A Couple's Guide to Hawaii's Big Island

Waipio valley lookout, Big Island (Hawaii)
Waipio valley lookout, Big Island (Hawai'i) | © Vaclav Schindler / Alamy Stock Photo
Kalena McElroy

Whether looking for a low-cost adventure or luxurious and relaxing getaway for two, the Big Island of Hawaii suits all tastes and budgets – especially for traveling couples.

A big draw to the Big Island is this particular getaway isn’t as crowded as some others – it’s easy to find a quiet beach to sit alone with your partner, or a rural hike into the rainforest that leaves all the stresses of the modern world behind. It’s an undeniably romantic spot, and this guide will help traveler’s find their way through a peaceful paradise.

Places to stay

1. Kilauea Lodge

Lodge

220005681
Courtesy Kilauea Lodge/Booking.com

This rustic bed and breakfast is nestled in the high elevation forest just outside of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, a great base to explore the hiking trails, lava tubes, and all the park has to offer. The 10-acre property has 12 rooms in the historic inn and four cottages that provide guests with quiet and privacy. Warm up in front of your private fireplace or take a dip in the jacuzzi set amongst tropical flowers in the garden.

2. Fairmont Orchid

Resort

A view of Pauoa Bay and the beach on the property of the Fairmont Orchid, a luxury hotel and resort on the Kohala Coast, Hawaii.
© Felix Choo / Alamy Stock Photo

This luxurious option is located right on the spectacular Kohala Coast and offers guests access to a private beach, sweeping ocean views, al fresco dining options, a beach bar, and an outdoor spa. Couples can unwind on their private balconies that look out over the horizon and book various activities like outrigger canoe paddling and stand-up paddle boarding, or tan at the 10,000 square-foot pool.

Places to play

3. South Point

Natural Feature

USA, Hawaii, Big Island, South Point (Ka Lae) the southern most point of Hawaii and the US 50 states
© Danita Delimont / Alamy Stock Photo
South Point or Ka Lae, located on the southern tip of Hawai’i Island (the Big Island) and the most southern point in the United States, is probably one of the only places in the world where you can catch pelagic fish and reef fish from the shoreline. The reason some many animals call this place home is because of the deep ledges and various structures that allow for many different habitats for a variety of species.

4. Mauna Kea Stargazing

Natural Feature

Stars over Hawaii
© Robert Randall / Alamy Stock Photo
If measured from the sea floor, Mauna Kea is the tallest mountain on the planet at over 33,000 feet (14,000 feet above sea level) and is well-known as one of the best places for stargazing in the world. The clear skies and optimal conditions attract top international astronomers and novice stargazers alike. On certain nights, telescopes are setup at the Visitor’s Center stargazing deck and knowledgeable staff are there to answer any cosmic questions. Couples can also set up a little picnic on their own and awe over the immense Milky Way and dozens of bright constellations – an unforgettable island experience. Remember to bring winter clothing, warm blankets, and hot chocolate since temperatures often reach freezing.

5. Paradise Helicopters

Natural Feature

In the sky, you can see the island from a different perspective. For a bird’s-eye view of the active caldera, lava flow, and point of entry into the ocean, sign up for a guided helicopter tour with the trained professionals at Paradise Helicopters. Photographers should be sure to pick a tour with the “doors off” option, as this will enhance your experience and the quality of your photos.

6. Kīholo Bay

Natural Feature

Green Sea Turtle, Views of Kiholo Bay, Hawaii Island, Hawaii, USA, Honu
© John De Mello / Alamy Stock Photo

Tucked away in the North Kona District is a secluded gem only accessible by foot, Kīholo Bay. This natural playground has glistening turquoise water that invites visitors to cool off from the hot Hawaiian sun and is an oasis for endangered Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles often seen basking on the rocks or beach. The picturesque bay is enclosed by an old lava flow that has created stunning tide pools, lava tubes, and a black sand beach. The brackish water is perfect for snorkeling and there are hiking trails along the rugged shoreline to explore unfrequented areas.

7. Hawaii Oceanic Boat Charter and Tours

Natural Feature

Choose from four different ocean experiences or charter a private boat and create your own adventure with Hawaii Oceanic. Stationed in Honokohau Harbor in Kailua Kona, this company only takes out small groups for an intimate and relaxing ocean experience. Visitors night swim with manta rays, snorkel with dolphins, or in winter, have an up-close encounter with humpback whales.

Places to eat

8. Merriman's

Restaurant, Seafood, Fusion

Located in the heart of the Big Islands farm community, Merriman’s is a jolly spot emanating a simple and refined atmosphere. The expertise of the staff here is unbeatable, with friendly waiters and waitresses always on hand to dispense knowledge about how the food here is prepared and where it is sourced from. Take a stroll through the idyllic herb garden here before entering, and upon arrival, choose from an array of delectable dishes such as flame-grilled crab and the signature coconut crème brulee. A great place for a top tipple too, colorful cocktails abound here, with the margaritas made using tropical lemonade and ultra-fine grain salt and making for a fantastic choice.

9. 'ULU Ocean Grill and Sushi Lounge

Restaurant, Seafood, Sushi

Hawaii is known for its pristine beaches and spectacular sunsets. And so it comes as no surprise that the setting at ‘ULU Ocean Grill + Sushi Lounge is one of the most memorable in the nation. Set on the sandy shores of the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai on the Big Island, ‘ULU offers seasonal Hawaiian fare amidst panoramic ocean views. If you’re looking for a truly authentic Hawaiian experience, this is it.

Places to drink

10. Beach Tree Bar & Lounge

Bar, American

A drink at Beach Tree Bar & Lounge in the Four Seasons is unforgettable. Wicker chairs are set right on the sand overlooking the Pacific Ocean. If you want to nibble on something while taking in the sunset, fish tacos, and bruscetta are on the menu, along with an extensive wine list.

landscape with balloons floating in the air

KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?

Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Edit article