Visiting Hawaii? From Oahu and Maui, to The Big Island, Lanai and Kauai, find out the best islands in Hawaii for honeymoons and couples holidays.
Hawaii is one of my favourite places in the world. I don’t know if there are many places that are as naturally as beautiful as this unique collection of islands. Famed for big waves, epic scenery and tropical beaches, it’s a destination where you smell romance in the air!
There’s so much to do while you’re there too, from hiking to waterfalls and swimming with turtles, to relaxing on the beach. It’s the home of surfing, flip flops and laid back beach vibes, and I think it’s best explored while staying at a beautiful luxury resort!
However, there’s a lot more to these islands than tired honeymoon clichés! Whichever island you visit you’ll find breathtaking scenery, whether that’s lava fields, black sand beaches, tropical rainforests or dramatic coastlines, which are perfect for whale watching.
Eating in Hawaii is an activity in itself. Alongside all the American-style treats you’ve grown up enjoying, you’ll find chic Japanese fusion restaurants serving up top class fare. My advice? Grab yourself a poke bowl – you won’t regret it!
But when it comes to visiting Hawaii, how do you choose which island to visit? There are several and they’re all so different from one another. In this post I’ll give you a helping hand to discover the best island in Hawaii for couples. Although, to be honest, you can’t really pick a wrong island anyway! They are all amazing and special, but for different reasons.
So whether you’re choosing between Oahu or Maui, or you want to know why you’d visit The Big Island over Lanai or Kauai, this guide is guaranteed to help! Plus, I’ll share some great travel tips on where to stay and what to do once you’re there.
Which island should I visit in Hawaii?
In a nutshell: Busy, great for shopping, big choice of hotels, activities and big wave surfing.
Waikiki Beach, capital Honolulu, the Pearl Harbor National Memorial, and fantastic shopping are all found in Oahu. This is the most commercial island in Hawaii, and is where the majority of US and international flights land. There’s a huge variety of things to do on Oahu, so it’s a great option for couples who are first time visitors.
I’d recommend staying in a luxury hotel in Waikiki Beach, where you’ll find five star beach resorts, huge shopping malls and lots of drinking and dining options. One of my favourite things about staying in Waikiki Beach is that you’ll have amazing views out to Diamond Head Crater. The hike up here was one of my favourite activities on the island, and it’s just an hour from the main Waikiki Beach district.
You could go on a road trip to the North Shore, the area famous for its huge surf waves between November and July. Don’t worry if you’re not a pro yet, you can grab a board and take lessons on the island at a calmer beach!
Other famous sites on Oahu include Honolulu Zoo and The Polynesian Cultural Center. This is a ‘living museum’ of island culture, hosting an evening show and interactive exhibits. It’s a great place to really get to know Hawaiian culture during your trip. If you’re starting to plan your trip to this island, I’d recommend reading my guide to the top things to do in Oahu.
Where to stay in Oahu
For a five star beach resort with a twist, you’ll love Alohilani Resort Waikiki Beach. They’ve got their own Oceanarium, filled with native reef fish, right next to a lovely bar. A great, if unusual way to have a romantic drink together on your honeymoon or couples getaway!
The Laylow is a quirky hotel by Waikiki Beach. Set in tropical gardens, this is a lovely place to relax by the pool or grab a drink at the trendy bar.
For more recommendations of places to stay in Oahu, check out my guide to the best luxury and boutique hotels in Waikiki Beach.
Hawaii (The Big Island)
In a nutshell: The adventure island with erupting volcanoes, waterfalls, hikes, stargazing and outdoor activities.
We all know Hawaii is home to stunning beaches, waterfalls, volcanoes and more… but head to The Big Island for some of the best scenery around. I absolutely adored my time on this island, in fact it was my favourite of the bunch as there is so much to see and do. If you’re the kind of couple who like to pack a lot into your travels, I’d say this is the best Hawaii island for you.
This island is an adventurer lover’s paradise, offering zip lining through the rainforest, waterfall hikes, scuba diving and snorkelling. You’ll find two active volcanoes on The Big Island, and you can hike to them from the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Seeing bright red and orange lava erupting is an absolutely unforgettable experience. I loved it!
One thing that makes The Big Island the most romantic island in Hawaii, is Mauna Kea Observatory. Head up to the summit of this dormant volcano at night and you’ll be amazed! This is one of the best stargazing spots in the world. It’d be an incredible spot for a romantic date night!
Feel like you’ve seen enough white sand beaches on your trip? Papakolea, or ‘Green Sand’ Beach, is one of only four green beaches in the world, thanks to olivine crystals in the sand. There’s also Punaluu Black Sand Beach, one of the most famous in Hawaii, created by the volcanic sand.
If you’re starting to plot your trip to this island, I’d recommend reading my detailed guide to the best things to do on the Big Island. It has a ready made itinerary, so you can save on research time!
Where to stay on The Big Island
Private lanais, a first class spa and a beach location make this a great choice for couples visiting The Big Island. But it’s the world class golf course onsite that will get you excited. Hole 3 is played on an ocean inlet, where the waves rise to cheer you on!
