Looking straight out of a fantasy, Hawaii's islands promise couples a sensational escape. Whether you're after action-packed adventure or you're just wanting to relax (maybe you're wanting to do a little of both?), you'll find so much to love about this captivating destination.
Dreaming of leaving your everyday stresses behind? Located in Hawaii's east, Maui and the Big Island have everything to complete the 'tropical island escape' idyll. Want to skip the usual tourist traps? It's time you enjoyed all that these magnificent isles have to offer...
Related article: Follow the Sun: Kauai
Discover a nature-lover's wonderland
If it's epic sights you're seeking, Maui and the Big Island really pack a punch. Dotted with humbling waterfalls, otherworldly craters, soaring mountain peaks and rugged coastline, the two islands have enough natural beauty to really stop you in your tracks.
On the Big Island, it's a matter of 'go big or go home' (perhaps the name is a hint?). A real must-see while here, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park boasts some of Earth's most extraordinary landscapes. Stretching out from sea level to the summit of Mauna Loa (at 4.1 kilometres), it encompasses two of the world's most active volcanoes. To mix sight-seeing with a little adventure, join one of the park's knowledgable guides for an exciting hike and see the awe-inspiring Kilauea and Muana Loa volcanoes for yourselves.
A place of incredible extremes (at least, when it comes to its natural wonders), the Big Island is also where you'll find the wonderful Akaka Falls State Park. Situated along the north Hilo Coast, it's home to lush orchid-filled rainforest, verdant bamboo groves and the 30-metre Kahuna Falls, plus the 128-metre Akaka Falls. Lace up your hiking boots (the track here should take you less than an hour to complete) and prepare to marvel at Mother Nature.
Basing yourselves in Maui? There's also plenty here for you to see, but you really can't come to the island without visiting the famous Haleakala Crater. Located in Maui's Haleakala National Park, the three-kilometre-high dormant volcano offers a spectacular vantage point for watching the sun rise. Get up early (trust us, it's well worth the effort) and make your way to the crater to see the sun inch over the horizon and a sky full of clouds turn every shade of colour in the rainbow. No wonder Mark Twain once described the experience as 'the most sublime spectacle I have ever witnessed'!
If you're looking to take it blissfully easy on your Maui getaway, hire a car and navigate the world-famous 'Road to Hana'. A real bucket-list item, travelling along this stretch of road (arguably the world's most beautiful) will reveal truly stunning sights – expect postcard-perfect beaches, exotic rainforest and dramatic coastline. Classic 'road-trip' vibes'? Tick.
Enjoy a little white-knuckle action
Hawaii really is an adrenalin-seeker's haven and you won't be short of thrilling experiences in Maui and the Big Island. In the latter, get your heart racing with a daring (and muddy!) ATV ride, catch a wave, see manta rays on a nighttime dive or live out your daydreams with horse-riding on the beach.
For something a little bit different, check out the Big Island's Hawaii Island Humane Society. Passionate about enhancing the bond between humans and animals, they invite visitors to 'check out' one of their super-friendly shelter dogs for an unforgettable day out. Who could resist taking one of their adorable residents out for a day of surf and sunshine?
In Maui, water-babies will be in their element. Perfect for those wanting to get back to nature, swimming in the majestic Seven Sacred Pools is an experience you won't soon forget. Just as heavenly as its name suggests, the site is tucked away in an emerald-green valley – very romantic. For a brilliant day out, take a refreshing dip in the falls' natural plunge pools, which run out to the azure Hawaiian ocean. Want more? An easily accessible string of waterfalls and rock pools on the famous Road to Hana, Twin Falls is another hidden gem worth seeking out.
Also sure to win over adventure-lovers, Maui's mystical Molokini Crater is great for snorkelling. Estimated to have been created by an eruption that happened 230,000 years ago, it's where over 250 species of fish and 38 species of coral live. There are a slew of local groups based on the island that will take you out to the 93,000-square-metre crater for a day of snorkelling – do not miss.
Uncover pristine stretches of sand
Of course, Hawaii is known for its screensaver-ready beaches – we don't blame you if you're dreaming of relaxing on the Big Island or Maui's golden sands.
There are so many gorgeous options to choose from on both islands, especially on Maui. A stand-out choice for couples, Maluaka Beach in Wailea is where you can swim with green sea turtles – very special!
More interested in hitting the surf? Kihei Cove and Honolua Bay (this is where the annual Billabong Pro is hosted) are worth adding to your itinerary. Also worth a mention, Honokalani Beach is totally unique. Created long ago by the rough surf pounding on fresh, bubbling lava flow, the black-sand beach is fantastic for a cooling swim.
The Big Island also has its own black-sand oasis: Punaluu Beach. Spend a day here swimming, relaxing or snorkelling – keep an eye out for endangered Hawksbill and green sea turtles! Haven't yet had your fill of marine life-spotting? Set your sights for the white-sand Waialea Bay and look for exotic, colourful reef fish.
Chill out with the locals
You'll find that Maui and the Big Island have an undeniably laid-back vibe, whether you're deep in the rainforest or soaking up the sunshine on the beach. The islands' quaint townships aren't any different. Forget the 'hustle and bustle'; here it's more about enjoying life's simple pleasures and immersing yourselves in amazing culture.
Maui-bound couples, make your way to Paia on the island's northern coast if you get the chance. A bohemian-style township with secluded beaches (be sure to visit Hookipa Beach) and frangipani-dotted farmland, it's a winner for charming boutiques, fabulous markets and cool dining spots.
There's also plenty for couples to enjoy in the cosmopolitan town of Wailea (south Maui) and the historic village of Lahaina (west Maui).
While in the Big Island, spend some time in tranquil Hawi. Located in the island's north, it's a go-to for restaurants, boutiques, art galleries and old-world plantation buildings. Or, check out beachy Kona in the island's west or escape from the the resort chains and manicured golf courses in breezy Kau (in the island's south). Our advice? Explore the Big Island and see each of its brilliant townships on a fun-filled road-trip!
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Image credits: Hawaii Tourism Authority, Blake Bronstad, Tor Johnson, Luc Delamare and John Hook