Why go: Want to spend your honeymoon as far away from the in-laws as possible? Hawaii is nearly 2,000 miles from the U.S. mainland and is considered to be one of the most remote destinations on Earth. And because it’s still part of the U.S., American travelers can visit without packing a passport, exchanging money, or worrying about language barriers. There are eight major islands, though you’ll want to consider six of them — Oahu, Maui, Kauai, the Big Island of Hawaii, Lanai, and Molokai — for your Hawaii honeymoon.
Best ideas: The Hawaiian Islands aren’t interchangeable, so we recommend selecting at least two for your honeymoon for a more robust introduction. If you want your honeymoon to be more memorable than one of Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore’s 50 First Dates, consider splurging on an epic helicopter tour or an intimate yacht cruise. Of course, we wouldn’t blame you if you just wanted to find an all-inclusive resort where you can hang up your lei and lay low for a week. That’s fine, too, and we promise you won’t forget a minute of your Hawaii honeymoon.
Good to know: You might not be leaving the country but flying here is still a lengthy endeavor. Cash those wedding checks and splurge on a lie-flat seat — start by looking at flights with Hawaiian Airlines and United. Hawaii also receives roughly 10 million visitors each year, though just 1.4 million call the Aloha State home. So if you honeymoon here during peak season, don’t be surprised to find you’re sharing the beach or hotel pool with a ton of other travelers. To avoid the crowds, visit during the shoulder seasons or skip the most popular destinations — Oahu, Maui, and the Big Island — in favor of the less-visited islands like Lanai, Kauai, and Molokai.
Hawaii is arguably one of the most sought-after and Instagrammable honeymoon destinations on Earth. Though part of the U.S., the Hawaiian Islands have a distinct culture and way of life that’s unlike anything else you’d find in the country, making it feel like you’ve traveled much farther away from home.
In Hawaii, travelers will discover ancient Polynesian traditions that converge with an upscale resort scene and contemporary cities. It’s everything you’ve seen in the movies — there’s a reason so many films have used the dramatic Hawaiian landscape as their backdrop — and then some, making it ideal for travelers who want a relaxing honeymoon on the beach or one full of high-energy adventure. After all, nothing says, “I love you always” quite like jumping off a waterfall. Travelers can explore upscale shopping districts or find intimacy by flying straight past Honolulu and onward to airports on the Big Island, Kauai, or Maui. Ready to say “Aloha” to your dream Hawaii honeymoon? Consider this your definitive guide.
In This Article
Traveling and Getting Around Hawaii
People seek all sorts of experiences in Hawaii: rainforest hikes, waterfall swims, and long beach days that end with spectacular sunsets. Some are after the adrenaline rush from surfing for the first time or from a helicopter ride along the towering pali, or sea cliffs, while others just want to be left alone by the infinity pool with a pitcher of Mai Tais (we won’t judge). Either way, it’s hard to deny that Hawaii is an enchanting destination, with its volcanic peaks, jagged coastlines, and beaches of gold, red, black, and emerald sands. It can look like something not quite of this world at times, probably why you might recognize it from films like Jurassic Park and Pirates of the Caribbean.
The arrival of Southwest Airlines has made flying to the Aloha State easier and cheaper than ever, offering affordable nonstop flights from the West Coast of the U.S. to Kauai, Maui, Oahu, and the Big Island. Still, travelers may prefer the superior cabins of Hawaiian Airlines, United, American, and Delta, all of which fly from the U.S. mainland to Hawaii and offer at least some form of business- or first-class product.
Ride-sharing services like Uber are abundant in Hawaii, but if you have any intentions of leaving your resort, it’s best to rent a car. Getting to trailheads and beaches is a lot easier with your own vehicle, and driving around Hawaii is a breeze, though you can expect rush hour traffic on Oahu to sometimes rival that of Los Angeles. Plus, if you want to tackle Maui’s Road to Hana during your honeymoon, you’ll need a set of wheels. Everyone drives on the right side of road, too, so go on, loosen your cufflinks and get the convertible.
