Top 6 Hawaiian Islands for Your Honeymoon
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Hawaiian islands offer a tropical paradise honeymoon with unforgettable sites and everything from scuba diving to volcano tours and late night luaus overlooking royal blue waves.
So it’s little wonder that celebrities are booking their honeymoon there, too.
Star of last season’s reality TV show The Bachelor Arie Luyendyk plans to spend his honeymoon with his fiancée Lauren Burham at an undisclosed Hawaiian Island hop. There’s sure to be lots of glamour at the wedding, but it’s the honeymoon that will be filled with adventures from one island to the next.
And they’re not the only ones. Megan Fox celebrated her a romantic getaway with her husband of eight years in Hawaii this past April, where they exchanged vows in 2010. Model Ashley Greene savored the stunning Hawaiian beaches. And actress Brittany Daniel of Bet’s The Game spent their honeymoon in Oahu where they enjoyed a mix of tropical and urban excursions.
So what exactly is so special about Hawaiian Islands for your honeymoon?
How popular is Hawaii for a honeymoon?
Hawaii is undoubtedly one of the top destinations for honeymoons, at least for Americans. Maui made The Knot’s list of best island honeymoons, for its breathtaking sunrises, horseback riding, and unforgettable snorkeling.
Despite a slight decline (partially possibly attributed to the fact that there’s been a recent decline in honeymoon spending as a whole), Hawaii still remains a top honeymoon destination, with well over 260,000 honeymoons for every six months.
Perhaps that’s not so surprising when you consider that a staggering 7.6 million tourists visited Hawaii in 2017.
How much does a Hawaiian honeymoon cost?
Of course, how much a honeymoon costs is more on you and less related to the destination itself. Where you stay, how much you travel, where you eat, and what experiences you select are all going to create major fluctuations when it comes to the price tag on her Hawaiian–or any–honeymoon.
According to CreditDonkey, the average cost of a honeymoon is about $4,500, or between 11 and 14 percent of the average cost of a wedding.
USA today provided a great report on some of the averages costs that go into a Hawaiian Island excursion for 2018:
Airfare: During peak holiday season, airfare per person can cost over $1,500, but in less popular months, like January, it can be as low as $450. Like anywhere, it depends on where you’re taking off from and when you go.
Food and Lodging: Averaging in lodges and hotels, an average price for food and lodging lands you around $2100 for two for 10 days. That price goes up in you’re staying in high end all inclusive resorts.
Transportation, Entertainment, and Recreation: The average couple spends $1,200 on transportation and activities, though of course this depends greatly depend on what activities you choose.
Cruises: Cruises are another thing entirely, but they’re also easier to calculate because they’re all inclusive, accounting for entertainment, lodging and dining. The average price of a cabin room for two is just under $3,000, not including airfare.
Regardless of how accurate the average costs are for your honeymoon plans, we can estimate that the average couple will spend $4,000 for a cruise, or $4,500 for a traditional honeymoon, making a honeymoon in Hawaii certainly not a budget honeymoon, but right at the average spent on a honeymoon.
What else should I consider before booking a Hawaiian honeymoon?
A honeymoon in Hawaii isn’t for everyone, but there is enough variation in terms of where you stay and what you do that you’ll be hard pressed to find nothing to do. There are generally a few routes you can go in terms of planning a Hawaiian Island honeymoon:
Main Island, with lodging at hotels, lodges, or other options
Island Hopping, where you spend a good deal of time traveling from place to place
Small Island, by selecting an island that has the activities and sites that interest you most
Once you decide which route sounds most like you, you’ll be better able to make travel plan and estimate the cost of your honeymoon.
What should I pack once I book a Hawaiian Island honeymoon?
As with all honeymoons, you’ll need to consider cost, what you both enjoy doing, how much time you have, and the time of year. If your heart is set on seeing Hawaii, here are some things you’ll want to
Footwear: Comfortable shoes for touring and hiking; sandals, aqua shoes
Men: short sleeve shirts, shorts, a pair of long pants and a windbreaker
Women: short sleeves, shorts, skirts, dresses, jacket
A few swimsuits
Toiletries and medications (be sure to check with airline regulations)
Refillable water bottles
Here are some things to buy once you get on your island of choice:
Sunscreen and aloe
And of course, you’ll need to have important identification, passports, cash/check/ traveler’s checks/credit cards. You should skip bringing expensive jewelry.
The Best Hawaiian Islands for Your Honeymoon
You might be surprised to learn that there are actually 136 islands. The reason you may not know this is because just seven of them are inhabited. The rest mostly consist of inlets, atolls, and coral reefs. While you can travel past these tiny uninhabited ‘islands, chances are you’ll be spending time at one of seven, or a few of the seven, inhabited ones.
We’re including the top 6 most popular of the 7 inhabited islands on our list, simply because each one has something spectacular and unique to offer. If you find a few islands are winning your heart, consider how much time and money, and patience you have for travel.
Some couples love island hopping, while others want to spend their time on a single island. You can also opt for spending time on just two or three, if you want a compromise between the two experiences. If you’re going for a luxury resort, chances are you’ll stick more to one island; if you’re up for more adventure than relaxing, island hopping may be your thing.
1. Hawaii Main Island: Also known as the Big Island, this is the biggest island, with 4,000 square miles of land (bigger than the state of Rhode Island). The population rose to over 200,000 permanent residents this year, with an average of 1.5 million tourists a year. Surprisingly, while one of the most popular islands, that only accounts to around 14 percent of Hawaii’s total tourism.
