Ultimate Hawaii Honeymoon Guide

Aloha & Welcome to the most iconic honeymoon destination! The 50th state of the USA is a Polynesian paradise, set in the deep blue Pacific Ocean with endless coastline, lava flowing from active volcanoes, magnificent waterfalls and ancient lush green rainforest. Hawaii has this and a whole lot more!
Ultimate Hawaii Honeymoon Guide | The Honeymoon Guide

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Hawaii is one of the planet’s top honeymoon destinations, with a superabundance of natural beauty, culture and heritage. You might want to live your best beach life, watch Hula dancing, sip on a delicious Mai Tai and witness the most majestic sunsets of your life or maybe you’re an adventure seeker and want to hike to volcanoes and waterfalls and zipline over the rainforest canopy. You might be thinking about a Hawaii honeymoon wondering, what is the best Hawaiian island for honeymoon? Is Hawaii good for honeymoon? What’s the best time to visit Hawaii? How do you get there? How do you get around the Hawaiian islands? Where to stay? What are the best things to do in Hawaii? We’ve got all the essential information you need to plan the perfect honeymoon in Hawaii. Let’s take you to this remarkable land with our Ultimate Hawaii Honeymoon Guide!

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Good to know

Time Zone: GMT – 11

Language: Hawaiian & English

Capital: Honolulu

Population: 1.4 million

Currency: US Dollar $

Visa Required: Most nationalities need either a visa or an ESTA

A few phrases:

Hi: Aloha

Please: Ke ‘olu’olu

Thank you: Mahalo

Goodbye: A hui hou

When to go

Hawaii is a year-round destination for honeymoons. The best time to visit is during the summer months, from April to October. However, during the peak summer months, flights & hotels are at a premium, so if you can go from April to May or October, you’ll find the sweet spot between good value and pleasant weather. While most parts of Hawaii are sunny year round, more rainfall happens during the winter months, from November to March. However, this is the best time for pro surfing and whale watching.

Hawaii honeymoon with peach sunset and palm trees and blue ocean | The Honeymoon Guide
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How to get there

Daily flights depart to Hawaii from many of the major US cities with airlines like Hawaiian Airlines, United Airlines, American Airlines and Delta. You can also fly from Canada (Vancouver) or Australia (Sydney and Melbourne), New Zealand (Auckland) and Japan (Tokyo).

Flying time from Europe is 16 hours (with a stopover), Australia is 10 hours, New Zealand is 8 hours and Asia is 8 hours.

If you’re doing an island hop, we’d really recommend flying into one island and out of another. While Oahu has the most connections, Maui also has plenty of connections, too.

What to pack

Hiking shoes | Reef-friendly sunscreen | Rash guard | Aqua / Reef shoes | Waterproof Phone Case

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Accommodation

Hawaii is a little different to the Caribbean and Indian Ocean, Hawaiian honeymoon resorts are not all-inclusive* and the resort / hotel costs are usually based on room only or bed & breakfast (which is great as it means you can explore the local dining scene!).

Hotel decor can seem a little dated in comparison to hotels in the Indian Ocean, Middle East and Asia. In addition to all the big brand hotels and resorts, you can also find holiday rentals, condos, apartments villas and inns. 

Note: If you don’t travel to the USA regularly, you may be unfamiliar with ‘resort fees’. These are additional compulsory fees added on to your bill at checkout in many hotels and resorts and can be approx $25 per room per night.

*If you prefer a more resort-based all inclusive honeymoon, there are other destinations to consider which you can read about here

Waikii Beach Hawaii Honeymoon Hotel with aerial view of pink umbreallas around pool | The Honeymoon Guide
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Island-hopping

While there is no major ferry service, island hopping is easy. Short flights with Hawaiian Airlines and Mokulele Airlines take anything from 30 to 60 minutes.

