Trip Report: August 17th through 24th
August 17th…..my wife and I were a bit worried about how our 4 and 6 year old would do on the near six hour flight, but with lots of snacks, DVD players, and Nintendo DS, we made it in good shape. We landed around 12:30PM….grabbed luggage, rental car, and headed for the Hilton Hawaiian Village. At check in, they didn’t have our Rainbow Tower “ocean front” (Diamond Head view) room available so we spent one night in a “ocean view” (beach, lagoon, and marina view) room and then moved the next day. Sort of a pain in the rear, but worth it for the spectacular view down Waikiki beach and Diamond Head in the background. After check in we zipped over to Snorkel Bob’s and rented snorkel gear and beach chairs for the week. Great service and gear. Back to HHV, changed in to trunks, and we all hit the beach. My wife & I were marveling at the view down the beach from HHV and my kids were so happy to finally be unleashed after a very long day of traveling and getting settled in. After a few hours we had to pack it up, shower and we headed over to LuLu’s for a very casual dinner. We had seating on the rail facing the beach, food was great, drinks were cold, and the view was great! By this time it was around 7:30PM and my little ones were dragging due to the three hour time difference (we’re from Orange County, CA). Back to hotel and we all crashed!
August 18th……we knew we’d all wake up early due to the time change and decided we’d visit Pearl Harbor and the AZ Memorial. I figured my six year old would do “ok”, but knew it would be a struggle for four year old. I was right! We arrived around 7:15AM and were on the 8:45AM ferry. My four year old made it pretty rough as he was very bored, tired, and certainly had no interest in what we were doing. But, this was something my wife & I wanted to see and figured we’d give it a try. After visiting the AZ we headed back to HHV, switched to our “Diamond Head View” room, and headed to the beach and pool. My boys loved the beach, but once they found the water slides at the Paradise Pool……..IT WAS ON! Spent the rest of the day between the great wide open beach in front of HHV and the pools on property. Showered up later and headed to Duke’s for our “on the rail” seating reservation. The walk from HHV to Duke’s isn’t BAD, but it is a bit long with hungry, tired (from playing all day), young kids in tow. Dinner was really good, the view and atmosphere were fantastic. But, by the time dinner was over my four year old was sleeping in moms lap (obviously not adjusted to time difference). We walked around a bit after dinner…….then jumped in a cab and headed back to HHV when my six year old pooped out. Lights out for wife and kids……..I spent some quite time on the balcony taking it all in with a cocktail in hand.
August 19th………we were headed to Kailua and Lanikai Beach so we took the Pali Hwy and were sure stop at Pali Lookout. Spectacular view…….and very to find/stop. Kids got bored quick though………so on to Kailua/Lanikai. We hit Subway in Kailua and headed directly in to Lanikai as we’d read that it had been voted “top ten beaches” many times in the past. Found street parking, walked down one of the alley/inlets, and WOW…what an amazing view at the “Mokes” (two islands right out from Lanikai beach). We spent the rest of the day on the beach and in the water. I had planned to rent kayaks, but after talking with a few people……..the trip out to the Mokes was going to be too long for my little guys. But, a couple on the beach offered up their two-man kayak and I took it out for a spin. Loved it! We took lots of pictures here and after viewing them…..may even use one as our Christmas Card this year (with the islands as a backdrop). Back to HHV, shower, make the walk to Beachwalk……..decide on Cheeseburger Beachwalk. Great burger, ok drinks, kids are beat………walk around a bit and back to HHV. Kids crash, I take in some Sportscenter, wife reads and……..wow…….vacations sure are different with the kids!
