Trip Reports

chugg21

Gritty, High IQ, Scrappy, Gym Rat, Lunch Pail Guy
Joined
Apr 3, 2013
Messages
2,650
Like
3,369
Just got back from Iceland.

Was my 2nd time, 1st being about 10 years ago before it became swamped with tourists from all of the WOW and Icelandair deals along the east coast. Being in my early 20s and not married created memories that made me always tell everyone that Iceland was the best place that I've ever been. I can confirm after this trip that it is still the most unique and beautiful place in the world landscape wise but it is no longer a place that I would consider my favorite place in the world. Now in my mid-30s and married, my wife and I went since I had been telling her about it since the night we met, but it just wasn't what I remembered, mainly because I'm not looking to be out until 5am at clubs with Icelandic women these days.

We took one of the WOW flights which is basically the same as Spirit or Frontier. Grabbed a couple flights during a big sale they were having and it was ridiculously cheap, something like $600 total for both of us round trip plus a bag each way. You get what you pay for in terms of comfort but I can make due on a red eye for 6 hours. We stayed in Reykivaik for the 1st 3 nights at an Airbnb that was walkable to everything downtown. Somewhere along these years my brain forgot just how expensive the country is, I recalled it being expensive but not that it was the most expensive country in the world which it most definitely is. We went to Mikkeller one night and it was $36 for 2 pints and it wasn't like we picked out any crazy barrel aged imperial stout, that was just for their standard IPAs. Any sit down restaurant is going to run you approx $25 for a basic entree like a cheeseburger or a salad and then $12 for a pint or a glass of wine. The cuisine isn't special in any way either. I would much prefer a taco stand anywhere in Mexico for a dollar over these basic meals that we were paying $80 for. I guess you just have to understand that coming in. The best place to eat in my opinion is at the famous hot dog stand that Bill Clinton ate at. It's $4.50 for a hot dog but paying $9 for 2 seems like the deal of the century while you are there. I would highly recommend not being a moron and buying a beer at the convenience store as I paid $5 for a beer that looked exactly like a regular Carlsberg but it was a 2% version since they can only sell real beers at the govt controlled store. That was stupid. One of the days we did all of the typical tourist stuff in the Golden Circle. It really is worthwhile to just get out and explore the landscape, there is nothing like it in the world.

After those first few days, we drove to a fishing village up in the Westfjords called Ísafjörður. The drive was about 6 hours of stunning landscapes. It started to become boring seeing so many waterfalls flowing over mountains down into the sea. The village itself is really small and walkable. There are only about 9 restaurants in the whole village so the 1st night when we tried to get a table at the nicest restaurant we got laughed at by another customer. It was Tuesday at like 7pm, didn't think reservations would be necessary but I was wrong. Walked over to the beer store one day and the selection is obviously small but they had a craft section of Icelandic beers with maybe a dozen or so selections. I was absolutely stunned to see that one of them was an IPA collaboration between an Icelandic brewery and Cigar City Brewing down here in Tampa. I literally live on the same street as Cigar City and to find a collab that they did while in a small Icelandic village in the middle of nowhere was incredible. Loaded up my backpack with said beers and took a boat tour out to an island one of the days to see the puffin. Pretty sure the puffin are just a marketing ploy in some fashion. They are really small and it was pretty underwhelming. Filling up the tank of the little car was another experience. Gas is apparently $8+ a gallon there so it cost me $92 to fill the tank of our little compact car on the way back. Starting to think that their Gov't is subsidizing these low cost airlines to get people into the country and then they just take all of your money once you get there.

Overall it was a decent trip, wasn't as glorious as I had remembered from my youthful days. My wife was very happy that she got to see how beautiful it was but we don't plan on ever going back. It's just so incredibly expensive that it is shocking at first. Even buying a bottle of Bulleit or any bourbon is at least $75. And it's kind of a reasonable purchase considering that is about the same cost as 4 or 5 drinks out. I would recommend going once just to see it but definitely just pretend that your $500 flight cost $1000 and then when you look at your credit card statement afterwards, you won't feel as bad.
 

Conrad13

Starter
Joined
Mar 12, 2013
Messages
1,391
Like
4,389
After dropping our kids off at camp in central Michigan my wife and I drove north to explore. We started in Traverse City for a couple of nights. The town was pretty with lots of rivers and inlets with nice houses lining the water. There was a sandy beach right downtown and a great running path that I put some miles on. We spent a day at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Sea Shore, which was spectacular. The dunes were enormous and the water was Caribbean blue and great for swimming. We especially liked the town of Glen Arbor, which was on beautiful Glen Lake, right off of Lake Michigan. We couldn't get over the aqua color of the water. On our last day in Traverse City we headed up to the lighthouse at Mission Point. The lighthouse was nice but really an excuse to drive up the peninsula, which was full of wineries and beautiful views of the bays on either side of the peninsula.
We then drove north along the Lake Michigan coast. The drive took us through some upscale resorty towns like Charlevoix and Bay Harbor. They were impressive to look at, but a bit too fancy for our taste. We then drove to St. Ignace on the Upper Peninsula to catch the ferry to Mackinac Island. We could have taken the closer ferry out of Mackinaw City but someone wanted to drive over the big bridge and be able to say they've been to the Upper Peninsula (OK, it was me).
Mackinac Island is really something. The ferry system is super slick. You give them your bags at your departure dock and they take them all the way to your hotel room for you. Admittedly our first impression wasn't great because the main drag is very crowded, but once you get off of the one main street, with the fudge shops and t-shirt stores, it is wonderful there. The island is a walker's dream. I just loved being in a place with no cars. There was every sort of path there, ranging from paved roads to rugged trails, and every one them led to something cool, like an old battle field, or an observation tower, or a natural arch. We rented bikes and took the road around the island (8.2 flat, easy miles) and I ran around as much of the island as I could. The Pink Pony is one of the more famous restaurants on the water there. Their house beer was perfect for a sunny day and the whitefish I had for dinner was outstanding.
Michigan is a hidden gem of a state. It's a little like Florida, where the coast is awesome and the interior is flat and a little rednecky, aside from a few nice smaller lakes. We definitely have some more exploring to do up there. It was a great trip. The weather was perfect every day.
 