Not just a luxurious five star resort, the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai features a swimmable aquarium onsite, where you can help feed a famous fishy hotel resident―Kainalu, a spotted eagle ray!
From the farm-to-table menu to the locally sourced spa ingredients, this exclusive beach resort is authentically Hawaiian. Enjoy water sports, chatting with an island historian or watch the sea turtles hatch, on quite possibly the most romantic island in Hawaii.
In a nutshell: A nature-filled paradise with epic scenery to match, definitely a great option for a romantic holiday.
The ‘Garden Isle’ of Kauai lets its natural beauty do the talking. Covered in tropical rainforest, this island is also home to some spectacular beaches.
Poipu Beach is a top choice for swimming, surfing and spotting monk seals. Hanalei Bay is a protected cove where the scuba diving is particularly good. There’s even an old shipwreck here!
If you like to keep active you could hike to the ‘Grand Canyon of the Pacific’, Waimea Canyon. The Black Pipe trail provides breathtaking views and leads to Waipo’o Falls – a spectacular waterfall which tumbles into the canyon.
If you’re looking for laid back atmosphere and lots of nature, Kauai might be the best Hawaiian island for your couples trip.
Where to stay in Kauai
At this luxury resort there’s a 24-hour pool ‘complex’ featuring waterfalls and an adults-only section. Take a nighttime swim here together, and stargaze while listening to the coconut trees sway. How romantic does that sound?
At the 25-acre Koloa Landing Resort, they invite you to ‘become part of the island’. Immerse yourself in Hawaiian culture during your luxury honeymoon with surfing, hula and lei making lessons, or by relaxing in one of the three swimming pools!
In a nutshell: Lots of beach resorts and options for active adventures, this is another great option for romantic getaways.
When people think of Maui, they probably think of luxury resorts and honeymoons! The best resorts are found in West Maui and on some of the best island beaches at Wailea, Kaanapali and Kapalua.
Inland, Maui has a lot to offer couples, including the world’s biggest dormant volcano, found in Haleakala National Park. If you’re an active couple, you could go on a romantic sunrise hike here. Activities like this make Maui the best island in Hawaii for adventurous couples!
Take your partner snorkelling in the sheltered Honolua Bay, or go on a guided boat trip to the Molokini Crater, a marine life conservation area. Alternatively, head off and explore the 26km-long Pali Coast which boasts unique coral life, with huge cliffs and calm seas.
If you want some more helpful tips for planning your time on the island, don’t miss my Maui itinerary. From swimming with dolphins and beach time to exciting jungle hikes, it’s packed full of the best things to do in Maui!
Where to stay in Maui
This Wailea resort is one of the best luxury honeymoon hotels in Hawaii. There’s a fabulous spa, three restaurants and its beachfront location provides excellent whale watching tours in winter seasons!
The beachfront Andaz offers luxury suites and amenities with authentic Hawaiian traditions. The regular Feast at Mokapu is an event which blends story-telling and locally sourced Hawaiian cuisine. Oh, and there are personalised cocktails there too! It’s an ideal choice for honeymooners visiting Maui.
For more great hotel recommendations on this stunning island, read my guide to the best luxury hotels in Maui.
In a nutshell: Quiet, romantic and intimate, ideal for nature lovers.
Worlds apart from Oahu, quieter Lanai is the best Hawaii island for honeymoon couples needing a post-wedding retreat. If the excitement of the celebrations got a bit much, this is a great place to zen out and enjoy each others company. Some say this is the most romantic island in Hawaii, with its off-the-beaten-track vibe. In fact, there are only three paved roads on the island! That gives you an idea of the slow pace to life here.
One of the best things to do on the island is to explore the Lanai Cathedrals. These are dive sites of rocky caverns that look positively church-like when the sunlight streams through from above.
Another great spot is Shipwreck Beach (yes, with a shipwreck!) which is a secluded spot where sea turtles often pop by. Swimming isn’t recommended here due to strong winds, so follow the trail by the beach where you can also see the Kukui Point petroglyphs rock art.
Lanai is also a great island for romantic hikes with your other half. One of the best is Sweetheart Rock, located along a short track close to the Four Seasons Resort. For truly special hiking trails, try the Munroe Trail which takes you up to the highest point on Lanai.
From there you’ll have absolutely breathtaking views of five islands: Oahu, Maui, Molokai, Kahoolawe and Hawaii! If you like to live life at a slower pace, enjoying nature and quality time together, you’ll love Lanai! Could this be the best island in Hawaii for couples?
Where to stay in Lanai
The Hawaiian island of Lanai only has one resort, and it happens to be one of the best in Hawaii! At the Four Seasons you’ll get five star rooms and suites, a private beach, spa, pool and restaurants. Amongst the many activities available, the most romantic are sunrise hiking trails or stargazing at the Lanai Observatory!
I hope this guide has helped you choose the best island in Hawaii for your honeymoon or couples holiday! Let me know which one you choose.