With a baby and toddler, traveling can be daunting, especially when kid-friendly doesn't turn out to be baby and toddler friendly.

We've realized what a difference that is, so we are here in hopes to share and learn about the best places to go with our babes and tots in tow.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Honolulu, Hawaii

Sorry for the long delay, hubby away for two months and kiddos sick from being in school makes for very little time for mommy to get anything done. As the cool weather sets in, I thought, wouldn't it be nice to go somewhere nice and warm this winter. And that reminded me that I needed to blog about how great Honolulu was last year. We did a family reunion for my side of the family- my crew,my sister and her family, along with my parents met in tropical Honolulu for a family vaca with two toddlers in tow, and a baby girl in the belly. We are military-dad, hubby and my brother-in-law, so we were able to stay at the Hale Koa. What an amazing facility! The hotel room itself was great--nice, clean, great staff. I mean, nothing fancy, but the grounds-THE GROUNDS WERE GORGEOUS. I mean, we will never stay anywhere else. Not glitzy, but just right and the most baby/toddler/kid friendly place in the world. I mean, any friendlier and it would be Disney World, but really, I don't think Disney World really makes it easy for babies and toddlers, so can I say, dare I say that Hale Koa is the MOST MAGICAL PLACE ON EARTH for us with babes and tots? I think I can, and being that my few followers are my friends, I don't think we need to worry about Disney's lawyers beating down my door.

So back to the grounds, the hotel is right on the Waikiki Beach and has a healthclub with a tennis facility, racquetball & handball courts, spa services, outdoor walking and running path, sand volleyball courts and three swimming pools (one being a great kiddy pool); a playground and picnic area adjacent to the beach; two restaurants; snack bars; several indoor and outdoor bars; AND a Starbucks in the lobby right next to the elevators! There are water sport rentals right next to the hotel on the beach and my husband and brother-in-law took some refresher surfing courses and had a great time. There are fireworks too every Friday night, so fun to watch on the beach with the kids.

The price is amazing too--the rooms, the restaurants, the services were all so reasonable, I really had to pinch myself. Room rates are from $90-$289 a night, based on your rank, what kind of room you want and season. We had ocean view (unobstructed views) rooms for around $150 a night in December. The best bang for the buck was the breakfast buffet at Koko's. It starts at 6:30 and went until 10:30. Adults were charged $13.95, Active Duty E1-E5 & Guests 65 years & older $9.95 (Identification required)and children under 12 $5.95. But the best, best part was that children under 4, our target demographic here when we are traveling, are complimentary with an adult buffet or entree purchase. SO FREE! And boy do they eat a lot for breakfast--sometimes enough to get us through most of the day. They also have a luau on the grounds and was fantastic. We had gone to the big Polynesian Center luau when I was in my teens with my parents, so it has been a while, but we thought it was just as great and didn't require a huge bus ride to get there--which again is key with little ones. And the luau is a two second walk back to the room when it just got too late for the little ones. BONUS!

The Hale Koa is right next to the Hilton Hawaiian Village, so if it is all the cute and quaint shops you are looking for, then you can just browse next door. There are other restaurants in the Hilton Village too, and we had a few date nights there when we got our parents to watch the kiddos and when we wanted something a little fancier than the Hale Koa had to offer. Most nights we did eat on the grounds though since it was nice to be able to eat with the kids and not feel uncomfortable as our son squealed with glee.

Hale Koa had a visitor center and were able to make any reservation for any of the sites on the Oahu and probably beyond, had we inquired. We were able to take shuttle buses to see the most popular Hawaiian sites--Polynesian Cultural Center, AND USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor. The location made it easy to take our car and travel to the North Shore and sample shrimp trucks along the road, Diamond Head, Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve, and other small secluded beaches we found along the way. There is a cool submarine tour that is cool for the kiddos, but being very pregnant, I wasn't too into that, but we heard it was great.

My husband just came downstairs to see what I was up to and we reminisced a little about what a great vacation it was. Sooooo worth the long trip on the plane with our son and I wouldn't hesitate to go again with our baby girl in tow. I have most of the tricks down for traveling with the kiddos on planes, maybe my next blog entry. But I'll end this thinking of the gorgeous sunsets and maybe beeline it to travelocity to book a flight back to that MOST MAGICAL PLACE for parents with babes and tots. You must go!

Hale Koa Hotel
Mailing Address:
2055 Kalia Road
Honolulu, HI 96815-1998

For Guestroom Reservations:
Click here to go to our on-line reservation form

Toll Free Room Reservations:
1-800-367-6027 (CONUS)
8AM to 4PM Hawaiian time
Daily except Sunday and federal holidays


Monday, October 4, 2010

Fall Fun in the DC Area

Happy Fall! It is my favorite season and has become even more so with my little ones. My honey and I made the most of this weekend with the kiddos and enjoyed this glorious weather.
Fire Prevention Month
In honor of Fire Prevention Month, on Saturday we visited the Bethesda/Chevy Chase Rescue Squad's Rescue Day Open House. I love this event! What a great way to give your kids a sense of community and help raise some money for Bethesda/Chevy Chase's bravest. Perfect for my three-year old, there were rescue vehicles and fire trucks to climb, tours of the station, firefighter hats, a moonbounce, a helicopter landing (we missed this), popcorn, fire hats for the kiddos...and this was all FREE. We of course had to buy a few t-shirts to support such an amazing event, and what cute t-shirts they were! I also learned that you can rent out their banquet room for birthday parties and they have special fund raising dinners that would be great for families to attend. I have officially marked this on my calendar and have it reoccurring until 2035... My daughter will be 25, my son will be 28 then, but I am sure they will want to go to this event with me even then, right????

Check out your local area's fire departments to see what stations are having an open house this month. And also see if they have special events like spaghetti dinners and such to add to your calendar for a fun night out with the family.

Link for DC:
Link for Montgomery County:

Link for Prince William County:

Link for Fairfax County:

Butler's Orchard
On Sunday we packed up the kids and headed for Butler's Orchard. We've loved this place prior to having kids and now take them there for several events a year, including Christmas and Easter, as well as during the summer for picking fruit.

In the fall they have a great Pumpkin Festival. My son loves the giant slides, the moon bounce and the mazes. There is a entire section for just the little kiddos when you enter and to the right. Last year we stumbled upon this great area right before departing, but we were sure to check it out right away this year. Along with live music and yummy BBQ, it is the perfect way to tire out those toddlers and little ones, and great for helping lull them to sleep on the drive home. They are open every weekend in October and also Columbus Day.

Other fun activities:
Giant Corn Bin
Straw Maze
Wildcat Run Slide
Tube Slide
Rubber Ducky Derby
Pumpkin Coach
Jump in the Hayloft
Visit Barnyard Buddies
Twisted Pumpkin Corn Maze
Pedal Tractors
Inflatable Farm Train


Davis Mill Road • Germantown MD 20876 • Telephone – 301-972-3299