Map of Hawaii islands | The Honeymoon Guide
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Choosing your Hawaii honeymoon islands and how long to stay on each

While many will ‘fly and flop’ on a relaxing beach honeymoon to Hawaii, going on hikes, seeing waterfalls and experiencing Hawaiian culture is an essential part of experiencing beautiful Hawaii. How much time you have, how much you want to see and do will help you decide what islands to visit. There isn’t a right or wrong island to visit, it just depends on what your heart’s desires are!

When planning your itinerary, remember that 2 nights will only give you 1 full day to explore/relax, 3 nights = 2 full days, 4 nights = 3 full days, and so on. So make a list of the things you want to see on each island and then pick the ones that appeal to you the most. Make sure you plan some chilled out beach days along with days to explore. We would recommend at least 4 nights on each island. If you have 7 nights, pick two islands. If you have 10-14 nights, pick three islands.

You’ll come away with a favourite, please come back and tell us in the comments! But before all that, let’s give you the lowdown.

Waikiki Beach | The Honeymoon Guide
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O‘ahu / Oahu – The Gathering Place

Airport code: HNL

Oahu is the gateway for many visitors to the state and it’s the perfect island combination of city and beach. Honolulu, the capital (and the bustling famous Waikiki Beach) is ideal for a jam-packed stop with sailing trips, surfing lessons, museums (we love the Honolulu Museum of Art), galleries, food scene, farmer’s markets and nightlife.

You can hike Lēʻahi aka Diamond Head or the less busy Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Trail. A day trip to learn about a tragic part of history at Pearl Harbour is usually on most lists. Snorkelling at the stunning Hanauma Bay is essential. The clear warm water is what Hawaiian honeymoon dreams are made of! Marvel at the filming location of Jurassic Park at Kualoa Ranch.

Spend an afternoon on one of the best beaches, Lanikai Beach – Obama is apparently a fan! Hike in the ‘Grand Canyon of the Pacific’, Waimea Valley or the Makiki Valley.

The laid back North Shore is a must. The mammoth waves happen during winter (one of the best spots is Banzai Pipeline). Even if you don’t fancy taking up surfing, watching the incredible display by pro surfers is a site you won’t forget. If you’re travelling during summer, you can snorkel and dive and spend some time in the cute town of Haleiwa. Laniakea beach is home to Hawaiian green turtles (but whatever you do, please do not touch them!)

Getting around Oahu – Hiring a car will give you more freedom to explore, but there are many tour companies and ride sharing apps like Uber, so it isn’t essential and the one island you can get away with not having a car. If you choose car hire, we recommend booking early.

Where to eat on OahuMahina and Sun’s | Helena’s | Eggs ‘n Things | Tiki’s Grill & Bar

Where to stay in Oahu – Most couples will stay at Waikiki, but North Shore is worth exploring, too. The Honeymoon Guide loves…

The Surfjack Hotel – cool boutique hotel 10 minutes from Waikiki Beach

Halekulani Hotel – traditional ocean front hotel in Waikiki Beach

The Royal Hawaiian – historic Waikiki Beach hotel known as the Pink Palace

Moana Surfrider – historic hotel in the centre of Waikiki Beach

Four Seasons Oahu at Ko Olina – luxury resort on west coast, 30 minutes from Honolulu

The Laylow – cool boutique with cool above-street bar, 5 minutes from Waikiki beach

Hotel Renew – cool beach facing hotel in Waikiki

Vive Hotel – cute boutique hotel a few blocks from Waikiki

Turtle Bay – luxury resort in North Shore

Ke Iki Beach Bungalows – cute bungalows in North Shore

Aerial View Road Hawaii | The Honeymoon Guide
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Maui – The Valley Isle

Airport Code: OGG (there is also Hana Airport on the east coast code: HNM)

Arguably the island that has it all, Maui is ideal for adventure and beach lovers. Swaying palm trees, volcanic landscapes & delicious cuisine can all be found in the most popular island for a Hawaii honeymoon. Take a day touring the scenic Road to Hana, one of the must-do drives on Maui through tropical rainforest and volcanic coastline. Stop at Wai’anapanapa State Park for Pa’iloa Beach (Black Sand Beach). Hike the Waihe’e Ridge Trail. Whale watch in winter. Book a night of traditional Hawaiian culture at Old Lahaina Luau. Visit Maui Heart Shaped Rock and Nakalele Blowhole and spot the rainbow in the mist. 

