SEE & DO
Here are our Top 10 Things to See & Do in Hawaii.
33. Don’t be afraid to indulge in the full Hawaiian experience. Attend a luau, learn how to hula, take a surfing lesson. The conditions at Waikiki continue to make it an excellent place for newbies to catch their first wave; however, every island certainly gives you the opportunity.
34. Perhaps the solemnity of what is in essence a military graveyard isn’t the most honeymoonish thing to do, but Pearl Harbor is nevertheless THE thing to do on Oahu. Beyond the U.S.S. Arizona memorial, though, you can climb aboard the U.S.S. Missouri (where Japan officially surrendered) and the U.S.S. Bowfin submarine for a taste of … oh heck, they’re World War II ships for goodness sake. The groom will love it. Take him there as a thank you for sitting through that meeting with the florist.
35. Journey to Maui’s Haleakala National Park, making the 37-mile drive from sea level to the park’s entrance 7,000 feet up. Besides the extinct Haleakala volcano and its crater that could swallow Manhattan, the park includes rainforest, deserts and beaches. Oh, and views that are rather insufficiently described as “spectacular.”
For something extra special, see the sunrise at Haleakala. It can be busy and you obviously have to wake up early, but it’s worth it.
“We were told to go at four in the morning to see the sunrise, but we didn’t put two and two together and realize it would be cold that early and at that elevation,” said Lucian Capellaro, who honeymooned on Maui with his wife Renee in 2011. “But the sunrise was beautiful and it was totally worth it to be there and see the slow motion of the sun coming up.”
36. Taking a drive while on your Hawaii honeymoon is an absolute must, whether it’s driving the H3 on Oahu, the Big Island’s Old Mamalahoa Highway or just about anywhere on Kauai.
“Our favorite moments were the spontaneous drives and stops at little out-of-the-way spots that we just couldn’t have scheduled ahead of time,” said Chris Mehl, who drove around Kauai with his bride Elie in 2011.
However, the best drive in Hawaii is on the Road to Hana in Maui. This is truly one of those trips that defines the phrase, “it’s about the journey, not the destination.” Although the town of Hana is a tiny, charming village worth a visit and a stay, it’s the meandering strip along Maui’s North Shore that takes you past surf, waterfalls, lush mountains and terrain that can really be best described as paradise.
37. Kauai’s Waimea Canyon has been described as “The Grand Canyon of the Pacific” due to the layers of rust-red volcanic rock eroded over thousands of years. It’s smaller than its Arizona cousin, but no less striking. “Waimea Canyon is a must-see, definitely one of my favorite parts of our honeymoon,” said Chris Mehl.
38. See Kauai’s Na’pali Coast by helicopter, kayak or boat, since you can’t drive to it, through it or around it. Check out the pictures to see why this is a can’t-miss in Hawaii. By air, we recommend Blue Hawaiian Helicopter tours. You get big windows and a cushier flight (although you may get a bit queasy like we did if it’s a windy day). If you take a boat tour, it’s highly recommended that you take one of the four tours that launch from the north shore. For something a little closer to nature and if you’re honeymooning in the summer, consider a kayak tour along the Na’pali Coast. More outdoorsy, adventurous sorts can couple this with camping, while others can opt for a day tour such as the one provided by Napali Kayak.
39. Go on a whale watching tour. From December through April, the waters of Hawaii are flush with migrating humpback whales. Captain Dan McSweeney’s Whale Watch on the Big Island and the Pacific Whale Foundation on Maui are your best bets. If you get sea sick, or are short on time, you aren’t necessarily out of luck. During our honeymoon on the Big Island in March 2011, pods of humpbacks were frolicking within sight of our hotel, the Hilton Waikoloa Village. Either way, bringing a pair of binoculars is a good idea.
40. Explore the Big Island’s Waipi’o Valley. Whether by hiking, horseback or Jeep tour, this awe-inspiring, untouched and peaceful location is an impossibly green and lush expanse with steep cliff walls and a black sand beach where the valley meets the ocean. It is actually sacred to the local Hawaiians. Don’t even think about taking your rental car down into the valley, though, as even a rented four-wheel-drive Jeep Wrangler will need an experienced hand at the wheel to navigate the treacherously steep and slick road to the bottom.
41. In the beginning, it was lava flowing and exploding forth from Kilauea that brought tourists from all corners of the world to the Hawaiian islands. So, to do as Mark Twain and so many others did, visit Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island. For more tips on visiting the volcano, make sure to read the See & Do section of 42 Tips for a Big Island Hawaii Honeymoon.
42. We don’t really need to provide “lay on the beach” as a tip for Hawaii. If you didn’t know that, you may not be from this planet. Hitting up the stretch of sand nearest your hotel is obvious, but here are some of the best beaches on each Hawaiian island. For more information on these or any beaches in Hawaii, we highly recommend Wizard Publications’ Hawaii guide books and apps.
Oahu: Makua Beach (Wai’anae area, rarely busy or windy, calm and clear waters), Halona Cove (Windward side, where they filmed the iconic surf scene in the film “From Here to Eternity” that you should totally recreate), Waimea Bay (North Shore, less about lounging on the sand and more about watching surfers tackle some of the world’s biggest waves).
Maui: Kapalua Beach (West Maui, calm waters make it one of the best swimming beaches in Hawaii), Oneuli Beach (Locals call this South Maui spot Black Sand Beach given its salt and pepper sand. It’s something a little different to explore), Makena Beach (There’s actually two of these in South Maui, one aka Big Beach, the other aka Maluaka Beach. It’s confusing, but you’ll love whichever you end up at).
Kauai: Secret Beach (Also called Kauapea Beach. Read Chris and Elie’s honeymoon story for more info), Polihale (West Shore, a bit remote, but an enormous bit of coast perfect for lounging, a stroll and watching the sunset), Pali Ke Kua (aka Hideaways, this secluded spot near the St. Regis Princeville can make you think you’ve been transported to the set of “Survivor.”
Big Island: Hapuna Beach (Kohala, toasty warm, waist deep for seemingly forever and just as calm as our hotel’s pool,best beach we’ve ever been to), Makalawena (Near Kona, isolated and relatively unknown, but requires a 15 to20 minute walk), Punalu’u Black Sand Beach (Southern Big Island, easily accessed, the name pretty much describes it, very cool).
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