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First Time to Hawaii - Recommendations?

jmhpsu93

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Hi, all. Planning a two-week-ish trip to HI next May (2021) using Destination Points. We've never been - where would you recommend we go given our timeline and figure 9,000 DC points for a budget? Availability is key too, as I'm a lowly owner so don't get single night reservations until 10 months out.

My initial thought is Waiohai Island View 7 nights and Ko Olina Ocean View 5 nights.

Other ideas?
 

rthib

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Good Choices. Kauai is great peaceful and beautiful. And the split is nice. Be sure and make friends with the staff at Hotel and take there suggestions on local places to go.


For what its worth, I would trade another night vs view. We rarely cared about the view. We would get up and go sit on the beach or be outside until time to go to bed.
The views are amazing but I would do garbage can view to get another night.

Also, if you plan to get a car highly recommend getting the GyPSy Guide App https://gypsyguide.com/
The narration is informative but also funny. We found some great out of the way beaches and even a great Samin place that I would never have walked in (it is a local place/dive) but was amazing.
Plus you learn history of the island and some of the buildings (like we learned that a bunch of Norwegians went to Maui and others went to MN and they kept going to MN not Maui again???)

Suggest doing a helicopter tour early on so you get an aieral view of Kauai. It makes driving and looking so much better because you get a feel for where things are.
We were at KBC and used https://maunaloahelicoptertours.com/ We like them because it is a 4 seat, so you always have a window and if you are a couple get the ride to yourself.
 

Big Matt

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I would strongly consider Maui. Great location. You should figure out what you want to do in terms of beach vs. sightseeing. Maui is good for both. Ko Olina is part of the island that isn't really near much in terms of sightseeing. Oahu is busy with interstate highways, but are cool things to see (and some tourist traps). The rest of the islands are not like that. Kauai is very quiet with great scenery. The two resorts are on different parts of the island. I've not been to the one on the Island of Hawaii, but wouldn't rule it out if you want to see some things that you will only find on the Big Island. You are going to get a variety of opinions on this, so do your homework and figure out what fits your personality and style of vacationing.
 

slip

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I would just go to one island and plan on returning to a different island in the future. Most people love Hawaii and seeing how different each island is. You lose at least a day, packing, unpacking, time in the airport and dealing with rental cars.

Just my two cents.
 

Lv2Trvl

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Aloha Slip, I agree with you. First trip, do one island, enjoy it, get to know it. We know them all, traveling 2-3 times per year to Hawaii. We like to say it's only one state away from California! Kauai was our first and still our favorite. Original owners at Waiohai, love the ocean view but realize, some ocean views are not full ocean but a lean over your balcony to get the view. The Waiohai gardens are beautiful and even the parking lot can be just fine. After all, you are in Hawaii and after the sun goes down, the views are all the same. We love spending time on Oahu out at KoOlina with a few nights here and there in Waikiki, always fun for a few nights, a few nights up at Turtle Bay is another option. Maui is everyone's favorite, just not my first choice. We visit every so often. Hawaii Island is beautiful, and BIG especially if you get to know little Kauai first. Wherever you choose it should be great. We had to cancel our April-May trip this year but so far hanging on to our reservations for November-December!

Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk
 

Luanne

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My first trip was 4 islands in two weeks. It was with my parents and sister back in 1986. Not nearly enough time, but it gave me a taste. My favorite then, and still today, is Maui. That was where I wanted to go back to. We own a timeshare there in Kihei, and have owned it since 1986. We've visited all of the islands, including Molokai. Our second favorite island is the Big Island of Hawaii. You need to spend at least two weeks wherever you end up going.
 

cman

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Hi, all. Planning a two-week-ish trip to HI next May (2021) using Destination Points. We've never been - where would you recommend we go given our timeline and figure 9,000 DC points for a budget? Availability is key too, as I'm a lowly owner so don't get single night reservations until 10 months out.

My initial thought is Waiohai Island View 7 nights and Ko Olina Ocean View 5 nights.

