A Winning Vacation

A family trip to the islands is a memorable experience for this agent

By: Maureen Roemmick

As winner of All About Hawaii’s Niche Contest, I recently took a trip to Oahu to experience the activities that I have been selling. My husband and two sons a college freshman and a high-school sophomore joined me on what turned out to be a terrific way to spend time with loved ones while exploring different areas of a diverse island destination.

The morning we left Portland, Ore., we arrived at the airport to find Hawaiian Airlines’ computers down. Happily, there were no long lines, and the airline’s staff buzzed us through check-in, a process that took only a few minutes. They turned a difficult situation into an introduction to the aloha spirit, complete with ukuleles, singing and hula dancers.

In Waikiki, we checked into the Miramar, which was perfect for our family. Its location was ideal, and its delicious breakfast buffet was like an international smorgasbord.

Our first full day on Oahu started at Hans Heidemann Surf School. Hans, a famous local surfer, was at the Waikiki shop when I checked in, and he sent me off with encouraging words. None of us had ever surfed, but within no time my sons looked like local boys. Our instructors, two for the three of us, were very patient. We went away with a new appreciation for this amazing sport.

In the evening, my husband and I met Oahu Visitors Bureau travel industry sales director Stacey Alford and her husband, John, for a concert at the Honolulu Zoo. As we listened to top-notch island music, they gave us tips on everything from local dining to favorite beaches.

The following morning we boarded a van for the Bike, Hike and Sail excursion with Bike Hawaii. First, during a two-mile stream and waterfall hike, our guide Hideo shared fascinating facts about the history and vegetation. Amazingly, bamboo can grow as much as six inches a day in the rainforest. For the five-mile downhill bike portion of the tour, the pace on the winding road was comfortable enough for me to enjoy the spectacular sights around each curve. After a tasty lunch, smooth sailing on a 38-foot catamaran let us view Waikiki from the water. We snorkeled with the turtles until it was time to set sail back to shore.

After a couple of busy days, we were ready to relax. We snorkeled at the marine conservation park of Hanauma Bay, and we spent a couple of days unwinding on the beaches of Oahu’s North Shore. We tried a plate lunch, went T-shirt shopping and stopped at the shrimp wagons, a must for North Shore visitors.

Early Monday morning, the phone rang. It was Bob Twogood, who runs Twogood Kayaks. He said the surf was six feet high and suggested we postpone our kayaking adventure. With the day open, we decided to visit the Arizona Memorial. Fortunately, we arrived there early, as the attraction gets very busy. Learning about the events surrounding the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor was a truly emotional experience, even for our teenage boys.

The evening found us heading to a laid-back restaurant, Ono’s, for some serious island food. I’m happy to report that the aloha spirit is very much alive, as we discovered when our fellow diners chatted and joked with us, making us feel welcome.

When we moved from the Miramar to the ResortQuest Waikiki Sunset, we were astounded. Our two-bedroom oceanview corner unit not only gave us spectacular views of the ocean and Diamond Head, it provided us with all the room we needed.

On another day we took a flight with Island Sea Plane, whose dock is located by the runways of Honolulu International Airport. Planes of all shapes and sizes were whizzing by, yet our well-seasoned pilot took off from and landed in the water with ease. The flightseeing was breathtaking. The final swing over the Arizona Memorial, where we had been the day before, gave us an entirely different perspective.

That evening we headed to the Cirque Hawaii show in Waikiki. Our reluctant teenagers became captivated by the acrobats and artists during the performance, which was thoroughly entertaining for all ages.

When we finally met Bob Twogood in Kailua, the kayaking conditions were perfect. Although the van picks up clients in Waikiki, we opted to drive so we could spend the entire day on the lovely Windward side of the island. We chose the guided tour, a smart move because the guide knows the water, the reefs, the islands and the history. We kayaked to the Mokulua Islands, where we had lunch and watched the birds, then we headed to Lanikai Beach for some snorkeling.

During the entire trip to Oahu, I met travel industry members who are making a living doing and sharing what they love. These people have a passion for their work and for Oahu, an incredible destination for all ages, activity levels and interests. It’s a place where clients can enjoy deserted beaches by day and the excitement of Waikiki at night. Thanks to All About Hawaii and the specific tour operators, our trip to Oahu was one of the best vacations my family has ever taken.

Maureen Roemmick is a travel agent with McMinnville Travel in McMinnville, Ore.


Volcano Rainforest Retreat
P.O. Box 957
Volcano, HI 96785

All About Hawaii

Oahu Visitors Bureau