chugg21

Gritty, High IQ, Scrappy, Gym Rat, Lunch Pail Guy
Joined
Apr 3, 2013
Messages
2,650
Like
3,369
After dropping our kids off at camp in central Michigan my wife and I drove north to explore. We started in Traverse City for a couple of nights. The town was pretty with lots of rivers and inlets with nice houses lining the water. There was a sandy beach right downtown and a great running path that I put some miles on. We spent a day at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Sea Shore, which was spectacular. The dunes were enormous and the water was Caribbean blue and great for swimming. We especially liked the town of Glen Arbor, which was on beautiful Glen Lake, right off of Lake Michigan. We couldn't get over the aqua color of the water. On our last day in Traverse City we headed up to the lighthouse at Mission Point. The lighthouse was nice but really an excuse to drive up the peninsula, which was full of wineries and beautiful views of the bays on either side of the peninsula.
We then drove north along the Lake Michigan coast. The drive took us through some upscale resorty towns like Charlevoix and Bay Harbor. They were impressive to look at, but a bit too fancy for our taste. We then drove to St. Ignace on the Upper Peninsula to catch the ferry to Mackinac Island. We could have taken the closer ferry out of Mackinaw City but someone wanted to drive over the big bridge and be able to say they've been to the Upper Peninsula (OK, it was me).
Mackinac Island is really something. The ferry system is super slick. You give them your bags at your departure dock and they take them all the way to your hotel room for you. Admittedly our first impression wasn't great because the main drag is very crowded, but once you get off of the one main street, with the fudge shops and t-shirt stores, it is wonderful there. The island is a walker's dream. I just loved being in a place with no cars. There was every sort of path there, ranging from paved roads to rugged trails, and every one them led to something cool, like an old battle field, or an observation tower, or a natural arch. We rented bikes and took the road around the island (8.2 flat, easy miles) and I ran around as much of the island as I could. The Pink Pony is one of the more famous restaurants on the water there. Their house beer was perfect for a sunny day and the whitefish I had for dinner was outstanding.
Michigan is a hidden gem of a state. It's a little like Florida, where the coast is awesome and the interior is flat and a little rednecky, aside from a few nice smaller lakes. We definitely have some more exploring to do up there. It was a great trip. The weather was perfect every day.
Assume that Glen is married to Ann?
 

cliftonparksufan

Iggy Award Magistrate
Joined
Aug 14, 2011
Messages
10,092
Like
13,691
After dropping our kids off at camp in central Michigan my wife and I drove north to explore. We started in Traverse City for a couple of nights. The town was pretty with lots of rivers and inlets with nice houses lining the water. There was a sandy beach right downtown and a great running path that I put some miles on. We spent a day at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Sea Shore, which was spectacular. The dunes were enormous and the water was Caribbean blue and great for swimming. We especially liked the town of Glen Arbor, which was on beautiful Glen Lake, right off of Lake Michigan. We couldn't get over the aqua color of the water. On our last day in Traverse City we headed up to the lighthouse at Mission Point. The lighthouse was nice but really an excuse to drive up the peninsula, which was full of wineries and beautiful views of the bays on either side of the peninsula.
We then drove north along the Lake Michigan coast. The drive took us through some upscale resorty towns like Charlevoix and Bay Harbor. They were impressive to look at, but a bit too fancy for our taste. We then drove to St. Ignace on the Upper Peninsula to catch the ferry to Mackinac Island. We could have taken the closer ferry out of Mackinaw City but someone wanted to drive over the big bridge and be able to say they've been to the Upper Peninsula (OK, it was me).
Mackinac Island is really something. The ferry system is super slick. You give them your bags at your departure dock and they take them all the way to your hotel room for you. Admittedly our first impression wasn't great because the main drag is very crowded, but once you get off of the one main street, with the fudge shops and t-shirt stores, it is wonderful there. The island is a walker's dream. I just loved being in a place with no cars. There was every sort of path there, ranging from paved roads to rugged trails, and every one them led to something cool, like an old battle field, or an observation tower, or a natural arch. We rented bikes and took the road around the island (8.2 flat, easy miles) and I ran around as much of the island as I could. The Pink Pony is one of the more famous restaurants on the water there. Their house beer was perfect for a sunny day and the whitefish I had for dinner was outstanding.
Michigan is a hidden gem of a state. It's a little like Florida, where the coast is awesome and the interior is flat and a little rednecky, aside from a few nice smaller lakes. We definitely have some more exploring to do up there. It was a great trip. The weather was perfect every day.
It took me four days to hitchhike from Saginaw...
 

NKR1978

Living Legend
Joined
Aug 21, 2011
Messages
14,032
Like
22,038
Las Vegas - July 7-10

Vegas is my favorite regular vacation destination. Since 2014 I've gone 1-2x a year, and have gone every summer since 2015. Basically by myself because it's just relaxing to play blackjack, chill at/in the pool and then have a nice dinner and hit the tables again before bed.

Trip started with a very early Lyft to JFK. My driver was very chatty for a 4:30AM pick up. Check in at JetBlue/T5 was incredibly easy as I finally got to enjoy their Mint service to Vegas, which just became available in late 2017. Used about 80,000 points to sit in the Mint suite with my own door and enjoyed the Saxon & Parole tapas breakfast and UFO Whites. (As an aside - with the JetBlue Plus Mastercard you get a % of your points back to you when you use points to book. So after the trip I got about 12,000 points returned to me. Its a great credit card if you're a JetBlue flyer and offers 10-12 points per dollar for JetBlue purchases, significantly better than the basic card)

A stayed in a 1 bedroom Aria Sky Suite. If you're not familiar with Aria SkySuites, it's a hotel within the hotel that comes with limo transport from and to the airport; a separate entrance and lounge area, and you have access to the Sky Pool - which is really just a fancier pool area in the regular pool complex. It's not cheap, but also you put a 1 night deposit when you book so it doesn't feel as expensive when you're checking out. I love Aria though, it's my favorite hotel in Vegas by far, and the Sky Suites are incredible. My driver said that Michael Jordan and was also staying at the Sky Suites. Tons of NBA summer league guys were in the hotel. Sadly didn't recognize anyone even though I met two at a blackjack table. One said his name was Drew, but couldn't figure out who he was.

The highlight of my trip was dinner at E by Jose Andres at the Cosmopolitan. It's restaurant where you pre-pay through Tock (kind of like OpenTable for mostly ultra high end restaurants like Eleven Madison or Alinea). It's a 10 seat counter and was basically me with 4 couples/friends. You sit around while the chefs prepare the plates in front of you. We had a 21 course menu made up mostly of small bites. I also opted for the mid-level drink pairing. This was an incredible meal. My favorite and most memorable of the dishes was "wonder bread." It was sort of a lightly sweet meringue used as bread with fois gras and strawberries as kind of a take on peanut butter and jelly. If you're inclined and get the chance I'd strongly recommend this restaurant.

My second night I ate at Picasso. This was sort of an aspirational restaurant for me. I remember when Bellagio opened and reading about how there was a restaurant filled with over 20 original Picassos. I never thought I would eat there and the last two summers it was closed when I was there. So this year I was fortunate to eat there. Honestly, food was weak. Really disappointing. The setting was unforgettable though. There's a little bar I'd recommend getting a drink at rather than a full meal.

Lost $350 at blackjack, well under my expected limit, so I was happy with that. Got a very nice tan. And already can't wait to go back next summer.

