Tourist Attractions in Hawaii (State of)

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Most Viewed Tourist Traps in Hawaii (State of)

  • monsterjay's Profile Photo

    Town of Lahaina-Mainland Strip mall?

    by monsterjay Updated Mar 8, 2009

    Although the town of Lahaina is beautiful in its own regard, I found much of the city to be a tourist trap as it was mirror like of your typical mainland suburb. Horrible images of McDonald's, Outback Steakhouse, Burger King, Starbucks, Foot Locker, and Office Max bunched up in pristine locations around this city.
    Strip malls everywhere and congested traffic that is just overflowed with tourists. Although traffic is always busy here, it is best to avoid driving to or out of Lahaina from the hours of 2pm to 7pm as the traffic can be at a standstill comparable to Los Angeles traffic.

    Unique Suggestions: Amidst the over commercialization however there are a few notable places that shouldn't be overlooked. Here are a few places that one should stop at on their way into Lahaina, and in the town as well:

    Fruit Stands:

    Although you will encounter many if you decide to take the 'road to Hana,' these really are worth it. The freshest fruit you will ever have and just the variety alone is enough to make you pull over. Papaya, starfruit, pineapple, pears, clementines, coconuts, and sugar cane drinks are refreshing and delicious. Support the local farmers as many live off of this trade.

    Annie's Island Shave Ice:

    Located right smack in Lahaina, this is a perfect escape to beat the heat or to just satisfy that sweet tooth. The staff is wonderful and eager to help with any questions or to urge you to try new flavors. So many different flavors and the servings are worth the price. A quick tip though is to make sure to have cash on hand as they don't take credit cards or checks.
    Address: 113 Prison Street, Lahaina, Maui.

    Fun Alternatives: So you want the true Hawaii experience? Your tired of seeing how every restaurant and bar on the island has their own version of "Best Mai Tai on Maui" and "Voted best seafood on the island."
    Your prayers have been answered.

    I'm not writing off Lahaina all together, but if you do plan on staying around here, don't miss:

    "The Feast at LeLe"

    One of the many fruit stands on the way to Lahaina Annie's Island Shave Ice-A must!! Feast at LeLe dancers Feast at LeLe Dancers
    Related to:
    • Beaches
    • Food and Dining
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons

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  • DnDRanch's Profile Photo

    Airport

    by DnDRanch Written Jun 23, 2008

    I was on my way to Australia when we stopped over in Hawaii. Unfortunately, we didn't have time to visit. I thought the short layover would be nice here BUT the doors to the airport we left open the whole time making it miserably hot and humid! Was NOT a great condition to get on a 15 hour flight after waiting!

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  • Paradise Cove Luau and the "Orientation Breakfast"

    by 8Novels Updated Nov 22, 2007

    That free orientation breakfast cost us TIME and that is the stuff vacations are made of. They basically lock the doors and hard-sell you tours and luaus and crapola. I tried to get out of my chair to use the ladies' room and the salesman actually blocked my chair so I couldn't get out. We stupidly ended up buying tickets to the Paradise Cove Luau -- we had seen a promo for it on our hotel's "Hawaii Channel" and thought it looked good. What a mistake!! We were looking forward to the bus trip because we hadn't rented a car and this would be a chance to see a little more of the island. But they "entertain" you the whole way, with the kind of interactive, put-the-tourist-on-the-spot entertainment that doesn't allow you a minute's peace. My husband is shy and hated being forced to sing, shout ALOOOOOHA, etc. The luau itself was a nightmare. It starts with an hour or so of wandering around the site while people in booths teach lei-making and all kinds of stuff ... well, that might be nice except that kids are the only ones who get to do any of it. All the children crowd to the front and get to do the activity, and you are left standing at the back behind all the doting parents, who block your view with their video cameras. Eventually they line you up and herd you through a tent where you load up your plate, pot-luck style, with mediocre food. You are piling this stuff on a plastic plate, folks -- and you are about to sit on a plastic chair at a long, metal table with a bunch of strangers and eat off your plastic plate with plastic utensils while kleig lights shine down on you. The lights attract swarms of insects. I was the most popular girl around ... because I had brought a can of bug spray. Miserable? I guess SO. My poor husband turned to me halfway through the meal, sweat pouring down his face, bugs flying around his head, and wanted to know if we were having fun yet.