That also means that, while friendly to tourists, it’s not an overly tourist oriented place, which means you might get a more authentic experience, should you want it, with plenty of locals. As the biggest island, there’s also diversity in geography, things to do, and places to visit. The main island is a great pick if you’re looking for a single island to stay at, but to experience much of the culture, life, and beauty that Hawaii has to offer.
Here are some highlights:
Twelve climate zones including tropical rain forests, desert, and tundra, not to mention beautiful black sand beaches.
2. Oahu: Chances are if you’ve heard of any of the Hawaiian Islands for a honeymoon destination, it’s this one. In 2016, Oahu accounted for 40 percent of total tourism in Hawaii, with nearly 5.5 million tourists that year. The population of permanent residents was just over 992,000 for 2017, and signs are the population is declining slightly as more people move to the main island. Known as the “Gathering Place,” Oahu 112 miles around.
There’s ample reason that Oahu is the most popular destination for a Hawaiian wedding. First of all, it’s the site of Honolulu, which is not only the state’s capital, but also a stunning city boasting historic landmarks, beautiful shores, and plenty of city life.
Here’s some must sees on Oahu and in Honolulu:
Museums: Bishop, Museum of Art, Iolani Palace. Iolani Palace is the only royal residence in the United States; set in downtown Honolulu, it was once home to the last two monarchs of Hawaii and features an unforgettable walking tour.
Waikiki Beach: As one of the most popular beaches, Waikiki beach features not only stunning beaches and a dramatic urban skyline, but also is close to historical and cultural sites
Pearl Harbor Memorial: Even if you’re not a history buff, you won’t want to miss out on seeing this historical tribute to the men and women who lost their lives just before the United States enter World War II.
Diamond Head: A dormant volcano with breathtaking views.
Honolulu itself, with dining, culture, and shopping galore
3. Maui: Maui is also one of the most popular Hawaiian islands for honeymoons, with 2.6 million visitors, or about a quarter of total tourism for the state in 2016. Land wise, it’s the second biggest of the islands, with about 728 square miles. While it used to be known for growing sugar cane, such operations shut down in 2016. Today, it is known mostly for it’s contantly tropic but mild climate, 81 accessible beaches, 10 state parks, and a dormant volcano.
Because of this, it’s also a great place for resorts. Maui is popular for couples wanting to relax and see much of what we think of classically Hawaiian. Here are some of the best places to go and things to do:
Haleakala National Park: There are actually several state parks, but Haleakala is the only national park on Maui. Also known as the “house of the sun,” it features Maui’s dormant volcano, with a summit depression as large as the size of Manhattan.
Humpback Whales: This seems like a strange thing to highlight, but over 10,000 whales visit Maui every winter.
Distinction as Best Island in the World: Yes, it’s subjective, but Maui has held this spot by the Conde Naste Traveler’s Awards for the past two decades. Stunning natural beauty, including craters, impressive waves, rolling hills, and breathtaking bays are just a few reasons.
Kaanapali Beach: This beach stretches for three miles and is highly popular for surfing, fishing, and also is home to neighboring fine dining, golf courses and sunset cliff diving. Maui also has, in total, the most swimmable beaches of the Hawaiian islands.
4. Kauai: Just under 1.2 million tourists visited Kauai in 2016, accounting for 11 percent of total tourism that year. Population wise, the island is a little under 70,000 permanent residents, and the island itself is about 560 square miles, which means, in general, while smaller than some Hawaiian islands, it also feels less crowded. Nicknamed the “Garden Isle”, this island is known for its extensive tropical rainforest, dramatic cliffs, and impressive mountain ranges. It also features microclimates, meaning that while you can enjoy tropical weather, you can also travel to the mountains to even catch some
This is a great island for your honeymoon if you’re looking for rugged beauty and adventure, but also amenities and hotels to stay for plenty of comfort.
Sleeping Giant: Also known as Nounou Mountain, this mountain ridge offers breathtaking views and is the center of an ancient Hawaiian legend.
Waimea Canyon and State Park: It’s also called the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific” and it’s easy to see why. This 14 mile gorge features red cliffs, waterfalls, and unique vegetation.
Beaches: Beautiful beaches abound. Tunnel, Ke’e, Kalapaki, and Poipu are the most popular and are perfect for sailing and other water activities.
5. Molokai and Lanai: Together, these two islands make up just about one percent of that total tourism in Hawaii, so it’s a safe bet this will make for a more private and quiet honeymoon. Molokai is about 260 square miles, with a permanent population of about 7,500, while Lanai is just 140 square miles, with a population of 3,300. Tiny but still beautiful, these smaller islands could be great for a more intimate honeymoon.
Lanai is nicknamed “The most enticing island,” prized for luxury resorts, golf courses, beaches and horseback riding. Meanwhile, Molokai is known for national parks and culture (it has a sizable population of indigenous people).
Taken together, these two small islands have a lot to do:
Luxury resorts, golf courses, and beaches
Kalaupapa National Park in Molokai: History, scenery, and endless winding trails around the coast
Activities you can do on all the Hawaiian Islands: No matter which island you think is best for your Hawaiian honeymoon, there’s beauty, adventure, and unforgettable memories to be had on any of these islands, including smaller ones we did not include (and you should definitely check out!). Whether you’re island hopping or just looking for general things to do, almost all of the populated islands offer:
Snorkeling, Surfing, Swimming, Sunbathing, Scuba Diving, Sailing
Hiking (Skiing and snowboarding near mountain ranges)
Historical and Cultural Sites and Museums
Local Dining & Luas
Helicopter and Boat Tours
It’s no wonder that Hawaii is a popular place for honeymoons. With so much to do, see, and experience, your honeymoon will be a trip of a lifetime.
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