Oahu is the most amazing place

Oahu is the most amazing place

By: Rich Tong
Category: Opinion > Other
Read the article on Judy’s Book.

We’ve been going there for 5 years now very regularly. The kids absolutely love it.

For the great budget stay, here are some recommendations. I have a few more on tongfamily http://tongfamily.com but didn’t have time to ferret them out, so here are the tips from the cheapest to the most expensive things to do:

1. STay at a condo. Hotels are expensive and so are meals. The best thing to do is to find a condo. We found ours in Kailua, this is 20 minutes from Oahu but in a great suburb. You hit the Costco (they have a monster one near the airport) on the way from Honolulu airport and you are great shape.

2. Go to the beach. The best things in life are free and I don’t mean the Honolulu beach. This place is just overrun. There are an amazing number of community beaches out there that no one goes to. Now of course, all Hawaii beaches are dangerous. the tides are very tricky as are the currents, so be careful. Probably the safest we’ve found is the Kailua Beach (hence why we stay in Kailua). It is five miles of perfect crescent. There is a state park there, so it is free. It is one of the top 10 beaches in the world. The locals are not money rich, but they are life rich. Do what they do, load up the kids, rent a boogie board and head for the beach. Most are smart, they do it in the evening and the morning when the rays are not as strong though.

2a. Everyone raves about Hanauma Bay. Frankly, it seems overrun and there are fish, but it is a disaster after 10AM. So if you do it, get there as early as you can. Much better is Diamond Head. The hike there is really amazing, although you should have a flashlight, there is tunnel right through the crater wall that defines the term dark. We’ve done it a couple of times though and loved it.

3. Go to North Shore. In the summer, there is a beautiful Audubon park there with a waterfall. The beach below in the winter is an awesome spot where there are 20 foot waves, but in the summer, there is a great river and the swells are just fine.

4. Head for the water park. They have a water park just north of Honolulu airport. It isn’t expensive (there are ticket books everywhere). And the kids really love it. Get there early.

5. The pineapple plantation. Dole has a completely kitsch pineapple plantation int he middle of the island, but the kids just love going through the pineapple maze.

6. The Missouri and the Arizona. These are in the Navy base. Even 50 years later, seeing the Arizona 50 feet underwater while you hear taps playing makes everyone quiet. It isn’t expensive and makes you think. The Missouri is just an awesome site. The biggest battleship in the world. If you have boys, they will absolutely love it. There is a very cool submarine next door too. Not expensive.

7. Avoid all the cheapo luaus. We’ve done them and they stink. The Polynesian Cultural Center is incredibly expensive but worth it. Just make sure to get there early as the various tribes and games are super fun. It is a huge drive and most of the folks there are actually college students at the Mormon university there (branch of Brigham Young), so it is more Disneyland than authentic, but the show is amazing. If you have young kids be warned, it is a good hour plus to get there and back and the luau show ends after 9PM.

Bookends, Lanikai Juice and Morning Brew in Kailua

BookEnds | Store/Shop Review | Oahu | Frommers.com. If you are on this end of the island, stop here. They are one of those great bookstores like “Bailey Coy”:http://seattle.citysearch.com/profile/10773009/ in Seattle that seems to select just the best books. In this case, Bookends is particularly good at children books. Also a good used selection for the beach. Patronize it before everything becomes a Barnes & Nobles to a Borders 🙂

While you are there, you can try “Lanikai Juice”:http://www.tastyandmeatless.com/restaurant_lanikaijuice.htm and the “Morning Brew”:http://www.smallworks.com/archives/00000204.htm local coffee shop that is across from the Starbucks and the Jamba Juice. In a kind of poetic justice, the local guys are in one strip mall struggling against the commercial chain guys across the street.

BookEnds is the quintessential neighborhood bookstore, run by a pro who buys good books and knows how to find the ones she doesn’t have. Thereare more than 60,000 titles here, new and used, from Celtic Mandalas to C. S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia
and the full roster of current bestsellers. Volumes on child care,
cooking, and self-improvement; a hefty periodicals section; and
mainstream and offbeat titles are among the treasures to be found.

Zia’s Caffe

RealEats – User Restaurant Reviews for Zia’s, Kailua, Hawaii. Good family restaurant. Get there early since they don’t take reservations. The Chocolate Overload is good, but I like the pasta particularly the linguine.

