Help with Itinerary


Earning My Ears
Dec 15, 2010
We will be in Oahu March 2nd-9th. We will be staying in Waikiki the 2nd-6th then heading to Aulani for the remainder of the trip. It will be 4 adults and 3 kids ages 16,13 and 12. We will have a car for our entire stay. We have a list of things that we would like to do while we are there but need help putting them into an itinerary that will work. The place we would like to visit are

Aloha Swap Meet
Diamond Head
Sunset Beach
Turtle Beach
Pearl Harbor
Halona Cave & Blowhole
Hanauma Bay
Lanikai Beach
The North Shore
Waimea Bay
Chief's Luau
Drive the H3
Drive highway 72
Waikiki Beach
Relax and explore Aulani

Can you help me make an itinerary that works? We are from Ohio so I'm guessing due to the time change we will be up bright and early.

Thank you!!!


Earning My Ears
Aug 26, 2013
I can't tell you which day to do what activities but I may be able to help assist in how to group your site/activities. I would suggest you visit the following places when staying in Waikiki: Diamond Head; Waikiki Beach; Tantulas (Pu'u Ualaka'a Park); Pearl Harbor; Hanauma Bay; Blowhole; Aloha Stadium swap meet. Waikiki is more centrally located to these locations. When going windward side you can head there from Waikiki via Pali highway or you can leave Waikiki and go on Kalanianaole Highway which will take you past Hanauma Bay, Blow Hole Sandy Beach Park and go that way to Windward side. Then you will end up in Waimanalo via Highway 72. When windward side you can hit/visit Lanikai Beach; Kailua; Kane'ohe and any other places you wish. Then plan to head back to Waikiki via H3.

Sunset beach, Turtle Bay is all North Shore and could be seen one day while staying at Aulani. We normally go North Shore one day for 5-6 hours when staying at Aulani.

In all honesty, you can plan and organize all you want but things may come up and you may not be able to visit all these places. Enjoy Hawai'i and all its beauty; enjoy the people of Hawai'i, their kindness and their warm Aloha spirit. But most of all, enjoy your family/friend who will be with you!!


DIS Veteran
Jan 8, 2006
I agree. I go every other year for two weeks (the Marriott next to Aulani), and many days we just go into Kapolei for lunch or hang out at the resort. Last summer I spent a month, and only did a few outings (that being said, I lived on Oahu for a few years). Traffic is bad, so be prepared for that and plan accordingly. I know DC traffic is worse, but I don't like to spend lots of vacation time sitting in it. Lanikai Beach isn't what it was 20 years ago, too. Parking is hard, it's a neighborhood, and the beach is severely eroded. Kailua Beach is better. But I'm still sad as how smaller it is from when we lived there. If you do go to Kailua, Willow Tree has really good "Hawaiian" Korean food! Korean food in Hawaii is different but very yummy!!!! We definitely do the swap meet from Ko Olina; go early (right after traffic), bring water, it gets hot, then we usually get lunch in Pearl City on the way back.


Last chance to lose your keys.
Feb 11, 2009
During your Waikiki stay, I would do the following:

  • Waikiki Beach
  • Diamond Head - early in the morning, before it gets crowded, hot, and parking becomes difficult
  • Hanauma Bay - another one best done early in the morning, because parking and capacity becomes full here too
  • Aloha Swap Meet / Pearl Harbor - we did these on one day, but be aware that the Swap Meet is only certain days of the week and closes in the afternoon. Unless you get tickets online 60 days in advance for Pearl Harbor, you need to get there early to wait in the standby line.

From our Waikiki hotel, we took an organized bus tour through Oahu Nature Tours to Diamond Head which was great because it dropped us off at the start of the trail. No need to park and walk for a mile before the actual hike starts! We also did an organized bus tour through Discover Hawaii tours that took us to Pearl Harbor and the Swap Meet. I think they picked us up around 6:30am and they facilitated getting our tickets to the Arizona for us so we didn't have to hassle with that. We had about two hours to explore the free museum areas before our Arizona tour. Once our tour was over, they bused us over to the Swap Meet where we had two hours. On the way back to our Waikiki hotels, we stopped at Iolani Palace for a photo opportunity, but did not go inside. I'd recommend both tours because we saw a lot not having to worry about driving ourselves, plus parking can be hard and expensive in the area as well.

During your Aulani stay, I would do the following:

  • Turtle Beach / North Shore / Waimea Bay - we did these on one day because they are relatively close to each other. Turtle Beach was maybe a 10 minute stop. Waimea Bay can be as long or as short as you want. We did not swim at the waterfall, so we were there about two hours max just taking the time walking the trail. Its also $16pp. I would not call it a must-do.
  • Lanikai Beach - this is on the windward side not far from Kailua, which is awesome. If you plan to visit Kualoa Ranch or Byodo-In Temple, I would combine it with this because they are in the same vicinity.

Can't help on the rest as I'm not familiar. The biggest things I would say when planning is to do things in the same day that are near each other. It doesn't make sense to criss-cross the island, especially due to traffic. Rush hour traffic times are weekdays from about 6-9am and 3-7pm so we tried to avoid the highways during those times. Also, if your dates at Aulani fall over a weekend, maybe plan outings on weekend days because you can avoid traffic and also get away from the resort when its more crowded with locals.


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