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A perfect first-time Hawaii itinerary

Honeymooning in Hawaii was my first experience with the beautiful islands, and I’ve been back several times since then. I love Hawaii for so many reasons. I love Hawaii because it’s such an incredible, beautiful part of our world that’s in the U.S.! No passport, no going through customs, just fly there. I love Hawaii because the islands are so diverse. As many times as I’ve been there, I’ve experienced different activities, restaurants, and sights. Hawaii is ready to welcome visitors back.

I put together a trip like this for some clients, and they loved it. Since this is completely built from the ground up, everything is able to be modified to fit your personality, travel style, budget, and wishes. You can change whatever you want, or keep it virtually the same.

This trip would be a great one if it’s your first experience with Hawaii: start off in Honolulu with a visit to Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona, then visit the North Shore and the Polynesian Cultural Center, followed by a flight to Maui, where you spend the next six days relaxing and exploring that incredible island.

Amazing Hawaii vacation (Oahu and Maui)

Day 1: Arrive in Oahu. Pick up your rental car and drive to your hotel.

Stay 1 night at the Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton. The Hampton Inn & Suites is situated within the Ka Makana Ali’i shopping center. More than 150 shops, restaurants and entertainment options are located in the center. Popular attractions nearby include Ko Olina Beach, Pearl Harbor and the University of Hawaii.

You’ll enjoy daily hot breakfast, coffee & tea service in the lobby, local weekday newspaper, fitness center, and an indoor/outdoor swimming pool.

Day 2: Today you can visit Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona. Explore Honolulu.

Day 3: Drive to Oahu’s North Shore and stay 2 nights at the Turtle Bay Resort in an ocean view room.

With almost five miles of beachfront and one of the most mesmerizing settings in the Hawaiian Islands, Turtle Bay Resort is the perfect place to take in the azure splendor of Kawela Bay, Turtle Bay and the windward view of the South Pacific. National Geographic has just described the North Shore as being 'one of the wonders of the world – one of the planet’s most awesome places.' Spectacular ocean views are on display from every one of the rooms, suites, and cottages here.

Day 4: Today you will visit the Polynesian Cultural Center with the Ambasador Luau Package included.

Your visit includes an immersive cultural experience in 6 island villages, a kukui nut lei upon arrival, Go Native activities in each island village, canoe rides, a small group guided tour, the “Hawaiian Journey” cinematic experience, the Laie & temple visitors center tour, a free re-admission pass to the island villages, the Alii Luau buffet with live entertainment, and Ambassador-level seating at the “Ha: Breath of Life” evening show.

Day 5: Day 2 of Polynesian Cultural Center to finish up anything you didn’t do the first day. It’s also fun to drive along the beaches of the North Shore and watch the surfers.

Day 6: Drive to the Honolulu Airport, drop off your rental car, and fly to Maui. Pick up your rental car and drive to your hotel.

Stay 6 nights at the Westin Maui Resort & Spa in an ocean view room. Situated along legendary Ka’anapali Beach, the resort abounds with ways to rejuvenate, including the 87,000 square-foot aquatic playground, world-class restaurants, cultured entertainment and thrilling activities. Shopping at neighboring Whalers Village and championship golf are just steps away. The resort includes comforts such as Westin’s Heavenly Bed, uplifting renewal at the Heavenly Spa by Westin, and healthy and delicious dining with oceanfront settings.

Your hotel stay includes a $150 hotel credit and breakfast for two daily.

Day 7: Relax at the hotel, enjoying the pools, beach, restaurants, and shops.

Day 8: Do a Zipline Canopy Tour.

Harness up and zip from tree to tree. Soar through the canopy of giant eucalyptus trees while enjoying seven different zipline runs entwined with multiple aerial deck transfers, tree-to-tree suspension bridges, and unsurpassed views of the Pacific Ocean and Maui's verdant North Shore. Imagine your thrill as you reach heights of 70 feet, with speeds to 40 mph, on ziplines up to 900' long! Fast, fun and exhilarating, the Zipline Canopy Tour was designed to thrill first time zippers, as well as the most experienced zipline enthusiasts.

Day 9: Enjoy the day at leisure: more beaches, pools, and shopping. This evening, take the Alii Nui’s Royal Sunset Sail. Set sail and chase the sun as it sinks into the distant horizon on the Pacific Ocean. Enjoy dining in the comfort of the cabin or top-side on the spacious deck. The buffet dinner includes:

• Herb Crusted, Slow Roasted Black Angus Prime Rib Roast • Kiawe Smoked Baby Back Ribs • Grilled Chicken with Lemon Caper Butter Sauce • Tortellini with Pesto Sauce and Assorted Vegetables • Cajun Seared Ahi Sashimi • Crab Cakes with Herb Aioli • Roasted Rosemary Potatoes • Caesar Salad • Hawaiian Sweet Rolls • Pineapple Coconut Cake • Chocolate Covered Strawberries with fresh whipped cream • Tedeschi Winery Raspberry Dessert Wine • Kona Coffee or Tea

Day 10: You can’t visit Maui without doing the Road to Hana!

Jungles of bamboo, ginger, and ‘ohia frame the ancient road, while waterfalls surge from the cliffs in spectacular shows of nature. You’ll see remarkable bridges, beautiful beaches, and vistas so striking they seem unreal. Plan to make this a whole day experience. Stop and take mini-hikes to waterfalls and pools. Explore the southern shores of the island. This is an amazing trip you won’t soon forget!

Day 11: Snorkel day.

This three hour excursion begins at 1:00pm with the destination of the famous Turtle Point. This area has the second longest continuous reef on Maui and has a population of Hawaiian Honu (green sea turtles). You’ll see many other beautiful types of fish as well!

Day 12: Haleakela Crater at Sunrise.

Haleakala is the largest dormant volcano on the planet. You will be taken to an elevation of 10,023 feet above sea level for an incredible sunrise. From the base to the top of the mount is a 38-mile ascent. You soon understand why this sunrise adventure is limited each day by the National Park Service, everyone wants to see it from here! An experienced guide will provide a narrated history of Haleakala National Park that includes flora, fauna and the cultural significance of the area. Your excursion includes transportation from your hotel, a guide, continental breakfast prior to sunrise and full sit-down breakfast at historic Kula Lodge afterwards, and National Park entrance fees. Cold weather wear is also provided, since Haleakala s temperatures at the summit are usually 30 degrees colder than at sea level.

Since you have a late flight this evening, you’ll have most of the afternoon to revisit your favorite island sites, buy souvenirs, and eat at your favorite restaurants. Return your rental car this evening and catch your redeye flight home.


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