There’s aren’t any great reviews for Hawaii that I could find. “Pubcrawler”:http://www.pubcrawler.com/Template/dsp_restaurant_zoom.cfm/flat/ID=414251 just had the basics yellow page information for instance.

“Kailua Vacation Rentals”:http://www.kailuavacationrentals.net/kailuarestaurants.html has their menu scanned in as a PDF.

Dream Cruises

!>http://cms.dream-cruises.com/media/images/site/DreamCruises/WhaleWatch/whale_breach_left01.jpg! Dream Cruises – Hawaii Fun Cruises. The kids have already seen grey whales, but not Connie, this is a quick cruise out of Waikiki, by Fishersman’s Wharf for an hour and a half. Not too expesnive and fun. Personally i’d rather be on a sailing cat, but what the heck 😀

Boogie Boarding

Actually, the technical term is body boarding, since Boogie Board is a trademark. In any case, Amy asked, are there lessons on how to boogie. Of course there are…

How to Bodyboard and Bodyboard Tips Videos. Here are some videos online that explain it.

“eHow.com”:http://www.ehow.com/how_5293_bodyboard.html has many more basics. the main one is that you need a set of fins to do it really well. Here are their short lessons:

# Lie belly-down on your bodyboard, and position yourself beyond the breaking waves. As a wave approaches, begin kicking toward the beach so that the wave propels you instead of breaking behind you. At this point, both hands should be on the front of the board.
# Feel the wave begin to carry you along and determine whether you are going to ride to the right or to the left along the wave’s face.
# Reposition your hands so that, if you are going left, your right hand is on the rail (the side of the board) while your left hand remains on the front, or vice versa.
# Pull your body up over the front of your board and arch your back so that your chest is over the front of the board and your head is held high.
# Use your outside hand to pull up on the side of the board, causing the wave-side rail of the board to dig into the face of the wave. This will prevent you from sliding down the face of the wave.
# Release the right rail to slide down the face, and dig in again to ride up. Going up and down the face helps you build speed and control.
# Drag your swimming fins (which are a necessity for serious bodyboarding) if you wish to slow down, but otherwise hold them up out of the water.


It’s campy and wierd, but the kids really do love the luau’s and I have to admit, after the really bad food, Dad does too. Here’s the best on Oahu:

“Germaine’s Luau”:http://www.germainesluau.com. This is the first luau we ever did. It is pure tourist and you can get good discounts so it is about $50 per head. The best thing is that it isn’t too expensive, the worst is that you have to take a bus or car way out of Honolulu. You actually end up next to power plant (!!!) in an industrial section of town. They have really lousy food, although the pig coming out of the ground is cool. Cheesy drinks and the whole thing with bus loads of tourists. The performance is pretty fun though. I’d say this is the basic experience, but wouldn’t highly recommend just because of the location and the food.

!http://www.princess-kaiulani.com/upload/de-creationlogo.gif! “Creation”:http://www.princess-kaiulani.com/de_creation.htm. We have not tried this, but at the Princess Kaiulani, they have a show. Nice thing is that it is in Waikiki instead of out in the hinterlands. This isn’t the authentic luau thing but it is dinner and show. You get 30% off right now if you book on the Internet.

Day out to Waimea

First, you visit the head up the Kamehameha Highway and visit the spot where the 1946 tsunami punched a hole in a rock. Awesome power and an amazing spot. It is just across from the Polynesian Cultural Center.

Then, Waimea Valley “Audubon”:http://www.audubon.org/local/sanctuary/Brochures/Waimea.html “Center”:http://oahu.aloha-hawaii.com/tours/waimea+valley,+oahu/. Its a cool spot where you walk up half a mile to a great pool where you can go swimming. !>http://oahu.aloha-hawaii.com/assets/images/articles/135_main_1.jpg!

Lunch is down below. They have authentic root beer, “pineapple”:http://starbulletin.com/2004/08/18/features/story1.html and other sodas made right on the island. They make a whopping 300 cases a week in a single room at the “Waialua Soda Works”:http://www.waialuasodaworks.com/. !Waimea Bay Beach Park, Oahu. !>http://www.hawaiiweb.com/images/waimea_4.jpg! The end to a great day trip is to get to the Waimea beach. This time of year, it is more placid than a swimming pool, plus the Waimea rivers empties in so it is great for little kids. And also all the body builders and Marines that are taking the day off too.