Spend the afternoon at the (not so) secret cove, Pa’ako Beach or one of Maui’s signature beach, Makena Beach. Jump off the cliffs at Black Rock at the end of Ka’anapali Beach before exploring the galleries and dining scene of Lahaina. Check out bohemian Paia. Go on an outrigger canoe expedition and experience the old ways of Hawaiian life (you might even meet some whales or turtles along the way!)

Haleakalā National Park is a must, watch the sunrise and bike down the Haleakala Crater. You can also zipline over canyons – Indiana Jones-style!

Getting around Maui – Hiring a car will give you more freedom to explore, including driving the Road to Hana, but there are many tour companies if you can’t/won’t drive. If you choose car hire, we recommend booking early.

Where to eat on MauiMama’s Fish House | Merriman’s | Monkey Pod Kitchen | Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice

Where to stay on Maui – Most couples stay along the west coast in either Wailea, which is incredibly scenic with high-end resorts, or in Kaanapali, which is close to Lahaina for dining and nightlife.

Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea – one of the most luxurious hotels on Maui

Andaz Maui At Wailea – modern luxury beach front resort

Fairmont Kea Lani – large luxury beach front resort 

Hotel Wailea, Relais & Châteaux – luxury adults-only resort 

Old Wailuku Inn at Ulupono – charming inn first built in the 1920’s and well located for exploring

Hana-Maui Resort by Hyatt – secluded property at the end of the  Road to Hana

Plantation Inn – cute little b&b in historic Lahaina

Hyatt Regency Maui – large beachfront resort 5 minutes from Lahaina

Black Sand Beach Big Island Hawaii | The Honeymoon Guide
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Hawaiʻi / Hawaii – The Big Island

Two airport codes: Kona KOA and Hilo ITO ​

Hawaii Island is the biggest island. Almost twice the size of the other islands combined – hence the nickname! It’s home to two of the most active volcanoes on earth, Kīlauea and Mauna Loa, located in Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. Along with hiking ancient lava fields, you’ll find waterfalls, black sand beaches with lush green rainforest. You might even see a snow-capped mountain during winter. Hawai’i is one of the best places in the world to stargaze (check out the visitor centre of Mauna Kea).

Don’t miss Punaluu / Punaluʻu Black Sand Beach where not only are the dark hues spectacular but you might meet some green turtles too (you can also see them on the west coast at Kiholo Bay). Go snorkelling under the moonlight and meet some manta rays. Take the short hike to Akaka Falls and zipline over Kolekole Falls just downstream. Marvel at the view from Waipi’o Valley,  “Valley of the Kings.”, once the home of Hawaiian royalty (however, unfortunately the hiking trail / road, which is popular, is currently closed due to rock fall). The sacred Pu’uhonua O Honaunau National Park is not to be missed to learn about Hawaiian history. Big Island is ideal for couples seeking adventure on their Hawaii honeymoon.

Foodies will be in heaven, on what other island will you find a volcano winery, a cacao farm with a chocolate sampling tour and coffee. The Hawaii Tropical Bioreserve & Garden is worth making time for. If you’re a dog lover, the Hawaii Island Humane Society lets you bring their shelter dog out for a ‘field trip’ for the day.

Getting around Big Island – To truly explore Big Island, you will need more than a few days and you’ll need a car hire (book early to avoid disappointment). 

