Now Only Three, a Family Moves On
WHO: Robert Cox, 51, and sons Trevor, 17, and Chris, 19, of Reston.
DREAM TRIP: Hawaii.
BACKGROUND: Before Robert Cox's wife, Anita, died from cancer in November, the couple had planned to visit Hawaii with their sons. Anita had never been there and always wanted to go, Robert Cox said in an e-mail. "The boys would still like to honor their mom's wishes," he wrote. He asked us for help planning a two-week July trip that's part restful (beaches, historical and cultural sites) and part active (surfing lessons, scuba diving). In general, Cox said, he's seeking activities that will help a "family rebounding from their grief."
DAYS 1-2: On Oahu, the Coxes have arranged to stay with a family friend who owns a condo on the beach in Honolulu's Waikiki. They'll likely arrive late in the day, giving them time to rest before surfing lessons the next morning. The water off Waikiki is calm, and experienced surfing instructors are plentiful. For example, Hans Hedemann Surf (808-924-7778, http:/
DAYS 3-4: Take in Oahu's cultural and historical sites. Tour the USS Arizona Memorial (808-422-2771, http:/
Spend time at the lush locale where such movies as "Jurassic Park" and "Godzilla" were filmed. The privately owned Kualoa Ranch (808-237-7321, http:/
DAY 5-8: Fly to the Big Island to spend three nights scuba diving and touring the volcanoes. Just about every travel agency in Hawaii offers combo deals for flights, lodging and a rental car. Hawaii-Aloha.com (800-843-8771, http:/
Spend a half-day driving through Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (808-985-6000, http:/
DAYS 9-12: Arrange another combo deal to fly to Maui for three nights; a package through Hawaii-Aloha.com is $350 per person, including lodging at the Kaanapali Beach Hotel. Take another scuba outing at one of Hawaii's must-see spots for divers, Molokini. The crescent-shaped, partially sunken volcanic crater 2 1/2 miles off the island teems with more than 250 species of fish, including butterflyfish, parrotfish and wrasse. Lahaina Divers (800-998-3483, http:/
Elsewhere on Maui, tour the quaint town of Lahaina. Drive the twisting, gut-churning Road to Hana past waterfalls, through verdant forests and across more than 50 one-lane bridges, stopping first to pick up a picnic lunch at the Maui Grown Market on the Hana Highway in Haiku.
DAYS 13-14: Spend time relaxing in Waikiki again before heading back to the mainland, perhaps taking a drive to the calm summer waters of the North Shore. Sorry, you won't find the famous 30-foot waves that are commonplace during the winter, but you will encounter phenomenal shrimp "shacks" along the way for a bite to eat.
SPLURGE: It's not often you get to see one of the most active volcanoes on the planet. The glowing, burbling lava flows on the Big Island aren't accessible by foot right now, because earthquakes in 2007 caused them to change their path. But monitor the National Park Service Web site for updates.
Most tourists opt for helicopter rides, but do one better: See the volcano -- and the rest of the Big Island -- aboard a privately chartered Cessna. Island Hoppers (800-538- 7590, http:/
TOTAL COST: The best airfare we found is $858 aboard Continental Airlines, departing from Baltimore-Washington International. Including all flights, lodging and all of the activities listed above except the Cessna flight, this trip will run about $2,500 per person.
-- Elissa Leibowitz Poma