With promises (more like threats) of more snow on the horizon, I started thinking of when I used to live in Hawaii...and of course I'm pining for perfect tropical weather in the 70's year round. For anyone thinking of heading to the islands for their honeymoon but hasn't been there before (or want to get off the beaten path), here's my dream itinerary for 7 days of newly wedded bliss in paradise:
Day One: I love the fact that there are non-stop flights from Denver to Hawaii (wasn't so lucky when I lived in NY) So if you can possibly sit still that long, enjoy the ride and get ready for some serious fun. Check into your hotel... if you're going to Maui I love the Four Seasons in Wailea, down on the southern part of the island. Grab some food in Kihei on your way down and keep the room stocked with some fresh pineapple, macadamia nuts, and various other goodies. Then early dinner and chill out, you've got a great week ahead of you.
Day Two: Check out the nearby beaches. Wailea Beach is one of my favorite in Hawaii and steps from the Seasons. Head a little further south past the mansions that dot this part of the island and get down to Big Beach for a little more local flavor. The rock outcropping on the north side of the beach is scalable, and will put you on Little Beach, Big Beach's little sister and known as the nude beach on Maui. Stay near the center of Little Beach and don't go all the way to the far side, just trust me on this one. That night, go ahead and do a luau, the food is awesome (and there's entirely too much of it) and there are some with great entertainment including hula dancers, fire twirlers, aerial dancers, singing and more.
Day Three: Check out Lahaina, with its galleries and quaint island village feel. Parking is usually a nightmare but once you're in town you won't need your car. Up a little further are the beaches by Kaanapali. Tonight's totally the night for the all out high-end meal. I love Mama's Fish House for incredible seafood.
Day Four: Time to check out of the Four Seasons, and head back to the airport for the 2nd part of the trip. Head a little past the airport over to Paia for a super cool north shore surfer town. Lunch there, then a little inter-island flight to Oahu... Honolulu if you want to the nightlife, and to the North Shore for something a little quieter.
Day Five: It's all about the North Shore! If you're staying up this way (Turtle Bay!!!!!) head down to Haleiwa to Masimoto's for shaved ice (there's always a line, but it moves fast, and it's totally worth it) and then make stops along the way wherever looks inviting. Waimea Bay for killer pounding surf, Shark's Cove (named for its shape, not because of attacks, I swear!) for some snorkelling without the throngs of tourists you'll find on the other side of the island! If you don't mind the drive, you can come all the way down the windward side and head to Lanikai, one of the most perfect beaches I've ever seen. Grab a burger and beer in town then head back to rest up for tomorrow.
Day Six: Indulge in what you've been missing. If you need a shopping day, Ala Moana mall between Chinatown and Waikiki is super saturated with designer goodies. More time in the outdoors? Take a hike up in the Manoa Valley...it'll rain but it's incredibly lush! Or for art lovers, the Art Museum has an incredible collection of Eastern art and the Contemporary museum up Tantalus Mountain has a great sculpture garden and killer views out past Diamond Head.
Day Seven: While your wedding bliss continues, the tropical breezes are coming to an end. Take a late evening flight so you can squeeze in one more day and get those last rays in to perfect your tan (to the envy of all your landlocked friends.) This is also a great time to see the tranquil beauty of the Pearl Harbor monument, or do a final ascent up Diamond Head to get uninterupted vistas of the Pacific.
Four Season's Resort in Maui