    What a disappointment. It was the "lowlight" of our trip.

    Unique Suggestions: Nobody has to do the orientation breakfast. Don't fall for it. Skip it. I guess there is no such thing as a "free" breakfast.

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  • sasch's Profile Photo

    Polynesian Cultural Center

    by sasch Updated Sep 17, 2007

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Probably it is the #1attraction on O`hau for tourists , but in my mind it is absolutely not worth to go there as it is sooo expensive and 2nd it is really boring.

    the good thing is, PCC has 1,400 employees. PCC is about people and learning their cultures.
    so its up to you!

    For more information please visit
    http://www.polynesia.com//

    Related to:
    • Seniors
    • Theme Park Trips
    • Family Travel

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  • Maui - Lahaina Luau's Are Just A Tourist Trap!

    by kcbrit Written Sep 1, 2007

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    We were unable to get into the Old Lahaina Luau which is highly recommended by locals so we went to the Royal Hawaiian instead. It was an insult to our senses and wallet. the cost was $60 a piece for crappy food from a buffet which had a large rat that ran across the beam over the buffet bar. The drinks were disgusting and we were crammed into an area school canteen style at tables with barely enough room to bend your elbows.

    Unique Suggestions: Go to the Old Lahaina if you have to go to a Luau. they also do a breakfast program which I also hear is quite good. If you want to see hula dancers and fore dancers go to a show specially for that reason.

    Fun Alternatives: Old Lahaina Luau is suppposed to be good but I didn't go so I can't back up that info.

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  • joiwatani's Profile Photo

    Don't rent a car from Enterprise!

    by joiwatani Updated Jul 21, 2007

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    It's not that I am against renting their cars. No! No! No! They have good service! And, their daily price is very reasonable. The thing is, once you get out from the airport baggage claim, their rental car office should be right there! But, no! You have to get out from the baggage claim and wait for their pick-up van to bring you to their office! (We wasted probably two hours from waiting the van and from checking out of our car rental). So, next time, I told my husband, we will just rent from other car rental companies which have offices at the Aloha International Airport.

    Unique Suggestions: Rent from other car rental companies that have offices at the luggage claim section of the Aloha International Airport! At least, you can register and check out your car while waiting for your luggages!

    Fun Alternatives: 1. Rent from Avis. Their office is at the luggage claim! Also, rent from National. The thing is I haven't rented from them so I can't tell you how reasonable their prices are. But, I know for sure, that their offices are inside the Aloha Airport.

    2. Bring a car seat or at least check with the rental companies if they have one. If you have small children below five years old, you will definitely need a car seat! (That is what we forgot!) So, we have to call our relative to bring us a car seat! Ask the rental companies if they have children's car seats available and how much it cost.

    The Aloha International Airport
    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Budget Travel

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  • H-TownJourneyman's Profile Photo

    Hilo Hattie

    by H-TownJourneyman Written Feb 11, 2006

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Hilo Hattie is billed as "The Store of Hawaii". Well, that may be, but is is most assuredly the "Overpriced, Tourist Trap Store of Hawaii" as well! The chain has stores all throughout the islands, as well as some stores on the mainland U.S. And to be honest, they do have some decent items for sale. But everything in these stores is way more expensive than other retail shops on the islands. I can't argue with their marketing campaigns and promotional ploys to get people in their stores, it seems to work. Many hotels in Hawaii have "discount" coupons to take to the stores, but they are to the affect of "Buy $100 worth of stuff, get a free t-shirt" sort of thing. Most of the discounts offered initially require a purchase of some sort. Nice store, heck of a price!

    Unique Suggestions: If you do plan on buying items from Hilo Hattie, I would suggest sticking to smaller items, small souvenirs and such. Stay away from the clothing and big items, unless it is just something you must have. This is just simply to save a little cash.

    Fun Alternatives: There are endless numbers of retail stores on all of the islands that have an excellent selection of items for sale, i.e. clothing, souvenirs, etc., and for a much better price. Whichever respective island you may be visiting, just ask around, or look around for some better alternatives. Your wallet will thank you!

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  • Snorkeling trips by boat. Ask this question first

    by Vegasniceguy Written Dec 29, 2005

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    We went on the Lahaina Princess for a 6 hour+ snorkel to Molokini Crater and Turtle Reef. Told to get there at 7:30, didn't take off until 8:20.