The seasons: In search of warm, dry weather? Traveling to Hawaii between April and early September may be best, though you could be sharing those beaches, trails, and pool decks with every other newlywed couple from the Lower 48. July and December tend to be two of the most popular times to visit Hawaii and flights during the winter can be incredibly expensive, so stick to off-peak travel dates instead. Fortunately, the weather in Hawaii is tropical and sunny year round, with temperatures averaging in the high 70s in the winter and mid-80s in the summer. Expect the most rainfall in winter, though storms rarely last long. Be aware that hurricane season happens from June through November, so keep an eye on the weather if you go then.
Winter appeal: If you’re interested in surfing or whale watching, you might consider a winter trip to Hawaii instead. Head to Maui or the Big Island to spot migrating humpback whales and watch the surfers do their thing on Oahu’s North Shore from December until February, when the seasons overlap and waves are at their largest.
Honeymooning in Hawaii: Pros & Cons
- No passports or visas required for U.S. citizens. Need we say more?
- Flying domestically really can make travel easier. In addition to sparing you the stress of applying for visas or making sure your passport is current, it helps that everyone in Hawaii speaks English and deals in U.S. dollars.
- Hawaii has a reputation for being expensive, which is not unusual for an island destination. Unless you score a deal, be prepared to spend a lot of money on flights — and keep spending money once you land. Food, beverages, and lodging will all cost more than they would in most other places in the U.S. Hawaii is a great honeymoon destination, but you’ll certainly pay for the privilege of celebrating your nuptials there.
- Hawaii honeymoons are extremely popular, so don’t expect much in the way of hotel room or flight upgrades. If you want a premium experience, don’t leave anything to chance and book the fancy suite or seat. You and your partner will be glad you did.
- There are no major national banking locations here, so if you use Bank of America, TD Bank, Citi, Chase, or Wells Fargo (you get the idea) be sure to take enough cash out in advance or expect to pay withdrawal fees.
Get to Know the Hawaiian Islands
The Hawaiian archipelago lies in the Pacific Ocean and comprises more than 130 islands, some of which are little more than spits of rock or seamounts that don’t even break the surface of the water. Of course, we’re not recommending you go there for your honeymoon. Of the Hawaiian Islands, only eight are considered major, and you’ll probably want to narrow your focus to just six — Oahu, Maui, the Big Island of Hawaii, Kauai, Lanai, and Molokai — since the other two, Ni’ihau and Kaho’olawe, are off limits to the public (the former is privately owned by a Hawaiian family, and the latter, where the U.S. military held bombing practice from WWII until the mid-90s).
OahuOahu, Hawaii, USA
(Photo by DiamondHeadCrater)
Oahu is home to Hawaii’s capital, Honolulu, and the majority of the population. It’s the most cosmopolitan and developed island, where you’ll find such iconic and historic attractions as Waikiki Beach, the North Shore, Diamond Head (pictured here), and Pearl Harbor. Oahu is replete with beachfront hotels and a lively nightlife scene perfect for honeymooners who want to keep the wedding party rolling.
MauiMaui, Hawaii, USA
(Photo by MauiVisit)
Maui is best known for its luxury resorts, Mount Haleakalā, and the Road to Hana, which snakes along the eastern edge of the island. There are incredible beaches, a dizzying number of waterfalls, and lush rainforests filled with hiking trails and scenic lookouts.
The Big Island of HawaiiIsland of Hawai'i, Hawaii, USA
(Photo by HawaiiVolcanoesNPS)
Want to know how the Big Island got its name? Well, it’s so big, all the other islands could fit on this one piece of land. It’s home to two major airports (in Kona and Hilo), making it one of the most accessible Hawaiian Islands. The main attractions here are the beaches, from sugary white to black volcanic sand, and its active volcanoes, many of which you can visit up close.
KauaiKauai, Hawaii, USA
(Photo by TheTravelNurse)
Known as the Garden Isle, Kauai is the place to go if you want to spend your honeymoon surrounded by pristine and bountiful nature. Kauai is all about unspoiled vegetation and striking coastal cliffs. And yes, in case you were wondering, there are beaches and high-end resorts here, too.
