Islands boast an abundance of romantic getaways

By
|

Few places allow such easy access to places of exquisite beauty as Hawaii. From sunrise to sunset, and often when the moon and stars light the night sky, Hawaii offers a great diversity of places where the setting is memorably suited to romance.

The many visitors who come on honeymoons, to celebrate anniversaries or to share time with a significant other are primed for a great experience.

Here's a look at some places on each of the islands that won't disappoint. All of the hikes or activities outlined are easy and readily accessible. 

Oahu

Far more crowded than the Neighbor Islands, Oahu still offers many places of great natural beauty, where romantic memories are born.

Head to Waimanalo Beach for a sunrise that brings to life the verdant greens of the Koolau cliffs. Miles long and up to 1,500 feet high, they provide Waimanalo with one of Hawaii's most magnificent beaches. 

If it's a spectacular setting for sunset you're after, head to the end of the road, park your car and make the two-mile, oceanside hike to Kaena Point, a westward-facing bird sanctuary where monk seals haul up on a rocky beach and squawking albatrosses build their nests.

The island of Oahu comes to a point here where Hawaiians believed souls passed on their way to the next dimension. Catch the sunset as you're hiking back, with the beautiful Waianae Mountains and sea as companions. 

And for those who don't want to wander so far afield, a walk along Waikiki Beach and the Kapiolani Park promenade in Honolulu at dusk offers its own spell-binding magic, with Diamond Head against a pastel sky and the Waikiki skyline brightly lit against the rich colors of the dusk sky.  

Kauai

Kauai is a popular honeymoon destination, thanks to its mix of great beaches, scenic splendor and a smaller tourism footprint.

Just past the island's famous Waimea Canyon lookouts, up-country Kokee, a high-altitude Eden at 3,500 to 4,000 feet above sea level, offers a multitude of hiking options. Many are very easy, including hikes along trails where you're not likely to see more than a couple of people.

There's a hike along a stream, with rock-bound pools that invite a brisk swim, where the air is fragrant with white ginger. On ridge-line hikes, magnificent panoramas appear and then disappear behind banks of quickly moving clouds. A stop at the local ranger station or the small museum can provide a rest stop where hikers can choose an itinerary that's sure to please.   

Head to Haena for a sunset walk along the Na Pali Coast, a 15-mile-long series of sea cliffs and valleys. The vista can be seen in full grandeur from the east end of Haena Beach or, after a short walk on oceanfront boulders, from the base of the first of Na Pali's cliffs.

If sunset and twilight hiking is out of the question, Na Pali provides a magnificent perspective any time of day, just a 10-minute walk from your car. 

Maui

The most popular and most developed of the Neighbor Islands, Maui is home to elaborate destination resorts and quiet getaways, including isolated Hana.

On the easternmost slope of Maui's 10,023-foot, volcanic Mount Haleakala, the town of Hana is separated from the rest of Maui by 50 miles of twisting road, an obstacle course of one-lane bridges and blind curves.

Hana, renowned for its tropical beauty, dramatic landscapes and magnificent coastline, is a wonderful overnight option for romance travelers. As the town is often crowded by late morning, it's best to wake up early to experience the best of Hana. An overnight stay there means no rushing to make the return trip to your resort, when the afternoon rush clogs the road out of town. 

Beyond Hana lies the former sugar plantation lands of Kipahulu and the coastal section of Haleakala National Park, where the pools and waterfalls at Oheo are a big draw.

Big Island

Romantic settings come in many forms here, where active volcanoes still roar and Hawaii's Polynesian heritage is preserved.

No place provides a more evocative sense of times past than a visit to Puuhonua O Honaunau, an ancient, oceanfront temple compound operated by the National Park Service.

It's a 45-minute drive south of the Keauhou and Kailua-Kona resorts.

Few people visit at sunset, when the temple complex, rebuilt to scale with an emphasis on historical accuracy, is silhouetted against a richly hued sky.

Sit on a rock and take it all in, relaxed and close to a place that is uniquely Hawaiian. 

Plan to spend a night or two at Volcano Village, a rustic outpost on the border of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

In addition to a country lodge, there is quite a selection of bed-and-breakfasts and house rentals to choose from.

At 4,000 feet above sea level, this isn't the Hawaii of tropic breezes.

Although it can be magnificently colorful when skies are clear, it can also be misty and cool, which is perfect for long walks on country lanes, the air fragrant with eucalyptus and ginger and the mist inviting warmth and romance.  

Molokai

Head to the oceanfront royal palm grove at Kapuaiwa, a mile west of Kaunakakai, for a sunset under palms silhouetted against the sky. 

The grove was planted at the vacation retreat of King Kamehameha V in the 1860s. Watered by springs, the grove of several hundred palms grows on one of the driest spots on Molokai.

The miles of beige sand at Papahaku Beach are a beachcomber's dream. On a clear day, visitors can spot the outline of Diamond Head on Oahu. 

Lanai

Head to the Garden of the Gods, a rocky, eroded plateau with the feel of South Dakota's Badlands. It's a place that has a spiritual feel to it.  

To contact reporter Allan Seiden, send e-mail to [email protected].

Comments
JDS Travel News JDS Viewpoints JDS Africa/MI