Oahu in July.. need some tips

Family (me, wife and three daughters) is headed to Oahu this summer. We’ll be in Waikiki over the July 4 weekend and have our plans there all set.

On 7/5 we need to go somewhere else until we fly out on 7/11. Assuming that we want to stay on Oahu, does anyone have any suggestions or tips?

What are the prospects if we rented a car and just drove around until we found something we wanted to stay at for a few days at a time? Are the Days Inn/ Holiday Inn Express type hotels prevalent or is most everything resort oriented requiring that we book in advance?

We have explored a condo for five days on the North Shore thru the website VRBO. Any tips on that whole process?

For touristy, stroll down Waikiki Beach and back. Just once. I guarantee you’ll love it. :smiley:

And do a walkthru of the Royal Hawaiian Hotel while you’re at it. Equallly worth it. Lots of history, there.

The Arizona Memorial is deeply moving. The Mighty Mo’ is awesome, as is the submarine exhibit, the name of which escapes me.

I’ve mentioned in other threads about Hawai’i that the scuba diving is terrible. Too much particulate in the water to see much. Better to go snorkling if that’s your thing.

That’s all I got, but I’m sure there’s more to come along from other posters. Enjoy!

My sister lived on Oahu, and I visited her for a week. I’m too lazy to Google the actual names of things we did, but there’s a museum somewhere on the island of Hawaiian history that was interesting. There’s Hanama Bay (sp?) that’s great for snorkeling. And I never went to Waikiki beach, because she was aware of another beach nearer her house that was just as good but completely ignored by the tourists, so we had it more or less to ourselves. Oh, and we toured the pineapple plantation in the middle of the island, which was mildly interesting.

There are a couple million hotels of every level in Waikiki. Not as common in the other parts of the island. Also, you can drive around the whole island in about 1.5 hours(?).

I wouldn’t recommend taking your chances on just finding something with available rooms, definitely book in advance. After all, it’s one of the major tourist destinations on the planet. It’s not just the state route between Topeka and Wichita.

Where’s a good place on / from the Big Island to get some good dive time?

Bring hats. If you have any part in your hair, you will burn your scalp if your head is uncovered.

I lived in Hawaii for 6 years in the late '90s. First 2 years, I worked for a condo-rental place (in Waikiki). Don’t assume you’ll just be able to find an open room, and expect the prices to be jacked up relative to what they’d be in the off-season.

IMHO, try and take care of this before leaving (call or email more places about price/availability). You’ll at least have a better idea of what to expect.

You absolutely have to visit the Windward side. If you are lucky you will catch it on a sunny day. Waimanalo and Kailua Beaches are just amazing.

The thing that always draws me back to Oahu is the fact that you can stay in Waikiki and take meandering drives and day trips all over the island. Punchbowl Cemetery and Tantalus Drive are two amazing vistas overlooking Honolulu and the Beaches of the North Shore are easily reachable. I think that you will find that you and your family will find plenty to do throughout the island to keep the vacation interesting and fun. PM me and I’d be glad to get more in depth with some of the more notable places that I’ve discovered.

Probably the Bishop Museum.

Hanauma Bay-- closed Tuesdays.

Dole Pineapple Plantation

I have rented through VRBO on the mainland US with great success. My brothers have rented through VRBO for Oahu homes and they also had good experiences. You are renting directly through the owner so you need to feel comfortable doing that.

One word of caution for getting a vacation rental on Oahu: some residential neighborhoods REALLY dislike the rentals in their areas. I would hesitate before renting in Kailua or Lanikai (which are not North Shore, so hopefully you’re OK there).

Or possibly the Polynesian Cultural Center, although it’s as the name states – Polynesian, broadly, not Hawaiian-specific.

It was worth visiting IMHO, but recognize it for what it is…which I’m not quite sure how to express. Perhaps someone else can find the words…

I found it corny. :slight_smile: It’s great if you want to see a variety of Polynesian dress and dance, but I imagine someone who’s not from Hawaii would start to blur them together. Hell, I’m from Hawaii and I blurred them together. Still, it’s an entertaining show. Probably not worth the long drive (though there’s great scenery along the way).

I remember them having mostly outdoor attractions, like replica huts and performance stages. If you want a quiet museum where you stare at feather capes, tooth spears, and other artifacts in a glass case, Bishop Museum’s your place.

More the latter, but the hotels can range between luxury resorts and dinky 4-story walkups. Most hotels and resorts are in Waikiki, but there are a smattering of them in Honolulu (for the business travelers) and the North Shore, such as Makaha or Turtle Bay. I don’t remember passing a lot of safe-looking motels or small hotels elsewhere on the island.

Generally, I recommend staying in Waikiki for two reasons. One, most of the things you’re going to do are closer to or in Waikiki, and two, it really doesn’t take long to drive anywhere else. You could probably drive around the island in a couple hours (though it’d probably take longer if you actually want to stop and savor the sights).

I’d definitely recommend staying in a condo on the north shore for the remainder of your trip, assuming you want to stay on-island.