    Lahaina Princess not a very good boat, lot of diesel smoke from the engine, not good if you are at the back of the boat. Boat was old, 1979, not real clean and not that well maintained. $85 before tax.

    Twenty minutes into trip to the Crater, the Captain announces there are box jelly fish there, he has called other boats that have already visited there. He says we are going to Turtle Reef first and then will decide what to do for the rest of the trip.

    Turtle Reef was nice. However, it is very accessible from the beach. No need to pay $85 to be taken here. Molokini you can only get to by boat. There were some turtles there, nice coral, and an okay amount of fish. Nothing else special, but a nice place to go to.

    We stayed there an hour, then went whale watching the rest of the day. I felt cheated as I paid to snorkel. I was going on a whale watch later that afternoon. I found it hard to believe they did not know there were jellyfish at Molokini before we took off.

    The Island Marine company, which operates the Princess cruises, refused to make any adjustment to my charge card. I was very disappointed.

    Unique Suggestions: Look at the boat first if you can. The Lahaina Princess's engines smoked and was not in very good shape.

    Ask if the boat operator if they have checked on conditions at the Molokini Crater BEFORE you take off. I am convinced that the Lahaina Princess operator KNEW there were jellyfish at the Crater before we left.

    Fun Alternatives: Go to Boss Frogs or better yet, the Maui Dive Shop at Whaler's Village, for a free map of good snorkeling sites. Go rent a dry snorkel, nice mask, and fins from Boss Frogs for $25 for the week. (or snorkel Bob's)

    If you really want to go the Molokini Crater, check with Boss Frog's. Don't pay huge bucks for overpriced tours there. The Westin wanted to charge $118 for a tour to Molokini. Huge price variance for the same trip.

    Also, we went whale watching on the Gemini catamaran. It was very nice, a good type of boat to whale watch from, not an overcrowded dirty Lahaina Princess boat that is not very well configured for whale watching. (plus way too many people to try and look over or around)

    Go to Mile Marker 14 or Black Rock for FREE snorkeling, places you can get to without a boat.

    Related to:
    • Diving and Snorkeling

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  • sarsparilla's Profile Photo

    Ala Moana shopping centre

    by sarsparilla Updated Aug 14, 2005

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    It's like a swift version of hell.

    Unique Suggestions: Go into the food court. Venture further in. Realise it's HUGE. Look at row upon row of Soylent Green pre-materials.

    Fun Alternatives: Catch the round island bus services instead - 52 or 55 from Kona, behind the Ala Moana shopping centre, and leap off whenever you see a cute shop, like those at Hale'iwa.

    Or: dodge the crowds and dive into the Crack Seed Centre to get some bubble/pearl tapioca tea -ask for a low sugar version, though, if you value your teeth. The pearls are huge black bubbles that you suck up through an extra thick straw. I can't say they're tasty, but they're unusual.

    Another alternative is to grab a tray of fresh pineapple slice and head out with it towards the ocean, and wander around the pretty jogger's beach at Magic Island - a little calmer than Waikiki.

    Shoppers at Ala Moana
    Related to:
    • Backpacking
    • Budget Travel

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  • 75Roman's Profile Photo

    Don't expect to find topless wahine...

    by 75Roman Written Feb 22, 2005

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Don't trust all the advertisement you'll see with unspoiled white beach and topless wahine by the water.You may have a chance to find that in French polynesia...on a postcard
    maybe...ah!ah!ah!

    Unique Suggestions: Cocktails will help you spend the day in front of the hotel between German women,who knows after few drinks your dreams may come true...!
    PS: I love german women too!

    Fun Alternatives: Go naked on the beach others may follow...

    Related to:
    • Singles
    • Seniors
    • Cruise

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  • travelteacher's Profile Photo

    All of Waikiki

    by travelteacher Updated Jan 23, 2005

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Everything in the Waikiki area is overpriced for the tourists!!!!!!

    Unique Suggestions: Go to the Duty Free Shops on the corner of Royal Hawaiian and Kalakaua. Everyone is allowed to shop tax-free on the first level. There are also some good deals to be had at the ABC Stores (there's one about every 50 yards).

    Fun Alternatives: Better deals will be found at the Aloha Stadium Swap Meet. (See "Off the Beaten Path".)

