Hawaii is truly paradise. I have been to Maui three times and Oahu once. Here are some details of my trips, so you can steal them for your own trip! 😉
Every time that I have stayed in Maui, we have always gotten a hotel or condo on Ka’anapali Beach. There are many reasons that I love Ka’anapali: great snorkeling, calm waters for paddleboarding, Black Rock cliff jumping, nearby shops & restaurants, and family friendly beaches.
When I travel to Hawaii, I like to spend money on experiences, so I love staying in affordable resorts. Condos are great because they have a full kitchen. You can save a lot of money by cooking your own meals. We usually make breakfast and lunch, then treat ourselves to dinner. The Whaler is a great place to rent your condo. It is right next to Whaler’s Village, so you have a mall and restaurants only yards away. If you want to be closer to Black Rock, The Ka’anapali Beach Hotel is a great option for budget friendly hotel living.
When I’m in Hawaii, I love being by the ocean. The Trilogy has paddleboard rentals for only $25 one hour, and then $15 for every hour after that. The Trilogy also has amazing whale watching tours. These usually run from December-April only due to whale migration patterns. This is $59 for adults, $44.25 for teenagers, and $29.50 for kids. This may seem a bit pricey, but it is well worth it! There is free food, drinks, and adults over 21 get two adult beverages of their choice. We always rent our snorkeling gear from one, of the many, Boss Frog’s locations. It only costs $7 a day or $24 a week. The best place to snorkel (in my opinion) on Ka’anapali, is at the tip of Black Rock. If you’re brave enough, you can also jump off Black Rock into the clear waters below. If you have a GoPro, make sure to bring it with!
If you’re going to venture out of Ka’anapali, Lahaina has great shops and restaurants. It’s also home to a beautiful Banyan tree. Paia also has many great places to eat & shop. Near the town, is Twin Falls. These are two waterfalls that you can do a relatively easy hike to. There is also a cute farm stand where you can buy fresh baked goods and coconuts that you can actually drink out of! If you’re looking for a beach with rockin’ waves, then head to Fleming Beach. This is my favorite place to boogie board.
I’m going to start this with a disclaimer, I was only in Oahu for 36 hours. I don’t have nearly as much information about this island, but here is what I do have!
The main reason that I wanted to go to Oahu, was to see Pearl Harbor. If you are planning to see this monument, I recommend that you plan in advance. You can find all ticket information on The National Park Service Website , but I’ll give you a brief synopsis. For the USS Arizona Memorial, you can reserve tickets online up to two months in advance, but they go quick. You can also reserve tickets the day before you want to go. They only release 75 tickets at 7:00 a.m. the day before your visit. They sell out in about 15 minutes. If you wait to get your tickets until the day you want to go, it’s on a first come first serve basis. Doors open at 7:00 and they only have 1,300 tickets for the day. My recommendation is to book in advance to avoid this hassle.
First of all, let me start by saying that Oahu is very different than Maui. We stayed in Waikiki and the streets were lined with designer stores, chain restaurants, and swarmed with people. This was a far cry from the hut buildings that and mom & pop shops in Maui. We stayed at the Sheraton Princess in Waikiki. It wasn’t on the beach, but was only a block walk to the famous Waikiki beach. The beach was beautiful, but gets very crowded midday. Unlike Maui, this beach seemed to be made up of teenagers and adults. Waikiki has so many shops and restaurants within walking distance. You will always have something to do. We drove up to the North Shore to see surfers on the pipeline and it was well worth the drive. Our jaws were dropped for over an hour watching the surfers on these huge waves. After, we drove to Diamond Head, and hiked the crater. It was a relatively easy hike. Many people were wearing flip flops & sun dresses. I wouldn’t recommend that, but it definitely wasn’t too challenging. There were handrails a majority of the way.
If you have any questions, feel free to inquire below.
*Disclaimer: This post was written on January 30, 2016. Prices and policies may change over time.