LanaiLanai, Hawaii, USA
(Photo by VisitLanai)
Less than 10 miles separate Lanai from neighboring Maui, yet the two islands feel worlds apart. There are only a few resorts on this former pineapple plantation island, two of which are Four Seasons properties, the latter of which just emerged from a complete overhaul. If your priorities are zero crowds and total relaxation, Lanai may be your ideal honeymoon destination.
MolokaiMolokai, Hawaii, USA
(Photo by SeeMolokai)
Considered the most unspoiled Hawaiian island, Molokai isn’t typically at the top of the list for travelers visiting Hawaii for the first time, making it ideal for ambitious honeymooners willing to put in the extra effort to visit one of the state’s most remote islands that’s still open to the public. Lodging options are limited, so if you plan on staying overnight, don’t expect to find a palatial honeymoon suite at a familiar brand.
Best Attractions & Activities in Hawaii
Yes, you should absolutely go to the beach during your Hawaii honeymoon. Honestly, it would be hard not to as some estimates say there are at least 100 you might want to put on your to-do list. But there’s so much more to the Hawaiian Islands than sand and shave ice — although you should definitely try that, too!
Haleakalā National ParkHaleakalā National Park, Hawaii, USA
(Photo by HaleakalaNPS)
If you’re traveling to Maui, hit up Haleakalā National Park, known for its scenic hikes and striking waterfalls. 400-foot-tall Waimoku Falls is really all sunshine and rainbows (seriously, when the sunlight hits the falls just right, you get rainbows). Stick with the Summit District if you’d rather see the area’s volcanic features — don’t worry, it’s dormant.
Hawaii Volcanoes National ParkHawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, HI, USA
(Photo by HawaiiVolcanoesNPS)
Nothing amps up the excitement of a honeymoon quite like active volcanoes. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is an otherworldly scene of black, rocky terrain and steaming earth, though molten lava is no longer visible after the 2018 eruption. You can spend at least a full day hiking around, but be sure to stick to the marked trails and pack sturdy closed-toe shoes. Lava rocks are sharp and this is no place for sandals.
The Road to HanaHana, HI, USA
(Photo by AdventuringTimes)
The Road to Hana is an iconic, roughly 70-mile drive along Maui’s northern and eastern shores. The serpentine road follows hairpin twists and turns, so if you or your partner get carsick easily, you may need to read on for something less stomach-churning. You’ll want to stop frequently to admire the seascapes, cool off in waterfalls along the route, and take short, scenic hikes, so leave plenty of time for side trips. You’ll eventually reach Hana, a funky little stuck-in-time town with red- and black-sand beaches.
Hop a Helicopter to a Forbidden IslandNi‘ihau, Hawaii, USA
(Photo by CortneyStever)
Is there anything sexier than a private flight to a forbidden island in a helicopter? (Spoiler alert: no, there isn’t.) Grab a Ni’ihau Island helicopter charter flight for an aerial tour and beach day at this privately-owned, completely preserved stretch of sand west of Kauai.
Waimanu FallsWaimanu Falls, Hawaii, USA
(Photo by braddahben)
Waterfalls have long been fodder for romance novels, and Waimanu Falls on the Big Island may be the most impressive of them all. See the 12th-largest waterfall in the world from above aboard a Blue Hawaiian Helicopter tour.
Hike to Hawaii's Best Instagram SpotsLanikai Pillbox, Kailua, HI, USA
(Photo by LanikaiPillBox)
These are also all guaranteed wins for your Instagram, because no one can swipe past an aerial view of a tropical island or a scenic pull-off along the Road to Hana without double-tapping. Trust us. Travelers interested in Hawaii’s best Instagram spots should consider the short but very rewarding Lanikai Pillbox hike on Oahu’s east coast or the stunning summit of Mauna Kea, a dormant volcano on the Big Island that doubles as the highest point in the entire state at 13,803 feet.
Kua BayKua Bay, Kalaoa, HI, USA
(Photo by CourtneyErinPierce)
There’s no shortage of beaches on the Big Island, but one of our favorites is Kua Bay. We’re talking serious postcard-home-to-the-in-laws material. Here, you’ll find aquamarine waters and powdery white sand. If you want a beach day, this is the place to do it, just be sure to pack a picnic basket and umbrella since there’s not much in the way of shade.