Upcoming trips:
Bachelor party in Bozeman/Yellowstone at the end of September; Bali - my 40th birthday present to myself - in October; Rome/Florence in January.
 

bevosu

All American
Joined
Aug 15, 2011
Messages
4,976
Like
6,886
After dropping our kids off at camp in central Michigan my wife and I drove north to explore. We started in Traverse City for a couple of nights. The town was pretty with lots of rivers and inlets with nice houses lining the water. There was a sandy beach right downtown and a great running path that I put some miles on. We spent a day at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Sea Shore, which was spectacular. The dunes were enormous and the water was Caribbean blue and great for swimming. We especially liked the town of Glen Arbor, which was on beautiful Glen Lake, right off of Lake Michigan. We couldn't get over the aqua color of the water. On our last day in Traverse City we headed up to the lighthouse at Mission Point. The lighthouse was nice but really an excuse to drive up the peninsula, which was full of wineries and beautiful views of the bays on either side of the peninsula.
We then drove north along the Lake Michigan coast. The drive took us through some upscale resorty towns like Charlevoix and Bay Harbor. They were impressive to look at, but a bit too fancy for our taste. We then drove to St. Ignace on the Upper Peninsula to catch the ferry to Mackinac Island. We could have taken the closer ferry out of Mackinaw City but someone wanted to drive over the big bridge and be able to say they've been to the Upper Peninsula (OK, it was me).
Mackinac Island is really something. The ferry system is super slick. You give them your bags at your departure dock and they take them all the way to your hotel room for you. Admittedly our first impression wasn't great because the main drag is very crowded, but once you get off of the one main street, with the fudge shops and t-shirt stores, it is wonderful there. The island is a walker's dream. I just loved being in a place with no cars. There was every sort of path there, ranging from paved roads to rugged trails, and every one them led to something cool, like an old battle field, or an observation tower, or a natural arch. We rented bikes and took the road around the island (8.2 flat, easy miles) and I ran around as much of the island as I could. The Pink Pony is one of the more famous restaurants on the water there. Their house beer was perfect for a sunny day and the whitefish I had for dinner was outstanding.
Michigan is a hidden gem of a state. It's a little like Florida, where the coast is awesome and the interior is flat and a little rednecky, aside from a few nice smaller lakes. We definitely have some more exploring to do up there. It was a great trip. The weather was perfect every day.
You didn't stay at the Grand Hotel?

 

Shrmdougluvr

I pity the poor fool who don't eat my cereal
Joined
Aug 26, 2011
Messages
2,824
Like
3,889
Just spent a long weekend in Lake Placid with the fam (Mrs. Shrmdougluvr and sons 8 and 5). Despite living in the Capital District for the vast majority of my life, I had only been to Lake Placid once as a child, and once again last fall for a conference. This was the first Adirondacks visit (north of Bolton Landing) for my family. Some of you have probably been lots of times, but bear (no pun or foreshadowing) with me. All-in-all, we had a fun weekend. The rundown:

We arrived Friday just before lunch. Stayed at the Mirror Lake Inn. While i dont mind spending on travel, it was more expensive then what i'd usually spend for this type of trip, but for whatever reason, the rack rate on our room was only a tad more than staying at the Hampton Inn or Crowne Plaza or really anywhere else this weekend. Plus there was an Amex Offers deal where we got back 10,000 points. My impression of the Mirror Lake Inn was that the room was very nice, great view, and the common areas were nice while confined, but my wife and i both preferred The Sagamore, where we have stayed twice before. The Sagamore had better common areas, and my room this weekend lacked ample complimentary toiletries (which we like to swipe), laundry bags, and an in-room coffee maker.

The Village was bustling but not overwhelmingly busy. I was surprised how casual everyone was evenings. I am used to going out in Saratoga and Lake Placid was nowhere nears as formal. Most people didn't even wear slacks or dark denim out, let alone cotton. Enjoyed strolling around taking in the scenery.

We ate lunch at The Cottage. Dinners were at Players and Smoke Signals BBQ. All meals were solid, but not spectacular. The highlight for me was the ice-cream at Emma's Creamery, where we stopped both nights. I'm a sucker for banana flavored ice-cream and got a scope (among others) of a flavor called Bananas Foster. Pretty freakin delectiable. This morning we ate at Big Mountain Deli and Creperie. Enjoyable. Not feeling great from what i overate on Saturday evening, I took a stroll this morning around 5:45-7:00. I was surprised how dead the Village was. Nary anyone out walking let alone exercising. Looked like only Starbucks was open.

Our activity was purposefully kept pretty simple. Visited High Falls Gorge. Worth visiting ... once. Felt weird paying admission to walk in the woods. Took hikes at Cobble Hill in Lake Placid and Cobble Lookout near Wilmington/Whiteface. Entire family enjoyed the hikes. Lots of bang for the buck. Relatively short, easy-moderate terrain, with some nice views as the payoff. Drove up Whiteface and walked to the summit. Pretty inspiring. Didn't get a chance to do any kayaking due to the spotty weather. Only thing we really missed out on that we had planned ("free" at resort). Surprised about the lack of fauna. I think we saw a few squirrels and chipmunks, and a couple hawks at the summit of Whiteface. I've been back in suburbia here near Albany for just a few hours and already saw deer and a raccoon in my yard.

I've been doing a lot to get in better shape and to be more active. I've never been outdoorsy. But as i've mentioned, with my older boy hitting fourth grade next year, we want to take advantage of the free National Parks admission and have already planned to do the little loop next August. Driving out of town, my kids both remarked they already missed Lake Placid and wanted to go back. My wife and i took that as mission accomplished.
 
Last edited:

CuseFaninVT

Living Legend
Joined
Feb 27, 2012
Messages
24,356
Like
29,973
Just spent a long weekend in Lake Placid with the fam (Mrs. Shrmdougluvr and sons 8 and 5). Despite living in the Capital District for the vast majority of my life, I had only been to Lake Placid once as a child, and once again last fall for a conference. This was the first Adirondacks visit (north of Bolton Landing) for my family. Some of you have probably been lots of times, but bear (no pun or foreshadowing) with me. All-in-all, we had a fun weekend. The rundown:

We arrived Friday just before lunch. Stayed at the Mirror Lake Inn. While i dont mind spending on travel, it was more expensive then what i'd usually spend for this type of trip, but for whatever reason, the rack rate on our room was only a tad more than staying at the Hampton Inn or Crowne Plaza or really anywhere else this weekend. Plus there was an Amex Offers deal where we got back 10,000 points. My impression of the Mirror Lake Inn was that the room was very nice, great view, and the common areas were nice while confined, but my wife and i both preferred The Sagamore, where we have stayed twice before. The Sagamore had better common areas, and my room this weekend lacked ample complimentary toiletries (which we like to swipe), laundry bags, and an in-room coffee maker.

The Village was bustling but not overwhelmingly busy. I was surprised how casual everyone was evenings. I am used to going out in Saratoga and Lake Placid was nowhere nears as formal. Most people didn't even wear slacks or dark denim out, let alone cotton. Enjoyed strolling around taking in the scenery.

We ate lunch at The Cottage. Dinners were at Players and Smoke Signals BBQ. All meals were solid, but not spectacular. The highlight for me was the ice-cream at Emma's Creamery, where we stopped both nights. I'm a sucker for banana flavored ice-cream and got a scope (among others) of a flavor called Bananas Foster. Pretty freakin delectiable. This morning we ate at Big Mountain Deli and Creperie. Enjoyable. Not feeling great from what i overate on Saturday evening, I took a stroll this morning around 5:45-7:00. I was surprised how dead the Village was. Nary anyone out walking let alone exercising. Looked like only Starbucks was open.

