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Old 03-25-2013, 09:11 AM   #1
cseca
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Hawaii suggestion if Aulani doesn't come through?

I was wondering if anyone have any suggestion for the best island for family with kids? We will have kids ranging from 2yo to 16yo. And if Aulani ends up being full what would be the best island for us?
Would Oahu still be the best?
We are thinking more along the lines of best kids activities. Thanks so much for the suggestions.
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Old 03-25-2013, 09:17 AM   #2
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The variety on the different islands varies incredibly, as do the experiences. What kind of activities/sites are you interested in (for the family)?

What kind of budget are you working with? That has an impact on the overall possibilities.... for instance, we like helicopter tours of the islands- it's costly, but the company we use offers a discount for multi-island bookings.
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Old 03-25-2013, 09:45 AM   #3
cseca
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Thanks so much for taking time to answer. I'm thinking something along the line of good places to swim and some Hawaii specific cultural experience for one of the days. Other than that I'm not quite sure what else would be good for kids in Hawaii ... That's why I'm so lost in trying to figure out the best island to go to.
As for budget we would like to keep it pretty reasonable ... Nothing too expensive as we will have 15 people in the group
I've read that Maui ocean center is awesome but I don't know if the rest of the island is kid friendly as well.
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Old 03-25-2013, 09:49 AM   #4
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Yes, Maui would be my first choice with various aged kids and a group of that size. I would've suggested Kauai with a smaller group, or less kids, but I'm thinking more commercial type activities may work better. Here are some links I've used to plan in the past:

http://pleasantactivities.com/hawaii.cfm

http://www.gorabbitgo.com/

http://www.hawaiifoodtours.com/

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Old 03-25-2013, 09:51 AM   #5
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Thank you so so so much!!!!!!
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Old 03-25-2013, 04:01 PM   #6
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Oahu regular here

As posted earlier, there's a stark difference between the islands...with maybe Maui being the best "middle".

Oahu has the most affordable options, by far...in terms of packages, hotels, and things to do. POlynesian Culture center is a "canned" version of the polynesian experience...get to explore and learn in a museum/zoo-ish setting w/ the basic fire dance shows. Everything is within a 1-2 hr drive and has the best shopping (if that matters)...but it's basically a typical urban US city...think SF or Chicago. but w/ a waikiki beach and tons of resorts.

When you start thinking Maui...prices start jumping by 20-30%...mainly due to less competition. The Lahaina area is tourist central and everywhere else is 2-3 hrs drive away. The top of the volcano is a nice event and the road to Hana is cool...but these are full day excursions. Typically, you should be either very boned up on research or be a regular to really get the most out of maui...otherwise things will get super expensive fast.

The other islands are not good for large groups due to cost of amenities and the extra travel (typically no direct flights).
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Old 03-25-2013, 05:13 PM   #7
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For those that have never been, I'd do Oahu as the first option for the obligate historical and tourist issues. Over time, I think Maui is the best options for repeat trips. Have you put in for an exchange request for reasonable options? If not, I would.
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Old 03-25-2013, 05:55 PM   #8
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I would say Maui would have just the right mix for everyone. We are going to try Oahu for a few days this year, but then it's off to Maui where the real relaxing and exploring begins.

Maui has great, kid-friendly beaches (no cost), some shopping and sightseeing, fun excursions if you are looking for things like catamaran or snorkeling or diving, good restaurants, comforts of home, etc. I think Oahu is higher priced for accommodations and rental cars, for certain.

It's all Hawaii, so all great . I'm sure with 15 people you are going to have a great time!
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Old 03-25-2013, 06:20 PM   #9
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Thanks everyone ... ! Seems like Oahu and Maui have the most votes. I will read up on both islands to figure out what to do while we're there.
I hope Aulani will go through but if not I'm sure we can find another great place to stay.

Any suggestions on great resorts for kids?
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Old 03-25-2013, 07:06 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dean View Post
For those that have never been, I'd do Oahu as the first option for the obligate historical and tourist issues.
I don't especially like Oahu, but...I kinda agree with Dean here.

Pearl Harbor is on Oahu, as is Waikiki, as is Diamond Head. The North Shore is legendary surfing territory. We've been there, done that, and ain't going back, but for a first time visitor Oahu has some things other islands don't.

I agree with Maui as the best middle ground. Tons of organized, tourist activities -- bike down Haleakala (the volcano), scuba trip to Molokai, whale watching in season, Lahaina's shops and restaurants, Road to Hana, etc, etc, etc -- plus lots of golf and other diversions. WAY more to do than Oahu.