August 20th…….North Shore day! Taking our rental car on our own self guided circle island tour. But, first……….a stop at Leonard’s Bakery for some Malasadas…….7:30AM and the line is out the door and starting to wrap around the corner! The Malasadas were fantastic! All four of us mowed down as we began our journey. We stopped to take photo’s of Chinaman’s hat……great view and photo opp….and then continued on our way to Turtle Bay Resort for some snorkeling at Kuilima Cove and beach play. The beach/cove were scenic, but the snorkeling just ok. My six year old snorkeled with me for a while…….my wife and four year old spent time playing on the beach. Packed up after a couple of hours and headed and planned on checking out “Sharks Cove” for some more snorkeling. But, it was SLAMMED (the 20th was a local holiday…..bad planning on my part)…..and after jumping out to take a look……I didn’t see much of a beach area for my youngest. So, we continued on to Sunset Beach, but only for a short while as my boys had been told about “jump rock” (by me, as I was trying to get them excited for the car ride to the North Shore) at Waimea Bay…….and wanted dad to jump! Waimea Bay was beautiful, strong undertow though, watch the little ones! After a bit of beach play it was time to walk down to “jump rock”. The kids were giddy and my wife was just shaking her head as she pointed out all the jumpers were 1/3 to ½ my age (42 years young). It really wasn’t a big deal…….I’d jumped from higher a few times in Maui years ago (hike back on our road to Hana adventure). I climbed up……took note of where the locals were jumping from and away I went. As I came up and swam for shore..my boys were jumping around…fist pumping…and making their way out to me. Seeing my little guys so excited made my day! We packed it up and headed to “turtle beach” in hopes of seeing some beached turtles. Not too much trouble finding the place….and we lucked out with parking. My kids were really excited to see five or six turtles over the 30 minutes we were there. If you make your way down to the water….be careful as it’s VERY slippery (both boys and my wife went down). Time to head to Haleiwa Town in search of Giovanni’s shrimp truck and Matsumoto’s shaved ice! Both were GREAT and well worth the wait! Be sure to get the vanilla ice cream in the base of your cub/bowl at Matsumoto’s…..it’s quite the treat! Getting late and we wanted to make a quick stop at Dole so we headed out. Dole was ok……..we spent half an hour in the shop and eating or Dole Whip, but just missed the last train ride (5PM is last train out). We were all tired and headed back to HHV for Friday fireworks night! We ordered a pizza from Round Table (on property) and sat on our balcony eating pizza and watching fireworks. Talk about the perfect ending to a great day!!!!
August 21st…….we spent the morning and first part of our day at the HHV beach & pool (my boys wore out the waterslides). My brother, who doesn’t have kids of his own, surprised us with a “swimming with the Dolphins” gift (for all four of us) at the Kahala Resort (Dolphin Quest). I know this is a “hot button” on the boards so I won’t spend too much time on it other than to say: The trainers genuinely seemed to care for the Dolphins….and there was no “riding” or “towing” at this place. We got to rub, hug, and interact with three dolphins for about 45 minutes. It was an incredible experience and my kids loved it. When the day was over we showered up and decided we walk down…….and stay on the sand once we ran out of sidewalk…..looking for a nice spot for dinner. We ended up stumbling upon “Edge of Waikiki” at the Sheraton. There was some live music, a great view with outdoor seating, and a good food/drink menu. We lucked out with a great table location, ordered food and drinks……sat back and took it all in. Before long the sun had sat, tiki torches were lit, a fire dancer was doing his thing on a tiered stage to our left, and we were all very happy. Food & drinks hit the table and everything was very, very good! We really enjoyed the atmosphere at Edge of Waikiki. After dinner we found a Baskin Robbins on site and were enjoying our ice cream outside near the Sheraton pool complex when a fireworks show started right over the beach in front of the Sheraton Waikiki. PERFECT TIMING! Back to HHV…….lights out.
August 22nd………we planned on walking down to the International Marketplace for some souvenir shopping and finding some place for lunch. But, a few hotel workers convinced my wife that we should head over to the flea market at Aloha Stadium. So, we took their advice and although we may have saved ten or fifteen dollars…….my kids and I were miserable. It was hot, and as expected, nothing for 4 & 6 year old boys to do. So, the wife shopped around while I bought the boys shaved ice (horrible here), Cold Stone ice cream, and then………..found a spray on tattoo booth which saved the day! The boys each got a tattoo and they thought they were cool cats! I’d never go back to this place again. Just not my idea of something you do while on vacation. Back to HHV for more beach & pool time. BTW, wife is just about to complete entire book 5-6 days in to trip while I’ve yet to sit down during daylight hours (other than eating & driving). Busy, busy boys! We decided to do the Starlight Luau at the HHV tonight only because we have two free vouchers for my wife & I. Adult food was good, kids food was horrible (my four year old wanted the kiddy food….no price break), show was good, service was good (wife & I each used all three of our adult drink coupons without any issues) setting was decent once you come to peace with the fact that you’re on the six floor of a building. Four year old sleeping on mommy right before the fire dancers come on stage. Six year old thinks they’re pretty awesome. After luau……..back to room and lights out for the kids. Wife & I spend some quiet time on balcony with a drink.