Punalu'u Black Sand BeachPunalu'u Black Sand Beach, Ninole Loop Road, Naalehu, HI, USA
(Photo by BobBridges39)
Punalu’u, also on the Big Island, is one of the state’s most famous black-sand beaches, made up of tiny fragments of volcanic rock. The sand is particularly warm — bring sandals — attracting sea turtles and seals that flock here to bask in the sun. Remember to keep your distance and, if you need to cool off, head to one of the nearby freshwater pools or springs.
Napili BayNapili Bay, Hawaii, USA
(Photo by Laeljs)
Napili Bay may be the most romantic beach on Maui and one of our favorite places for leisurely water sports. This curve of golden sand frames the impossibly clear waters while an outer reef keeps them wonderfully calm, making it a great spot for snorkelers. Sea turtles love this beach, and we bet you will, too.
Kapalua BayKapalua Bay, Kapalua, HI, USA
(Photo by VividPhotography_SF)
Because it’s separated from nearby tourist hotspots by meandering residential roads, Kapalua Bay in Maui is often much quieter than most other beaches on the island. The waters of this sheltered beach are calm enough for snorkeling, boogie boarding, and kayaking.
Halona Beach CoveHalona Beach Cove, Hawaii, USA
(Photo by Lapule456789)
Relive the unforgettable kiss-in-the-sand scene from the 1953 classic From Here to Eternity at Halona Beach Cove. Visit this stunning inlet on southeastern Oahu during the summer when the waters are less rough and watch for the geysers formed at the nearby Halona Blow Hole when seawater is forced through its ancient lava tubes.
Catch a Beautiful Hawaiian Sunset at Sweetheart RockPuʻu Pehe (Sweetheart Rock), Lanai City, HI, USA
(Photo by TheFriedmanGroup)
Hawaii — all of it — may be one of the greatest destinations on Earth for sunsets, thanks in no small part to the archipelago’s distinct geography. But if you want to see the famous green flash just before the sun drops below the horizon, head to one of our favorite secret beaches, Hulopoe, a sandy white crescent on Lanai. For the best sunset view (green flash or not) walk down to view Sweetheart Rock, or Pu’upehe, located just offshore. It’s your classic, til-death-do-us-part love story: A warrior fell in love with a princess from Maui who drowned in a sea cave. He entombed her body on the rock isle, then leapt to his death in the surf.
Best Hotels, Resorts & Airbnbs in Hawaii
Hawaii has one of the most impressive collections of luxury resorts in the U.S., though it’s possible to stay here without emptying every dime in your honeymoon pot on a place to sleep. The islands are home to ample Airbnb and other similar vacation rental options, though recent regulations could soon decrease the inventory. You’ll find everything from rainforest cottages with indoor fireplaces to rustic treehouses and contemporary city studios. Vacation rentals can be a great way to save money if you’re hoping for a more affordable Hawaii honeymoon, especially because you can further cut costs by cooking at least a meal or two every day.
If doing laundry or cooking doesn’t exactly conjure romantic vibes, there are a slew of luxury retreats where you can bed down without touching a single dirty dish. Vacation rentals are, after all, less likely to offer honeymoon suite packages or specialized amenities that can make your stay that much more memorable. Just be prepared for prices which are, well, some of the highest in the country.
The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach (Oahu)Worth the Splurge The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach, Kalaimoku Street, Waikiki, HI, USA
(Photo by The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach)
Vibe: Want to stay close to the nightlife scene in Honolulu without sacrificing an ounce of luxury? There are more than 300 rooms at The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach, all of which are private residences with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the ocean, balconies, and kitchens, among other amenities like its two infinity pools.
Price: Rates start at $550 a night.
Turtle Bay Resort (Oahu)Best Resort Away From the Waikiki Crowds Turtle Bay Resort, Kamehameha Highway, Kahuku, HI, USA
(Photo by Turtle Bay Resort)
Vibe: Need to get away from Honolulu? Head to the North Shore of Oahu and book a room at the Turtle Bay Resort. This five-star property fronts five miles of beach, boasts two pools — one with a water slide! — and hot tubs, and gives guests in the stylish ocean villas access to an additional pool and Jacuzzi.
