How to Plan the Perfect Honeymoon in Maui
Editor's Note: Those who choose to travel are strongly encouraged to check local government restrictions, rules, and safety measures related to COVID-19 and take personal comfort levels and health conditions into consideration before departure.
There's a reason couples go to Maui for their honeymoon. For starters, the island has 30 miles of beaches, lush hiking trails, and endless waterfalls. It is at once both otherworldly — thanks to its tropical climate and Jurassic Park-like terrain — and wonderfully familiar. Plus, you don't have to worry about a language barrier and can leave your passport at home.
Warm hospitality and dreamy experiences are the norm on Maui. In fact, according to the World Travel Awards, the island was the top honeymoon destination in North America in 2020. But, like any other location, it takes time to come up with a honeymoon that's both romantic and memorable. And since you're likely busy planning other things (ahem, your wedding), we've done some of the legwork for you, pulling together the best resorts and activities for honeymooners heading to Maui.
Where to Stay on Maui
The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua
If you want luxury, look no further than The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua. This expansive and secluded property is situated on Maui's northwest shore, adjacent to the sacred Honokahua Preservation Site. In addition to oceanside views, the hotel has everything you need to be entertained: two 18-hole championship golf courses, a spa, six restaurants, several pools, and luxury cabanas.
Grand Wailea Maui, A Waldorf Astoria Resort
This beachfront resort sits on 40 acres of lush, tropical gardens. When you're not lounging in one of the property's nine pools, floating on the lazy river, or enjoying the many restaurants, you can soak up the sun on nearby Wailea Beach. For those looking to get out on the water, the resort has almost every rental available, from paddleboards and kayaks to snorkel gear. Plus, the hotel offers complimentary scuba diving lessons for first-timers — how's that for a unique honeymoon activity? After exploring the grounds, kick back in your secluded villa or enjoy a cocktail from your private lanai.
Chances are you've heard of the Road to Hāna — a honeymoon-must that's all too easy for travelers staying at the Hāna-Maui Resort to access. Located on Maui's eastern tip, the hotel is situated perfectly between Hāna Bay Beach Park, the Road to Hāna, and the red-sand Kaihalulu Beach. When you're not cruising the coastline, hide out in the expansive Hāna-Maui Resort, which has various restaurants, a spa, and bungalows with supreme ocean views.
After the stress of planning a wedding, you might want to sit back and relax without having to endure the sounds of kids playing (and screaming). That's why places like Hotel Wailea exist — to give adults an opportunity to unwind in a romantic and exclusive atmosphere. In this intimate, five-star hotel, you'll enjoy endless ocean views and beautiful tropical gardens, waterfalls, and pathways. During your stay, meander the grounds, cozy up in your ocean-view suite, lounge in the poolside cabana, grab a bite at the open-air restaurant, or head to the nearby Wailea Beach for a swim.
Aston at The Whaler on Kaanapali Beach
If you're looking for a bit more independence on your honeymoon, but don't want to compromise on luxury, book a condo at Aston at the Whaler on Kaanapali Beach. Here, you'll have a spacious living area with a full kitchen and patio (hello, romantic dinners), in addition to traditional hotel amenities like room service and spa access. The property itself is situated on Kaanapali's golden shoreline, home to stunning views of the neighboring islands of Molokai and Lanai.
What to Do
Book a snorkel tour to Lanai, then spend the day at Kaanapali Beach.
You'll want to spend a good part of the day at Kaanapali Beach, which was just rated the second-best beach in the U.S. in Tripadvisor's Travelers' Choice Best of the Best Awards. But before you lay out your towel, hop aboard Sea Maui's vessel, which picks up folks right on the beach, for a half-day snorkel trip to Lanai.
Once aboard, you'll be offered breakfast and coffee before diving below the surface to swim among sea turtles and the vibrant coral reefs. If you book between December and April, you might even spot a whale. During the journey, you'll also be served a chef-prepared lunch. Talk about a blissful start to the day.
Catch the sunrise at Haleakalā National Park.
Getting up early can be tough, but seeing the sunrise from high up in Haleakalā National Park is always worth it. Make the journey to Kalahaku Overlook (at 9,324 feet), or for a more remote experience, park at Leleiwi Overlook (8,840 feet) and brave the 10-minute hike up the trail. Keep in mind that this activity is quite popular, so you'll need to book in advance.
Once you've enjoyed the sunrise, spend the rest of the day exploring the park — hike around the volcano summit or head to the remote Kīpahulu District, which is home to a dense bamboo forest, the powerful Makahiku Falls, and plenty of hiking trails.
Book a romantic dinner at Merriman's.
For a Hawaiian meal that's both authentic and inventive, book a table at Merriman's Kapalua. You'll be treated to the work of James Beard-nominee Peter Merriman in an unpretentious, oceanfront setting. Start with an order of ahi ginger poke and homemade Molokai sweet potato chips before diving into a plate of macadamia nut-crusted Kona kampachi or striploin with mascarpone polenta. Wash it all down with the signature Merriman's mai tai.
Watch the sunset (or look for whales) from an outrigger canoe.
It would be a shame to leave Maui without enjoying the water from a traditional Hawaiian outrigger canoe. And if you happen to time it right — December through April — you might even be able to see a humpback whale. The company's sunrise, sunset, and whale-watching trips depart from Wailea Beach and traverse along the island's southern coast.
Spend an entire day driving the Road to Hāna.
There's a reason why driving the Road to Hāna is on every Maui to-do list — it provides endless coastal views and access to hikes, waterfalls, and overlooks that will leave even the most jaded traveler in awe. In our opinion, the worst thing you can do is rush it. Set aside an entire day for the drive, so you can pull over at every whim. And make sure to hit Pua'a Ka'a Falls, the black-sand beaches and freshwater caves at Wai'ānapanapa State Park, and the Garden of Eden, which is just as amazing as you'd imagine.
See Maui from a helicopter.
No matter how many times you've been to Maui, seeing it from the air offers a completely different perspective. From up in the sky, everything is carpeted with a layer of green and you can ogle every rolling hill, oceanside cliff, and towering waterfall. You'll be in good hands with Air Maui, a company that's been in operation for over 25 years. For a full view of the island from above, we recommend their 60-minute Complete Island tour. Or, you can head straight for Haleakalā and Hāna on a 75-minute trip that includes a romantic touchdown.