Other ideas?
It kind of depends on what kind of experience you're looking for. When I want a laid back relaxing kind of vacation, Kauai or Maui is my first choice. If I want something a little more upbeat i.e restaurants, bars, and shopping, we go to Oahu. For us, Maui is the balance between the two. If you're not planning on spending the majority of you vacation at the resort, don't get hung up on the view. If you do this right, and plan to see as much of the beauty the islands have to offer, your room is just a place to eat, sleep and recharge. Granted, the sound of the ocean puts me to sleep like a baby, but the first two times we went, we spent so little time at the resort, we missed out on the benefit we paid for the ocean front rooms.

With that said, your initial thoughts will result in a wonderful vacation. You'll love it, enjoy it, and be back again.
 

jmhpsu93

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Wow - thanks for all the great replies so far. I'll update when we finally book everything. We're east coasters so this is a two-day trip each way unless we spend a fortune on airfare and 11-hour flights (and we have friends in CA we'd love to see). Wish I had three weeks and I'd bookend SoCal and Palm Springs, but getting away from work that long would be tough.
 

Luanne

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Wow - thanks for all the great replies so far. I'll update when we finally book everything. We're east coasters so this is a two-day trip each way unless we spend a fortune on airfare and 11-hour flights (and we have friends in CA we'd love to see). Wish I had three weeks and I'd bookend SoCal and Palm Springs, but getting away from work that long would be tough.
We used to live in California so going to Hawaii was a "quick" nonstop flight. Now what we do is stop in San Francisco for two nights coming and going. We're retired so we have the time. It lets us spend time in a city we love, and to see our dd who lives in Silicon Valley.
 

geist1223

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¿What do y'll like to do? There are several threads about the different Islands and things to do on the different Islands in the Hawai'i section. We love Kaua'i and Mau'i. It is not that far from End of the Road up north on Kaua'i to the south in miles but it can take over an hour to drive. Also if you want to go to Ke'e Beach up north you need to make an online reservation and pay a fee.

If you go to Mau'i try and plan a Sunrise on Halaeaka. You can arrange a tour or drive up yourself. If you self drive there is limited admission between 4am and 7am. So you have to go online to make a Reservation. You are at 10,000 feet so it is cold on top.

Went to Oah'u for the first time in about 60 years 1.5 years ago. Enjoyed it more than we thought we would.

While it is not uncommon for us to go to multiple Islands in 1 trip - we have been traveling to Hawai'i together for about 17 years. We also like to spend 2 - 3 weeks on 1 Island. In September we have 3 weeks Reserved on Kaua'i.

If you think this will be your only Hawai'i trip for years then yes try and do 2 Islands.

A little hint do not run yourself ragged trying to see and do everything in 1 or 2 weeks. Plan on lay round pool/beach days.
 

rthib

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For me I like Ko Olina better than Maui. Ko Olina I can walk right out and be on a great beach into the ocean. And the Rum tour right by property. I would save a trip to Maui until you can go during Whale season. That is a whole different adventure. Plus for a first trip Oahu is more of the tourist Hawaii people think of.
 

mcinor

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My favorite is the Big Island. Excellent beaches, great stargazing, Costco and awesome coffee in Kona. Best beach on the Big Island is Kua Bay. It's unmarked so ask at the hotel for directions. Kua Bay has good snorkeling, excellent waves for body surfing and an excellent chance to see turtles. Kids love Kua Bay!! They do have restrooms and showers. Maui is my 2nd favorite. Maui is fantastic. I am addicted to Maui Tacos. Excellent beaches, great food and a Costco. I'm not a big fan of Oahu, except the ship museums at Pearl Harbor. Have fun!
 

Dean

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Hi, all. Planning a two-week-ish trip to HI next May (2021) using Destination Points. We've never been - where would you recommend we go given our timeline and figure 9,000 DC points for a budget? Availability is key too, as I'm a lowly owner so don't get single night reservations until 10 months out.

My initial thought is Waiohai Island View 7 nights and Ko Olina Ocean View 5 nights.