Price: Rooms here are available from $254 a night, though a villa will set you back at least $448 a night.
Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort (Maui)Best for Private Parties Andaz Maui At Wailea Resort - a concept by Hyatt, Wailea Alanui Drive, Wailea, HI, USA
(Photo by Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort)
Vibe: Vibrant, contemporary, and fun, the Andaz Maui at Wailea is one of the best-loved resorts on the Valley Isle, Maui. There are five pools here, including a three-tiered infinity pool facing the ocean, and rooms are finished with inviting woods and neutral hues. All guest rooms have private lanais (balconies), but the room to book is the three-bedroom ocean room villa with a private pool and outdoor grill. You’ll have so much extra space, you can invite the entire wedding party to join you.
Price: Standard rooms here will set you back nearly $600 a night.
Mauna Lani Resort (Big Island of Hawaii)Most Activity Options Mauna Lani Resort, Waimea, HI, USA
(Photo by Mauna Lani Resort)
Vibe: Bungalows, guest rooms, and suites are spread across 32 oceanfront acres at the just-opened Mauna Lani Resort, an Auberge Resorts property on the Big Island of Hawaii. There are three pools, but you’ll probably keep busy with offered activities like floating yoga, hiking, canoeing, mountain biking, and learning to play your vows on the ukulele.
Price: Rates start at $500 a night.
Four Seasons Resort Lanai (Lanai)Most Zen Four Seasons Resort Lanai, Manele Bay Road, Lanai City, HI, USA
(Photo by Four Seasons Resort Lanai)
Vibe: For an exceptionally remote retreat, spend at least a few days honeymooning at the exquisite Four Seasons Resort Lanai. Gleaming hardwood floors, Pacific Ocean views, and a flight with no more than four other travelers on a Pilatus PC-12 (if you splurge and fly here with Lanai Air) are just three reasons to love this resort.
Price: The fact that rates can exceed $2,000 a night, we don’t love as much.
Koloa Landing Resort at Poipu (Kauai)Best Pools, Hot Tubs, and Waterfalls Koloa Landing Resort at Poipu, Autograph Collection, Poipu Road, Koloa, HI, USA
(Photo by Koloa Landing Resort at Poipu)
Vibe: Boasting one of the largest swimming pools on the island, Koloa Landing Resort at Poipu is an Autograph Collection property by Marriott. Here’s why it’s one of the most popular hotels in Hawaii: if you tire of its 350,000-square-foot infinity pool, you can splash around in a sprawling lagoon-style pool or the adults-only pool. The grounds are covered with hot tubs, swim-through waterfalls and cabanas — you get the idea.
Price: Rates start at $450 a night, but you can also upgrade to one of the oversized villas, available from $548 a night.
Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa (Kauai)Best Wellness Program Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa, Poipu Road, Koloa, HI, USA
(Photo by Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa)
Vibe: Also on the south shore of Kauai, the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa is one of the island’s most luxurious hotels with 602 beachy rooms featuring private balconies and unmistakably Hawaiian decor. Don’t forget to book a treatment at the Anara Spa, where you can enjoy lava rock showers and a spate of side-by-side treatments designed specifically for couples.
Price: Expect to spend close to $500 per night.
Hotel Molokai (Molokai)Best Value Hotel Moloka'i, Kamehameha V Highway, Kaunakakai, HI, USA
(Photo by Hotel Molokai)
Vibe: For most travelers, Molokai is an attractive destination for a day trip. But for couples who want to overnight here and spend more time exploring the rugged, rural island, consider Hotel Molokai. With unpretentious Polynesian-inspired rooms and a casual, laid-back atmosphere, Hotel Molokai may just be the perfect retreat for honeymooners eager to leave behind the fanfare and attention of a big wedding.
Price: Get an ocean view room from around $220 a night.
Airbnb: Luxury Niuiki Oceanfront RetreatBest for Seaside Serenity Outside the City Niuiki Circle, Honolulu, HI, USA
(Photo courtesy of Airbnb)
Vibe: Located just a 20-minute drive from all the hustle and bustle of downtown Honolulu and Waikiki Beach on Oahu, this charming four-bedroom luxury villa overlooks peaceful Maunalua Bay, giving you access to a pool, a large outdoor patio, and plenty of room to take in the perfect Hawaiian sunset.