For relaxation, I'd probably go with the Big Island or Kauii.

Although Honolulu is certainly an urban area, I'd never compare it with SFO or Chicago!

I never get tired of SFO, Chicago, and NYC -- they are great cities. Honolulu is a less than charming large town with a nice beach -- doesn't begin to compare with Miami Beach...or several dozen other beach resort areas.
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Old 03-25-2013, 07:40 PM   #11
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I have been to big island twice. There is not much for man made entertainment, but they have loads of magnificent beaches. Many are unique, and some are an adventure getting to. Thera are a couple of black sand beaches, and even one with green sand. When we went to green sand beach, we were the only ones there for over an hour! Beaches range from tropical paradise with palms overhanging the water to wide swaths of sand with not a tree in sight.

There Is also volcano national park. On a good day you can see lava. On a bad day you can see hot springs and explore lava tubes (caves).

Watching the sunset from the observatory on top of the mauna kea is amazing, followed by stargazing with the local astronomy club who brings thier telescopes for all to share

We stayed at the Marriott, but I think the Hilton would be better for kids, even though the hilton does not have a real beach. its an inlet with a man made lagoon for swimming. nice, but no waves. You can walk to marriott beach. From the beach at the Marriott, you can snorkel some pretty good reefs, with lots of fish and sea turtles, or rent kayaks or paddle boards. Go a little further and there is some great snorkeling, no boat needed.

Drive south, a couple miles, and Hapuna beach is great for body surfing, with miles of sand.

There are lots of interesting hiking and nature trails on the wet side of the island, with some spectacular water falls.

Horse back and atv tours

Some interesting historical sights.

You can watch humpback whales right from the road, I even saw them once while swimming at the Marriott

If this is the kind of things your kids like, big island is ideal. If not, there is not much else to occupy them.
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Old 03-25-2013, 09:23 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cseca View Post
I was wondering if anyone have any suggestion for the best island for family with kids? We will have kids ranging from 2yo to 16yo. And if Aulani ends up being full what would be the best island for us?
Would Oahu still be the best?
We are thinking more along the lines of best kids activities. Thanks so much for the suggestions.
I would highly recommend island hopping between 2 islands and spending about 5 days on each island. Hawaii is just too far and too expensive to get to to not explore more than 1 island. They each have their own personalities. Oahu is the cheapest island to stay on. Other affordable hotel options in Waikiki would be a couple of the Outrigger hotels. We have stayed at both the Outrigger Reef and the Outrigger Waikiki. The Outrigger Waikiki is a little nicer than the Reef but the Reef is OK for what it costs. (The Outrigger Waikiki is home to Duke's Restaurant.) Both are on the beach and are within walking distance to lots of shopping & restaurants in Waikiki. Maui is our fav. island and I would think might be the best choice for your large group after Oahu. The Lahaina / Ka'anapali area has a lot to do and is a little more affordable than the Wailea area (which is mostly higher end resorts and upscale shopping). The Sheraton at Black Rock in Ka'anapali is a decent choice (perhaps some of the people in your group would be Starwood members)?! They have a nice beach and it's only a 10 min. walk along the ocean to the Whaler's Village. All of the major hotel chains have hotels to choose from on Maui and there are a lot of good choices in this area. You can find lots of reviews on Trip Advisor.
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Old 03-25-2013, 11:24 PM   #13
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Consider renting a vacation rental house (for 15)

That would be the most economical vs all those hotel rooms. SO much more freedom, but not for everyone.

If it was me..I'd rent a house in Kailua (Oahu)...you can get one walking distance to the beach (Kailua beach is both beautiful and deserted). Rental cars are good as well as the local bus routes that take you to town. Kailua is about 30-45 minute car ride to Honolulu.
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Old 03-26-2013, 06:31 AM   #14
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We always find the most "natural" things to do on the Big Island. We just are on the go all the time when we are there. It isn't so much commercially organized like Maui, but then we prefer that. We'd rather make our own decisions than have some else make them for us.

I also agree with Dean on this one too. Oahu is a must for first timers, even if you only attach a stay there to the beginning or end of a trip.
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Old 03-26-2013, 06:34 AM   #15
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Wow! So much information thank you everyone.

I will definitely look at those areas mentioned. Never thought about renting a house .., its an interesting option. Although I'm not sure some people in our group would want to clean during their vacation...
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