Boasting luxurious resorts, beautiful beaches, stunning coastlines, and an atmosphere that welcomes you to unwind, it is no wonder the Hawaiian Islands are one of the most desirable honeymoon destinations in the world.
Yet many couples find themselves stuck when choosing between Maui and Kauaʻi. If you have one week for your honeymoon, it is best to pick only one island; however, with 10 days you could experience both.
Using insider knowledge, we’ve compiled a guide to help you pick the best honeymoon island for you and your love.
Kauaʻi vs Maui: Things To Do in Kauaʻi
Famous for its rugged volcanic scenery, dense rainforests, and impressive hiking trails, Kauaʻi is the best honeymoon destination for the wild at heart.
From ziplines to river kayaking to snorkeling off pristine beaches, there is something for every adventure seeker on “the Garden Island.”
Book a Helicopter Tour
As you take in the scenery from above, you will feel transported to a scene from Jurassic Park. Although there are several helicopter tour operators on the island, we recommend booking through Jack Harter Helicopters because they offer doors-off tours and have an excellent safety track record.
Pro tip: book your helicopter tour towards the beginning of your trip because the weather in Kauaʻi changes frequently and you might need to reschedule.
Hike in Waimea Canyon State Park
While the Kalalau Trail, along the impressive Nāpali Coast, is the most famous hike on the island, it is also dangerous and getting a permit is difficult.
Instead, we recommend hiking through the colorful gorges and dramatic, volcanic outcroppings of Waimea Canyon State Park.
Visit Poʻipū Beach Park
Located on the south shore, this crescent-shaped beach boasts soft, yellow sand and is great for snorkeling, bodysurfing, and relaxing in the picnic area. It is one of the most swimmable beaches on the island, except during the winter months.
You have a good chance of seeing monk seals and nesting green sea turtles, but make sure to give these incredible creatures space.
Go Whale Watching
From mid-November to March, humpback whales and their babies migrate from Alaska, making it an excellent destination for whale watchers.
Kauai Sea Tours offers a whale-watching cocktail tour and a whale-watching rafting tour.
Tour Lydgate Farms Kauaʻi Chocolate
Sample heritage chocolates at this sustainable cacao farm and learn about the rich history of chocolate production in the area.
Their three-hour tour not only offers extensive chocolate tasting but the opportunity to visit the gardens and sample tropical fruits.
Snorkel at Tunnels Beach
Surrounded by swaying palm trees, this golden sand beach is the perfect place to see the underwater world. The beach is protected by an offshore reef and you can see eels, sea turtles, parrot fish, and crabs.
Kauaʻi vs Maui: Things To Do in Maui
Maui, the second largest Hawaiian Island, boasts luxury resorts, white sandy beaches, and a combination of adventure activities and easy relaxation.
It is a great choice for honeymooners who want to soak up the sun on the beach, break a sweat hiking, and then eat an incredible meal.
Visit Kāʻanapali Beach
This 3-mile stretch of sand is considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. It’s a great place for watching the sunset, surfing, sunbathing, and strolling.
The snorkeling from Black Rock is not quite as good as in Kapalua Bay, but it is much less crowded. Sometimes the waves and current can be strong, so make sure to check the conditions before taking a swim.
Explore Haleakalā National Park
Many visitors cross this destination off their list if they don’t get a sunrise reservation. Don’t do this! You can still experience a 10,000-foot elevation gain in just an hour and otherworldly views of volcanic outcroppings and the clouds below.
The hairpin turns up to the crater can be intense, but it is part of the experience. Don’t forget to bring a jacket as temperatures drop to 50 degrees at the top.
Experience a Lūʻau
This traditional Hawaiian feast is a must-do when visiting Maui. It is a great opportunity to learn about and experience Polynesian and Hawaiian culture while eating amazing food.
The lūʻaus range from small, family-run establishments to huge productions. Feast at Lele offers an upscale, 5-course meal with romantic views of the West Maui sunset in an intimate setting.
Take a Road Trip to Hana
Get an early start and drive along the scenic, winding roads through this beautiful island. Stop along the way to see cascading waterfalls, vibrant green valleys, bamboo forests, and gorgeous beaches.
Although tour companies offer 10-12 hour day trips, it is best to do it by yourself and turn your adventure into a 2-day 1-night trip.
Relax on Black Sand Beaches
Maui is known for its volcanic beaches covered in sand so black it looks like a night sky.
The purest black sand can be found at Waiʻānapanapa State Park, which is located by the mile 32 marker on the road to Hana.
Tour Ocean Vodka Organic Farm and Distillery
This under-the-radar activity is one of the best things to do in Maui when you need a break from the beach.
Located on the verdant slopes of Haleakalā, this distillery is a great stopping point after you’ve visited the crater or as its own activity. Tours are every 30 minutes from 11 am to 5 pm, and there is live music in the café from 4:30 pm to 7:00 pm.
Maui vs Kauaʻi: Places To Stay in Kauaʻi
The Longhouse is a custom-built villa with one bedroom, two bathrooms, and over 800 sq. Ft. of living area and covered lanai.
Hidden in the mountains of Kalaheo, this off-the-beaten-path gem features expansive views from the valleys to the ocean and complete privacy.
Guests can also enjoy soaking in a private hot tub while taking in the 180-degree views or relaxing on the wraparound deck.
Providing an ideal mix of value, comfort and convenience, The Palmwood offers a luxury setting with an array of amenities designed for travelers like you.
This hilltop retreat was inspired by the Ryokans of Japan and provides a relaxing lodge experience.
