I am looking for good places to visit on a honeymoon. We are planning a trip of about six to eight days late in the spring, and we are interested in visiting Lanai specifically, but are there other destinations on the islands that we shouldn't miss? We're looking for more outdoor-oriented activities and destinations and places that are unique to Hawaii specifically. We want to try to keep our budget to a minimum, but we're willing to splurge for a few things if there are restaurants or attractions we can't miss.
Road to Hana It is a LONG and WINDY road (hairpin turns for about 2+ hours) and you will want to stop along the way for the billion sights. My boyfriend and I did the trip together and drove ALL the way around the island. Most people stop at Hana or just past at the Seven Sacred Pools. If you have a 4-wheel drive car and don't mind a little crazier driving than what you just experienced...keep going. But only do it if there's still daylight time left. The drive WILL take all day, especially if you're starting at the Lahaina side of the island. Leave early.
There are so many places to stop along the way, I would suggest just picking like 3 or 4 and then stopping in Hana for some banana bread and a taco. This AWESOME app I would suggest is GyPSy. The guy talks you through the whole thing and picks some of the really best (less crowded) places to stop. There are like 80 different waterfalls, 79 gardens, 50 beachs...so you can pick any of them and be cool, but the app gives you the best options in their opinion. Its worth the purchase price because it's better than a guide book in my opinion.
One of the last stops I'd recommend is Seven Sacred Pools. Short hike to get here. You can swim in the waters. Just a really pretty site.
Iao Valley State Park and the Iao Needle. It's the rainy part of the island. It WILL be raining here, but it's got some beautiful gardens. It can be a really really quick stop. Like an hour. Super short hike, but super pretty. You can also skip it and not feel like you're missing the best thing.
Haleakala: We mountain biked down the volcano. It's so friggin fun you just go flying down. It's beautiful. Go to the top of the volcano, too. SO WORTH IT! It looks like Mars from up there. It's insane landscape and you can pick a very short hike (like half mile) or a longer hike (8 mile) and see it all. DO THIS.
Here's the bike ride info: http://www.bikemaui.com/
Pā'ia: An awesome surf town. Lots of fun restaurants and shops. Stop there for dinner on the way back from Hana
For swimming and lounging beaches, there are a ton around Lahaina that are amazing. Easy to find spots that a guide book can tell you about, but i suggest Makena State Park for solitude and amazing sands. Not much for snorkeling, but we saw turtles here...
This island is so big and with all the diving we did, I feel like we barely scratched the surface. I'd recommend a guide book to help you out. So much nature. So amazing. My favorite!
You MUST go to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Non-negotiable. Go to the visitor's center first You must do this trail in the park: http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g143034-d131308-Reviews-Kilauea_Iki_Trail-Hawaii_Volcanoes_National_Park_Island_of_Hawaii_Hawaii.html
Thurston Lava Tube - you can tack this onto the hike above. I just really wanted to see a lava tube, but it wasn't anything crazy spectacular.
You can see live molten lava from the park, too. It's kinda trippy being that close to the stuff.
Manta Ray snorkeling.... if you're up for a crazy adventure, this is the most epic shit ever.
One thing I wanted to do, but didnt have a chance was the star gazing: Mauna Kea Summit
Punaluu Black Sand Beach: It's a rare thing to see black sand, and this is a cool spot. The water is cold, but you WILL see turtles.
We did a lot of scuba diving here and not as much hiking, but there are so many places to explore. If you lived here, you could probably fill a year with new hikes and explorations
You will want to see the Na'Pali Coast State Park. You can only see it via boat, helicopter or hike. a good 1/3 of Kauai is completely untouched by humans and so you can only see it from afar unless you hike in...
Hiking Napali Coast - Kahauale'a Trail: For a REAL adventure, you can hike the entire 11 miles and camp out on the remote beaches, but I don't know if you want to pack all that gear. Instead, you can do a 4 mile (out and back) or 8 mile (out and back) hike to different points along the trail. You'll want to at least do the 4 miler...views like you've never seen. It's pretty tough at parts. Bring hiking boots for sure, it can get MUDDY if there's been any rain (and there probably has)
Catamaran Tours: Probably my favorite experience on my first trip out there. So fun... you can do a daytime or sunset tour on a catamaran...see dolphins, snorkle, lay out on the boat and the tours usually include booze.