Where to eat on Big Island – Huggo’s on the Rocks | Da Poke Shack | Ka’aloa’s Super J’s | Jackie Rey’s Ohana Grill

Where to stay on Big Island – Most visitors will stay in Hilo (east coast) or Kona (west coast). Hilo is ideal if you want more outdoor adventures with volcanos, waterfalls, black sand beaches but it can be a bit wetter. Kona is ideal if you want more tropical beach scenes with snorkeling, resorts, nightlife. Its drier and sunnier. If you’re short on time and decide on Kona consider a helicopter tour of the east coast. The Honeymoon Guide loves…

Four Seasons Resort Hualalai – luxury resort near Kona

Fairmont Orchid Hawaii – lovely resort north of Kona

Mauna Lani Bay – well kept resort in a stunning location

The Inn at Kulaniapia Falls – Japanese influenced inn with relaxing surroundings in Hilo

Aerial View of Napali Coast Kauai | The Honeymoon Guide
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Kauaʻi / Kauai – The Garden Isle

Airport code: LIH

Unspoiled and more low key than its neighbours, Kauai, the oldest island, boasts some of the most lush landscapes in Hawaii and is ideal for nature-lovers who also want a laid-back, off-grid tropical vibe.

Kauai is also the wettest island, so you can expect some rain (but plenty of sunshine too!). It’s a hiker’s paradise and filming location of Jurassic Park and Pirates of the Caribbean. The Nā Pali / Napali Coast, one of the most photographed areas of Hawaii, is a must. Most couples make a boat tour or a helicopter tour. You can also kayak or take the tough, yet spectacular, Nā Pali Coast (Kalalau) Trail hike (permits needed). Check out the hike trails in nearby Waimea Canyon and Kōkeʻe State Park. The Hanakaipai Falls are strenuous, but worth it. Visit Wailua River State Park, home to ‘Opaeka‘a Falls and Wailua Falls and kayak the river. Snorkelers will love Makua Beach / Tunnels Beach. Swim in the tidal pool at Queen’s Bath near Princeville and see the sunrise on Poipu Beach. Explore Hawaiian rum, a chocolate farm and don’t forget to see a traditional Luau show!

Getting around Kauai – We recommend car hire for getting around Kauai. Book early as vehicles are limited.

Where to eat on KauaiBar Acuda | Da Crack | Red Salt

Where to stay on Kauai – Most couples stay in Poipu in the south which is sunnier year-round. The north of Kauai is more lush and scenic with holiday rentals/condos available around area of Princeville (near the surfer town Hanalei).

1 Hotel Hanelei Bay – opening 2023

Grand Hyatt Kaua’i Resort – large resort set in beautiful gardens in Poipu

The Lodge at Kukui’ula – luxury bungalow & cottages in Poipu

Ko`a Kea Resort On Poipu Beach – Romantic resort

Whalers Cove Oceanfront Resort – condos with ocean views in Poipu

Koloa Landing Resort – large resort in Poipu

Lānaʻi / Lanai – The Pineapple Isle

Airport code: LNY

Lanai is owned by Oracle co-founder, the billionaire Larry Ellison. It’s accessible by a short one hour ferry from Maui (the ferry often sails by whales in winter). You can also get there by plane or helicopter..There is limited accommodation. Most honeymooners come to stay at the super luxe Four Seasons Resort Lanai.

There is plenty to do! Go horse riding, take a 4WD tour of the island, immerse yourself in Hawaiian culture and experiences like hula, ukulele, lauhala weaving, lei making, herbal healing, chanting but most of all take a guided hike to one of Lânai’s most iconic landmarks Pu’u Pehe aka Sweetheart Rock at sunrise and stargaze from the Lanai Observatory.

Molokaʻi / Molokai – The Friendly Isle

Airport code: MKK

Molakai is mostly a local’s island. Part of the island was formerly a colony for those suffering from leprosy. There are no big-brand resorts and the locals work hard to resist the tourism levels of the neighbouring islands to protect their way of life and cultural heritage

You can visit and there are beautiful hiking trails like Pepe’opae Bog Trail but accommodation is rustic and basic. The only hotel is ​​Hotel Moloka’i. You can go kayaking, paddle boarding and snorkel at the reef near Kamiloloa beach. Take a guided mule ride in Kalaupapa National Historical Park. Planning a family after you get married? Add Palaʻau State Park, home to Kaule O Nanahoa (the phallus of Nanahoa), a sacred site which was renowned for increasing fertility.

