hawaii honeymoon
July 18, 2006 2:30 PM   Subscribe

what should i do in hawaii in august

me and my soon to be wife are going to hawaii for our honeymoon. because we want to go to another wedding the following weekend, we're only going for 5 days. what should we do?
we like beaches and umm nice times. i wouldn't mind some scuba and some windsurfing. maybe i'll take a real surfing lesson. cause its a honeymoon, we may want something somewhat "nice". which island should we go to? how about a hotel or area to stay in? things to do?
I've checked some other questions, but as usual, none are exactly like mine. key facts are: keeping it short, honeymoon (so not too much roughing it), and umm , maybe a nice restaurant (sushi).
posted by alkupe to Travel & Transportation around Hawaii (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
What island?
posted by ldenneau at 2:32 PM on July 18, 2006

That's exactly what I was going to ask. Also, do you want to be secluded to some degree or do you want an all-inclusive resort sort of environment? Do you want to be in the city, in a town, or in the middle of nowhere? What's your budget like (very limited, moderate, going all out)?

My personal favorite is the Big Island (Hawaii), which offers two pretty good sized towns, lots of small communities, and plenty of open and quiet space. I also really enjoyed Maui. The others I haven't really visited, but: Oahu has a little bit of everything, but that everything includes the large city of Honolulu, which you might or might not want. Kauai has amazing natural vistas without large towns. Molokai and Lanai are less obvious choices for a first visit but many people really love them.

Give us a few more parameters and I'm sure you'll get lots of advice!
posted by Songdog at 3:01 PM on July 18, 2006

We honeymooned on Maui last October. I think it's a nice balance between beautiful/romantic, and being filled with available activities. You'll also benefit from being out of the Winter tourist season. Lower rates, smaller crowds.

"Maui Revealed" is a pretty ubiquitous, fantastic book that I recommend for everyone considering a trip there. It has everything from descriptive reviews on what to do, what to see, where to stay, what to eat, etc. We mildly disagreed with the book maybe twice, and we did a lot while we were there.

We stayed on the western shore, in Honokowai, just above Lahaina and Ka'anapali. Our hotel offered a honeymoon upgrade package but didn't honor it when we got there, so I won't recommend them.

Some memorable moments:

- Luau @ Old Lahaina Luau ("Authentic" Luau, little less touristy than some)

- Snorkeling (rented gear from Maui Dive Shop in Lahaina) at great places recommended in the book and from coworkers (Black Rock and Fish Bowl were amazing)

- Warren & Annabelle's dinner & magic show in Lahaina. Pretty good food. Card tricks and crazy slight of hand, thankfully light on gimmicky prop tricks. The guy's pretty darn good, and I've seen some good ones.

Re: sushi, with such a large Asian population, there's obviously some great sushi on Maui. Googling sushi+maui provides a wealth of information, but we never ate it so I can't offer any personal anecdotes there.
posted by empyrean at 3:11 PM on July 18, 2006

I'm born and raised here in Hawaii, and might be able to share a tip or two, but yeah... we need to know where you're going. Oahu is very different from Kauai, which is very different from Maui...

By the by, the "Maui Revealed" book is popular with visitors, specifically 'cause it takes you off the beaten path... though of course it rankles the locals who note that tourists are now trampling places that were once fairly secluded. It also suggests they wander into places they shouldn't, for either legal or safety reasons.
posted by pzarquon at 4:28 PM on July 18, 2006

By all means make sure you include the "Revealed" book for your island of choice. We have their Big Island and Maui books and they are by far the best travel guidebooks I've ever used. All revealed secrets aside, the sections on places to stay and eat are extraordinarily helpful.

I am not aware of any specific instances where they suggest going somewhere illegal (pzarquon would definitely know better) but in my opinion they are pretty clear about the things that are less safe. I think people get into trouble because they treat these books like other guide books. When Rick Steves encourages you to try to see ten great things at the Louvre in a single morning you're probably up to the challenge. But when these authors encourage you to try some unusual drive or hike you need to understand that they have a high tolerance for difficulty. If they say "four wheel drive is best" then you should realize that you could probably walk faster, even with four wheel drive.

We went to the Old Lahaina Luau as well, and enjoyed ourselves, though I have no other Luau experiences to compare it to. And Ka'anapali Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches we've ever been to. But there are gorgeous beaches all over the state, so please do let us know more about what you're looking for!
posted by Songdog at 5:12 PM on July 18, 2006

If you find yourselves on Maui, I recommend the show 'Ulalena at the Maui Myth and Magic theatre in Lahaina. Tickets range from $50.00 to $70.00 for a totally breathtaking show (music, dance, and puppets) about the history of the Hawaiian islands.
posted by jvilter at 5:50 PM on July 18, 2006

When my girlfriend and I went to Oahu last Fall we stayed at a beach house on the North Shore rather than do the hotel thing. Since it was my first and only time in Hawaii I have no basis of comparison, but I'd find it hard to believe that a hotel would be better than a house with a private lani and beach away from the city. I found the one we stayed at on www.vrbo.com. Also I like to cook quite a bit so the opportunity to prepare meals for us (on occasion) and eat them while overlooking the ocean was a real treat!
posted by sublivious at 6:33 PM on July 18, 2006

If you can swing it... of the 7 days my wife and I honeymooned on the Big Island we spent the last three in quite upscale resort and it was worth it. Out of our reasonable price range but worth it. But really, the service we got, from the little one woman bed and breakfast where we started out to the charmingly dated chateu-style bungalow where we stopped halfway, was so superb, and the beauty of Hawaii is basically everything is in easy travelling distance. Half the best things we did (and ate) were recommendations from hospitality staff. Eat a lot of fresh fruit (all grocery store papaya and mangos are dead to me now) and fresh fish, you're going to have a blast regardless.

