I hate to sound needy, but I am trying to decide where to take the family on vacation and I want my soon to be 15 year old son to have a good time. I look at vacations as a time to unwind and enjoy my surroundings. I don't play golf or tennis, but enjoyed my experience snorkeling when I was last in Hawaii 15 years ago. My son has ADHD and Aspergers....so we need some activities for him to look forward to and experience. He loves sailing, tennis, and exploration. As a family we search for the best quality locally owned restaurants wherever we are. We enjoy the finer things, but we are far from pretentious. We love seafood and many different ethnic foods, but drinking is not important to either me or my wife. Culture, beauty, quality of environment and accommodations are tantamount to this trip. I know my wife and son will enjoy some unique shopping experiences, but I would rather get a massage and relax in the water. .......As far as history....I loved Maui and don't need to go back to Honolulu except if it would benefit my son.
Any guidance would be appreciated.
No doubt about it, Hawaii!
Make sure you have KH B732 @ HNL, help you! He is a "Master" and will help make your trip very special.
Good luck with your family! That is just my one "Vote"!
Hawaii is amazing. I can really only speak to Maui and a little of the Big Island. If you plan to go to Maui there are tons and tons of outdoor activities to take part in. Hiking, bike riding, fishing, snorkeling, sailing, paddle boarding, going to Haleakala, you name it. Maui can be as peaceful and relaxing or as crazy adventurous as you like. If you are planning to go to Oahu I can't speak on that yet but I am going in September and can give tips on that when I get back.
Hawaii has much more to offer. Maui has many options to choose from to keep your kids entertained and involved. Culture, volcanoes, whales, beauty and so much more. Kauai has the Napali coast which is breath taking and the Grand Canyon of Hawaii. Although Oahu is very commercialized and crowded, a day trip to Pearl harbor should be considered. I took my boys to Hawaii 4 years ago (ages 19 & 21) and they still talk about that trip. No other trip has had that kind of affect!
I'd say Hawaii, either Kauai or Maui. Kauai has all of the outdoor activities that your son may enjoy. It has the best hiking, kayaking, etc. It is also the quietest and my favorite. I'd say that Maui has more to offer beyond the outdoor activities - restaurants, galleries, shopping, etc. We took a nice boat/whale watching trip out of Lahaina a few years ago that was nice. Maui has all of the outdoor activities, just not as epic as Kauai, IMO. You can fly direct to either island from the mainland and avoid Honolulu if you want. My next trip to Hawaii will be to Kauai for a number of hikes/kayak trips. You cannot loose either way. Try snuba, basically snorkeling with a floating tank on the surface and a hose that gets you 15'-20' down.
Aloha from Honolulu yachtzone!
As jerrycoin has mentioned, I am from Hawaii and would love to recommend my home as your vacation destination, and help you in your planning! While agree with others, Kauai, Maui and the Big Island can't be beat for their unspoiled natural beauty, and in the case of Kauai and the Big Island, the serenity, I think Oahu has more of what you're looking for.
Culturally, Oahu is THE place to be on the island. Oahu is home to the only Royal Palace in the United States, we have a multitude of museums with displays ranging from ancient Hawaiian artifacts to WWII aircraft to Naval Vessels and even the remnants of a narrow gauge class 1 railroad that still offers rides every Sunday. Oahu is also home to the state's only Chinatown, which has developed into an art and dining oriented neighborhood. There are numerous farmers markets throughout the week, including the famous Kapiolani Community College Farmers Market with its produce vendors, products vendors, dining vendors, and orchid vendors.
And while Oahu is heavily developed, we still offer great nature oriented activities. There's a lot of hiking trails to take advantage of, many of which are family friendly. Oahu is also home to dolphin encounter experiences at the Kahala Hotel (formerly the Kahala Mandarin and before that, the Kahala Hilton), the only other island with this is the Big Island on the Kona side. Of course, there's great snorkeling at Hanauma Bay, though Maui's Molokini is much better from what I hear. Depending what time of year you come, there's also whale watching cruises, or even dolphin cruises out of the west side of the island all year round I believe. The North Shore, of course, is home to some of the most famous beaches in the world, including Waimea Bay and the Banzai Pipeline. And if you're son needs a little more encouragement, though I'm not sure how exciting a 15-year-old would get about this, but Oahu is also home to Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, where you can have brunch with Mickey and his friends as they "vacation" in Hawaii.
Honolulu is the culinary capital of Hawaii, and is home to most of our celebrity chefs. Some of my favorite fine dining venues are:
More casual options that I like are:
And to help you in deciding where to stay in terms of Marriott properties, hopefully these will help:
Oh, and for some awesome Hawaii scenery:
But if you can, since you've traveled all this way, I highly recommend seeing more than 1 island:
A Guide to Hawaiian Island Hopping
Do you mind me asking what part of the country you live in as well?
Hope this information inundation helps, and if you ever have any questions, please feel free to ask. I'm always willing and ready to help. Happy planning!