Niʻihau / Niihau – The Forbidden Isle

Niihau is a privately owned island just north of Kauai and you can only visit by invitation. It’s not a preserve of the rich and famous, but a land that fiercely protects its traditional culture and way of life and has shunned visitors. However, while you cannot meet the locals, you can land there via a helicopter tour or see it from the sea.

surfers under a peach sunset in Hawaii | The Honeymoon Guide
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Hawaii Honeymoon Cruises

If you want a small taste of the islands, you can take a Hawaii cruise. NCL’s Pride of America sails from Honolulu on 7 night itineraries all year round. Although the ship is a little older, it’s a good way to get around as there are no ‘days at sea’ and they visit an island every day.

Royal Caribbean & Celebrity Cruises sail to and from Vancouver in Canada, giving you some time to relax with a few days at sea and then stopping at a few islands. They usually go one way. Meaning you can start in Vancouver and end on the islands (usually Oahu) for a longer stay. You can also take a transpacific cruise to/from continental USA and Australia/New Zealand that will take in some islands (and usually include other magical island nations in the Pacific Ocean too!)

Hollywood Hills | The Honeymoon Guide
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What to bring home

Macadamia nuts – Kona Coffee – Kahala Aloha shirt – Koloa Rum

Where can you tag on to your Hawaii honeymoon

As you can see whether you have 7, 10 or 14 nights, Hawaii has so much to see and do and makes for a magical honeymoon as a single destination.

However, as it is well connected to the continental United States, you can tag on most major US cities as a stopover. Los Angeles and San Francisco have multiple daily flights, making California, another iconic destination, a perfect add-on. Whether it’s a self-drive or city stop, California is so much fun. San Francisco, Napa Valley, Yosemite National Park, Death Valley, Big Sur, Los Angeles, Disney California & Santa Barbara are just a few of the places that you can visit for an ultimate West Coast USA itinerary. Alternatively, knock Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon off your bucket-list. Your American (travel) dream is attainable! Another option is a road trip through the Canadian Rockies from Vancouver and adding on a trip to Hawaii, an epic trip for couples with more time.

Hawaii | The Honeymoon Guide
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An important note on sustainable travel

Hawaii is one of the world’s most popular travel destinations, meaning that, like many other parts of the planet, it suffers from the scourge of overtourism. From private apartment and home rentals taking housing stock from locals and depleting natural resources, Hawaiians are trying to find the balance between sustainability and their economy.

Tourism is one of the main sources of jobs so if you are planning a Hawaii honeymoon, we recommend you visit the Sustainable Tourism Association of Hawaii website. They encourage you “to travel pono” which means “to do what is right”. To Travel Pono is to travel consciously and respectfully. They encourage visitors to explore Hawaii in a manner that is respectful of the Native Hawaiian culture, wildlife and environment, and local residents.

In some cases, limited numbers are allowed in state parks at at any one time and you have to reserve a space, so please check before travel to avoid disappointment.

You can also read more about making sustainable choices for your honeymoon here!

Before you go

Read – Captive Paradise: A History of Hawaii by James Haley | Hawaii, A Novel by James Michener | Dreams from My Father by Barack Obama| Moloka’i by Alan Brennert

Watch – Moana (2016 Dir Ron Clements, John Musker) | Jurassic Park (1993, Steven Spielberg) | Pearl Harbour (2001, Dir Michael Bay) | Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008 Dir Nicholas Stoller) | Blue Hawaii (1961 Norman Taurog)

We would love to hear from you in the comments if you are planning a Hawaii honeymoon! Let us know if this guide was useful or if we left out any essential information!

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Happy Planning x

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Hello!

Welcome to The Honeymoon Guide and huge congratulations on your engagement / upcoming wedding! We hope you are as excited to be planning your honeymoon as we are for you. Use our little corner of the web to start planning with the best honeymoon destinations, where the weather is good for a honeymoon with our month by month honeymoon calendar and our top advice to help you choose the best honeymoon to suit you. Explore the blogs and sign up for our mailing below for all the goodies!

Happy Planning!

The Honeymoon Guide Team x

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