Vacation Tips for Hawaii

Updated on January 14, 2011
J.S. asks from Kalamazoo, MI
12 answers

Looking for suggestions for what to do on a trip to Hawaii (activities/restaurants) (no kids, the trip is for the in-laws). In in O'ahu for 3 days and Maui for 5 days. Have some ideas but looking for thoughts from you beautiful ladies!


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answers from Dallas on

Snorkeling is always wonderful. The Old Laha'ina luau is excellent and definitely worth it.

Also, the word for "thank you" is "mahalo" (ma-ha-low). The locals appreciate it - it's not expected, but it's a nice thing to say in the native language.

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answers from Allentown on

I lived on O'ahu for about 5 yrs! We got to visit the Big Island, Kauai'i & Maui on a few occasions while we were there.
Here's a list to get you started, but please feel free to lmk if you'd like further information at all. We LOVED our time there!
Great Things to See & Do in Hawai’i

 *I’olani Palace
 *Pearl Harbor/Arizona & Hickam AFB (bullet holes left from WWII on bldngs)
 Waikiki
 Swap Meet (Sat, Sun, Wed’s—buy ALL of your souvenirs here!!!!)
 Pali Lookout
 Drive around island—Blow Hole & scenic lookouts along the way
 Polynesian Cultural Center
 Lu’au (at Hale Koa or Paradise Cove)
 Sea Life Park
 Byodo-In/Valley of the Temples
 North Shore; Hale’iwa
 Dole Plantation
 Lani Kai Beach
 Hana’uma Bay snorkeling
 Sharks Cove snorkeling (NOT during rough water! Best in the summer)
 Ala Moana shopping center (over 300 stores!)
 Diamond Head
 University of Hawai’i
 Bishop Museum
 Hilo Hattie (main store on Nimitz Hwy)
 Birthing Stones in Wahiawa
 Aloha Tower
 China Town
 Honolulu City Lights tour (during Holiday season—can buy tickets @ Ward Warehouse off of Ward Ave)
 Waikiki Zoo
 Waikiki Aquarium
 International Market Place in Waikiki
 (Tattoo at Skin Deep in Waikiki)
 Queen Emma’s Summer Palace
 Free Hula show (nightly, I think) at Duke’s Hula Mound in Waikiki (just past HNL Police Station)
 Tantalus Drive & view from top
 Atlantis Submarine (on ANY island!)
 See surfing on North Shore (during winter months)
 Eat at: Dixie Grill, Kua Aina for burgers and/or tuna sandwich (preferably on North Shore, but could also eat @ Ward Shopping Center), Dukes in Waikiki, High Tea at Moana Surfrider hotel, Keo’s and/or Keoni Thai fusion restaurants in Waikiki, Don Ho’s Grill (Aloha Tower), Dim Sum for lunch at Wo Fat’s in Chinatown (oldest Chinese restaurant in China Town), Champa Thai in Pearl Kai shopping center, Pearl City, Hard Rock Café (on any island!), Brew Moon, Ryan’s Grill
 Get: a Lava Flow* (drink) and a Mei Tai, try Kahlua pork, poi, eat Poi Mochi, Dave’s Icecream, fresh Maui Pineapple, Leonards Malasada and a white pineapple (if you can find one!), Huli Huli chicken, shave ice, locally-brewed beer

Big Island:
 Volcanoes Nat’l Park, lava flow @ night, Thurston Lava Tube, Steam vents, Petroglyphs, Jagger Museum
 Punalu’u Black Sand Beach (south side, middle of island, towards Kona)
 Place of Refuge (Kona side)
 The Coffee Shack for breakfast (in Kona) (incredible view & great food!!!!)
 South Point (Green Sand Beach if possible too) (middle of island, toward Kona)
 Mauna Kea visitor center for star gazing (be at summit by 6 or so)
 Volcano Plane tour w/ Island Hoppers (Cessna planes) (either side, but cheaper on Hilo side)
 (Kona: King Kamehameha Beach Hotel is a good place to stay)
 Rainbow Falls in the morning; Boiling Pots waterfalls (Hilo side)
 Hilton Waikoloa (Kona side)
 Lava Rock Café in Volcano town (Hilo side)

 Snorkeling in Molokini & “Turtle Town” w/ Pacific Whale Foundation
 Sunrise bike ride down Hale’akala volcano w/ Mountain Riders
 Road to Hana
 Iao Needle

 Hanalei, Wet Cave, Dry Cave, Taro Patch overlook
 Kilauea Lighthouse (great view of Bali Hai)
 Fern Grotto
 Tree Tunnel
 Spouting Horn
 Waimea Canyon
 Hanapepe Town
 Na Pali Coast cruise
 Wailua Waterfalls

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

I am a Local.

Every State, has a "tourism" website.... and all the Hawaiian islands.
Maui has one.
So does Oahu.
If you Google "Maui Tourism website" or "Oahu tourism website" many will come up. The "State" of Hawaii... also has their own tourism website...

There are SOOOOO many things to do. It cannot all be written here.
But the websites will give you good info.