Our activity was purposefully kept pretty simple. Visited High Falls Gorge. Worth visiting ... once. Felt weird paying admission to walk in the woods. Took hikes at Cobble Hill in Lake Placid and Cobble Lookout near Wilmington/Whiteface. Entire family enjoyed the hikes. Lots of bang for the buck. Relatively short, easy-moderate terrain, with some nice views as the payoff. Drove up Whiteface and walked to the summit. Pretty inspiring. Didn't get a chance to do any kayaking due to the spotty weather. Only thing we really missed out on that we had planned ("free" at resort). Surprised about the lack of fauna. I think we saw a few squirrels and chipmunks, and a couple hawks at the summit of Whiteface. I've been back in suburbia here near Albany for just a few hours and already saw deer and a raccoon in my yard.

I've been doing a lot to get in better shape and to be more active. I've never been outdoorsy. But as i've mentioned, with my older boy hitting fourth grade next year, we want to take advantage of the free National Parks admission and have already planned to do the little loop next August. Driving out of town, my kids both remarked they already missed Lake Placid and wanted to go back. My wife and i took that as mission accomplished.
Excellent. We are doing a big family celebration up there in October. Rented a big old house within walking distance of the village. Should be a blast. We've been before, but always good to get updated intel like this.

And don't tell Ghost about the casual attire...
 

CuseFaninVT

Living Legend
Joined
Feb 27, 2012
Messages
24,356
Like
29,973
Okay, so I have no desire to work the rest of the day, so might as well type out my trip to Canada trip report. We needed to get away from work for a bit, and the boy's 15th bday was last Wednesday, so off we went. Decided on a mix of city and outdoor adventures, which suits us just fine. Started off with two nights in Ottawa. I was there years ago, but the wife had never been. Stayed at the Les Suites in the Byward Market area. Hotel was fine. We got a 1 bed with a pullout couch for the boy. 700 sq ft with a balcony on the 8th floor where we could keep our bikes. Only real issue with the hotel was the elevators were always busy and too full, which made going up and down with the bikes tricky.

Byward Market appears to be the Canadian version of Fanuiel Hall. They had some decent restaurants nearby so we didn't have to travel too far most times for good eats. Sidedoor was excellent. My only regret was that I wasn't more hungry for this spot. The Brig Pub was surprisingly good (got to have pickerel for the first time) and had options for my vegetarian wife - The Brig Pub – Byward Market | Ottawa, Ontario. Zak's Diner was exactly as you'd imagine. We took a city bike ride for breakfast one morning to Wilf & Ada's for a really good meal with some very good coffee - Wilf & Ada's A Scratch Diner. We also ventured into Chinatown for dim sum one afternoon at the Yimin Dim Sum House. Good eats. We ordered too much.

Activities in Ottawa included hitting the National Gallery which is having an impressionist showing. One of the best collections my wife and I have seen outside NY and London. We also hit the Nature Museum, which was right on the edge of being too young for our boy, but everyone seemed to enjoy. We did a great bike ride around the city on the marvelous bike paths they have there. Watched the history presentation on Parliament at night. Sound was a little iffy and we were fairly exhausted.

Following the city adventure, we made our way to Mont Tremblant. Rented a condo on Homeaway.com right near the mountain in Les Manoirs. Great unit for us. Had everything we needed and more. Activities in Tremblant included a 2.75 hour hike up the Grand Brule trail. Hard work, but it was a great day and we enjoyed being away from the crowds, which we ended up seeing at the top of the mountain (most of whom took the gondola up). We also did a 28+ bike ride on the path from Tremblant through Old Tremblant down to Saint Jovite and back. Again, the trails were just awesome up there. My only regret is that I didn't bring my my mountain bike. Should have stayed one more night and done up the trails with my kid while the wife did a spa day. Next time.

Food up in Tremblant was almost as good. The boy wanted sushi for his b-day so we hit a place at the mountain which was semi-decent. The best meal we had up there was at Ital Delli. I rarely do Italian out but this was highly recommended, and totally worth it. Great food, good wine, great service. And the boy stayed in the condo. Perfect. We cooked a couple steaks (for the boy and I) along with grilled eggplant one night at the condo so that accounted for some of the other meals.

We decided we definitely could have spent one more night at each location, and will do so next time.
 
Last edited:

Frozen

All American
Joined
Aug 20, 2011
Messages
6,968
Like
15,095
I’m in Destin, Florida right now. This is my fourth time. I don’t think there is whiter sand anywhere in the country.

If you’re going to chat with the other vacationers you need to be up on your college football. Preferably SEC football.
 

TexanMark

Tailgate Guru
Joined
Aug 15, 2011
Messages
17,628
Like
25,145
I’m in Destin, Florida right now. This is my fourth time. I don’t think there is whiter sand anywhere in the country.

If you’re going to chat with the other vacationers you need to be up on your college football. Preferably SEC football.
The sand has a unique crunch...the water is emerald green. Haven't been back to Destin since I moved away in early 2000. Surely lots of new high rise condos which I hate.
 

Shrmdougluvr

I pity the poor fool who don't eat my cereal
Joined
Aug 26, 2011
Messages
2,824
Like
3,889
Got back today from spending about a week in San Diego. Some of you had some input into where to stay, what to do, so i figured i'd follow up with this report.

Got to San Diego on Tuesday after some minor flight difficulties (freakin O'Hare). We decided we were going to divide the trip into two parts - first few days in Old Town/Downtown; last few staying near the ocean. On the flight in i was taken by the landscape. I new it would be arid and dessert-ish, but did not realize how hilly it was. Used to the East Coast tidal plains.

Arrived and was picked up by a rep from Silvercar, who we rented a car for the from. Pretty neat outfit. They only rent Audi A4s, Q5s, and A5 Cabriolets, only silver of course. We went with the A4. Nice little car. Silvercar I didnt find the traffic there to be too intense, and the style of driving was practically leisurely.

First stop was In-and-Out Burger. I don't think i'd go so far as to call it overrated, but I wasnt all that impressed (maybe it was a victim of my expectations). Had a double-double "animal style." I found it to be a fresher version of a Big Mac. Was not as good as Shake Shack Shack Burger (imo) and I may still be partial to a Whopper.

Checked out Old Town that evening (went back the next evening as well). We were staying at the nearby Fairfield Inn (fine for what it was). Old Town kinda campy, but was still fun to walk around. We ate one evening at Cafe Coyote, which was quite good. While staying in Old Town we also drove to Balboa Park and spent the better part of a day just walking around and taking it in. Really great site - maybe my favorite of the trip. The kids, understandable grew a bit bored. We visited the Japanese Friendship Garden, which was beautiful and a real treat for my half-Japanese wife. I could have spent days there alone.

On Thursday we transitioned to The Catamaran Resort. Would definitely recommend as it was very conveniently located for beach access. While in San Diego, we spent parts of days/evenings at Pacific Beach (surfer vibe), Mission Beach (little more family oriented), Coronado Beach (waspy), Ocean Beach (Spicoli-esque), La Jolla (to see the Seals), and Torrey Pines Beach. We enjoyed Pacific Beach and the Boardwalk. Coronado is probably most like what we are used to though. La Jolla was a litte to uppity for my taste (though definitely beautiful).

