When my husband and I were first engaged, we decided to visit the Hawaiian Islands for our honeymoon and we just looved it! With miles of sandy beaches, balmy breezes, hiking trails, snorkeling trips and breath-taking sunsets, it’s easy to see why Hawaii is among the top ten honeymoon destinations, and a favorite for romantic vacations!
Don’t be afraid of “island hopping” and moving around; spend a night in Hana, and a few in Kaanapali on Maui or on Kauai. All the islands offer something different, so take the time to carefully plan and you’re sure to make memories that will last a lifetime. Many online services offer free travel guides or books for each island and the Hawaii Visitors & Convention Bureau can be a great source of information.
Before you start planning, talk to your partner and decide what type of honeymoon vacation you are each imagining. Are you an adventurous, outdoorsy couple or do you prefer sitting back on your private lanai, sipping mai tais with your sweetheart? Are you looking for a resort with all the amenities or would you prefer the seclusion of a beach front home? Do you want lots of night life or would you rather enjoy romantic walks on the beach? Is a honeymoon beach vacation the right thing for you?
A list of the most popular honeymoon destinations would not be complete without including Maui. The South and West shores include the resorts of Kaanapali and Wailea as well as a number of more budget-friendly condo-tels with easy beach access; driving is easy and there is just so much to do! There are a number of “couple friendly” snorkel and sunset sailing tours departing from Lahaina and Maalaea daily, theater shows, rainforest hikes with waterfalls and a surprising number of quiet little hideaways for such a popular place!
Maui has become one of the top destination wedding locations in the world, playing host to over 10,000 weddings annually. With a good wedding planner to put together your details, finding the perfect photographer, musician, wedding flowers and secret spot can be easy and fun; web based coordinators can even help you combine your Maui wedding (or vow renewal; hey, we’re talking ROMANCE here!), reception and honeymoon travel into one easy package.
Oahu is also among the list of popular honeymoon destinations and lures couples looking for great shopping, clubs, concerts and shows. Waikiki Beach has become a landmark and is a great place for couples to try surf lessons, parasailing and sunset sailing. Some of the best Hawaiian luaus and dinner cruises in the state are on Oahu and most offer the luxury of round-trip transportation; no need to worry about driving, share a toast with your love as the sun sets over the Pacific Ocean and enjoy! Diamond Head and Hanauma Bay Marine Preserve were among our favorites and the Polynesian Cultural Center is a must-do activity on this island.
Kauai was a great choice for us and is the most popular wedding//honeymoon destination, after Maui. This is not the island for travelers looking for night life; it has only a few luaus and restaurants. But it is a MUST for outdoor lovers and adventure seekers. The surfing at Hanalei Bay is always a real treat and the setting is just so picture-postcard perfect! Snorkeling is not great from shore on this island and a number of boats will take you along the Na Pali Coast; adventurous couples should look into the rafting trips. These tend to be geared more toward adults and couples, with few (or no) children. The beach landings are on completely secluded slips of sand and usually include a romantic little picnic beside the sea. There are more zipline courses here than on any island, as well as golf, horseback rides to hidden waterfall pools, off-road and ATV tours and so much more to do, we could have filled another week and still not seen it all.
We found the Big Island to be very romantic but very BIG. I recommend staying in multiple hotels on this island. Our two days in the village of Volcano (about 45 miles from Hilo) were the most romantic of our honeymoon. After hiking in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park during the day, we joined a night hike to view the lava flows; the only way to get a better view is a helicopter flight. A visit to the summit of Mauna Kea is equally breath-taking; remember, we want to create memories together on this trip!
Most of the organized activities on the island are based in Kailua-Kona and this where the most affordable hotels are found. Hilo is a quiet little town and fun to visit but does not offer as much for the romantic getaway, although there are some great hidden waterfalls and gardens. The resorts at Waikoloa promise the ultimate in luxury with stellar ocean and sunset views, quiet beaches, pool-side massages for couples and a number of intimate dining options.
From my experience, Hawaii should be among the list of top honeymoon vacations. There is so much for the newly married couple to enjoy that this may well become a destination of choice for all your anniversaries to come!
– Kelly Stoneman