Each island.... is unique.
Oahu is the main island... the "citified" one.
Maui and the other islands...are more laid-back, country like, also very nice. All the islands... have wonderful aspects to it. With different terrain and activities etc.

Shorts and slippers (what others call flip-flops) are the usual attire here.
And T-shirts.....
The weather now.... currently... is in the mid to low 70's and quite rainy.
Don't know what time of year you are coming to Hawaii... but well, the weather is usually always good/warm.

all the best,

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Maui is absolutely beautiful!!! We stayed in the Wailea Marriot and I highly recommend it. We were able to get the breakfast vouchers through our travel agent and ate the most amazing fresh fruit while overlooking the ocean every morning! They have a Luau that was great. We went several years ago, but at the time it was voted one of the top places to attend a Luau.

The Road to Hana is a must, so beautiful.

Lahaina is the second largest art distributer in the world, so there are some great galleries there. And a ton of little shopping places right on the water.

We also did a horse back ride through Haleakla National Park. We saw water falls and the most beautiful views I have ever seen in my life.

You will have a fantastic time!!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Just a warning the road to Hana is really long and is turn after turn the whole way there. the views are spectacular but my then 7 year old threw up during the trip. Also tell them to leave early if they're planning to come back on the same day since it's a long way (depending on where they're staying.
My absolute favorite during the trip to Maui was the Haleakala volcano, just wow, I felt I was in another planet it was just espectacular.
Maui is heaven on earth, I pray I can go back someday...sigh :o)



answers from Chattanooga on

The only tip I can come up with is to take me with you... I'm fun! I will keep you entertained!!! I'm sure I would be able to find stuff to do. ;) lol.



answers from Pittsburgh on

One 3 days in O-ahu, so my top picks are the Polynesian Cultural Center and, of course Pearl Harbor. Someone below mentioned they didn't go to Pearl Harbor because they didn't want to spend all day in line. When I went, that wasn't an issue, barely a line at all. Maybe I got lucky?

On Maui, definitely go to the top of Hale’akala to see the sunrise. Although travel guides always mention the bike ride down afterwards, the people I know that have actually done the bike ride said they would skip it, and just drive to the top, watch sunrise, and drive back down so that's what I did. The road to Hana is supposed to be beautiful - but only if you don't get carsick because it's very winding. My favorite thing to do on Maui is snorkeling/diving. There is also good shopping in Lahaina.



answers from New York on

omg i am so jealous. hawaii was the best place i ever went to, especially maui. everything is casual, we ate at some really nice places and i dont think i saw a high heel the whole time i was there. i loved lahaina. we did not love the road to hana, not at all. i know everyone else does. for the first half hour or so it was beautiful, but then it was too much and too long and too slow, i felt like it ate up a whole day. though that national park was amazing, and we wouldnt have seen it otherwise. we rented a convertible, which was wooooonderful, though i sunburned my head and that really really hurts. what a beautiful island, the mountains are just as beautiful as the shore. i really regret not doing the helicopter/volcano thing. we did some amazing snorkeling off a catamaran, one of my best days ever, i was just actually looking at the pics a few days ago. i hope you have a wonderful wonderful time.



answers from Sacramento on

Do NOT miss Warren & Annabelle's Magic Show in Lahaina on Maui. It will be one of the highlights of the trip. I liked it so much more than the luau we went to.

I know, magic show? I thought the same thing when it was recommended to me. Why go to Hawaii and see a magic show? But it's a lot of fun. My parents and in-laws have since seen the show and loved it, too. It's not that the magic is fabulous; it's more that it's all humorous. Check out the reviews on TripAdvisor if you want more feedback about the show. Also, get tickets in advance. The shows tend to sell out.

Hope they have a great time!



answers from Allentown on

Best place ever! Are you giving this as a gift or just helping them plan? We spent our honeymoon on the North shore of O'ahu. The Polyenesian Cultural Center is a must. Beautiful place. Snorkeling in Sharks Cove (might need a local to point this one tour group...just go on your own) Haleiva (no idea how to spell it) is a really great little town. Turtle Bay Resort is around there too...either the perfect place to stay if you could afford it or a beautiful place for a dinner out..which is what we did. Pearl Harbor is on this island too...but we were not interested in spending a whole day waiting in line.



answers from Provo on

Hawaii is a beautiful place. I think it ranks as the most beautiful place that I've seen. Maui is wonderful and my favorite out of the islands that I went to. It has such a small and sweet type attitude. I would go on the road to Hana. I think that was on Maui. There is so much to see. I tended to go like the guided tours. So much information about the landscape and the history. Oahu is also wonderful. They have so many things to see. We took a guided tour there. I wish I would have gone on a helicopter trip. Remember an umbrella.


answers from Dallas on

We've always gone to Maui and stayed in Kaanopoli and Kapula. We love Lahania....

Lahania is more shopping, etc. My absolute favorite is going on the whale watch. We rode out on a small boat and it was so amazing to watch the whales.

We enjoyed the luau at Lahania and we loved Mama's Fish House restaurant (I forgot the name of the town, we ate there on our way back to the airport once)


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