The Most Romantic Places in Hawai‘i
February 1, 2018, 5:30 AM HST
* Updated September 10, 10:01 AM
There are countless, amazingly romantic places to visit on the Big Island, technically known as “Hawai‘i Island,” from natural wonders like the fiery lava flows of the world’s most active volcano and mountaintops above the clouds to intimate seaside restaurants, velvety palm-dotted beaches and cascading waterfalls.
Whether you are seeking a romantic place to spend the day (maybe Valentine’s Day?) or the perfect spot for popping the “big question,” the Big Island is the epitome of romance and excitement. There’s seemingly no limit to the number of incredibly romantic places on the Big Island. Here’s a list of BigIslandNow.com’s Top 10 favorites.
Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park
What better place to add spark to your romance than on an active volcano? Explore towering tree fern forests, feel the heat of volcanic action under your feet at Steam Vents, then make your way over to the main highlight, Kīlauea Caldera, where you can witness the the volcano’s fiery splashing lava lake. Afterwards, head over to historic Volcano House Hotel, where you can have a cocktail by the fireplace or enjoy excellent cuisine against the spectacular backdrop of Kīlauea’s powerful glow. Just a tip: the best viewing of Kīlauea Caldera is at night.
Mauna Kea Summit
When it comes to romance on the Big Island, why not proclaim your love from the highest mountaintop in the world? Mauna Kea is technically the tallest mountain on earth, soaring to a majestic 13,803 feet above sea level (it’s over 33,000 feet high when measured from its base on the ocean floor). Take in magnificent panoramic vistas and tour the observatories at the summit. After watching the most spectacular sunset you will ever see, head back down the road to the Mauna Kea Visitor Center where you can view the beauty of deep space through their powerful telescopes.
ULU Ocean Grill
ULU Ocean Grill at the Four Seasons Hualālai is the embodiment of romantic tropical island ambiance. Situated next to the soft white sands of Kumukea Beach and rated as one of the “100 Most Romantic Restaurants in America” by Open Table, the exquisite cuisine combined with fragrant breezes and the sound of the ocean’s gentle lapping makes ULU Ocean Grill the perfect place for a romantic night out.
Lili‘uokalani Gardens is an exquisitely elegant 24.14-acre Japanese garden park built in 1917, and is the largest park of its kind outside of Japan. Located along the shores of Hilo Bay, the garden’s tranquil grounds encompass ponds, bridges, pagodas, statuary, a Japanese teahouse, and beautiful coastal views. A footbridge connects Lili‘uokalani Gardens to Moku Ola, a tiny island whose waters are believed to have healing properties.
Remote Waipi‘o Valley is the ultimate for romance and adventure. Situated nine miles north of Honokaʻa Town and accessible only by foot or four-wheel drive, this ancient valley was the residence of Hawaiian royalty and has been home to a thriving taro farming community for countless generations. Towering jungle-esconced cliffs, awe-inspiring waterfalls, and a stunning black sand beach are the perfect backdrop for an amazingly romantic day.
Located eight miles east of Hawi, Pololū Valley’s ancient air of mystery lends a particularly romantic feeling to the landscape. Towering sea cliffs and small near-shore islands dot the coast, which is visible from the Pololū Valley Lookout. A short hike down a graded path leads you to the floor of the valley through which runs sparkling, spring fed Pololū Stream. A rocky shoreline, tree-shaded picnic area, and rustic makeshift swing will bring out the kid in you and your special someone, and is a wonderful romantic place to explore or wile away the hours relaxing by the shoreline.
Ahalanui Hot Pond Park
Ahalanui Hot Pond is a natural marine thermal pond and a favorite relaxation spot for locals and visitors alike. The epitome of tropical beauty, Ahalanui, known locally as “Hot Pond,” is situated on Lower Puna’s rocky shoreline. A large palm tree-dotted park hosts a pavilion, barbecue grills, restrooms, and a shower, making Ahalanui a comfortable, relaxing—and yes, romantic—spot for you and your sweetie to make island memories that will last a lifetime.
Located just five minutes from historic downtown Hilo, Rainbow Falls is one of the most easily accessible waterfalls on the Big Island. Known in the Hawaiian language as Waiānuenue, meaning “Rainbow Water,” the falls tumble 80 feet into a turquoise jungle-esconsed pool; a lovely park landscaped in lush tropical foliage makes Rainbow Falls a picturesque locale for a romantic picnic. One note: even though the pool at Rainbow Falls looks inviting on a hot day, swimming is not advised.
ʻAkaka Falls State Park
ʻAkaka Falls State Park features two waterfalls and half-mile long loop trail traversing through lush rainforest. ʻAkaka Falls, the largest accessible waterfall on the Big Island, cascades a towering 442 feet into a deep gorge; nearby Kahuna Falls is equally as spectacular. The scenic loop trail offers stunning views of both waterfalls, and for those who wish to see ʻAkaka Falls without hiking, a scenic overlook near the parking area offers a stellar view. ʻAkaka Falls State Park is located 13.5 miles north of Hilo in Honomū. After visiting the falls, be sure to stop in quaint Honomū Town for lunch and browse through the eclectic local shops.
Also known as Wai‘alea Beach, 69 Beach offers velvety white sands, placid waters and shady groves of trees that make for an tranquil, intimate day on the Big Island’s west shore. This little gem of a beach is so idyllic that singer/songwriter Neil Young built a home there. Perfect swimming, great snorkeling, restrooms, showers and paved parking make 69 Beach very comfortable, and after spending a day there, it’s guaranteed you’ll want to keep going back. The beach is located 23 miles north of the Waikōloa resorts on Old Puakō Road.