Planning An Oahu Visit

Waikiki Beach. That's the Royal Hawaiian Hotel in the lower left-hand corner; the Hale Koa is right next door, just out of the picture.
Waikiki Beach. That’s the Royal Hawaiian Hotel in the lower left-hand corner; the Hale Koa is right next door, just out of the picture.

One thing we haven’t done since we moved to Kaua’i last year is visit any of the other islands. We’ve all transited through the Honolulu airport on various other travels, but that’s it. The Mystery Vacation™  is coming up next March, but we have been talking for months about taking a short hop over to another island and decided early next June would be the best time to go.

But, which island to visit? Urban Oahu? Beautiful Maui? The Big Island? Rustic Molokai? We put it to a vote and Oahu came out the winner.

The trip’s purpose is three-fold: Celebrate WenYu’s hard work (YaYu’s too) and her graduation; check out a different Hawaiian location (and remind ourselves why we left city living); and, most importantly for the girls at least, do some shopping. Kauai’s shopping options are extremely limited, to say the least, and there are things we all need to restock.

As military retirees we are eligible to stay at the Hale Koa Resort on Waikiki Beach. Located right next door to the famed Royal Hawaiian Hotel and Resort, the Hale Koa offers great rooms at very affordable prices. For example, an oceanfront room for Brett’s rank is just $221/night, taxes & fees included; a regular room without a view is just $152/night (we booked an oceanfront room). The resort has great restaurants and entertainment on site, but is also located within walking distance to many other affordable dining options. And, there’s beautiful Waikiki beach as well, right out the Hale Koa’s back door. The only downside to a Hale Koa stay is that there is no shuttle service to or from the airport. We’ll either have to hire a taxi, pay for commercial shuttle service, or rent a car.

There are several flights per day both coming and going from Lihue to Honolulu, so finding a flight won’t be an issue. What will be an issue is finding a good price. We have enough miles to fly for free using Hawaiian Airlines, but are saving those miles to get the girls to and from college so will have to pay full retail price. There are no kamaaina discounts for residents, either :-(.

While we’re not normally mall shoppers, the huge Ala Moana Center is located just a short 20 minute walk away from the Hale Koa, and the Hilton Village shops are right next door. Down the road the other direction there’s even more shopping. The girls want to visit the BIG Oahu Goodwill store, but that will require either a drive or bus trip. Brett and I would like to visit the Pearl Harbor Memorial site while we’re there and see some of the other sights like the USS Missouri, but will most likely do that via a bus tour arranged through the hotel. Mainly though we all hope to relax and soak up the sun on Waikiki. One of the great things about traveling with teenagers though is that we don’t always have to be doing the same thing at the same time!

So, here we go again. Let the travel saving begin again!!

12 thoughts on “Planning An Oahu Visit

  1. We rent a small car every time we go. There are great discounts through Costco. Drive to Pearl and get a Veteran’s tour, Drive to the North Shore and enjoy the surfing contests. The Pali pass is worth a trip as is a good hike. Blow Hole is really fun as well.
    The Navy BX is the best in the system. I like Aloha mall- but the $$$$ wallet cannot take it. The is really close to the Hale Koa. There is also an amazing Asian restaurant in a shopping center not far from the HK. I think it is called the Camilla . It is upstairs from the 7/11.
    Don’t forget to rent the water trikes on the beach at the HK. And the massage at the pool—lovely!
    Next time you go back get a spot at Bellows on the other side of the island or The Navy Rec area just north of Honolulu.
    I am ready to return- can you tell????


    1. Thanks for all the tips! We’re only going for three nights though. I forgot about the PH exchange though – I know we’ll make it over there somehow, even if we don’t rent a car.


  2. I love that you have “trademarked” The Mystery Vacation … LOL! I can’t wait to see where that trip is leading – I’m thinking NYC.

    Oahu sounds like a great trip to plan as well – looking forward to hear about that as plans develop!

    And I’ll be thinking of you guys tomorrow when the scholarship winners are announced! Fingers & toes crossed!


    1. No comment still on our destination 😉! Thanks for the good wishes for WenYu – I think everything is going to turn out better than we can imagine.


  3. Jim and I are stopping over in Oahu for two days on our way to Kauai in February so we can visit the Arizona and Missouri memorials. Something I’ve always wanted to do, and never have managed to get there.


  4. Laura, e visited Oahu last year and I am pretty sure you can take the Bus to Pearl Harbour from Ala Moana. We hired a car through discount hawaii car rentals (just picked up a car for the day) and drove out and did some shopping after. We stayed at HHV and the car rental place was about a 20 min walk from there (with a slow walking 8 year old). We did a self tour around PH and was glad we did because we could take as many breaks as needed to escape the heat!


  5. There were some outlet stores near Pearl City last time I visited (8 years ago). We also LOVED participating in an outrigger canoe ride off Waikiki Beach. I think it cost $10 per person and was near the Duke restaurant.

    Have a great time!


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