Hawaii is an amazing place to elope. I mean we are talking about the tropical paradise here…
Whether you are looking to elope on the island of Oahu or Kauai, the Hawaiian islands provide many extravagant venues for elopements. With many beautiful locations, it can get very overwhelming choosing between the different islands. How will you choose a location? Well, you’re in luck! I lived in Hawaii for four years and have gone to a ton of beaches, hiked up epic mountains, and encountered massive waterfalls, to know all about the best, and most private locations, with the most breathtaking views!
In this blog, I am going to share some of my knowledge of Hawaii’s beautiful landscaped, so that you can figure out the location of your dreams to say “I Do”. I am going to reveal the locations of some of the most beautiful hikes, the advantages and disadvantages, difficulty levels, and much more! So let’s get started!
Waterfalls in Hawaii are amazing but there are so many out there! For your elopement, a waterfall can give you intimate “Into the Jungle” vibes, but you have to avoid the crowds!
Common characteristics of waterfall hikes in Hawaii:
Muddy and slippery trails
Many hidden waterfalls and trails, contact for more info 😉
1.1) Manoa Falls, Oahu
Avoid this one. This popular waterfall hike is located on the island of Oahu. It is an easy waterfall hike that gets a lot of traffic, like a sh*t ton. This is no place for you to be intimate. You will encounter at least fifty hikers along the journey. I’m not going to get into it too much detail, but I don’t think it’s worth going there for an intimate elopement. You should consider this next Hawaii waterfall elopement location…
**However, if you don’t mind the crowd, the waterfalls are beautiful and the trail is quite easy.
1.2) Wailua Falls, Kauai
This is a great option! This is a tricky one because you can definitely drive to the waterfall viewpoint and look at it from the top, but the best way to do this is to find the secret trail which leads you to the bottom of the waterfall. The trail is wet, muddy, and slippery. You definitely must be OK with getting a bit dirty. But once you get to the bottom… Oh my god…. The picture doesn’t give you an accurate representation of the size of this giant waterfall! You can also walk up behind the waterfall, be ready to get wet!
1.3) Waikani Falls, Maui
If you’re planning on driving on the infomous Road to Hana, this consider this one!
Great for a quick adventure. Little waterfalls compare to Wailua Falls, but this is another popular spot where people drive, snap a photo, and leave, because the parking situation is pretty limited, but if you’re patient and/or lucky, this is a great stop for your Road to Hana adventure. The best thing to do here is to walk down the small path and go for a swim in the pool!
1.4) Maunawili Falls, Oahu
If jumping into the waterfall is in your bucket list, prepare to get muddy and destroyed by mosquitoes for this one!
This hike is a 2-3 mile trail to the waterfall, but once you get there, you can climb to the side of the waterfall and jump into the pool!! It’s super awesome! I wouldn’t go here during the weekends though because it gets busy!! If you’re the super adventurous type, just imagine saying your vows at the top of a waterfall and jumping into the pool together! Oh BTW… There’s this awesome hidden bridge around the area and still, till this day, I haven’t seen many pictures of it, but lucky for you I snapped one!
This is my personal favorite! The mountains in Hawaii are so so breathtaking!! When you’re surrounded by clouds, you feel like the island is literally alive and you will feel very connected to nature. I have many recommendations here from easy to crazy, official and unofficial trails. So there’s everything here for everyone. Let’s dive in with my top recommendation…
2.1) Makua Cave, Oahu
This is a perfect spot. Whenever my friends ask what hike they should do while on Oahu, I always recommend this one. At a certain time of the year you can actually witness the sunset over the horizon. There’s a little area that I know is a perfect location for you to say your vows! However, because the area at the top is small, you might have a few people (not many) witness your vow which can be good or bad depends on how you look at it. Another great thing about this location is that it’s 5 minutes away from one of the best beaches on the island. On this beach you can camp out and watch the stars…. And when you wake up, there’s a very good chance that you’ll be able to swim with live dolphins 😀 (This would make a perfect adventurous day!)
2.2) Extreme Hike
Extreme Hike for the Fearless This is super dangerous and you should be extremely careful.
Let me be SUPER clear about this one. This is not for the faint of heart!! If you are afraid of heights, this is not for you. There’s no amount of money you can pay me to take you here if you’re not an experienced climber/hiker. This is super dangerous and you should be extremely careful.
To put this in perspective… You might have heard of Angels Landing in Zion National Park where people have died. It’s known as one of the most dangerous hikes in America… Well I did Angels Landing and to be completely honest it was a piece of cake compared to this one as far as the the level of danger goes. This hike is a very short trail, but the route on this trail will not allow you to make any mistakes. If you slip, you die. There are parts where you have to climb vertical rock walls with a worn down rope or even no rope at all.
SO why do I even put this on the list? If you know anything about me, you know that I live life on the edge. This is my favorite hike. It challenges me as a climber/hiker and it is my dream to capture an elopement here. I just need to find the right couple to do it 🙂
2.3) Crouching Lion, Oahu
For the morning person. If you like epic views without hiking a long, crazy trail, then this might be for you!
Crouching Lion is a beautiful sunrise hike on the East side of Oahu, Hawaii. It’s not super busy. If you hike up this trail in the before sunrise, during the weekday, you may be the only couple there. It’s about a 4 mile round trail with about a 2000 ft elevation gain. This hike has many beautiful spots for photo opportunities.