Torrey Pines was kinda funny. We like to explore, which is part of the reason we rented a car. Yesterday we drove up the coast and ended up near UC San Diego. In an attempt to get nearer the water, we pulled off onto LaJolla Shores, then LaJolla Farms road - a cul-du-sac across from the University with mansions on the cliff. We then followed some people down, what i now know to be Salk Canyon Road. This lead down to a beach with understandably, lots of college kids and surfers (very laid back). We kept walking down the beach exploring, checking out the paragliders, when we walked right into what i now know to be Black's (nude) Beach. We picked up the pace a bit and headed up Black's Beach Trail. That was an adventure.

We spent almost a full day at the Zoo, which was very nice. We mistakenly waited until late in the day to see the Pandas, and by then, they had basically checked out, napping in their air conditioned retreat.

A few scattered thoughts, observations:
  • The weather was actually a little overcast and cool the last few days. Albany was apparently sweltering and humid;
  • Will definitely go back. Lot's to do. Easy to get around. Worth a return trip in the not-so-near future;
  • Ate lots of fish tacos. Thought the entire food scene was pretty so-so though;
  • Something was off about the place. Things felt disconnected, and not in the way i assumed it might (e.g., surfers annoyed about the tourists). I can't really put my finger on it. We truly felt like tourists/outsiders the entire time. Not Asian (wife notwithstanding), not Hispanic, not a Surfer/Skater/Action sports type, not wealthy (and other tourists). These were the groups it felt like we primarily encountered and while none were outwardly hostile, none were inclusory either. It was like the opposite of New Orleans, where everyone went out of their way to say hello, chit chat in a non-superficial, artificial way, and were just generally warm and welcoming. I mean, nobody was impolite ... tough to qualify;
  • Funniest line may have been from my wife, the first night when were we taking a "late" drive through San Diego and got down around Chula Vista. Upon seeing a sign that we were like 10 miles to the International Border - "Does it make you nervous that we are so close to Mexico?" I swear my wife, who has been the victim of some pretty terrible bigotry growing up, doesnt have a racist bone in her body. But her saying that cracked me up. Not sure what the hell she was thinking.
 

chugg21

Gritty, High IQ, Scrappy, Gym Rat, Lunch Pail Guy
Joined
Apr 3, 2013
Messages
2,650
Like
3,369
Got back today from spending about a week in San Diego. Some of you had some input into where to stay, what to do, so i figured i'd follow up with this report.

Got to San Diego on Tuesday after some minor flight difficulties (freakin O'Hare). We decided we were going to divide the trip into two parts - first few days in Old Town/Downtown; last few staying near the ocean. On the flight in i was taken by the landscape. I new it would be arid and dessert-ish, but did not realize how hilly it was. Used to the East Coast tidal plains.

Arrived and was picked up by a rep from Silvercar, who we rented a car for the from. Pretty neat outfit. They only rent Audi A4s, Q5s, and A5 Cabriolets, only silver of course. We went with the A4. Nice little car. Silvercar I didnt find the traffic there to be too intense, and the style of driving was practically leisurely.

First stop was In-and-Out Burger. I don't think i'd go so far as to call it overrated, but I wasnt all that impressed (maybe it was a victim of my expectations). Had a double-double "animal style." I found it to be a fresher version of a Big Mac. Was not as good as Shake Shack Shack Burger (imo) and I may still be partial to a Whopper.

Checked out Old Town that evening (went back the next evening as well). We were staying at the nearby Fairfield Inn (fine for what it was). Old Town kinda campy, but was still fun to walk around. We ate one evening at Cafe Coyote, which was quite good. While staying in Old Town we also drove to Balboa Park and spent the better part of a day just walking around and taking it in. Really great site - maybe my favorite of the trip. The kids, understandable grew a bit bored. We visited the Japanese Friendship Garden, which was beautiful and a real treat for my half-Japanese wife. I could have spent days there alone.

On Thursday we transitioned to The Catamaran Resort. Would definitely recommend as it was very conveniently located for beach access. While in San Diego, we spent parts of days/evenings at Pacific Beach (surfer vibe), Mission Beach (little more family oriented), Coronado Beach (waspy), Ocean Beach (Spicoli-esque), La Jolla (to see the Seals), and Torrey Pines Beach. We enjoyed Pacific Beach and the Boardwalk. Coronado is probably most like what we are used to though. La Jolla was a litte to uppity for my taste (though definitely beautiful).

Torrey Pines was kinda funny. We like to explore, which is part of the reason we rented a car. Yesterday we drove up the coast and ended up near UC San Diego. In an attempt to get nearer the water, we pulled off onto LaJolla Shores, then LaJolla Farms road - a cul-du-sac across from the University with mansions on the cliff. We then followed some people down, what i now know to be Salk Canyon Road. This lead down to a beach with understandably, lots of college kids and surfers (very laid back). We kept walking down the beach exploring, checking out the paragliders, when we walked right into what i now know to be Black's (nude) Beach. We picked up the pace a bit and headed up Black's Beach Trail. That was an adventure.

We spent almost a full day at the Zoo, which was very nice. We mistakenly waited until late in the day to see the Pandas, and by then, they had basically checked out, napping in their air conditioned retreat.

A few scattered thoughts, observations:
  • The weather was actually a little overcast and cool the last few days. Albany was apparently sweltering and humid;
  • Will definitely go back. Lot's to do. Easy to get around. Worth a return trip in the not-so-near future;
  • Ate lots of fish tacos. Thought the entire food scene was pretty so-so though;
  • Something was off about the place. Things felt disconnected, and not in the way i assumed it might (e.g., surfers annoyed about the tourists). I can't really put my finger on it. We truly felt like tourists/outsiders the entire time. Not Asian (wife notwithstanding), not Hispanic, not a Surfer/Skater/Action sports type, not wealthy (and other tourists). These were the groups it felt like we primarily encountered and while none were outwardly hostile, none were inclusory either. It was like the opposite of New Orleans, where everyone went out of their way to say hello, chit chat in a non-superficial, artificial way, and were just generally warm and welcoming. I mean, nobody was impolite ... tough to qualify;
  • Funniest line may have been from my wife, the first night when were we taking a "late" drive through San Diego and got down around Chula Vista. Upon seeing a sign that we were like 10 miles to the International Border - "Does it make you nervous that we are so close to Mexico?" I swear my wife, who has been the victim of some pretty terrible bigotry growing up, doesnt have a racist bone in her body. But her saying that cracked me up. Not sure what the hell she was thinking.
Moved from San Diego to Tampa last year. I miss it A LOT. I completely understand what you mean about the people there not being friendly though. It was odd to me getting used to not saying hello or acknowleging people and would do my best to make a point of doing so. You also bring up New Orleans which happens to be my favorite city in the country because of the people there. Honestly besides the weather, the thing I miss most about San Diego is Mexico. Can rent houses on the Pacific down in Baja for super cheap and the food and wine in Valle de Guadalupe is absolutely incredible and costs about 1/3 of what it does in SD. My friends made the same mistake and ended up at Black's Beach...nothing like seeing a couple dongs flopping around to complete or begin a nice beach hike.
 

