The Most Romantic and Secluded Destinations in Hawaii

See recent posts by Colleen Stinchcombe

Endless ocean views, a laidback beach lifestyle, and over 750 miles of shoreline -- welcome to Hawaii. When it comes to the Aloha State, you’re talking about a chain of eight regularly visited small islands (there are actually about 130 total) that also happens to be one of the most popular travel destinations on the planet. Hawaii is consistently one of the top honeymoon destinations (it saw around 20,000 weddings in 2019) and the state hosts nearly 10 million visitors every year. AKA, solitude is a bit hard to come by. However, thanks to difficult transportation requirements, hiking, or just being off the beaten path, there are still a few secluded spots -- if you know where to look. And the Hawaiian islands are truly beautiful, which makes just about every square inch of them romantic. Here are the most romantic and secluded destinations in Hawaii.

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If you’re really looking to get away for romance, the small island of Lanai is already off the main tourist circuit — it’s nine miles and a 45-minute ferry ride from Maui. It’s also one of the least developed islands, though there’s still plenty here, and some of the best destinations are accessible only by dirt road. For the intrepid, it’s the perfect spot to find solitude and those so-in-love butterflies — though you may need to get a little sweaty to do it. Hulopoe Beach is the most popular beach on the island, and be sure to check out the gorgeous Sweetheart Rock at sunset.

Our Lanai Hotel Pick: Four Seasons Resort Lanai

The cliff-top Four Seasons Resort is exclusive enough that you’ll feel like it’s just you and your boo (and some very helpful staff) out here. Because it’s so far from everything, this is the kind of hotel to book if you don’t plan to do much beyond enjoying the resort. And there’s lots to enjoy: nine food and drink establishments (including Nobu and Malibu Farm outposts), a golf course, spa, two pools (one of them is adults-only) and access to a white-sand beach at Hulopoe Bay.

Kalalau Valley Trail, Kauai

If your idea of romance is a serious adventure, this 11-mile trail is it. It requires a permit to access, you’ll have to stay overnight, and it’s steep, slippery, and not for folks with a fear of heights. But what else bonds two people quite like the fear of bodily harm? If you’re up for it, you’ll see some truly spectacular scenery, including Hanakapi‘ai Beach and ultimately Kalalau Valley… but you’ll also have to face the panic-inducing drop-off known as “Crawler’s Ledge.” The hike’s difficulty and permit requirements mean you won’t run into many other people. If you’re not quite up for it, take a shorter (but still arduous) day hike or consider a catamaran tour of Kauai.

Our Kauai Hotel Pick: Hanalei Colony Resort

It’s a 15-minute drive to get anywhere from Hanalei Colony Resort, which is located in a primarily residential spot on Kaua, but it takes just 10 minutes to get to the Kalalau Valley Trail. With just 48 rooms on location (some of them right on the sand), you’ll feel like you’ve secured your own private beach paradise. The lodgings here are spacious condos with full kitchens and covered porches so yes, you will also want to move in permanently. Like a few other spots on this list, you won’t find TV or phones in the room. Guess you’ll just have to spend more time gazing into each other’s eyes. The property also works hard to be green, including recycling, a solar-warmed saltwater pool, and a shuttle to nearby attractions to reduce guest emissions.

Stargazing at Mauna Kea, Big Island

There are few better places for stargazing than at the 13,803-foot summit of Mauna Kea, which is why both NASA and the University of Hawaii have telescopes here. What’s more romantic than stargazing? You’ll need to have four-wheel drive to reach this place on your own, and the drive is not for the faint of heart, so a tour is definitely recommended. Not a night owl? Sunrise is also pretty spectacular.

Our Big Island Hotel Pick: Four Seasons Resort Hualalai

With an 18-hole golf course, eight tennis courts, a massive fitness center with a rock wall, and separate rooms for fitness classes, the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai is an active couple’s dream. There are also seven pools, including one in the ocean, and a natural rock aquarium with rays and fish available for snorkeling — so if swimming is your love language, this is the place to be. It’s a bit of a hassle to get elsewhere on the island from the resort, so you may as well set up and enjoy the solitude that’s been crafted on property.

Mount Tantalus, Oahu

Mount Tantalus is a cinder cone that stretches high on the island and offers sweeping views of downtown Honolulu, Manoa Valley, and Diamond Head. Think of it as Hawaii’s best make-out spot. Any time of day is gorgeous, but sunrise and sunset offer something extra special — though sunset is significantly busier, and you’ll have to be careful to follow park rules around the opening and closing times. Admittedly, Mount Tantalus is a popular spot (and not exactly secluded), but it’s a good getaway from the city and definitely a romantic spot to welcome (or say goodbye to) the day.

Our Oahu Hotel Pick: Kahala Hotel & Resort

Kahala Hotel & Resort manages to capture the serenity of a far-off place, but is only a 15-minute drive from Waikiki. The oceanfront property has a small beach that, despite being public, rarely gets crowded. Want to learn a new skill with your love? The resort offers free surfing and stand-up paddleboard lessons for beginners. Replenish your energy at one of the resort’s four restaurants, and Veranda bar offers light bites, cocktails, and live music.

