Planning the Perfect Hawaii Honeymoon

08/02/2018 | by Courtney Dennis | Big Island Kauai Local Area Local Tips Maui Oahu Things To Do Vacation Planning Vacation Rentals

The ultimate honeymoon destination, the Hawaiian Islands boast luxurious accommodations, breathtaking beaches and other romantic tropical surroundings, and extraordinary attractions and activities. With an ideal climate, natural wonders found nowhere else in the world, and a welcoming local community, Hawaii is a flawless choice for an unforgettable first trip as a married couple.

Photo Credit: https://pixabay.com/en/hawaii-wedding-packages-731065/
Photo Credit: https://pixabay.com/en/hawaii-wedding-packages-731065/

Each of the four major islands provides its own special slice of paradise. Here, we highlight several of the state’s most private beaches, particularly unique adventures, and best activities for two.

Honeymooning on the Big Island

The island of Hawaii, commonly known as the Big Island, is actually larger than all seven of the other islands combined. Among its other claims to fame: it is not only home to the majority of the major climate zones on the planet, but every imaginable geological feature from lava fields to rain forests.

  1. Off-the-beaten-path beach: Makalawena. Start at Kekaha Kai State Park and walk for about 20 minutes north on a path running through a lava field to find a gorgeous, uncrowded white sand beach with stunningly blue water and shade trees.
  2. Memorable adventure: a night dive with manta rays. Whether you’re a confident scuba diver or an inexperienced snorkeler, a trip to Kona gives you the opportunity to try one of the top-rated night dives in the world. Companies like Big Island Divers, Kona Honu Divers, and Manta Ray Dives of Hawaii offer a variety of options for travelers with different levels of comfort in the water.
  3. Romantic activity: a volcano hike, of course! If you’re vacationing on an island made up of five volcanoes, you’ll probably want to get up close and personal with at least one of them. Kilauea tends to steal the show, as it’s been erupting continuously since 1983, giving many visitors a chance to see flowing lava in action. If measured from the ocean floor, though, the dormant Mauna Kea volcano is the world’s tallest mountain, making it a great location not only for hiking but for once-in-a-lifetime stargazing.
  4. Dining/shopping/spa tips:
    • For especially good sunset-watching, pupus (appetizers), and cocktails, try Huggo’s, oceanfront in Kona.
    • Spend the day exploring art galleries, charming shops, and farmers’ markets in the picturesque town of Waimea. Afterward, enjoy Hawaiian fine dining and an impressive wine list at Merriman’s Big Island.
    • For those interested in a luau, the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel (in south Kohala) and the Island Breeze Luau at King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel provide particularly enjoyable options.

Browse our Kailua-Kona luxury vacation rentals (for best access to Makalawena, the manta ray night dive, Huggo’s, or a luau), our Mauna Kea luxury vacation rentals (for best access to the volcano), or our Puako luxury vacation rentals (for best access to Waimea)

hawaii watersports

Honeymooning on Kauai

Nicknamed the Garden Island, Kauai is rich in pristine beauty. For those in search of a peaceful honeymoon in an unspoiled natural environment, look no further.

  1. Off-the-beaten-path beach: Polihale State Park. On Kauai’s west shore, a bumpy dirt road at the end of Highway 50 leads to over 12 miles of wide, golden-sand beach with tall dunes and sea cliffs in the background, along with enchanting sunsets.
  2. Memorable adventure: hiking the Kalalau Trail on the Na Pali Coast. On the north shore, the highway ends and the trail begins at Haena State Park. Those wishing to see the whole rugged trail (22 miles round-trip) need a permit and overnight camping gear. However, more casual day hikers generally opt for a two-mile (each way) version, to a secluded beach in the Hanakapiai Valley. Even the shorter hike along these magnificent sea cliffs offers staggering panoramic ocean views, lush surroundings, and occasional glimpses of wild goats.
  3. Romantic activity: stand-up paddling or kayaking the Hanalei River. Rent your watercraft of choice from Kayak Hanalei, and then experience a serene trip down a lazy river surrounded by tropical vegetation and the native birds of a national wildlife refuge. You may feel like the only two people on Earth as you take in sights like waterfalls, taro fields, and the historic Hanalei Bridge.
  4. Dining/shopping/spa tips:
    • For a romantic dinner with an incredible ocean and mountain view, try Makana Terrace at the St. Regis Princeville Resort.
    • The Shops at Kukuiula (Poipu) also have outstanding restaurants, as well as clothing boutiques, upscale gift shops, and art galleries.
    • Visitors to the quaint town of Koloa can spend part of their day touring lovely local shops and art galleries, and part of the day being pampered at either Anara Spa at the Grand Hyatt Kauai or the Spa at Koa Kea.

Browse our Poipu luxury vacation rentals (for best access to Polihale, the Shops at Kukuiula, and Koloa) or our Haena, Hanalei, and Princeville luxury vacation rentals (for best access to the Kalalau Trail and the Hanalei River)

maui sandy beach

Honeymooning on Maui

For seven years running, the readers of Travel + Leisure magazine have voted Maui (also known as the Valley Isle) the best island in the world. With a balance of restaurant and entertainment possibilities and untouched wild regions, this island has something for every honeymooner.