CuseCPT

All Conference
Joined
Aug 28, 2011
Messages
2,262
Like
2,776
I just got back from Hawaii. I spent 10 days there and it was my 4th visit in the last 5 years. Suffice to say, I like it there. My review will be limited to Oahu since I haven't made it to any of the other islands yet (haven't felt the need TBH).
  • Flight - SYR > ORD > HNL. Long flight but bearable, DC to HNL was worse. Nice thing about the time changes is you gain time on the way. Leave Syracuse in early AM, you are putting your toes in sand at 4PM local time. Got the flight for 67500 United miles. I haven't paid for a flight yet, I'd be happy to talk about the miles and points game if anyone is interested. Jet lag, in my experience is negligible on the way, a bear when you get back. Return flight was HNL > SFO > ORD >SYR. Normally I hate changing planes but on longer flights it's a good way to break up the monotony.
  • Lodging - I'm lucky enough to have friends that live there. I typically split the trip between hotels and their house so I don't impose too much. In the past I had enough points to stay at the Royal Hawaiian (the pink one right on the beach). It's a gorgeous property, but to be honest it shows its age in room size. I'm sure the suites are amazing, though. When I'm spending cash I stay at the Hilton Garden Inn. 2 blocks from the beach, newer property with spacious rooms and reasonable rates. This time I had enough points for 2 free nights and paid for 3.
  • Waikiki is the heart of city and consists mostly of hotels and tourists. You'll meet lots of people from Australia and the UK to a lesser extent. There will be lots of Japanese tourists as well, but they mostly stick to themselves. Pro Tip: resist the urge to shop at the stores right by the beach and at the International Marketplace. They NEVER run sales and don't have clearance racks because the tourists, for the most part, don't give a and will buy stuff anyways. The stores at Ala Moana Center do have sales and you can find better deals there. Lots of dining options but predictably, many on the pricier side. Have a cocktail at Duke's in the Outrigger.
  • Waikiki Beach - the birthplace of surfing. Mellow, rolling waves make it a great place to learn how to surf. Waves on the town side (south) are bigger in the summer but rarely get too big right at Waikiki. The crowded break is called Canoes and you'll see why. Queens is great too, but a slightly longer paddles and often draws more experienced surfers. Still no need to worry about localism at the Waikiki breaks. Party waves are the norm. Check your ego at the door, take a lesson. I recommend the beach boys right by the Royal Hawaiian. I took a lesson at one of the other places first and the instructor was a bit...ly. The instructor I had at the Royal Hawaiian had my riding waves in an hour. Bigger boards are easier to learn on. I learned on a 12 foot foamie, was catching waves on an 11 foot, regular board by the time I left. If you already know how to surf, there are cheaper board rentals a block off the beach.
  • Honolulu Zoo - a nice activity when you need a break from the beach. A short walk from the hotels and basically the entrance is on the beach. If you aren't staying in Waikiki it's also the best place to park for the beach.
  • Great thing about Waikiki is that there is a beach for whatever mood you're in. Waikiki is great for crowd watching and learning to surf. Waimanalo Bay has a tight packed sand bottom and is PERFECT for boogie boarding or just relaxing. Ala Moana is the "local" beach for Honolulu and is a little more relaxed than Waikiki.
  • The North Shore - in the winter it is a surfing mecca, with big waves barrelling in from the North Atlantic. In the summer, it is often flat and serene. I spent a beautiful afternoon/evening and watched the sunset at Sunset Beach. Very mellow vibe. The North Shore is also home to the famous shrimp trucks. Giovanni's is the most famous but you really can't go wrong. Get the garlic shrimp. Surfing here is a little trickier. In the summer there isn't much action and the winter you'd better know what you are doing. Dangerous reef breaks and ornery locals in the lineups. Do your homework before you even think about it.
  • Pearl Harbor - definitely worth seeing, as is the Pacific Aviation museum if you are into that kind of stuff. Last I heard the Arizona Memorial itself was closed for repairs. Both times I tried to go, it was too windy for them to run boats.
  • Hiking - there's a ton of ridge hikes that treat you to an amazing view of the island. I've only done one, though, since I can't stay out of the water for very long.
  • Diving - Hanauma Bay is a state park that is a reef in an old volcano crater. Very accessible but can get crowded. Also keep in mind, it is still the ocean and you have to know your limits. People have drowned there the same day I was there on 2 of my trips. There's also a lot of boat diving trips that leave from Haleiwa on the North Shore, including some shark dives. I did the cage free one and it was one of the coolest experiences of my life. We swam with Galapagos and Sandbar sharks. Hammerheads sometimes make an appearance, as do Tigers, albeit much less often.
  • Food - I am in love with the Hawaiian plate lunch. 2 scoops of rice, kailua pig and mac salad. Other local favorites are the aforementioned Garlic Shrimp and Loco Moco. For desert, Ted's Bakery is extremely popular. Because of all the asian immigrants there is really good Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Japanese places all over the island.
  • Traffic - because of the geography, there really isn't anywhere else for them to build more freeway and the population keeps growing. Avoid the during rush hour unless you like sitting in bumper to bumper traffic 4 lanes wide on each side. Traffic on the North Shore can get backed up too during the winter when the big surf competitions are going on.
  • TV/Movies - lots of movies and tv shows shoot there, especially at Kualoa Ranch. With the exception of 2 scenes, the entirety of LOST was filmed on Oaha and there is a great tour company, Kos Tours, that has a filming location tour. If you are a LOST nerd, hit me up before you go. I know some off the beaten path places worth seeing.
  • Locals - despite what you may hear, Aloha is alive and well. Treat people with respect and you will get respect has been my experience. I've never been treated rudely by a native Hawaiian while I was there on any of my visits. Fellow Haoles (white people) that have moved there...that's another story. I've had 2 rude encounters with them. They seem enjoy lording the fact they live there over tourists and looking down on them, and people that haven't lived there as long. Check out the South Park episode "Going Native" for a brilliant takedown of this bizarre subculture.
That's about all I can think of. Feel free to hit me up with any questions. Having gone there so much, I obviously think pretty highly of it. It is my favorite place on Earth.
 

