A Hawaiian honeymoon can be both romantic and adventurous
Photo: Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA)/Ron Dahlquist
Hawaii is considered one of the quintessential honeymoon destinations and for good reason. This tiny island chain in the Pacific is brimming with romance, beauty and the infectious aloha spirit. Just about anything you could want in a honeymoon can be found on one or more of the islands.
BEST TIME TO VISIT:
Hawaii’s islands can be enjoyed any time of the year. Winter is considered the high season and also the best time to spot whales, so expect higher prices and larger crowds from December through April.
The welcoming aloha spirit of the islands is extended to all visitors, including LGBT couples. Same-sex marriage became legally recognized on Dec. 2, 2013.
The Big Island:
Ahu Pohaku Hoomaluhia Hawaii Island Eco Retreat is hidden away high above the cliffs of North Kahalo. Its long list of green credentials include solar-powered energy, water conservation and even its own organic vegetable gardens and fruit orchids that provide for most of the kitchen’s creations. Don’t let all the global responsibility fool you though. This boutique hotel provides for the senses as much as the conscience. Going green never felt so luxurious.
With its own water park including a saltwater lagoon, lavish spa facilities, 18-hole golf course and your choice of restaurants, you’ll have to force yourself to leave the dreamy Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa to explore the rest of the island.
Overlooking Wailea Beach, The Four Seasons is luxury at its finest. Expect nothing less than impeccable service, tasteful décor, exquisite grounds and fine dining, including Wolfgang Puck’s Spago.
Situated only 15 minutes from the hustle and bustle of Waikiki Beach, Kahala Resort makes you feel a million miles away from everything. Opulence is the operative word here. Amenities are exceptional and include everything from a free shuttle into Waikiki to free scuba lessons in the pool.
WINE & DINE:
The Big Island:
After a long day of lava viewing, stop in at family-owned Seaside Restaurant for dinner and drinks. You can’t go wrong with any of the fish dishes since the restaurant grows its own in the adjacent 30 acres of fishponds. Talk about farm to table!
Hawaii has a large Japanese community and nowhere on the Big Island is its culinary influence reflected better than at Fujimamas. This Asian fusion restaurant, which originated in Tokyo, prides itself on fresh and sustainable ingredients from the island.
Serving beautifully prepared contemporary Hawaiian cuisine in thatched roof huts overlooking lit koi ponds and waterfalls, Tidepools at the Grand Hyatt Kauai offers romantic ambience in abundance.
For expertly prepared sushi, head to one of the two Sansei Seafood Restaurant and Sushi Bar locations on the island. It has two other locations, one on The Big Island and the other on Oahu. Just remember that reservations are a must at both of them.
You can’t come to Hawaii, and not attend a luau. Feast on delicious Polynesian fare and delight in the beautifully told history of Hawaii through song and hula at the Old Lahaina Luau.
Forget hot dog stands. In Hawaii, it’s all about the shrimp trucks. If you’re in the North Shore, stop by Macky’s Sweet Shrimp Truck. The meal on wheels serves up huge shrimp cooked in a variety of ways with rice and salad. This will be the best “fast food” you’ve ever had.
For true culinary innovation, head to Hiroshi Eurasian Tapas. Foie gras sushi and red wine–steamed veal cheek are just a couple of the standouts on their ingenious menu.
Photos: Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA)/Kirk Lee Aeder & Joe Solem
SEE & DO:
The Big Island
Get up close and personal with red oozing lava at Kilauea Volcano, the world’s most active volcano. Located in the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park along with the world’s largest volcano, Mauna Lau, this other-worldly experience is a must on The Big Island. While there, take a drive along the Crater Rim road for great scenic stops and enjoy lunch with panoramic views at the Volcano House.
Coffee, macadamia nut, cacao, taro, wineries and even sea-horse farms are just a few of many different types of Big Island growers that offer up tours. See how the crops are harvested, sample the delicious bounties, and marvel at the vast contrast of these fertile crops from the barren lava fields of the rest of the island.
The Big Island may not have much of a nightlife, but shopping abounds. Kailua-Kona and Waimea are great places to pick up island wear, souvenirs, artwork, Kona coffee and other tchotchkes to remind you of your trip to Hawaii.
80 percent of Kauai is inaccessible by car. The best—and sometimes only—way to see its true beauty is by air. Take one of the many available helicopter tours to get a bird’s eye view of the Waialeale Crater, Waimea Canyon, numerous waterfalls and the lush forests of the island.
Na Pali Coast
Best seen by air or sea this 22-mile stretch of dramatic volcanic cliff cannot be missed. Boat, raft or helicopter tours are offered by many reputable companies on the island. If you’re serious hikers, day trips can be made to explore the area on foot.
Another way to get a glimpse of all the natural beauty Kauai has to offer is on horseback. Many tours are on private ranches, which allow access to hidden gems unseen by many. Tours usually combine swimming, waterfalls and other activities along your way.
The road to Hana
This may be the most perfect example of life being about the journey and not the destination. Stop in Paia to pick up a tour CD, a picnic lunch and to top off your gas tank before heading up this curvy coastal road. Along the way, the CD will tell you where to stop to see beautiful waterfalls, black sand beaches, historical sites and amazing views. Be sure to leave very early in the morning or plan to stay in Hana for the night.
Surf and sand
With more than 80 beaches to choose from, the opportunities for sunning, snorkeling and other water sports are boundless in Maui. Some of the state’s best deep sea diving can be done off its shores.
Take a guided bike tour down the Haleakala Crater, hike through a rainforest or take a swim in a waterfall. Maui has a seemingly endless amount of options for the active outdoor enthusiast.
Whale and dolphin watching
If you visit during the whale season, you’re in for some close encounters with these gentle giants. Dolphin watching can be done year round. Lahaina’s port is a popular starting point for many of these excursions.
Take plenty of water for the three-quarter-mile hike up to the top of Hawaii’s most famous landmark, Diamond Head. Once you reach the summit, relax and enjoy the spectacular views of Waikiki and the Pacific Ocean.
Head to these crystal clear waters for some of the best and easily accessed snorkeling on the island. Its abundant fish life is evident just a few steps in and only gets better from there.
Catch a wave
Take lessons, or just enjoy watching the surfers on Oahu’s famous North Shore.
A lesson in history
Maybe not the most romantic thing to do on Oahu, but any trip would be remiss without a visit to USS Arizona Memorial, which details the attack on Pearl Harbor. The site offers a short video, a small museum, audio tours and a boat trip out to view the sunken ship.
Oahu is a golf lover’s dream and offers more than 40 golf courses, both public and private.
|Photo: Hawaii Tourism Authority
PERFECT FOR COUPLES LOOKING FOR:
Romance, relaxation, world-class golfing, outdoor excursions and some of the best beaches in the world.
DAYS TO STAY:
You’ll never want to leave, but five to seven days will give you enough time to both relax and explore. If you plan to island hop, give yourself at least two to three days on each island. This will allow you to enjoy each island without feeling the burden of constant travel.
OH, AND BY THE WAY:
Car rental is a must for most of the islands so be sure to figure that cost into your budget. However, Oahu boasts one of the best bus systems in the United States, so that’s a bonus!