Helicopter tour: It's expensive and its a little scary if you dont love to fly, but its SO BEAUTIFUL. You see waterfalls (and on some of the charters, you can land), the Napali Coast, North Shore...the whole island (which isn't huge). I've done it twice now...and can recommend these guys: http://www.islandhelicopters.com/
Waimea Canyon State Park- DEFINITELY take a hike here...you'll get some great views of the canyons and falls and some of the Napali coast.
The guide books will tell you not to go, but find the Queens Bath, they're amazing...just be smart and don't go near the edges and don't swim in them.
Go to Polihale Beach. Go for hanging out during the day and stay for sunset. You'll drive down a long sandy road to get there....drive slowly or a local will have to tow you out... you will want the Jeep or 4WD for this!
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Hi Leslie, I have not been to Lanai. I've spent a month on Kaua'i, and we've spent several months on Maui. Kauai is green and beautiful because it gets quite a bit of rain. Its Napali Coast is breath taking, and I imagine the hiking there is wonderful. If you could swing a boat trip out to view the Napali Coast, I'd highly recommend it. It is one of the most beautiful sites I've ever seen. We did a dinner cruise, and it was wonderful. The food was great, and the scenery was beyond belief. The hiking trails on Kauai are plentiful, and you can find trails for all skill levels. The views when you reach your summit can be quite amazingl.
One of our favorite restaurants on Kauai is The Beach House. Go early enough to get a table so you can watch the sunset. The drinks and salads are quite good, and for Hawaii, the prices are competitive.
My favorite beach on Kauai was Lydgate Beach. There is plenty of parking. You can walk along the beach for miles. One day, I saw a woman horseback riding on the beach. It is not crowded at all. There are places for picnics and barbecues.
I love Maui and actually prefer it to Kauai, but it sounds like Kauai is more what you're interested in. Maui has lots of incredible restaurants, great shopping, and fun attractions, but I would not choose Maui if my main interest was outdoor activities.
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Kaua'i is one of the best islands for outdoor nature (waterfalls, mountains, green ferns, lush valleys) but there's not a lot of cultural attractions compared to Maui and Oahu--everything closes up early at night. Maui is an island that combines nature's beauty (the Road to Hana, driving up Haleakala, snorkeling at Molikini Island, etc. but it has a lot of activities to do at night and during the day--shopping in Lahaina, Ali'i Kula Lavender, Winery, Aquarium, etc. You also have easy access to Lana'i or Molokai from there by ferry from Lahaina. O'ahu also offers much nature once you get outside of Waikiki, plus famous sites like USS Arizona/ Pearl Harbor and the Polynesian Cultural Center. The Big Island has the famous volcanoes and other natural attractions, but again is slim on cultural attractions compared to Maui or Oahu. You could also take a cruise on Norwegian and see a little of all four major islands so you know which one you like the most! The "Revealed" series on each island are excellent books and you can get them at your library to save money. Some people also like to buy an Entertainment Guide before going to save money on meals and attractions--many 2-for-1's.
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Aloha! Lanai is a great choice for the resort life. If you love the outdoors I highly recommend Kauai. Known as the Garden Isle, it is the most lush and has some great hikes including the Napali Coast just past Hanalei. If you want a piece of everything Oahu is your island, has the tourist thing in Waikiki, great trails and hikes and my favorite beach Lanikai Beach. Maui is also very popular but ... I am partial to Oahu and Kauai :)
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The Big Island: The best 'unique' experiences I've had involved getting up close and personal with the sea-life. Out of Kona you can book tours to go snorkeling with dolphins... not a captive dolphin in a swimming pool, but visiting a huge pod (dozens!) of wild spinner dolphins that live off the Kona coast. One Love One Spirit offered a great half day tour and they keep the group on board the boat small. Another awesome adventure also in Kona is snorkeling or diving with Manta Rays at night. Almost all tour operators offer this experience and it's easy to book. Having a huge manta do graceful loops mere feet underneath you is unforgettable!
Maui: While the resorts are on the western side, it's so worth it to pack a lunch and drive out to the eastern side of the Island for a hike - the trails are absolutely gorgeous. The one I'll always remember is the Pipiwai Trail (Pipiwai trail) which takes you though a guava scented trail, to a dimly lit bamboo forest and finally up to Waimoku Falls.