CuseFaninVT

Living Legend
Joined
Feb 27, 2012
Messages
24,356
Like
29,973
I just got back from Hawaii. I spent 10 days there and it was my 4th visit in the last 5 years. Suffice to say, I like it there. My review will be limited to Oahu since I haven't made it to any of the other islands yet (haven't felt the need TBH).
  • Flight - SYR > ORD > HNL. Long flight but bearable, DC to HNL was worse. Nice thing about the time changes is you gain time on the way. Leave Syracuse in early AM, you are putting your toes in sand at 4PM local time. Got the flight for 67500 United miles. I haven't paid for a flight yet, I'd be happy to talk about the miles and points game if anyone is interested. Jet lag, in my experience is negligible on the way, a bear when you get back. Return flight was HNL > SFO > ORD >SYR. Normally I hate changing planes but on longer flights it's a good way to break up the monotony.
  • Lodging - I'm lucky enough to have friends that live there. I typically split the trip between hotels and their house so I don't impose too much. In the past I had enough points to stay at the Royal Hawaiian (the pink one right on the beach). It's a gorgeous property, but to be honest it shows its age in room size. I'm sure the suites are amazing, though. When I'm spending cash I stay at the Hilton Garden Inn. 2 blocks from the beach, newer property with spacious rooms and reasonable rates. This time I had enough points for 2 free nights and paid for 3.
  • Waikiki is the heart of city and consists mostly of hotels and tourists. You'll meet lots of people from Australia and the UK to a lesser extent. There will be lots of Japanese tourists as well, but they mostly stick to themselves. Pro Tip: resist the urge to shop at the stores right by the beach and at the International Marketplace. They NEVER run sales and don't have clearance racks because the tourists, for the most part, don't give a and will buy stuff anyways. The stores at Ala Moana Center do have sales and you can find better deals there. Lots of dining options but predictably, many on the pricier side. Have a cocktail at Duke's in the Outrigger.
  • Waikiki Beach - the birthplace of surfing. Mellow, rolling waves make it a great place to learn how to surf. Waves on the town side (south) are bigger in the summer but rarely get too big right at Waikiki. The crowded break is called Canoes and you'll see why. Queens is great too, but a slightly longer paddles and often draws more experienced surfers. Still no need to worry about localism at the Waikiki breaks. Party waves are the norm. Check your ego at the door, take a lesson. I recommend the beach boys right by the Royal Hawaiian. I took a lesson at one of the other places first and the instructor was a bit...ly. The instructor I had at the Royal Hawaiian had my riding waves in an hour. Bigger boards are easier to learn on. I learned on a 12 foot foamie, was catching waves on an 11 foot, regular board by the time I left. If you already know how to surf, there are cheaper board rentals a block off the beach.
  • Honolulu Zoo - a nice activity when you need a break from the beach. A short walk from the hotels and basically the entrance is on the beach. If you aren't staying in Waikiki it's also the best place to park for the beach.
  • Great thing about Waikiki is that there is a beach for whatever mood you're in. Waikiki is great for crowd watching and learning to surf. Waimanalo Bay has a tight packed sand bottom and is PERFECT for boogie boarding or just relaxing. Ala Moana is the "local" beach for Honolulu and is a little more relaxed than Waikiki.
  • The North Shore - in the winter it is a surfing mecca, with big waves barrelling in from the North Atlantic. In the summer, it is often flat and serene. I spent a beautiful afternoon/evening and watched the sunset at Sunset Beach. Very mellow vibe. The North Shore is also home to the famous shrimp trucks. Giovanni's is the most famous but you really can't go wrong. Get the garlic shrimp. Surfing here is a little trickier. In the summer there isn't much action and the winter you'd better know what you are doing. Dangerous reef breaks and ornery locals in the lineups. Do your homework before you even think about it.
  • Pearl Harbor - definitely worth seeing, as is the Pacific Aviation museum if you are into that kind of stuff. Last I heard the Arizona Memorial itself was closed for repairs. Both times I tried to go, it was too windy for them to run boats.
  • Hiking - there's a ton of ridge hikes that treat you to an amazing view of the island. I've only done one, though, since I can't stay out of the water for very long.
  • Diving - Hanauma Bay is a state park that is a reef in an old volcano crater. Very accessible but can get crowded. Also keep in mind, it is still the ocean and you have to know your limits. People have drowned there the same day I was there on 2 of my trips. There's also a lot of boat diving trips that leave from Haleiwa on the North Shore, including some shark dives. I did the cage free one and it was one of the coolest experiences of my life. We swam with Galapagos and Sandbar sharks. Hammerheads sometimes make an appearance, as do Tigers, albeit much less often.
  • Food - I am in love with the Hawaiian plate lunch. 2 scoops of rice, kailua pig and mac salad. Other local favorites are the aforementioned Garlic Shrimp and Loco Moco. For desert, Ted's Bakery is extremely popular. Because of all the asian immigrants there is really good Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Japanese places all over the island.
  • Traffic - because of the geography, there really isn't anywhere else for them to build more freeway and the population keeps growing. Avoid the during rush hour unless you like sitting in bumper to bumper traffic 4 lanes wide on each side. Traffic on the North Shore can get backed up too during the winter when the big surf competitions are going on.
  • TV/Movies - lots of movies and tv shows shoot there, especially at Kualoa Ranch. With the exception of 2 scenes, the entirety of LOST was filmed on Oaha and there is a great tour company, Kos Tours, that has a filming location tour. If you are a LOST nerd, hit me up before you go. I know some off the beaten path places worth seeing.
  • Locals - despite what you may hear, Aloha is alive and well. Treat people with respect and you will get respect has been my experience. I've never been treated rudely by a native Hawaiian while I was there on any of my visits. Fellow Haoles (white people) that have moved there...that's another story. I've had 2 rude encounters with them. They seem enjoy lording the fact they live there over tourists and looking down on them, and people that haven't lived there as long. Check out the South Park episode "Going Native" for a brilliant takedown of this bizarre subculture.
That's about all I can think of. Feel free to hit me up with any questions. Having gone there so much, I obviously think pretty highly of it. It is my favorite place on Earth.
Great write up. But seriously, next time, hit the big island. It's heaven. Without all the tourists.
 