Price: From $700 a night.
Airbnb: Lau'lea Villa at the Mauna Lani on Hawaii's Big IslandBest Place If You Like Resort-Style Amenities Waimea, HI, USA
(Photo courtesy of Airbnb)
Vibe: Since this lovely villa is technically part of the Mauna Lani Resort on the Big Island, you’ll be able to enjoy resort-style amenities like a fully equipped kitchen, designer decor, top-of-the-line electronics, plenty of outdoor seating, a plush infinity pool, and your own private hot tub. You’ll also have access to Mauna Lani Sea Adventures — which offers kayaking, snorkeling, scuba diving, and sailing tours — the Mauna Lani Sports & Fitness Club, and Mauna Lani Spa, and you’ll be within walking distance of beautiful Mauna Lani Beach and the resort’s 36-hole Francis H. I’i Brown Golf Course.
Price: From $1,075 a night.
Airbnb: Oceanside Bliss on Maui's Southwest CoastBest Place if You Want to Live Like a Celebrity Kihei, HI, USA
(Photo courtesy of Airbnb)
Vibe: This spectacular three-bedroom villa by the sea along Maui’s Southwestern Coast in Kihei gives you access to your very own plunge pool, a lava rock beach, beautiful golden sands along nearby Polo Beach, and a path to a quiet place where you can watch the sea turtles coming and going from their homes at dawn and dusk each day. If you’re into shopping or want to play a round of golf, The Shops of Wailea and several signature golf courses aren’t too far from your villa.
Price: From $2,495 a night.
Honeymoon Packages & Cruises in Hawaii
Hawaii-bound couples often dream of setting sail into the Pacific at sunset. But nothing puts the kibosh on a romantic cruise around the coast quite like, well, other tourists. What’s more, cruises only give you a few hours at each port and you are just stuffed along with all the other tourists doing whatever there’s time for through them (so you’ll basically only see people from the ship and not anything authentic, which is why you even go to Hawaii).
Instead of booking a group tour, splurge on a private charter. We recommend Maui Yacht Charters and Tradewind Charters (based on Oahu) which each offer a range of vessels and experiences. Tradewind Charters will even take early birds out for a two-hour private sunrise sail. Hey, you already splurged for the open bar at the wedding, so what’s another grand?
Best Restaurants & Bars in Hawaii
Hawaii is famous for its fusion of regional and international cultures and the food here is known for its unexpected, bold flavors with a focus on local ingredients and fresh seafood. You’ll discover everything from traditional Polynesian fare to vestiges of Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Filipino, and other cultural cuisines. Dine barefoot on the beach or tuck into an upscale sushi feast, but whatever you do, carve out plenty of time to eat. Oh, and if you ever pass a food truck of any kind, anywhere, on any island consider this your green light to order the shave ice and grilled mahi mahi tacos — or garlic shrimp scampi if you’re on Oahu’s North Shore.
Lava Lava Beach Club (Big Island of Hawaii and Kauai)Best Hawaii Beach Bar Experience Lava Lava Beach Club, Ku'uali'i Place, Waikoloa Village, HI, USA
(Photo by Lava Lava Beach Club)
If you’re having visions of a Hawaii beach bar, you’re probably picturing Lava Lava Beach Club, now with locations on the Big Island and Kauai. It’s your quintessential barefoot, toes-in-the-sand, salty ocean breeze experience, complete with live hula performances and massive tropical cocktails. Get here during happy hour for the best seats.
Mama's Fish House (Maui)Best Fresh Seafood Mama's Fish House, Poho Place, Paia, Maui, HI, USA
(Photo by Mama’s Fish House)
Since 1973, Mama’s Fish House has been serving the daily catch — only fish caught within 24 hours — on Maui’s north shore. The menu explains where the fish you’re eating came from, with notes like “five miles off the Kona coast” or “caught by Captain Mark.” It’s a relatively casual affair, with fish served on mismatched plates and Polynesian barkcloth-inspired tablecloths. Just be sure to make a reservation now for your last night in Hawaii as this place fills up fast.