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  • SethNess's Profile Photo

    Sea Walker: trudging & convex helmet

    by SethNess Written Sep 2, 2004

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    "Sea Walker" looks good on paper. It's an alternative to traditional introductory SCUBA diving. You put a big fishbowl helmet on your head, and walk on the sea floor like an old-fashioned sponge diver.

    The down-side is, 1) the helmet is mostly convex, so everything looks faaar away. 2) you go down with alot of people and kick up the bottom sediment, so it's hard to see through the murk you create, and 3) typically it's alot shorter than a scuba or snuba dive.

    Plus, let's face it-- walking with a heavy helmet is no substiture for swimming. Swimming's effortless & dreamy, like flying in a dream. Seawalker is... like the last mile of a 10-mile hike.

    Unique Suggestions: Buy a Fuji quicksnap snorkelling camera (disposable, 27 pictures, $10) at a convenience store or supermarket before you go. This way, you won't be tempted to buy the photos they sell for $10~15, and will deliver to your hotel.

    DO NOT buy the Kodak snorkelling camera. Both the fuji and the kodak boxes "say" they're good to about 7 ~ 15 feet, but the Fuji's actually good to about twice or 3x that depth.

    Fun Alternatives: SNUBA at Hanauma Bay, or at any other place that's got clear water & starts off in shallow water where you can stand up.

    (Snuba is LIKE scuba, but has a canoe above you, with a scuba tank in it. And, the scuba gear is stripped down to its simplest components, and kids age 8&up can do it.)

    Or, do snorkelling/scuba at Hanauma Bay/Molokini crater.

    Or, do the stingray-petting or dolphin-petting experience at Sea Life Park on O'ahu island.

    clustered, trudging, packed in like cattle
    Related to:
    • Water Sports
    • Beaches
    • Diving and Snorkeling

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  • SethNess's Profile Photo

    Sea Walker: trudging & convex helmet

    by SethNess Written Sep 2, 2004

    "Sea Walker" looks good on paper. It's an alternative to traditional introductory SCUBA diving. You put a big fishbowl helmet on your head, and walk on the sea floor like an old-fashioned sponge diver.

    The down-side is, 1) the helmet is mostly convex, so everything looks faaar away. 2) you go down with alot of people and kick up the bottom sediment, so it's hard to see through the murk you create, and 3) typically it's alot shorter than a scuba or snuba dive.

    Unique Suggestions: Buy a Fuji quicksnap snorkelling camera (disposable, 27 pictures, $10) at a convenience store or supermarket before you go. This way, you won't be tempted to buy the photos they sell for $10~15, and will deliver to your hotel.

    DO NOT buy the Kodak snorkelling camera. Both the fuji and the kodak boxes "say" they're good to about 7 ~ 15 feet, but the Fuji's actually good to about twice or 3x that depth.

    Fun Alternatives: SNUBA at Hanauma Bay, or at any other place that's got clear water & starts off in shallow water where you can stand up.

    (Snuba is LIKE scuba, but has a canoe above you, with a scuba tank in it. And, the scuba gear is stripped down to its simplest components, and kids age 8&up can do it.)

    Or, do snorkelling/scuba at Hanauma Bay/Molokini crater.

    Or, do the stingray-petting or dolphin-petting experience at Sea Life Park on O'ahu island.

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  • SethNess's Profile Photo

    Intro SCUBA near Sea Life Park, north-east Oahu

    by SethNess Written Sep 1, 2004

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    If you're considering trying introductory SCUBA diving, GREAT-- there's lots of good sites in Hawaii. However, be aware that many spots are chosen for their utter SAFETY, rather than their beauty. One such trouist trap is the spot on the northern side of Oahu's eastern tip, in the space between Sea Life Park and the research pier (near Waimanalo). It's shallow and without current, so it's utterly safe... but the visibility is less than 10', the bottom's murky silt, easily stirred up into a wall of murk. There's nothing to see other than a few thumbnail-sized fish hugging a couple of coral heads.

    Unique Suggestions: Avoid touching the bottom, or stirring the bottom with your fins as you swim. Look out for lionfish, which're pretty and slow-moving but have a truly painful contact poison that's been compared to having your hand over a lit candle for a week.

