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1. Strategies for Seeing Oahu

Jeanette Foster FrommerMedia ePub

Oahu may be an island, but it’s a good-sized island, and your vacation time is precious. There really is just one cardinal rule: Relax. Don’t run yourself ragged trying to see absolutely everything—take the time to experience the magic of the island. In this chapter, I offer several suggestions for making the most of your visit.

Rule #1. Go in the off-season.

Not only will you save a bundle, but there will be fewer people, you’ll get better service, the beaches will be less crowded, and you’ll be able to get into your favorite restaurants. The “off season,” September 1 to mid-December and March to June 1, is also when the weather is at its best (not too hot, not too rainy).

Rule #2. To get the best deals, do some research.

In this book, I give you my favorite picks of hotels, restaurants, activities, and airlines, but use these as a starting point. Go online and check out airfares, hotels, and package deals (airfare plus accommodations and sometimes car rental). Find out which prices are being offered before you book.

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The Savvy Traveler

Jeanette Foster FrommerMedia ePub

 

Before You Go

Government Tourist Offices

On Maui: Maui Visitors Bureau (1727 Wili Pa Loop, Wailuku, HI 96793; 800/525-MAUI [6284]; www.gohawaii.com/maui). On Lanai: Lanai Visitors Bureau (1727 Wili Pa Loop, Wailuku, Maui 96793; 800/947-4774; www.gohawaii.com/lanai).

The Best Times to Go

Most visitors don’t come to Maui when the weather’s best in the islands; rather, they come when it’s at its worst everywhere else. Thus, the high season—when prices are up and resorts are booked to capacity—generally runs from mid-December through March or mid-April. The last 2 weeks of December in particular are the prime time for travel to Maui. If you’re planning a holiday trip, make your reservations as early as possible, count on holiday crowds, and expect to pay top dollar for accommodations, car rentals, and airfare. Whale-watching season begins in December and continues through the rest of winter, sometimes lasting into April.

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6. The Great Outdoors

Jeanette Foster FrommerMedia ePub

At once forbidding and compelling, Haleakala (house of the sun) National Park is Maui’s most compelling natural attraction. More than 1.3 million people a year ascend the 10,023-foot-high (3,055m) mountain to peer into the crater of the world’s largest dormant volcano. The crater is large enough that the entire island of Manhattan would fit inside: 3,000-feet (914m) deep, 7½-miles (12km) long×2½-miles (4km) wide, and encompassing 19 square miles (49sq. km). But there’s more to do here than simply stare into a big black hole: Just going up the mountain is an experience in itself. The snaky road passes through big, puffy, cumulus clouds, climbing from sea level to 10,000 feet (3,048m) in just 37 miles (60km) to offer magnificent views of the isthmus of Maui, the West Maui Mountains, and the Pacific Ocean. START: Kahului. Trip length: 37 miles (60km); about a 2-hour drive.

 

Travel Tips

Pukalani is the last town for water, food, and gas (there are no facilities beyond the ranger stations). On the way back down, put your car in low gear so you won’t destroy your brakes on the descent.

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5. The Best Regional Tours

Jeanette Foster FrommerMedia ePub

On Oahu, don’t just stay in Waikiki—get out and see the island. Drive up through the center of Oahu to the famous North Shore. If you can afford the splurge, rent a bright, shiny convertible—the perfect car for Oahu, so you can tan as you go. Majestic sandalwood trees once stood in the central plains; the Hawaiian chiefs ordered them cut down, and now the area is covered with tract homes, malls, and factory outlets. Beyond the plains is the North Shore and Hawaii’s surf city: Haleiwa, a quaint turn-of-the-20th-century sugar-plantation town that has been designated a historic site. A collection of faded clapboard stores with a picturesque harbor, Haleiwa has evolved into a surfer outpost and major roadside attraction with art galleries, restaurants, and shops that sell hand-decorated clothing, jewelry, and sports gear. START: Waikiki. Trip Length: 95 miles (153km).

Take H-1 West to H-2 North, which becomes Hwy. 99. Turn left on Kunia Rd., then right on Lyman Rd. (through the gate), right on Flagler Rd., and left on Waianae Ave. Museum is in Bldg. 361. Bus: 42, transfer to 52, then transfer to 72.

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6. The Best Beaches

Jeanette Foster FrommerMedia ePub

Beaches Best Bets

Best for a Picnic

Ala Moana Beach Park, 1200 Ala Moana Blvd. (Go to page)

Best Place to “Shoot the Tube”

Banzai/Pipeline/Ehukai Beach Park, 59–337 Ka Nui Rd. (Go to page)

Best Snorkeling

Hanauma Bay, 7455 Koko Kalanianaole Hwy. (Go to page)

Best Place to Kayak

Kahana Bay Beach Park, 52–222 Kamehameha Hwy. (Go to page)

Best Windsurfing

Kailua Beach, 450 Kawailoa Rd. (Go to page)

Best for Kids

Ko Olina Lagoons, Aliinui Dr. (Go to page)

Best Scenic Beach Park

Kualoa Regional Park, 49–600 Kamehameha Hwy. (Go to page)

Best for Swimming

Lanikai Beach, Mokulua Dr. (Go to page)

Best for Expert Body Surfing

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