I was there for 5 nights and 5 days seeing 2 islands (Big Island - 2 days and Maui 3 days). I researched for about 2 months to decide what my itinerary.


You can do from nothing to everything in Hawaii... Depending on what the interests are, here are my suggestions:


For Adventerous:


  1. Big Island Volcano National Park, Do not miss the crater and the Lava Road at the end of the "Trail of Destruction"
  2. Big Island South Pointe: The real southern most point in USA (Ka Lea). Drive is pretty good except for the last 15 miles when it becomes pretty bumpy.
  3. Big Island: Saddle Road drive - between the Mauna Lea and Mauna Kea mountains - bit *scary* at night , otherwise its awesome
  4. Maui: Haleakela crater tour (Sunrise early morning at about 10000 ft)


Avoid: Big Island Downtown: Nothing in it. I wasted an evening there.


Big Island Recommended stays: Hilo (nearer to Volcano) or Kona (fantastic beaches).


For Sight seeing:


  1. Big Island: Akaka Waterfalls
  2. If interested in flora, Big Island Botanical Gardens is good.
  3. Maui: All Maui tour is good, Seven WaterFalls?, City of Hana etc. Maui is just full of waterfalls everytime it rains.
  4. Helicopter ride in Maui is okay, but bit expensive
  5. All beaches in Maui are good.
  6. Sunset Boat Ride is worth it.


If you are taking tours, check a few of them, what their iteneraries are.. Some of them are in a real hurry. I got the Roberts tour, they were decent. I dont know how it is going with kids... you get more time while driving yourself, but have less time to admire the beauty.


For Shopping:


  1. Maui Lahaina is good.


Recommended stays: Anywhere near the Kaanapali area is good. Maui is really really recommended visit.


Beaches: Oahu's Waikiki is good. Problem with Oahu is its too developed near Honolulu areas. The real Hawaii is in Maui and Kauai. Kauai is pretty secluded and you can have a great relaxing time there. There is also a Sanmarga Iraivan Hindu Temple in Kauai.


Other than that you always have surfing, parachuting in several beaches.


There is a Discount card somewhere I bought for $30. This gives upto 15-20% discount in almost everything you buy in hawaii (including tours, shopping center etc). I saved over a $100 with this card. I have to check, dont remember where i got it.


Havent been to Kauai... next time.