August 23rd……..got up and headed to Hanauma Bay. Arrive around 8:45AM and parking lot is about 80% full. My six year old had a great time snorkeling off and on with me. When he was on a break…..playing on the beach…….I’d go way out by myself and found some incredible fish….very colorful……..and at times there were so many I felt like I was bumping in to them. Some were two feet in length. Four year old didn’t want to put his mask on him so I put on my water shoes and walked him out so he could at least see some fish in the clear water. That was enough for him as he really just wanted to play in the shallow water and sand. Stopped for lunch at good old McDonald’s (told the kids we could eat anywhere they wanted……..and of course.....McDonald’s). Afternoon spent on the beach at HHV………and then an hour of waterslides). Last full night so we decided to eat at Hula Grill because the view looked so nice and we wanted to be right down in the middle of “central” Waikiki. We got a table right on the rail…...just perfect. We ordered food and drinks……and devoured the bread and the AMAZING dipping sauce (“Chili Pepper Water”). The sauce was so good I just ordered a 3-pack of it online! Dinner was very good, the drinks were fantastic, and the reality of our last full night was starting to creep in to my thoughts! After dinner we walked around, had some desert, did a little shopping (last full night and the kids have FINALLY adjusted to the 3 hour time difference). We took our time walking back to HHV……..stopped……..sat in the sand with the boys enjoying the sound of the waves, tiki torches, and reflecting on our first weeklong “family” vacation (in the past it was just the wife & I due to the age of my youngest). We stopped in at an ABC store…..I purchased a few adult beverages….and we headed up to our room. Wife & kids crashed fast…….it was around 10PM. What happens next is either funny, weird, sad, or just a reflection upon this magical place. I grab some blankets, a pillow, my adult beverages, and head out to the balcony. I move the chairs and tables off to the side……lay my makeshift bed out…..and lay propped up sipping on my drink and taking it ALL in. After an hour or so (I’m guessing) my drinks were gone and my eyes were heavy. I decided I’d just close my eyes for a few minutes while listening to the waves crashing on the beach. Next think I know……my wife is opening the slider to check on me and it’s almost 3AM!!! So, I came in and crawled in bed.
August 24th………..we’d arranged a late check out as well as a hospitality suite (8:30PM flight out). We got a late start this morning and headed to Diamond head for the hike, but when we arrived around 9:30AM……the parking lot was full as was the overflow lot at the junior college (school was just back in session) back down the mountain. We were worried that the kids would hold up anyway on the hike up…………so, we spent the day doing exactly what the kids wanted to do….beach, pool, waterslide, and a bit of snorkeling. Packed our bags, checked into the hospitality suite, showered up, and headed over to the Ala Moana Shopping Center. My wife really wanted to see this beautiful shopping complex before we left so we planned to walk around a bit and have dinner. We ended up eating at Bubba Gump’s…..only because the view and outdoor patio were nice (food was ok…….we’ve eaten at a few Bubba Gump’s in the past). Off to return the car and check in for our flight.
Wonderful trip, so many great memories and pictures. Very different with young kids……in good and not so good ways……but, wouldn’t change a thing. We planned on doing more activities, but we figured out a few days in to the trip that what the boys had the most fun doing was being at a beach/pool. So, we switched gears a bit…….and moved forward.
Sorry about being so long winded………I’m sure I left out a few fun things as it is.
Thanks to all those on the board that helped me out with questions and advice the past few months! Sincerely appreciate it.
AlohaEdited: 6:36 pm, September 02, 2010