So, you’re planning out a Hawaii honeymoon itinerary? Look no further. Search no more. We’ve got you covered with this perfectly calibrated week-long jaunt through the Aloha State. It’s been primed for loved-up duos, with just the perfect amount of R&R to help you chill after the big day and a good dose of adventure for those newly-wed heart flutters and unforgettable moments.
It’s an ambitious plan that takes in three of the main islands in the Hawaiian chain. It all starts on what’s unquestionably the most romantic of the bunch: Kauai. Known as the Garden Island, it’s a land of jungle-clad mountain ranges, breathtaking coastal stretches, and perfect beaches. From there, you’ll hop to Maui for incredible shoreline drives and luxury hotels, before finishing off on the legendary strips of Waikiki.
There are some days in our itinerary where we’ll assume you have access to a rental car. Wheels aren’t required all of the time, though – on the daytrip outings to the Na Pali Coast and while you’re lazing on the private beaches of western Maui, for example. When it comes to hopping from isle to isle, you can look to Hawaiian Airlines or Southwest, who run all of the required routes in about 40-55 minutes each way.
Day 1 – Kauai North Shore (Kauai)
Prepare to be stunned by the Kauai North Shore. It’s a place where mighty volcanic ridges collide with the frothing Pacific Ocean, dashes of jungle roll past taro farms, and glimmering beaches halo the shoreline just below.
But all that can wait just a little longer. After the stresses and strife of the big day, you deserve a bit of R&R. Check into the ridiculously opulent 1 Hotel Hanalei Bay. It’s a five-star hotel perched on the cliffs above Puu Poa Beach, with an infinity pool that gazes out at the rugged back end of the Na Pali mountains.
A short walk from your suite will take you to Hideaway Beach a little to the north. The zigzag hiking path that gets you there is worth the effort because you’ll arrive at a little bend of camel-colored sand that’s flanked by pockets of pristine lava and coral reefs. Get snorkeling together and you’ll spot parrotfish and even sea turtles if you’re lucky.
For dinner, you can either stick to the hotel itself (it has a Mediterranean wine terrace and the 1 Kitchen led by Chef Gabriel Martinez) or head into Hanalei town, where the rambunctious Kalypso Island Bar & Grill is a great place to sample surf-turf and drink local cocktails.
Day 2 – Na Pali Coast (Kauai)
Day 2 homes in on one of the great jewels of Kauai. Cue the Na Pali Coast. It’s been wowing visitors to Hawaii since the very first visitors came. Running for 16 miles around the north-western shore here, it’s a symphony of gigantic coastal peaks that have been whittled away by millennia of attrition and erosion.
The good news is that Hanalei (where you stayed on Day 1) is probably the very best jump-off point for day trips to the Na Pali region. It’s generally accepted that there are two ways to see it all: By boat or by helicopter. If you’ve got cash to splash, go for the latter and you can be back at the resort in time for a cocktail on the beach at midday.
Boat trips, on the other hand, last all morning and take you into secret coves and hidden bays. They’re the one we’d plump for if you’re keen to witness all the nooks and crannies of the Na Pali shoreline. Plus, they offer the chance to meet bottlenose dolphins and even whale pods as you travel!
Day 3 – Poipu Beach (Kauai)
For the finale of your sojourn on Kauai, make for the much-loved south coast of the island. This is one of the sunniest and balmiest corners of the whole island and it’s home to what’s regularly rated as the best beach in aloha: Poipu.
There’s no doubt that Poipu Beach is a real beauty. It’s a full horseshoe of taupe sand that slopes ever so softly into a protected lagoon that’s never wavy, always still. You’ll find little reefs to snorkel through on either side of the beach, and a leafy garden of palm trees where you can get lost in a book right behind.
Poipu is also flanked by Kiahuna Beach to the north and Brennecke’s to the south. They are totally different in character. The first has a mellow longboarder break for couples who want to learn to surf together. It’s also known as a turtle nesting ground between May and September. The other is a famous boogie boarding location; much wilder and more rugged.