Other ideas?
For 2 people as your fist trip for 2 weeks I'd do a week at Ko Olina in a 1 BR and a week on Maui for a studio or 1 BR.
 

ljmiii

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Hi, all. Planning a two-week-ish trip to HI next May (2021) using Destination Points...My initial thought is Waiohai Island View 7 nights and Ko Olina Ocean View 5 nights.
I agree completely with your choices. Waiohai is our favorite Hawaiian MVC resort* and five days on O'ahu is perfect for a 1st timer...there is so much that needs to be seen. Moreover, on a DP reservation Waiohai IV often gives better views than OV. While at Ko Olina there are indeed some IVs to be avoided.

I guess my only suggestion would be to swap the two if you could. We use O'ahu as a 'decompression chamber' between NY and Kauai...YMMV. And the dawn hike up Diamond Head is easier if you are still on EDT/EST (and it is worth it...my parents and inlaws loved it into their 70s). Not much you need to do at dawn on Kauai...;-)

*Never stayed at the Kauai Lagoons...no beach.
 

rthib

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ljmiii makes a good point on order but I would add, look at flights and make the easiest connection. Since we can't get a direct to Kauai, we usually spend the night at LAX. That way we can get a cheap hotel for that night and then get in early vs worrying about connections and arriving late in the evening.
 

Swice

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Maui Tacos -- Reminds me of our first trip 23-years ago. My boss at the time was a foodie and could give you a restaurant recommendation for any city in the world off the top of her head. She told us to go to Maui Tacos (at the time I think they only had one location) in a strip mall and get takeout. We had been in Hawaii for several days and had been on the go, go, go and were exhausted. We found Maui Tacos and placed our order and went next door to a local grocery store and got some Cokes (each product had two prices/ one for locals and one for tourists). With our 2-liters and our take out Maui Tacos, we went back to the Marriott and sat on our balcony and ate our fish tacos, drank our cokes, and watched the cheesy luau show show right below us. We had been to the Old Lahaina Luau a couple nights earlier (fantastic and also my bosses recommendation). As hungry and tired as we were, Maui Tacos is still one of my best Hawaiian memories.

I also agree with above and recommend you save your points on the view and add an extra night. I would base my decision on islands based on availability. Each island has its own personality. Don't worry about it-- you will not pick wrong. You will have a great time on any of the islands. You want to spend at least six nights at each location to really enjoy and absorb the atmosphere.
 

HenryT

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Hi, all. Planning a two-week-ish trip to HI next May (2021) using Destination Points. We've never been - where would you recommend we go given our timeline and figure 9,000 DC points for a budget? Availability is key too, as I'm a lowly owner so don't get single night reservations until 10 months out.

My initial thought is Waiohai Island View 7 nights and Ko Olina Ocean View 5 nights.

Other ideas?
Since you live on the east coast and have more than a week, definitely do two islands. Us east coasters don't normally go to Hawaii to often because of the distance and price. It would take forever to see the four main islands if you only visited one at a time and only went every few years (for those only having one week though one island is recommended).

I have been to all the major four and each trip was to two or three islands (one week per island). Which islands you select depends on your interests but the ones you selected are good options though I would include Maui since it is the favorite of many people (including me). I also agree with the person who recommended dropping the view for a few more nights so that you would have a full week on both islands.

I am hopping to go for four weeks or more in 2022 when I retire.
 

Big Matt

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I want to weigh in on something else. Two weeks will guaranty jet lag on the way back. I would strongly suggest that you consider 10-12 days in Hawaii and 2-4 days in California (Newport Coast, Palm Springs, San Francisco, Tahoe). You can mix it up a bit and not be zonked out by the jet lag. You will be wide awake at 2am on the east coast for a few days if you don't stagger the trip home.
 

aland0524

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Hi, all. Planning a two-week-ish trip to HI next May (2021) using Destination Points. We've never been - where would you recommend we go given our timeline and figure 9,000 DC points for a budget? Availability is key too, as I'm a lowly owner so don't get single night reservations until 10 months out.

My initial thought is Waiohai Island View 7 nights and Ko Olina Ocean View 5 nights.