Merriman's (Oahu, Maui, Kauai, the Big Island of Hawaii)Best Upscale Dinner Out Merriman's Honolulu, Auahi Street, Honolulu, HI, USA
(Photo by Merriman’s)
Chef Peter Merriman is a local pioneer who is credited with elevating classic island cuisine. Get here early if you want to watch the sunset while eating the celebrated ponzu-marinated mahi mahi or the wok-charred ahi with cabbage slaw and wasabi soy sauce. Don’t even think about showing up without a reservation. Merriman’s also has locations on Oahu, Maui and Kauai.
Koko Head Cafe (Oahu)Best Brunch Menu Koko Head Cafe, 12th Avenue, Honolulu, HI, USA
(Photo by Koko Head Cafe)
A Honolulu brunch institution, Koko Head Cafe serves breakfast all day, the kind of fortifying plates you need after a late night out celebrating your marriage with lots of bubbly. The menu features black yuzu muffins, banana- and macadamia nut-bread with chili and lime, and savory plates like bibimbap and fried poke omelets.
The Pig and the Lady (Oahu)Best Vietnamese Food in Town The Pig and The Lady, North King Street, Honolulu, HI, USA
(Photo by The Pig and the Lady)
Find this Vietnamese-inspired restaurant at its original location in Honolulu’s Chinatown. The menu at The Pig and the Lady features many of chef Andrew Le’s family recipes, including beef pho and a sensational salt-cured whole branzino. At the risk of sounding redundant, make a dinner reservation in advance.
Roy's (Oahu and the Big Island of Hawaii)Best Pacific Rim Restaurant The Original Roy's in Hawaii Kai, Kalanianaʻole Highway, Hawaii Kai, Honolulu, HI, USA
(Photo by Roy’s)
Hailed as one of the most famous chefs in Hawaii, Roy Yamaguchi specializes in Pacific Rim cuisine. Don’t be deterred by the location of its Big Island outpost: This shopping mall restaurant is no place to sport board shorts. Try the Waikoloa meatloaf with tempura-battered onion rings or the original blue crab cakes. Want to see where the Roy’s empire started? Head to the Hawaii Kai location on Oahu instead.
Paddlers Restaurant and Bar (Molokai)Best International Feast in Molokai Paddlers Restaurant and Bar, Mohala Street, Kaunakakai, HI, USA
(Photo by Paddlers Restaurant and Bar)
Paddlers Restaurant and Bar has quickly become one of the top restaurants in Molokai after reopening with chef Kainoa Turner at the helm in 2016. Dishes here are inspired by cuisines from all over the globe: tacos get a Hawaiian twist with pulled pork and pineapple; French fries are tossed with a yaki glaze and furikake; and Thai chili wings are listed alongside gyro sandwiches, spaghetti bolognese, and ramen. Whether you’re craving bánh mì or chimichurri steak, you can look forward to live music and dancing.
Lanai City Bar & Grille (Lanai)Most Creative Cocktails Lanai City Bar & Grille, Lanai Avenue, Lanai City, HI, USA
(Photo by Lanai City Bar & Grille)
You don’t have to be guests at the Hotel Lanai to get dinner at Lanai City Bar & Grille, which is both upscale and unfussy. Come here for live music on a weekend night and a cocktail or two — for a real treat, try the Dole Plantation island-style mule or the guava mojito.
Nobu (Lanai)Worth the Splurge Nobu Lana'i, Manele Road, Lanai City, HI, USA
(Photo by Nobu)
Experience Chef Nobu Matsuhisa’s renowned cuisine at the Four Seasons Lanai outpost of the celebrated Japanese chain, Nobu. Pull up seats at the sushi bar or dine on the cliff-side terrace. Highlights from the dinner menu include classic sashimi preparations and yaki, plus innovative plates like smoked Wagyu gyoza and ahi wasabi salsa. Expect an inexpensive tab.
Hawaii beckons honeymooners of all stripes with its unmatched natural landscapes, incredible food, and wide array of attractions for travelers with romance penciled (read: scrawled in Sharpie) into the itinerary. You won’t be the only couple honeymooning here, but you will be the only ones doing it right.