Hana Highway, East Maui

The Hana Highway is a 64.4-mile-long that twists, turns, and narrows from Kahului to east Maui’s Hana. Many people call Hana the “real” Hawaii since it lacks the industry buildup of other places on the island. The highway is a bucket list item for many people, and the trip can take a full day, especially if you’re stopping (which you should!) for the best sights. Along the way, visit Maui’s most photographed waterfall Wailua Falls, see a century-old mango tree at the Garden of Eden Arboretum & Botanical Garden, take a tour of a lava tube at Ka’Eleku Caverns or just spend a whole day exploring Wai’anapanapa State Park. You’ll certainly see other people along the way, but the road trip aspect helps this feel less busy and more personal than other Hawaii attractions.

Our Maui Hotel Pick: Travaasa Hana

Travaasa Hana, is a 37-mile drive down the Hana Highway from Kahalui. Thanks to more regular rain, this part of the island is a vibrant green and has all the hiking, waterfalls, and beaches you could want. Though to get to the waterfront, you’ll need to take a 10-minute shuttle from the hotel. The accommodations at Travaasa Hana are standalone bungalows with rustic and charming interiors, and they don’t have alarm clocks, radios, or TV, which just means more time to canoodle.

Waterfall Chasing, Northeast Maui

Okay, we’re still a bit on the Hana Highway beat (really, it’s a must), but we know that not everyone wants an all-day excursion when traversing this road (and uh, nobody wants to drive it at night). Good news: you can still get a taste of the trip while leaving yourself free to explore elsewhere by chasing some waterfalls. Near the beginning of the highway is the picturesque Twin Falls, the rock-hopping trek to Punalau Falls, the easy-to-get-to Haipua’ena Falls (which is right next to a fascinating Bamboo Forest Hike). You can also take an easy stroll through the nearby Makawao Forest or go turtle-spotting at Ho’okipa Beach.

Our Maui Hotel Pick: Huelo Point Lookout

Huelo Point Lookout is located near the start of the Hana Highway with four cottages, and surrounded by forest with no stores or restaurants for miles. You have to travel down a gravel road to reach the hotel, but when you arrive on the two-acre property, you’ll feel like you found your own secret hideaway. Dolphin murals, bright blue decor, and overgrown foliage give this location an artsy, beachy vibe that feels welcoming and laidback. Take a walk around the property to see multiple fruit trees and a chicken coop, and venture a bit further for a walking path with views of the ocean. Each room has its own outdoor hot tub, and the small pool is flanked by enough greenery to feel like your own private oasis.

Morning Snorkel at Honolua Bay, Maui

When in Hawaii, water is the name of the game, so snorkeling is a must. While there are several places on Maui and neighboring islands to get your float on, Honolua Bay is something special. Tour boats arrive later in the day and waters are calmest in the morning, so early arrival is key. The coral is colorful, and it’s not rare to spot turtles, eels, and several species of fish here. Not satisfied with only one activity a day? Head to Iao Valley State Monument for some of the most iconic views in Maui, including the 0.4-mile hike to the Needle — but know you’ll have to explore a bit to find a quiet spot.

Our Maui Hotel Pick: Ho’oilo House

Kids are great, but their energetic and lively screams — er, vocalizations? — are not always welcome when you’re trying to soak in some R&R. This secluded B&B solves that problem by being adults-only and, bonus, there are only six rooms on the property, so you won’t have to deal with many grownups, either. Ho’oilo House piles on the romance, too, with indoor/outdoor showers and rooms with views of the lush hillside or overlooking the ocean. It’s a five-minute drive to the beach and 12 minutes to Lahaina, but we understand if you’d rather relax all day on-property instead.

Makena Beach, Southwest Maui

A few miles away from Wailea, the go-to spot for sunbathing, this beach sees significantly fewer crowds than others on the island. It’s also not surrounded by resorts or fancy houses, but instead is accessed by walking through a thicket of trees that open up into sandy shores. Snorkeling and diving are popular activities, so bring your gear if you want to get in the water. Up the romance by packing a picnic, since you won’t find food stalls nearby (although there is a taco truck available much of the time.)

Our Southwest Maui Pick: Hotel Wailea

This luxury cliff-top hotel overlooks Wailea shores and features 72 one-bedroom suites, perfect for an extended stay. Hotel Wailea is adults-only and small enough that when you catch the sunset from your lanai (covered porch), you’ll be the only couple you’ll hear oohing and ahhing about the views. There are 15 landscaped acres to find your zen as well as free yoga, mixology classes, and cocktail hours. While it’s not right on the beach, staff will happily shuttle you down to the shoreline in a Mercedez-Benz, and there are Tesla X cars and electric bikes available for local transportation.

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