1. Lots of couples say they’re going to Hawaii for their honeymoon, but really, there’s a good chance they’re taking off for only one of Hawaii’s four main islands: Oahu, Maui, Kauai or the Big Island. Each has its own character and should appeal to different honeymooners, so we’ve broken this 42 Tips guide down into easy sub-sections to give you a taste of what to expect from each island. (If you still need help choosing an island after reading this, our honeymoon concierge can assist.)
3. Temperatures and rain fall are fairly consistent throughout Hawaii, so it’s hard to pick a bad time to go. However, as folks tend to flee cold weather on the mainland, winter months are generally busier and more expensive. On the other hand, those same winter months are the best time for whale watching (not to mention getting away from cold mainland weather).
4. “Definitely get a rental car. We had a convertible Mustang and had the top down the whole time,” said Renee Capellaro, who honeymooned on Maui with her husband Lucian in 2011. Although spending your Hawaii honeymoon lying on a beach and spending time, um, enjoying the seclusion of your hotel room is certainly fun, you’ll be missing out on a lot if you don’t get out and explore by car.
5. For the best, most in-depth look at the island of your choice, buy a Hawaii Revealed guide book from Wizard Publications. We guarantee it’ll be the best $14 you spend on the entire trip. Its unbiased reviews and meticulously detailed driving tours point you in the direction of information, sights and activities you’d never experience without it. We’ve recommended this guidebook series to numerous friends who always thank us afterwards for the tip. It’s like no other guidebook around. We wish author Andrew Doughty would tackle more places than just Hawaii.
6. Oahu is by far the most populated island, and likely the one you’ve most frequently seen in television and movies. It is home to Honolulu and Waikiki, Pearl Harbor, the epic waves of the North Shore, Disney’s Aulani resort, and the TV show “Hawaii Five-O.”
7. The advantages to Oahu’s population and prominence include a greater number of flights, resorts and dining options, plus the inherently more metropolitan feel that comes with a city of Honolulu’s size. There are also more traditional attractions to keep you busy such as an aquarium, a zoo and multiple museums.
8. The disadvantage is that, although much of Oahu remains a tropical haven, there is more traffic, more people, and therefore less of a secluded “getaway” feel of the other islands. The vast majority of its resorts are also located in one spot: Waikiki.
9. As locals would say, “Maui no ka ‘oi.” Or roughly translated, “Maui is the best.” Certainly, no Hawaiian island offers such a diversity of activities and scenery as Maui does, and in a way, it provides a taste of the other islands. For instance, it offers a range of terrain indicative of the Big Island (from rain forests to volcanic desert landscapes), but in a more manageable size akin to Kauai. Unfortunately, Maui also tends to be the most expensive.
10. Maui offers more miles of swimmable beaches than any of the other islands, most of which are located on the leeward areas of South and West Maui. If nothing else, this increases the chance of your hotel being on or in closer proximity to a beach. That is frequently not the case on the other islands.
11. Although it’ll be hard to pull yourself away from one of those beaches, Maui is home to numerous natural wonders, including Haleakala National Park and the Road to Hana.
13. Kauai is the smallest and least populated of the four main islands. This lends it more of a secluded feel than the others and is considered to be the most relaxed. However, there are also fewer hotels and resorts from which to choose.
14. As the oldest Hawaiian island, erosion has had more time to carve Kauai. The result is the most spectacular valleys and canyons in Hawaii, which are covered in dense rainforest. The spectacular Napali Coast and Waimea Canyon (aptly known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific) are located here.
15. The same rain that carved those awe-inspiring sights continues to fall today. As a result, Kauai is the rainiest Hawaiian island.
16. For more information and inspiration about Kauai, read about Chris and Elie’s Honeymoon on Kauai.
17. The term Big Island isn’t simply an apt descriptor, but a way to differentiate the island of Hawaii from the state and archipelago of Hawaii. Whatever you call it, though, the Big Island is a magically diverse wonderland that’s perfect for couples seeking a honeymoon filled with exploration and adventures. Its beaches can certainly be spectacular, but they are fewer and far between, and really, this is a place for epic drives and hikes through the most varied climates and terrain on Earth.
18. The Big Island lives up to its name, as all the other islands could fit inside it with room to spare. As such, pay more attention to where you want to stay, and consider staying in more than one place. If you’re staying a week, we recommend staying four days in the resort areas of Kohala-Kona and three elsewhere exploring.
19. The Big Island’s most famous and must-see location is Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. This is the only place in Hawaii (the state) where you can see lava oozing forth from an active volcano.
20. We can only scratch the volcanic surface here, so make sure to read 42 Tips for a Big Island Honeymoon.