Bus 22 - the beach bus - to Hanauma Bay where you can snorkel and see many brightly colored fish in the crystal clear water. This bus runs every hour on the hour. We also took many tours and booked thru one of the many travel agencies around town - check out the local brochures for prices. We took the Honolulu City Tour which included Pearl Harbour, the USS Arizona, Punch Bowl Crater and the Palace. Circle Island Tour was amazing and it included Dole Plantation, Macadamia Nut Farm and the Polynesian Cultural Center. We also did the Sunset Dinner Cruise and Whale Watching Tour. - both awesome! The Royal Hawaiian had a wonderful Luau with cultural dance and traditional dishes buffet, and with a view of Diamond Head in the background. Do some research, You will love it here.

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  • Roadquill's Profile Photo

    Re: Quick trip advice

    by Roadquill Online Now Feb 24, 2013 at 12:57 PM

    Hmmm?? no rental car?? that kind of limits it to Oahu. Oahu is nice, but I prefer Maui. However, if you go to Maui and stay in say Wailea or Kihei, there is good whale watching (certian times of the year) and off the boat snorkling where you can see some great stuff. Many of the hotels have shuttles into town. Keep an open mind on renting a car on Maui. Traffic is not bad and you can spend a couple of days exploring all sorts of different areas, Iao Valley, Lahaina, Kaanapali, watching the surfers by Paia. Your four days will be done in a heartbeat.

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  • angelawithwife's Profile Photo

    by angelawithwife Online Now Feb 25, 2013 at 5:44 PM

    Oahu looks like it will be the best bet - that sounds like fun I really want to do the pearl harbor tour I just heard it's pretty pricey- and the Palace looks wonderful!

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  • Roadquill's Profile Photo

    Re: Quick trip advice

    by Roadquill Online Now Feb 25, 2013 at 7:17 PM

    Once you get to Oahu you can be inundated with special offers. Oftentimes you can get pretty good deals if you catch them on a slow day. We never did a Pearl Harbor tour, but did visit the Arizona Memorial and the local museums and ships/submarine on display. From Waikiki you can also take public transportation to Hunauma Bay (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanaum... It is a relatively short drive from Diamond Head (which is also worthwhile to climb and explore, plus the view is great)

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  • paulvir's Profile Photo

    Re: Quick trip advice

    by paulvir Online Now Feb 28, 2013 at 9:38 AM

    If you would like to go swimming (or get near) dolphins in Hawaii, you have 2 options. And no you can't do it in the wild.  Both are on island of Oahu.

    1. Dolphin Quest at Kahala Hotel kahalaresort.com/activities/...
    2. Sea Life Park Hawaii sealifeparkhawaii.com/progra...

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  • Rixie's Profile Photo

    Re: Quick trip advice

    by Rixie Online Now Feb 28, 2013 at 10:09 AM

    If you decide to visit the USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor (and it is a very powerful experience), get there early. Big tour groups often show up and buy up all the tickets.

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  • paulvir's Profile Photo

    Re: Quick trip advice

    by paulvir Online Now Feb 28, 2013 at 11:05 AM

    Actually, you can make a reservation online for a visit to the Arizona Memorial.

    Check  nps.gov/valr/planyourvisit/f...

    Note there are 4 separate museums at Pearl Harbor and all require tickets (Arizona Memorial is free). You can get tickets for all 4 at the Visitor Center. The website showing all 4 is here: pearlharborhistoricsites.org.... I recommend checking out pearlharborhistoricsites.org...    to plan your visit.

    Only Arizona Memorial requires some advance planning due to limited seats on the boat that takes you out to the Arizona Memorial. The other 2 require taking a shuttle bus (every 15 min). The last, USS Bowfin Submarine Museum, is just a short walk away from the Visitor Center.

    So you could use the online reservation for Arizona Memorial. But if you don't use it for some reason, you can still do the following.

    1. Get there in the morning. Getting there EARLY in the morning to get free admission ticket to the Arizona Memorial isn't really required if it's not during busy season like summer imo.
    2. Go to the Visitor Center and ask for free admission tickets to the Arizona Memorial.
    3. Look at the time on the free admission ticket for the Arizona Memorial. Note the other nearby 3 museums are great for visiting while waiting for your turn on the boat to the Arizona Memorial. If you want to visit all 4 museums, 'buy' tickets for the other 3 museums. If you are just interested in the Arizona Memorial and you have to wait 2-3 hours, then you can probably buy a ticket for one other museum.
    4. Go visit other museums.
    5. When returning from the Battleship Missouri Memorial and/or Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor for your appointed time at the Arizona Memorial, note the you may end up waiting upto 15 min for the bus and another 10 - 15 min for the bus ride.

    Lastly, do NOT take any photos/videos on the shuttle that goes to the Battleship Missouri Memorial and Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor. During my last trip, a recorded message in the bus asked people NOT to take any photo/video while in the bus. And sure enough a lady (think  American/Canadian/Australian) in the front was taking photos and a guard at the guard post on the Ford Island Bridge saw her.  He literally yelled at her and demanded that she erase all pics taken within the bus. And he personally checked they were erased. I can't fault him though because he wasn't guarding a museum but a real, busy, active naval base.

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  • Rixie's Profile Photo

    Re: Quick trip advice

    by Rixie Online Now Mar 1, 2013 at 8:30 AM

    The technology has improved since I visited. :)

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  • paulvir's Profile Photo

    Re: Quick trip advice

    by paulvir Online Now Mar 1, 2013 at 10:33 AM

    I only noticed it last year. :)
    It is pretty convenient.

    Btw the new Visitor Center is pretty nice. When I visited about 10 years ago there was a big grass field and I remember having a little picnic while waiting for my time. But most of it is now gone.

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  • Rixie's Profile Photo

    Re: Quick trip advice

    by Rixie Online Now Mar 1, 2013 at 6:28 PM

    Everything moves on...

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