chugg21

Gritty, High IQ, Scrappy, Gym Rat, Lunch Pail Guy
Joined
Apr 3, 2013
Messages
2,650
Like
3,369
I just got back from Hawaii. I spent 10 days there and it was my 4th visit in the last 5 years. Suffice to say, I like it there. My review will be limited to Oahu since I haven't made it to any of the other islands yet (haven't felt the need TBH).
  • Flight - SYR > ORD > HNL. Long flight but bearable, DC to HNL was worse. Nice thing about the time changes is you gain time on the way. Leave Syracuse in early AM, you are putting your toes in sand at 4PM local time. Got the flight for 67500 United miles. I haven't paid for a flight yet, I'd be happy to talk about the miles and points game if anyone is interested. Jet lag, in my experience is negligible on the way, a bear when you get back. Return flight was HNL > SFO > ORD >SYR. Normally I hate changing planes but on longer flights it's a good way to break up the monotony.
  • Lodging - I'm lucky enough to have friends that live there. I typically split the trip between hotels and their house so I don't impose too much. In the past I had enough points to stay at the Royal Hawaiian (the pink one right on the beach). It's a gorgeous property, but to be honest it shows its age in room size. I'm sure the suites are amazing, though. When I'm spending cash I stay at the Hilton Garden Inn. 2 blocks from the beach, newer property with spacious rooms and reasonable rates. This time I had enough points for 2 free nights and paid for 3.
  • Waikiki is the heart of city and consists mostly of hotels and tourists. You'll meet lots of people from Australia and the UK to a lesser extent. There will be lots of Japanese tourists as well, but they mostly stick to themselves. Pro Tip: resist the urge to shop at the stores right by the beach and at the International Marketplace. They NEVER run sales and don't have clearance racks because the tourists, for the most part, don't give a and will buy stuff anyways. The stores at Ala Moana Center do have sales and you can find better deals there. Lots of dining options but predictably, many on the pricier side. Have a cocktail at Duke's in the Outrigger.
  • Waikiki Beach - the birthplace of surfing. Mellow, rolling waves make it a great place to learn how to surf. Waves on the town side (south) are bigger in the summer but rarely get too big right at Waikiki. The crowded break is called Canoes and you'll see why. Queens is great too, but a slightly longer paddles and often draws more experienced surfers. Still no need to worry about localism at the Waikiki breaks. Party waves are the norm. Check your ego at the door, take a lesson. I recommend the beach boys right by the Royal Hawaiian. I took a lesson at one of the other places first and the instructor was a bit...ly. The instructor I had at the Royal Hawaiian had my riding waves in an hour. Bigger boards are easier to learn on. I learned on a 12 foot foamie, was catching waves on an 11 foot, regular board by the time I left. If you already know how to surf, there are cheaper board rentals a block off the beach.
  • Honolulu Zoo - a nice activity when you need a break from the beach. A short walk from the hotels and basically the entrance is on the beach. If you aren't staying in Waikiki it's also the best place to park for the beach.
  • Great thing about Waikiki is that there is a beach for whatever mood you're in. Waikiki is great for crowd watching and learning to surf. Waimanalo Bay has a tight packed sand bottom and is PERFECT for boogie boarding or just relaxing. Ala Moana is the "local" beach for Honolulu and is a little more relaxed than Waikiki.
  • The North Shore - in the winter it is a surfing mecca, with big waves barrelling in from the North Atlantic. In the summer, it is often flat and serene. I spent a beautiful afternoon/evening and watched the sunset at Sunset Beach. Very mellow vibe. The North Shore is also home to the famous shrimp trucks. Giovanni's is the most famous but you really can't go wrong. Get the garlic shrimp. Surfing here is a little trickier. In the summer there isn't much action and the winter you'd better know what you are doing. Dangerous reef breaks and ornery locals in the lineups. Do your homework before you even think about it.
  • Pearl Harbor - definitely worth seeing, as is the Pacific Aviation museum if you are into that kind of stuff. Last I heard the Arizona Memorial itself was closed for repairs. Both times I tried to go, it was too windy for them to run boats.
  • Hiking - there's a ton of ridge hikes that treat you to an amazing view of the island. I've only done one, though, since I can't stay out of the water for very long.
  • Diving - Hanauma Bay is a state park that is a reef in an old volcano crater. Very accessible but can get crowded. Also keep in mind, it is still the ocean and you have to know your limits. People have drowned there the same day I was there on 2 of my trips. There's also a lot of boat diving trips that leave from Haleiwa on the North Shore, including some shark dives. I did the cage free one and it was one of the coolest experiences of my life. We swam with Galapagos and Sandbar sharks. Hammerheads sometimes make an appearance, as do Tigers, albeit much less often.
  • Food - I am in love with the Hawaiian plate lunch. 2 scoops of rice, kailua pig and mac salad. Other local favorites are the aforementioned Garlic Shrimp and Loco Moco. For desert, Ted's Bakery is extremely popular. Because of all the asian immigrants there is really good Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Japanese places all over the island.
  • Traffic - because of the geography, there really isn't anywhere else for them to build more freeway and the population keeps growing. Avoid the during rush hour unless you like sitting in bumper to bumper traffic 4 lanes wide on each side. Traffic on the North Shore can get backed up too during the winter when the big surf competitions are going on.
  • TV/Movies - lots of movies and tv shows shoot there, especially at Kualoa Ranch. With the exception of 2 scenes, the entirety of LOST was filmed on Oaha and there is a great tour company, Kos Tours, that has a filming location tour. If you are a LOST nerd, hit me up before you go. I know some off the beaten path places worth seeing.
  • Locals - despite what you may hear, Aloha is alive and well. Treat people with respect and you will get respect has been my experience. I've never been treated rudely by a native Hawaiian while I was there on any of my visits. Fellow Haoles (white people) that have moved there...that's another story. I've had 2 rude encounters with them. They seem enjoy lording the fact they live there over tourists and looking down on them, and people that haven't lived there as long. Check out the South Park episode "Going Native" for a brilliant takedown of this bizarre subculture.
That's about all I can think of. Feel free to hit me up with any questions. Having gone there so much, I obviously think pretty highly of it. It is my favorite place on Earth.
I very much disliked Waikiki, it was the worst part of Hawaii that I've experienced. Its like going to Mexico and being in Cancun.
 

CuseCPT

All Conference
Joined
Aug 28, 2011
Messages
2,262
Like
2,776
I very much disliked Waikiki, it was the worst part of Hawaii that I've experienced. Its like going to Mexico and being in Cancun.
I can see why you'd say that. Honestly, surfing is the big draw for me there (because of my limited skill level and interest in longboarding) but it is undeniably a busier, more touristy experience than any other beach in Hawaii. Still, the sand is nice and pretty well-groomed and the views of Diamondhead are nice. I'd recommend anyone experience it at least once if you're out there.
 

chugg21

Gritty, High IQ, Scrappy, Gym Rat, Lunch Pail Guy
Joined
Apr 3, 2013
Messages
2,650
Like
3,369
I can see why you'd say that. Honestly, surfing is the big draw for me there (because of my limited skill level and interest in longboarding) but it is undeniably a busier, more touristy experience than any other beach in Hawaii. Still, the sand is nice and pretty well-groomed and the views of Diamondhead are nice. I'd recommend anyone experience it at least once if you're out there.
I'd go back strictly for the udon from Marukame and the malsadas from Leonards. Both are worth dealing with the billion Asian tourists all over the place.
 

CuseCPT

All Conference
Joined
Aug 28, 2011
Messages
2,262
Like
2,776
I'd go back strictly for the udon from Marukame and the malsadas from Leonards. Both are worth dealing with the billion Asian tourists all over the place.
The time I stayed in the Royal Hawaiian my friend that was stationed at Schoffield asked if it was like living an episode of The Man in the High Castle haha.
 

ssbriefcase

All American
Joined
Aug 30, 2011
Messages
4,310
Like
5,154
I very much disliked Waikiki, it was the worst part of Hawaii that I've experienced. Its like going to Mexico and being in Cancun.
Every word spot on. Although I'd take Waikiki over Cancun every time, I hope never to go to Cancun again.

I really wouldn't go back to Oahu, but here we are headed there next week, for the better half's job. At least we got one week there, and one week in Kona to even it out.
 

CuseCPT

All Conference
Joined
Aug 28, 2011
Messages
2,262
Like
2,776
Every word spot on. Although I'd take Waikiki over Cancun every time, I hope never to go to Cancun again.

I really wouldn't go back to Oahu, but here we are headed there next week, for the better half's job. At least we got one week there, and one week in Kona to even it out.
Have you been to Waimanalo Bay? Not Waimanalo Beach (seems like there's a hobo camp there now). The Bay park is gorgeous. It's a random turn into the woods in between the regular beach park and Bellow's Air Force Base, right across from the polo field. One of the best kept secrets on the island imho. If you really want to get away from the crowds go to Mokuleia Army Beach on the North Shore. I spent a day there and there were only about 10 people and a sea turtle on the beach with me. It's the beach they used for the first season of LOST. Another 1/4 mile down the road is a YMCA camp that will be immediately familiar to LOST fans.
 

Top Bottom