Well, I haven't posted much ever, but wanted to give back to all the posters I have read in the research and planning of our trip. We stayed at the Outrigger reef on the beach with our 17 yr old son and 15 yr old daughter the last week of February. First trip to Hawaii, will NOT be the last! Everything we did was researched through trip advisor postings and while I never conversed with Dusty, I certainly used his advice. My kids even started to kid me with "what did Dusty say about this?"!
So, Mahalo to Dusty and all!
Such a wonderful trip. We did a little more than half on the list and we did a LOT! Reef on the beach was awesome, nice partial ocean view and view of the pool from the lanai even with an aloha city view room. Pearl harbor was a FULL day, wonderful time. We rented a car at the airport (thanks dusty), and used the Hale Koa outdoor parking area literally feet from our hotel. $16 per day and we could come and go. Snorkeling at Hanauma Bay was the best, great place for pictures. Surfing lessons on Waikiki were the best, the next day hubby and kids rented boards and thought they could do it on their own but had a harder time, LOL. Surfing is hard! Hale Koa luau was very nice, especially for the price. We have no military ties but were able to book it. The weather was great, a little cloudy and muggy the beginning of the week but low 80's. Very nice for us!! We stopped at the Dole plantation but did not do train or anything, just wanted to stop and check it out. Don't necessarily like those real tourist traps, but tourism is essential to the economy!
Shave ice, shrimp trucks, watching the surfers on the north shore was one of the best days. Can't believe we didn't make it back during the week, we just ran out of time!
Diamond head was worth the climb! Didn't realize the military significance of it before.
Aloha swap meet was good too, but we liked to scout out local Hawaii made items too. Don' t do the international marketplace if you do the swap meet. We did enjoy the breakfast buffet at Dukes, other time we used the hotel fridge for cereal, yogurt, granola etc from the grocery stores. Punchbowl cemetery, the palace, historical statues, etc. Some stuff doesn't take very long but worth the stop.
Nico's Pier 38 was great, such fresh fish...
Is Waikiki busy? Yes, but we knew that. Wanted the kids to have a good time too! We generally like to go, go, go and see a lot as well as relax so this was a great combination. Being right on Waikiki was a good choice. We are from the Boston area so we are used to: people, traffic, high cost of everything, homeless, so none of that was an issue for us. Sure, some homeless, but it seemed they were all in one locale near the pier/shopping center area. We didn't do much "shopping" other than for souveniers as we have most of those stores at home.
We renewed our wedding vows at the Outrigger Reef on the beach, which was very nice. Also at the hotel we made leis and my son took a ukelele lesson, he took a liking to it and bought a fairly "nice" one at the swap meet. Still plays it today!!
All in all, a really nice family trip. I could go on all day with details, but eat some shave ice, have a few tropical drinks and enjoy a most wonderful place! A lot of my planning went out the window, and just realize you have to go with the flow. It worked for us! It was a little "touristy" for us, but we really wanted that Polynesian feeling and we got that. Different from our usual ski trips!
Ok, so I think I really want to go to Maui next year..............
One more thing, there are so very many wonderful Japanese tourists there, and we met a wonderful couple at the vow ceremony that had been married 50 years! Swapped business cards after we offered to take their pictures. Such nice people, and my heart goes out to all the Japanese in light of the disaster. The situation is truly heartbreaking and I wish the best to all......