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HELP! Trying to plan for Oahu

Champaign, Illinois
6 posts
HELP! Trying to plan for Oahu

So my wife and I are doing 2 weeks- one week in Oahu and one in Maui. This is a surprise trip for my wife for our 10 year anniversary. The problem is that I cant talk to her about the schedule because it is a surprise. We are going in late July. This is what I am thinking about for the Oahu trip:

Sunday- Flight in, pick up rental, drive to Laie for Airbnb (on the beach). Stop at the Byodo-In Temple on the way to see it, Unpack, go to grocery store, hit beach, eat dinner (location tbd)

Monday- In no order- Manoa or Lulumahu Falls, Kono or Ono seafood, Halona Blow Hole and Lighthouse trail

Tuesday- North shore shark adventure, giovannis/matsumoto, Polynesian Cultural Center

Wednesday- Ehukai Pillbox hike, Dole plantation, Aloha Stadium Swap Meet

Thursday- Lanikai beach and pillbox

Friday- Pearl Harbor (tickets at 11am), Diamond Head hike, Kono or Ono Seafood, friday night fireworks

Saturday- Flight to Maui

Thoughts? How does this look, what must do's am I missing?

This is our first trip to Hawaii. Oahu is more of scheduled events, Maui is at a resort and will be more about relaxing.


6 replies to this topic
Destination Expert
for Oahu
Level Contributor
48,762 posts
19 reviews
1. Re: HELP! Trying to plan for Oahu

Hi, Andrew ~

... The Dole Plantation is a tourist trap. Super-hyped and massive big-bucks advertising. If you happen to be in the area and need a potty-stop or cold drink - go for it. Otherwise, skip it.

... The Aloha Swap Meet ... known for its SE Asia/China imports ... knock-offs. And it will be HOT. That's asphalt. Again, hyped. (Do you realize that the swap meet is across the street from the Pearl Harbor Memorial?)

If you really want to give your wife shopping time ... you want Waikiki. You should have dinner there some night anyway. At the Royal Hawaiian Hotel or some other place special and iconic.

The Ala Moana Center is a shopping-mecca ... largest open-corridor mall in the country.

... Diamond Head is best in the morning.

... I hope your accommodations are legal. Most are not in that area.

... I'm not familiar with these <<Kono or Ono Seafood>>

... The fireworks are less than 5 minutes long. Actually less than 4 minutes. I would not tackle parking on Waikiki for that!

<<Maui is at a resort and will be more about relaxing.>> Really??

... What do you plan to do at the Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC)? Luau? Evening show? All-day? That would be a looooong day!

And have you considered Kualoa Ranch? Pretty handy to Laie. Or Waimea Valley? Both of these are gorgeous!

So Andrew ... do you have good maps? Real ones? Travel guidebooks?

And when you arrive at HNL (and also on Maui/OGG) you will find all kinds of freebie maps, promotional material, restaurant guides and such. Help yourself. There should be maps specific to the North Shore/Windward Side of Oahu ... and they are much, much better than the full Island maps.

State College...
Level Contributor
136 posts
37 reviews
2. Re: HELP! Trying to plan for Oahu

Hanauma Bay is beautiful and could be worth it if you have time.

I find lighthouse trail best done in the morning since there's no shade whereas Manoa Falls has lots of greenery to keep you cool.

The Pali looked out is quite a site if you find yourself driving on the H2.

Destination Expert
for Oahu
Level Contributor
48,762 posts
19 reviews
3. Re: HELP! Trying to plan for Oahu

<<The Pali looked out is quite a site if you find yourself driving on the H2.>>

And like Diamond Head (and other parts of the Island) ... it's an incredible photo op!

Kailua, Hawaii
Level Contributor
174 posts
11 reviews
4. Re: HELP! Trying to plan for Oahu

The beauty of staying on the Windward side or North Shore is that you stay on that side, relax, and enjoy what's offered there. You are driving all over the island. If you try to get anywhere in the morning, you will encounter commute traffic on (at most times) a two lane road. A morning commute for someone I know from Kahuku to Honolulu in the morning is one hour and five minutes. Take a look at where you really want to go on the island and stay in an area that is more conducive to driving around to your favored spots.

Everything is closed in Laie on Sunday. If you want groceries and a place to eat, you need to do that before you reach Laie.

Bayonne, France
Level Contributor
11,349 posts
5. Re: HELP! Trying to plan for Oahu

You will need to find an open grocery store before you get to Laie.....

If you drive up the windward coast there is a Times market in Temple Valley (about ten miles before Laie) or a Tamura's in Hauula (a couple miles before Laie).

If you drive along the North Shore there is a Foodland in Pupukea maybe 20 minutes before Laie.

Make sure to grab any beer, wine or booze you want for your stay as Laie is a Mormon Town and is totally "dry" in all its stores and restaurants.

You might want to plan on BBQ-ing at your unit (which is undoubtedly an illegal rental) or otherwise making dinner in your first night. All the restaurants in Laie are closed on Sunday, too. You would have to drive up to Turtle Bay Resort, 10 or so minutes north, to find a good sit-down joint.

I believe the admission for the PCC is good for two days, which is meaningless to visitors staying far away in Waikiki, but could be very valuable to you since you are close by and could split up the time touring the park into two shorter visits....because as BLBL said your planned Tuesday would be an incredibly long day.

Also, Amy is incorrect. The H-2 freeway goes up the center of the island and goes nowhere near the Pali Lookout. It is only accessible from the Pali Highway.

However, if you take H-3 which commences fairly close to the airport over the Koolau Range to the windward side you will get a similar dramatic panorama from the freeway as you would from the lookout.

State College...
Level Contributor
136 posts
37 reviews
6. Re: HELP! Trying to plan for Oahu

Oh yes im sorry it is Pali Highway which I believe would take you to Lulumahu Falls if you decide to go there. Could be a good hop off point for some photos!

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