We didn't do any island hopping and I'm glad, there was plenty to occupy us without spending any more of our time in planes. On that note too, given your briefer trip you may want to consider some quick, perhaps pharmaceutically-assisted sleep pattern modification so you're better able to hit the ground running. We were pretty out of phase the first day and a half or so.
posted by nanojath at 10:06 PM on July 18, 2006

Oh, and following songdog's comment - if they tell you you need four wheel drive, you need it. And if you ignore the signs you probably just defaulted on your rental contract.

On the subject of the rental car (if you're getting one)... may I just recommend a convertible? Again, price range, okay. But c'mon, it's your honeymoon. Man I want to go back now.
posted by nanojath at 10:10 PM on July 18, 2006

On the Big Island you need the four wheel drive vehicle to go to the summit of Mauna Kea, to the floor of Waipio Valley, to various remote (but public) beaches, and possibly to places outside the Volcanoes National Park where lava might be flowing. You don't need it to go to the park itself or, if your lucky with timing, to get to an active flow near a roadway inside the park. You probably don't need it on the Saddle Road between the volcanoes either, but as nanojath says the Saddle Road, Mauna Kea, and Waipio are all forbidden by most rental contracts, so be prepared to bail yourselves out if you have car trouble in these places. And steel yourselves if you do these drives; they can be hard on the nerves.

On Maui we were happy in a convertible, which we took up to the summit of Haleakala and on the northern road to Hana. I have been told that the southern road to Hana is a lot rougher and if you want to do this drive as a loop you'll want a more rugged vehicle. We returned on the same road we'd taken in.
posted by Songdog at 5:50 AM on July 19, 2006

Response by poster: hey if anyone's still here, we haven't picked an island. I was looking for recommendations on that. we had discussed oahu and Kauai. sorry, guess that wasn't clear from the question. Looks like i need to figure that out.
posted by alkupe at 6:15 AM on July 19, 2006

My wife and I honeymooned on Oahu last November. We stayed at the Marriott Ihilani Resort on the west side, away from Honolulu. It was expensive, but it was WORTH IT. The resort itself is in a gated community area with a few other resorts, so it's nicely secluded. It had its own private beach and the food was unbelievable - especially the breakfast.

We went to Germaine's Luau on a friend's recommendation, but it got rained out, so we ended up eating for free. From what we saw it seemed really tourist-y, so you might want to find something more authentic.

We went on a snorkeling excursion that left from inside our gated community, which was amazing - we saw dolphins, coral, fish, and a giant sea turtle swam within a foot of my face!

We walked up Diamond Head, which gave a stunning view of most of the island. It was interesting to see the skyscrapers of Honolulu next to the rest of the island.

Other than that, it was a lot of sitting on the beach, sitting by the pool, or participating in "honeymoon activities" in our ridiculously-nice hotel room (and our spacious, secluded balcony)...
posted by cebailey at 7:03 AM on July 19, 2006

Thanks for the followup, alkupe. We honeymooned on Hawaii and Maui, and returned on a second trip to Hawaii a few years later. I can't address Oahu or Kauai from personal experience, but I'm sure others here can. For what it's worth it's cheap and easy to fly between islands (though you may not want to use your time that way): several companies offer flights every couple of hours during the daytime. I don't know where you'll be coming from, but most direct flights from the eastern US are going to take you to Honolulu, on Oahu. From further west or on a connecting flight you can reach the airports on the other islands. My wife and I chose to fly direct (Newark to Honolulu) and then take an interisland flight to Kona, rather than connecting in California. This way if we missed our connection for any reason we'd at least be in Hawaii instead of in LAX or someplace like that.

The Big Island is your only choice if you want to see flowing lava or the rest of the park, visit a Kona coffee farm, or see the astronomical observatories on Mauna Kea. Most other Hawaiian experiences can be had on multiple islands, though each has its own strengths. Kauai is very popular with hikers because of the fantastic trails and scenery. It's a fantastically green place, often seen in films (it stood in for Costa Rica in Jurassic Park). Lanai is supposed to have fantastic snorkeling and scuba diving. Maui has the resort towns in the west and south, separated by Haleakala and an stunning drive past numerous smaller towns to Hana in the east. Oahu offers the city activities of Honolulu, including more museums and nightlife than you're going to find anywhere else on the islands, plus the Pearl Harbor Memorial of the USS Arizona. If you get out of the city you can find quieter beaches and green countryside on Oahu.

You didn't address the issue of budget or housing style, so perhaps you're trying to decide on these as well. We drove all over the place on our honeymoon, staying in eight different places over the course of our trip, and returning to a different place the next time we visited. These accommodations ranged from a small, simple room in a surprisingly nice little hotel to an historic bed and breakfast, a treehouse, an apartment in a private home, and a cabin and a lodge on the slope of a volcano. The prices spanned a 5:1 range, with price no predictor of how much we liked a place. The resorts can be more expensive still but if you want to be in one place and forgo a rental car they could be your best options, with dining onsite and scheduled excursions available from your doorstep.
posted by Songdog at 7:52 AM on July 19, 2006 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: city life not so important. mainly i want to chill on the beach, maybe check out some lava. and i want to eat some of this amazing tuna i hear so much about.
posted by alkupe at 8:20 AM on July 19, 2006

As mentioned, if you want Lava, the Big Island is the way to go. More info available here and here.
posted by mmascolino at 10:15 AM on July 19, 2006

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