  1. Off-the-beaten-path beach: Oneloa/Ironwoods Beach. Opposite the entrance to the Ritz Carlton Kapalua on Maui’s northwest side, you’ll find this quiet beach with white sand, sometimes dramatic shore breaks, and striking views of the islands of Lanai and Molokai. While you’re there, consider a walk down the Kapalua Coastal Trail, which winds along the water’s edge past scenic coves and tidepools.
  2. Memorable adventure: hiking at La Perouse Bay. Wear sturdy footwear when you visit Maui’s southernmost accessible point, where you can hike along sea cliffs through lava fields and possibly spot spinner dolphins and wild goats. With the ocean and the island of Kahoolawe on one side and the 10,000-foot Haleakala volcano on your other side, you’ll have a chance to explore the most recent lava flow on the island.
  3. Romantic activity: a helicopter tour of the Molokai sea cliffs. One of the best-kept secrets in Hawaii, the sea cliffs on the north side of Maui’s neighbor island of Molokai are the tallest in the world. Helicopter tours by companies such as Blue Hawaiian enable visitors to witness these marvels of nature, punctuated by abundant waterfalls and verdant valleys.
  4. Dining/shopping/spa tips:
    • Ranked as one of the top 10 restaurants in the U.S. more than once, Mama’s Fish House sets the standard for fresh seafood and oceanfront ambiance. Make a reservation well in advance if you plan to share a meal at this iconic establishment on Maui’s north shore.
    • On the south side, take a stroll along the Wailea Beach Path for a number of exceptional dining choices and superior sunset views year-round. The path runs between the Pacific and resorts like the Fairmont Kea Lani (where you can try Nick’s Fishmarket), the Grand Wailea (where you can try Humuhumunukunukuapuaa, named for the state fish of Hawaii), and Wailea Beach Resort (where you can try Humble Market Kitchin).
    • On the west side, the postcard-perfect harbor town of Lahaina has endless restaurant and shopping possibilities. The Old Lahaina Luau, near the northernmost end of Front Street, is known for its fantastic setting, delicious food, and authentic luau experience.

Browse our Kapalua, Kaanapali, and Lahaina luxury vacation rentals (for best access to Oneloa/Ironwoods Beach and Front Street) or our MakenaKihei, and Wailea luxury vacation rentals (for best access to La Perouse Bay, helicopter tours, and Mama’s Fish House)

Honeymooning on Oahu

Also called the Gathering Place, Oahu continues to attract more visitors than any other Hawaiian island. With a more urban vibe than the other islands, it creates an opportunity for a more cosmopolitan honeymoon.

  1. Off-the-beaten-path beach: Yokohama Bay/Keawaula Beach. This wide stretch of soft, pale sand at the northernmost end of Highway 930 on the west coast showcases the majestic Waianae Mountains as a backdrop. Sunsets are spectacular at this beach, which tends to attract mostly locals, primarily on weekends.
  2. Memorable adventure: snorkeling at Shark’s Cove. Scuba Diving Magazine named Shark’s Cove one of the top 12 shore diving spots in the world. Part of Pupukea Beach Park on Oahu’s renowned North Shore, this marine life preserve teems with fish and also allows snorkelers to see coral formations and small caves.
  3. Romantic activity: an evening sail from Waikiki. Maitai Catamaran provides sunset cruises, and Holokai Catamaran offers both a nightly sunset cruise and a slightly later Friday evening cruise that gives guests an even better view of the Hilton Hawaiian Village’s weekly fireworks show. Those who choose Makani Catamaran can opt for a full dinner sunset sail.
  4. Dining/shopping/spa tips:
    • Roy’s Hawaii Kai has specialized in fine Hawaiian and Pacific Rim cuisine for over 25 years, and its romantic ocean-side location makes it a wonderful choice for honeymooners.
    • The Beachhouse at the Moana boasts excellent steaks and seafood, an extensive wine list, and a beautiful oceanfront atmosphere close to the shopping and nightlife in Waikiki, while MW Restaurant features farm-to-table Hawaiian fare near Ala Moana, the largest shopping center in Hawaii.
    • Fabulous spas abound on Oahu, the most notable of which include the Moana Lani Spa in the Moana Surfrider Waikiki, the Nalu Kinetic Spa at Turtle Bay Resort on the North Shore, and the Naupaka Spa & Wellness Centre at the Four Seasons Resort in Ko Olina.

Browse our Makaha or Ko Olina luxury vacation rentals (for best access to Yokohama Bay or the Naupaka Spa), our Pupukea or Haleiwa luxury vacation rentals (for best access to Shark’s Cove or the Nalu Spa), or our Waikiki, Diamond Head, Aina Haina, or Hawaii Kai luxury vacation rentals (for remaining attractions)

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