Advice for Family Vacationing in Oahu, Hawaii
Westside Mommy contributor Jonna C. recently vacationed in Oahu, Hawaii with her family. She shares her experience in the post below. She was not compensated in any way for her trip or activities. All thoughts and opinions are her own.
Let me begin by urging those of you who do not have school age children: do not go to Hawaii during high season, such as spring break, like we did! Taking your kids out of preschool should be okay, (which I never thought was okay) but hindsight is 20/20…
We stayed at the Hilton Hawaiian Village, which was great for our two kids, ages five and nine. This oceanside resort has five pools and a private lagoon. After spending time in each pool, we decided Paradise Pool was our favorite. The kids loved how warm it was compared to the other pools and really enjoyed the slides. The pool near the spa and workout room at the Kalia Tower was the quietest – probably because guests didn’t think they could use it (but they could).
The staff was very nice, helpful and seemed genuinely happy to be there – which says a lot since it was so incredibly busy. Also, the concierge staff was amazing. They totally understood when we asked for discounts, and made sure we got the most out of our trip. Do ask because there are many!
The food is very expensive in the hotel village but within walking distance are very good, normal-priced restaurants and a couple food markets. If anyone in your family has an allergy and needs to heat food in the hotel room, they will give you a microwave. Otherwise, reheating food is hard. Please note the Cheesecake Factory there is the busiest in the nation – we waited over an hour but I thought it was worth it for the price and predictability of the meal.
Swim with a dolphin
My favorite excursion was the dolphin encounter/swim at Sea Life Park. It was pricey but as a once-in-a-lifetime experience, worth it! They treat their animals well, so I never felt bad for the dolphins. The dolphins seemed to actually enjoy being there and the trainers never pushed them. Also, they have the only two wholphins (dolphin mixed w/whale) known in captivity; we were lucky to swim with one of them named Kawili Kai. The park itself has a really nice layout which makes it easy to see everything without feeling rushed.
Sidenote: I understand (from the locals) that Sea Life Park has one of the best luaus in Oahu. The one at the Hilton was a bit of a disappointment for the cost.
Snorkeling in Hanauma Bay
Another amazing day was when we went snorkeling at Hanauma Bay. We would have enjoyed doing more than once but chose to do it the day before we went home. I was so happy to have bought the Lifeproof underwater iPhone case! I highly suggest you snorkel with a tour, which includes top of the line snorkeling gear, transportation and advice. I would have been bummed to go on our own without all that!
Things to do next time
There were many other things to do that we skipped, like the North Shore but we decided to stay at the hotel more than rushing around. There are so many good reasons to go back!
Here is a webpage I found helpful. Also check out their 10 free things to do: http://www.govisithawaii.com/oahu-vacation-guide/
Do you like dolphins? If so, you should go to Sea Life Park in Oahu, Hawaii. It’s called ‘The Dolphin Encounter.’ You can kiss a dolphin and get a kiss back! You can also dance with one! This park also lets you go snorkeling in a big pool with salt water. I got to pet stingrays (Don’t worry, they won’t sting!) I got to feed exotic tropical fish that live in the same pool as the stingrays, too! They were so cute! FYI, the fish eat lettuce – who knew?!
We stayed at a REALLY nice hotel, named the Hilton Hawaiian Village. I really think you should go! It was a vacation of a lifetime, I am a lucky girl!