Yes, it’s cliché, but it’s cliché for a reason. Honeymooning in Hawaii is a
no-brainer. The only hard parts are figuring out which island, and for how long. Here, an itinerary that goes from built-up Waikiki to remote, secluded Kauai — with a stop on the Big Island in between.
BY DAY: On Oahu, the Pearl Harbor memorial is a must-see; just go first thing to beat the enormous line. Afterward, stroll famous Waikiki Beach, shop for items you forgot to pack at swanky Ala Moana Center (the Hawaiian KoP), and bliss out poolside at the Halekulani Resort with a mai tai. Depart citified Waikiki for the Big Island, where volcano Mauna Loa continues to erupt in fits and starts. On the Kona/Kohala side, home to most resorts, the landscape is volcanic and Mars-like. Be sure to drive up and over (you can’t cut across) through the grassy, mountainous north to lush, wet Hilo and Volcano National Park, on the island’s east side. In Kauai, sample the local lifestyle with a surfing lesson at Hanalei Bay on the North Shore. (The bay’s baby waves are perfect for beginners.) Spot giant avocados and wild roosters at the Hanalei Farmer’s Market. Seek the unmarked entrance to the steep 150-foot path leading to Secret Beach and be rewarded
with one and a half miles of fine white sand, stunning cliff backdrops, and
a chain of tidal lagoons that feel like nature-made Jacuzzis. A helicopter ride is necessary for checking out the Napali Coast — it’s unreachable by car, but worth it.
BY NIGHT: On Oahu, have a sunset cocktail at the Halekulani’s informal outdoor bar/restaurant, House Without a Key, which has live entertainment every night — string-guitar musicians, a former Miss Hawaii dancing the hula. On the Big Island, book seats at a luau, a lively revue featuring lots of hip-shaking (the Polynesian hula), fire-eating, and traditional luau fare. Kauai is very low-key — going for ice cream at Kilauea Video & Ice Cream in Kilauea is as wild as it gets.
WHAT TO EAT: Asian-influenced Orchids or La Mer’s French cuisine, both at the Halekulani, are winners. For the total foodie experience, take a five-minute cab ride from Waikiki to Chef Mavro in Honolulu for the four-course tasting menu. On the Big Island, dining on the terrace at Pahu i’a at the Four Seasons is out-of-body-experience amazing. Make reservations for a post-volcano dinner at Merriman’s in Waimea; Peter Merriman is a pioneer in Hawaiian regional cuisine (the beef and corn are sourced a few miles away). In Kauai, Bar Acuda in Hanalei is where surferville meets L.A. — the Mediterranean tapas are tasty, and the wine list features small producers. Kilauea Bakery and Pau Hana Pizza is a more casual option — the Hawaiian sourdough starter is made with guava (!), and delish pizzas are topped with smoked ono and local goat cheese.