Nestled in the hills of Moloa’a, this accommodation will invite you to unwind after a day exploring the surrounding area.
Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa
Find your own paradise at Grand Hyatt Kaua’i Resort & Spa. Set on the soothing white sands in Poipu, on Kauai’s sunny south shore, this luxury resort unfolds on over 50 acres of lush gardens.
Its prime beachfront location at Poʻipū Beach Park and 5-star service make this resort an excellent choice for honeymooners.
The resort features a multi-level pool as well as a lava rock-lined, saltwater lagoon pool complete with islands you can swim to.
The Cliffs at Princeville
The Cliffs at Princeville provides a tranquil and comfortable stay on the secluded North Shore of Kauai, with unobstructed ocean views and opportunities to commune with nature.
Situated in a prime, hilltop location, on the North Shore, these vacation rentals are a great option for couples who want the facilities of a high-end resort with a lower price tag.
The resort includes a tennis court, swimming pool with a jacuzzi, putting green, and access to gas grills with views of the ocean.
Maui vs Kauaʻi: Places To Stay in Maui
Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea
The Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea is a luxurious beachfront resort that offers breathtaking views and a wide range of amenities, including multiple pools, restaurants, a spa, and tennis courts.
You might recognize this gorgeous resort from White Lotus season 1. However, there’s a reason this iconic TV show decided to shoot here.
Offering incredible views of volcanic mountains and calm waters, this resort is the most luxurious on Maui.
Guests can enjoy outdoor activities such as outrigger canoeing and scuba diving. The resort also provides romantic candlelit dinners on the beach and private cabanas.
The Westin Maui Resort & Spa, Ka’anapali
The Westin Maui Resort & Spa, Ka'anapali is a beachfront resort with a newly-transformed luxury tower, Hokupaa, providing exclusive access to The Lanai at Hokupaa, infinity edge cocktail pools, daily breakfast, cultural experiences, and panoramic views.
This oceanfront resort is the best choice for honeymooners who want to stay on Ka’anapali Beach. The resort has beachfront cabanas and an adults-only infinity pool as well as a sprawling lagoon pool.
Enjoy seasonal, locally sourced ingredients prepared to your specification at the resort’s three restaurants.
Camp Olowalu offers an affordable, rustic alternative to hotels, providing a peaceful and fun tropical paradise experience with prime whale watching, snorkeling, kayaking, and hiking opportunities.
For couples seeking an adventurous and affordable option, Camp Olowalu is the way to go. There are 35 campsites, but the “tentalows” are the real standout.
Situated on a raised platform, the tentalows have canvas walls, a private, outdoor shower, and Adirondack chairs with views of the mountains.
At $150 per night (plus a cleaning fee) with beach access, this is a great deal.
Hotel Wailea, Relais & Châteaux
Hotel Wailea, Hawaii's only Relais & Chateaux, offers 72 luxury one-bedroom suites designed for couples seeking relaxation and a romantic sanctuary.
This adults-only, award-winning resort is located in the hills above Wailea beach with 180-degree views of three islands.
Offering privacy and breathtaking scenery, Hotel Wailea is a great choice for couples who want to explore during the day and relax in luxury during the evenings.
Is It Cheaper To Go to Maui or Kaua’i?
Keep in mind that the Hawaiian Islands are more expensive than other beach destinations in the US. This is due in part because it is expensive to bring goods to the islands and because they offer a lot of high-end tourist experiences.
Generally speaking, Kauaʻi is cheaper than Maui. Although honeymoon resorts are a similar price on both islands, mid-range and lower-end hotels are cheaper on Kauaʻi.
Here are a few ways you can save money on your Maui or Kauaʻi honeymoon:
- Buy food in grocery stores – Food in Hawai’i is more expensive than in the continental US, but it’s cheaper to eat in Kauaʻi. Your dining costs will make up a large part of your budget. Keep your food costs down by buying food in grocery stores and by eating at local food trucks.
- Book your rental car in advance – And, we mean really far in advance! Many people don’t realize how expensive it is to rent a car in Hawai’i and how important it is for getting around.
- Reserve a garden view room – While it can be tempting to splurge for the ocean view suite or the swim-up pool room, a more economical choice is the garden room. Consider how much time you will spend in your room and ask yourself, “am I more likely to enjoy the ocean view from my room, the pool, or the beach?”
- Visit Kauaʻi or Maui during “low season” – Low season months, spring and fall in the continental US, are cheaper times to visit. The resorts, airlines, and excursion companies offer reduced rates. You are also more likely to receive a room upgrade and fewer people will make the resort feel more private.
- Consider camping for a few nights – I know, I know it is your honeymoon, but camping in Kauaʻi and Maui is a truly incredible experience for couples who don’t mind roughing it a little. If you have a one-week honeymoon, consider camping for 2 nights (or 1 night) and staying in a resort for the rest of the time.
- Decide on your tours and excursions in advance – this is a good way to ensure you do your favorite activities and ensure that you don’t go over budget.
When Is the Best Time to Visit Maui and Kauaʻi?
The best time to visit Maui or Kauaʻi is during the “shoulder season”, the months between high season and low season. These months are April and May or mid-August to early October in Maui. While the best time to visit Kauaʻi is May and June or September to mid-November.
You will experience fewer crowds and airfare, and accommodation prices are also lower.
The weather in both Maui and Kauaʻi is tropical with beach-friendly temperatures year round. However, the winter months from December to March can bring occasional storms and cloud cover. The temperature remains warm so you can still enjoy your Hawaiian vacation.