For a stay down on this south side of the island, pick the acclaimed Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa. It’s not cheap but has pools dressed up like tropical lakes and its own 18-hole golf course.
Day 4 – East Maui (Maui)
It’s time for your first epic Hawaiian road trip. The Hana Highway is a snaking 64-mile route that links up the whole eastern side of Maui island. It’s pure bliss from start to finish, showcasing verdant rainforests, pineapple farms, and black-rock beaches washed by the unceasing movements of the Pacific.
The flight in from Kauai should take you straight to Kahului Airport. That’s conveniently right at the start point for this drive. Rent your wheels and go east then south. It’s possible to complete the trip in about 2.5 hours but it really does deserve a full day. There’s stacks to get through along the way, including:
- Ho’okipa – A wave-smashed beach that’s a magnet for surfers. It’s usually pretty big but makes for great spectating.
- Twin Falls – A double waterfall with a lovely, refreshing plunge pool. You reach them by hiking through dense, old-growth rainforest.
- Hana Lava Tube – Walk through a lava tube. Yep, a lava tube! It’s ancient and clad in tufts of jungle.
- Haleakala National Park – The eastern fringes of the national park but up to the road, offering access to wild swimming spots and hiking trails aplenty.
- Maui Tropical Plantation – Chill out at the tail end of the drive under the swaying coconut palms of this tropical garden.
Day 5 – Wailea (Maui)
Just when you were complaining that our Hawaii honeymoon itinerary didn’t have enough beaches, Day 5 happens and you hit Wailea. This is a glorious section of the western shores of Maui that’s famed for its tiara of five wonderful sands. You can drop into any of them and still be flabbergasted by the sheer beauty of it all.
There’s the eponymous Wailea Beach. Once named the very best in the whole country, it’s a glowing arc of daffodil sand with turquoise seas out front. Then there’s more hidden Maluaka Beach, hemmed in by craggy boulders and reefs, usually coming without so many crowds.
Beaches aside, another of the reasons you’ll want to swing by this way on your Hawaii honeymoon itinerary is for a night at the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea. An opulent stay of ridiculous proportions, it was recently made famous by the hit HBO series The White Lotus. You’re looking at in the region of $1,500/night but it’s seriously wonderful!
Day 6 – Kaanapali (Maui)
The end of our trip through Maui takes us north once again to the mountain-shrouded coastline on the far tip of the island. The beaches here carry on the vibe of Wailea. They’re all shimmering white sand and glass-clear seas. But there’s an added hit of heritage to boot, thanks to the Kaanapali Historical Trail and Legends Tour.
Step onto that walking path and you’ll be taken past a montage of sites that are hallowed ground in the myths and history of these islands. There’s 10 of them in all, including the iconic Pu’u Keka’a cliff, where daring Hawaiian chiefs are said to have once leapt more than 350 feet straight into the ocean far below.
The alternative thing to do here is to delve into the West Maui Forest Reserve. That’s a land of serrated mountains that lurks overhead. It’s the way to go if you want to be alone on trails that take you up to mystical waterfalls far away between the valleys.
Day 7 – Waikiki (Oahu)
Jet back over to Oahu, the main and most populous island in the chain, to dust off this Hawaii honeymoon itinerary. This is likely to be where you’ll pick up a long-haul flight going back home or over to the mainland US. But, before you board, there should be just enough time to soak up the vibes of Waikiki.
Hip, happening, vintage Waikiki. One of the coolest beachfront districts in the world, it’s known as a stomping ground of pro longboard surfers, but was a royal resort for Hawaiian kings as long as 400 years back.
These days, the pulsating strip of Kalakaua Ave is the place to be. It’s riddled with sun-kissed coast hotels and surf-turf grill houses that beat until the early hours. Oh, and you’ll get cocktail lounges like Lulu’s and the Waikiki Grass Shack that serve up perfectly mixed Mai Tais to spectacular sunset shows.