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A Couple's Guide to Hawaii's Big Island

Couple on the beach
Couple on the beach | © Roberto Nickson / Unsplash
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

Kilauea Lodge

Lodge
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Lava on the southeast rift zone of Kilauea volcano
Lava on the southeast rift zone of Kilauea volcano | © Yvonne Baur / Shutterstock
This rustic bed and breakfast is nestled in the high elevation forest just outside 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.
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Fairmont Orchid

Resort
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Fairmont Orchid Resort | © Alan Light/Flickr
Fairmont Orchid Resort | © Alan Light / Flickr
This upscale option is located right on the spectacular Kohala Coast and offers resort guests direct access to the 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 paddleboarding, or spend the day tanning next to the 10,000-square-foot pool.
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Places to play

South Point

Natural Feature
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South Point: Ka Lae © Eli Duke/ Flickr
South Point: Ka Lae | © Eli Duke / Flickr
Few people make the trip out to the southernmost point of the US Ka Lae, known as South Point. On the west side of the point is a famous local cliff jumping spot that rises more than 40 feet above the deep blue water. Since there is a steep drop off and underwater ledges that attract pelagic fish, the locale is a snorkeler’s paradise when conditions are right. On the other side of the point it’s possible to hike to Papakōlea, a mesmerizing green sand beach.
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Mauna Kea Stargazing

Natural Feature
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Star Gazing at Mauna Kea | © Conner Baker/Unsplash
Stargazing at Mauna Kea | © Conner Baker / Unsplash
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.
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Tue - Wed:
7:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Fri - Sat:
7:00 pm - 10:00 pm

Atmosphere:

Scenic, Crowded, Cold

Paradise Helicopters

Natural Feature
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Lava flow from above | © ben britten/Flickr
Lava flow from above | © ben britten / Flickr
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 or private charter 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.
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Kīholo Bay

Natural Feature
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Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle basking at Kīholo Bay | © Erik Wilde/Flickr
Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle basking at Kīholo Bay | © Erik Wilde / Flickr
Tucked away in the North Kona District is a secluded gem accessible only 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.
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Hawaii Oceanic Boat Charter and Tours

Natural Feature
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Swimming with a pod of dolphins in Hawaii | © Yale Cohen/Unsplash
Swimming with a pod of dolphins in Hawaii | © Yale Cohen / Unsplash
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.
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Places to eat

Merriman's

Restaurant, Seafood, Fusion, $$$
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Merriman's Restaurant Waimea | © Derek Wolfgram/Flickr
Merriman's Restaurant Waimea | © Derek Wolfgram / Flickr
Set in the rolling hills of Upcountry, Merriman’s puts Hawaii Regional Cuisine in the spotlight and uses sustainable ingredients and prides itself on utilizing locally sourced products. Hamakua mushrooms, lobster from Keahole, Kahua Ranch rack of lamb, and day boat caught fresh fish are just a few of the unique products that set the award-winning restaurant apart. Couples can meander the backyard garden before savoring the decadent coconut creme brûlée or macadamia nut crusted Kona kampachi.
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Mon - Fri:
11:30 am - 1:30 pm
Sat - Sun:
10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Mon - Sun:
5:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Meal service:

Brunch, Lunch, Dinner

'ULU Ocean Grill and Sushi Lounge

Restaurant, Seafood, Sushi, $$$
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Diners choose this open-air restaurant for its fresh local seafood, specialty cocktails, and the unbeatable panoramic views. ‘ULU Ocean Grill and Sushi Lounge has tables adjacent to the beach and is most stunning during golden hour when couples can watch the sunset mirrored on the ocean and the stars appear overhead. The restaurant, located in the extravagant Four Seasons Resort Hualalai works with local fishermen and farmers to produce one-of-a-kind dishes like their signature oven roasted whole fish.
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Mon - Sun:
6:30 am - 11:00 am
Mon - Sun:
5:30 pm - 9:00 pm

Meal service:

Breakfast, Dinner

Places to drink

Beach Tree Bar & Lounge

Bar, American, $$$
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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—how much more romantic can it get than that. If you want to nibble on something while taking in the sunset, fish tacos, and bruschetta are on the menu, along with an extensive wine list.
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Sun:
11:00 am - 10:00 pm
Mon:
11:00 am - 10:00 pm
Tue:
11:00 am - 10:00 pm
Wed:
11:00 am - 10:00 pm
Thu:
11:00 am - 10:00 pm
Fri:
11:00 am - 10:00 pm
Sat:
11:00 am - 10:00 pm

Meal service:

Lunch, Dinner

Atmosphere:

Outdoors, Stylish, Romantic