Other ideas?
If first time to Hawaii - any of the major islands is great but I'd go to Kauai and Maui. But it also depends on what you want to do. Some people just want to go lay down on a beach (maybe read, tan then surf, snorkel or scuba off the beach a little) for couple weeks. Others want to drink in all they can about this new Paradise they've heard so much about. If somewhere in between, both Kauai (the most "chill" place of the islands with the exception of Lanai and Molokai) and Maui (yes, touristy but not as bad as Oahu and yet plenty of activities and places to see - Haleakala, Hana, Lavender Farm, golfing). We've been to all the islands and have been going to Hawaii every year since early 80s. We own at Waiohai and MOC. You'll love Waiohai (Poipu Beach is great) and Kauai is a very accessible island with a lot of very Kamaaina ("local") things to see, eat and do (but you'll need to rent a car unless you just want to lie by the pool or beach). In Maui, you'll also enjoy the Maui Ocean Club (stay in the old Tower - Island View is fine and extend your stay for an extra night instead of getting ocean view as suggested). You'll love Kaanapali Beach and Maui (too bad you aren't going during whale season - you'd have been able to see them jumping out of the water in front of the resort). Ko Olina is also very nice but know that this is a resort area that's pretty isolated and you'll definitely need a vehicle to get around Oahu. There's not much to do at Ko Olina proper except golf and get some good rays by the pool or the "beach" (it's really more like 3 man-made lagoons). And unfortunately, Waikiki and environs - including the Ko Olina area looks like a typical big city/suburb on the mainland. So Kauai and Maui would be best first-time suggestions. Once you've finalized your choices, there are a lot of discussions on this forum on places to see, eat and do on all the islands that you can then check out. Aloha!
 

cman

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Hi, all. Planning a two-week-ish trip to HI next May (2021) using Destination Points. We've never been - where would you recommend we go given our timeline and figure 9,000 DC points for a budget? Availability is key too, as I'm a lowly owner so don't get single night reservations until 10 months out.

My initial thought is Waiohai Island View 7 nights and Ko Olina Ocean View 5 nights.

Other ideas?

Forgot to mention this in my earlier post. But if this is your first time there, I would HIGHLY recommend you get the Hawaii Revealed travel guide for the island you choose to visit.
Your can get it on Amazon, or here; https://www.hawaiirevealed.com/
 

csalter2

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I’ve read all of these reviews and I’ve got to say that if these folks are from Maryland, the Big Island and Kauai might be just a little too quiet for them at first. Being from New York originally, I was bored very easily going to real tranquil places like Kauai. I needed some movement and activity that was at least accessible. Maui in my opinion is waaaaay overrated. MOC is a nice resort, but there’s a lot of activity right outside of it. That’s a very busy strand and in my opinion even busier than Ko Olina and it doesn’t have as nice a beach area outside of it as Ko Olina. Don’t get me wrong, I like Maui, but it’s third on my list behind Kauai and Oahu. That being said, my recommendation would be that this first timer go to Maui first and then Oahu. Maui has a good Hawaiian feel away from Ka’anapali. The better beaches are out on the other side off the Road to Hana. After experiencing Maui, then hit Oahu. People are always talking about the first 25 minutes after you land on Oahu. Yes, you drop right smack in the heart of Hawaii’s capital with shoppes galore, a plethora of restaurants and activities for all ages of every kind. I love that OPTION. When one gets to Ko Olina, it’s like going to another world. It’s pristine. The resort is gorgeous there are a few restaurants and pizza shops and other eateries that the shuttle can take you if you don’t want to eat on the property. Driving into downtown Honolulu during rush hour is not pleasant, but where is it pleasant in any city during rush hour and the main jobs are in a central locale. Have you ever been on that main road that takes you from Waiohai to the other side of the island during rush hour? You’d have thought you were in Manhattan and they drive nice and slow so it seems longer. My point though is that Oahu has its island features and Hawaii feel just like Maui does. You go over to the North Shore and you forget about Waikiki. It’s the same with Maui. There’s a big difference between Lahaina/Ka’anapali and Wailea. I’m sure wherever they go, they will enjoy. But I believe Maui to Oahu is the way to go. Again, just MY humble opinion.
 
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