Otherwise, I’d island hop to either Maui or Big Island.

Book your hotel and rental car in advance. Summer is high season on the islands because the kiddies are out of school.

Yeah, I couldn’t figure out (and still can’t, really) how to describe it. I might have said cheesy, but there’s a degree of earnestness, historical accuracy, and even entertainment that deserves better than such dismissiveness. What I can say is that it wasn’t what I expected going in…a bit disappointing that way. On the other hand, after spending a day there, I was still glad I went.

And the drive never bothered me, although I did have the luxury of living there and thus not having to pack a schedule. :slight_smile: I always enjoyed getting away from the south shore (especially when I lived in Waikiki), taking the motorcycle on less congested roads, to enjoy the quiet of the North Shore during the slow summer season. I especially liked driving through (by?) Kaaawa…always traveling counter-clockwise around the island, so as to see the Windward side during daylight, with the added benefit of not going over the Pali or H3 at night (cold and windy on a bike).

Ben: The two best SCUBA places on the Big Island:

  1. At the Captain Cook Monument, which is tough to get to. You walk down a long, steep and often overgrown trail, or you take a kayak and cut across the bay. TONS of fish, some turtles and dolphins.

  2. “Two Step” (named for a pair of underwater shelves near the shore). This is right next to the Place of Refuge. Lots of fish (not as much as #1), but LOTS of turtles. Also, several underwater arches 100 meters or so offshore.

If you’ve ever been to these (I was there in December 2009), you will turn up your nose with haughty disdain at anyone who raves about the Hanaumau Bay Preserve on O’ahu. The coral there is mostly dead, and the only reason fish even come there anymore is because the Park Rangers toss out pellets of fish food in the morning.

To the OP: I’ve been to the Hawaiian Islands on four separate occasions, most recently to Maui and O’ahu just last month. Try to get to an island other than O’ahu, but only if you can set aside at least four days to spend there. Inter-island flights are relatively cheap.

On O’ahu, by all means go to Lanikai Beach, just down the shore (south) from Kailua Beach. If you can, take a kayak out to the 'Mokes (a pair of small islands about 300 meters offshore). People are only allowed on the one to the north (left); the other one is an off-limits bird sanctuary. If you/your family is adventurous, you should hike around to the back of the island, where there is a small and rugged bay/inlet. Look at, but do not imitate, the crazy people who jump off a spot on the cliff into the bay. Some people have died doing so.

Snorkeling between Lanikai Beach and the 'Mokes is pretty good, too. Some turtles there.

If it’s a rainy day, go to the Bishop Museum. Stop at the Pali Lookout on a sunny day. Skip the Dole Plantation. Get to the Windward side; it’s less developed, more rugged, and very “native” – and as such it will give you a different perspective on some of the politics/economics brewing under the surface in the islands. (Do some reading up before you go to give you perspective.)

Get to Pearl Harbor EARLY in the morning. The boat ferrying people out to the Arizona is not large, and spaces fill up fast on a first-come, first-served basis. Get there after after 10 a.m. or so, after the tour buses roll in, and you may not get a ticket until a 4 p.m. boat ride – or you may not get one at all.

A boat trip to Sunken Island in Kaneohe Bay is fun, too. It’s a sunken sand bar that sometimes pokes above the water a bit.

As for accommodations, I recommend staying with my sister at her condo in Kailua! :smiley: (But seriously, others’ advice here on places to stay are very good.)

If you want to stay in downtown Honolulu, that’s fine and you can use that as a base if you want to explore the rest of the island. The island’s not that big, and day trips are very possible. But just so you are aware, if you don’t time your excursions well, plenty of your time will be wasted in traffic jams. As the hotel/resort staff for tips to avoid traffic.

Have fun!

Nice. I’ve rented motorcycles three times in Hawai’i:

[li]A Honda Shadow VLX in 2006, from Big Kahuna in Waikiki[/li][li]A HD Softail Classic in 2009, Big Island HD, Kona[/li][li]A HD Sportster 883 in 2011, Maui, Lahaina HD[/li][/ul]
Fantastic adventures, all of 'em!

Eh, Aikane, if you’re driving around the island in 1.5 hours, you not going see too much da kine tourist stuff - going too fast, brah!
Seriously, though, some good things are available in The non-Wakiki areas of Honolulu.
Unfortunately, a lot of the colorful districts of my childhood are radically changed so a walking tour of Iwilei, Nu’uanu, Palama or Kalihi might not be in order any more.

How about:
Visit/tour Iolani Palace ( Iolani Barracks, Kawaiahao Church and the famous statue of Kamehameha are right there, too)
Picnic lunch at Kapiolani Park or Ala Moana or under the Banyans in Moanalua?
Berniece Pauahi Bishop Museum in Kalihi or maybe the Honolulu Museum of Art.
Punchbowl/Tantalus Drive, as suggested by many.
Diamond Head Hike or up Nu’uanu to the Pali for unforgettable views?

Plate lunch, Spam musubi, manapua - sorry, just getting nostalgic here…