    Bring a Fuji Quicksnap snorkelling camera. The box says "good only to 15 feet/5 meters", but it's actually good to about double that (for shooting & winding the film forward) or 45' / 15 meters for taking a single shot... then go shallow to wind the film forward.

    Focal length is abotu a yard to about 3 yards. Photos will be SHADES OF BLUE, but satisfying.

    Don't get the Kodak snorkelling camera. The little red shutter push-button gets pushed by water-pressure, making this camera useless at more than 10 feet under water.

    If you don't mind the obvious environmental concern, consider bringing a packet of hot-dogs to mash & feed to the fish. If the fish are used to it, they'll come close and eat from your hand. If they're not used to it, they'll ignore it.

    Fun Alternatives: If your scuba shop suggests this place, say NO, NO, NO. Instead, ask for Hanauma Bay (will cost more, but totally worth it) or Shark's Cove (not during big wave season, oct~may) or Rainbow Reef/Magic Island, or Electic Beach. Hanauma Bay is closed on Tuesdays, and is more expensive, but an effortless, VERY satisfying intro dive. Rainbow Reef and Electric Beach are more challenging dives, at the high end of difficulty for an introductory SCUBA, but VERY VERY pretty, with a fair chance of seeing turtles.

    If they suggest boat diving near Port Lock, make SURE that you're not going to "Jan's Spot", which is at least as boring.

    If you're invited to go to Turtle Alley (or anything with "turtle" in the name), it'll be a somewhat challenging intro dive from a boat. Definitely get a beach- or pool-lesson BEFORE you go, because the lessons done in deep water from a boat can be... stressful & frightening for beginners. Practice SCUBA in a place where you can stand up in the water, BEFORE doing a boat dive.

    The Port Lock "intro beach dive" is a bit challenging, but moderately satisfying.

    Consider doing SNUBA instead of SCUBA, if at all possible (for intro divers only...it's far easier and less stressful).

    Avoid "sea walker" like the plague....it's a helmeted march on the sea-bottom, short, and unpleasant. The helmet's shaped so everything looks far away, and you don't get nearly as much fun out of it as with SNUBA/SCUBA.

    Related to:
    • Beaches
    • Water Sports
    • Diving and Snorkeling

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  • hamamatsujoe's Profile Photo

    DON'T SHOP IN WAIKIKI!

    by hamamatsujoe Updated May 27, 2004

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Everything is expensive in Waikiki--it's a tourist trap! The locals don't and won't usually shop here unless we're forced to. Walk around, enjoy the beautiful weather and sights, but--again--DO NOT SHOP HERE! (I cannot stress this enough.)

    Unique Suggestions: If you *really* need to shop in Waikiki, then the DFS store is the place to shop at. This place is very reasonable. Everyone is allowed to shop on the first two floors; however, the third floor is accessible only to International travellers. (You need to show your flight ticket.) They have a lot of good souvenirs.

    If you're looking for fast-food, then go to the Jack-In-The-Box restaurant near the Hyatt Regency. This is the only fast-food restaurant in Waikiki that doesn't jack up their prices for the tourists (i.e., the price here is the same as it is as the other JitB restaurants around the island.) The Waikiki McDonalds and Burger King on the other hand...

    Finally, realize that *many* of the restaurants in Waikiki AUTOMATICALLY INCLUDE A 15-20% TIP in a customer's bill!! I once took a VIP friend out and ate at a Chinese restaurant in Waikiki (which I won't name). The waiter presented me the bill; I was paying via credit card so I filled it out, including a 20% tip. The bastard waiter never even mentioned that the tip was already included to me! Only after I left and returned home did I look over the receipt and saw that the scumbag received a double-tip (40%)! I called the restaurant the next day but was told that there was nothing they could do. They did have signs explaining the already-included tip, BUT THE SIGNS WERE WRITTEN IN JAPANESE!

    Fun Alternatives: The best places to do your shopping is at Ala Moana, Waikele Outlet, Pearl Ridge, Windward Mall, and the Ward Warehouse and Center. For souvenirs, Long's Drugs stores are a great place to shop. You can get all the Hawaiian macadamia nuts, chocolates, and Kona coffees you need at an inexpensive price at Long's. A lot of locals shop at Long's for their everyday needs.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Budget Travel
    • Business Travel

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Hawaii (State of) Hotels

Top Hawaii (State of) Hotels

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Hawaii (State of) Tourist Traps

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