2.4) Awaawapuhi Trail, Kauai
Long Journey, Epic View! This is quite a long trail: 6.8mi or 11km long round trip. It’s an amazing trail for anyone who loves living on the edge.
This trail can be muddy and not have many beautiful views along the trail due to heavy vegetation,but once you get to the end of the trail…Holy Shit… the landscape of Kauai will hit you in the face! You have to go beyond the safety gate to really soak in the majestic mountains. It gets sketchier but more beautiful as you go past the gate. So if you’re not planning on crossing the gate, it’s not worth it.
2.4) Kalepa ridge trail
Secluded and EPIC!! This trail gets very little foot traffic because it’s technically closed, but it can be a really intimate location for your ceremony
If you’re a rebel and a simple ”No Trespassing” sign won’t stop you from an epic adventure, then this is amazing!!! Because normal tourist won’t even know it exist. Some “sketchy” spots but the whole trail is pretty safe as long as you don’t jump off the cliff. This is a great trail and is very secluded, your chance of being the only one there (especially on the weekday) is pretty high
2.5) Stairway to Heaven, Oahu
OHHHH SHIITTTTT This trail thou!!! This is one of those infamous trails that will leave everyone dropping their jaws when they see your photos.
The thrill of trying to access the trail alone will leave your heart pounding like crazy! People travel from all over the world to do this hike. You can’t simply just walk up to the trail and hike. You have to be respectful to the neighborhood in the area and avoid the security. Sadly, this trail is monitored pretty heavily, but if you’re the adventurous type and are looking for a trail of a lifetime, then this is a must!!
You will find that many travelers are looking for a local hiker/guide to do this due to the trail being private and closed. There’s a legal way to do this hike but that’s like 14 miles long, and you don’t even get to do the stairs! What’s the point of that??!
2.6) Pill Box Hikes, Oahu
Avoid these hikes. Pike Pillbox, Lanakai Pillbox, or any Pillbox hikes… They are super super crowded! They are pretty famous and easily accessible to everyone. You will have a hard time finding intimate spots to stand and say your vows…. I personally had an amazing time hiking them and enjoyed the views, but for elopement and small weddings?? I don’t recommend…
2.7) Makapuu Lighthouse, Oahu
This is a very easy sunrise trail. It has a steep constant incline. The trail is paved and clean.
Because of this, it’s pretty heavily trafficked, but the trail SPLITS…. One will go to the lookout point and one will go to the actual lighthouse because the paved trail is so obvious and most people just follow the trail and end up at the lookout point. But there is a spot somewhere on the trail where you can take the beaten path to the lighthouse. It is barricaded but can be trespassed… This is where you should go for your elopement… It’s more secluded and very intimate.
With over 100 miles of coast, the island of Oahu is home to over 125 beaches. There are so many unique locations to choose from, you are guaranteed to find the perfect spot to say “I Do”. Whether you prefer mountainous backdrops or unique, private locations, Oahu will not let you down! There are some beaches where you can even swim with wild dolphins and turtles! or Jump a cliff into the warm ocean! How cool does that sound?!
3.1) Makua Beach
Surrounded by epic mountains, this beach is an awesome spot for those who prefer a more secluded atmosphere.
Amazing sunset location! no matter what time of the year, this west side gem will always exceeds your expectation! If you’re looking for a beautiful sunset ceremony on a quiet beach with an epic mountain in the background this is your beach! However, you will occasionally have locals cooking out and maybe dolphins… oh yeah this is a prime spot for snorkeling with dolphins as well! Maybe after your ceremony you can camp at the beach and wake up in the morning and go swim with dolphins! What a perfect elopement day! Makua Beach is more secluded because it’s quite far from Honolulu.
3.2) Ko Olina
Located near resorts. The beaches of Ko Olina are Man-Made and they are called lagoons… The beaches here are not as secluded as Makua beach but there is an area that is quite secluded and away from the resort that can be very good for your small elopement ceremony. Because this located right on the Ko Olina resorts, it is very convenient if you’re trying to plan a little reception dinner at Ko Olina with friends and family.
The downside is that there are not super secluded (obviously) and there’s not many outdoors activities that you can do like campfire or watching the stars because of light pollution.
3.3) Waimea Bay
Very very popular beach on the North shore. Because of its beauty, it is constantly packed with tourists, the parking is very hard to find, tons of people. The really cool thing about this location though is you can jump off of a large rock into the water but there is a big long wait and it’s pretty cramp up there. I don’t recommend you go here for your intimate elopement at all, BUT!! BUT!! There is a little secluded area where you can over look the whole beach and all its might!
3.4) China Walls
*No, this is not the Great Wall of China XD*
China Walls is located on the Southern Coast of Oahu. This is not technically a beach, rather a large formation of lava rocks and cliffs located right next to the ocean. It is usually unknown to tourists, but popular with the locals. Because China Walls are so vast, you are able to find many private locations. With the ocean waves right next to the rocks, it’ll feel like your on the edge of the world! A cool thing about this location is that at a certain time of the year the sunset will be visible. You have to be careful when get close to the edge, you might get surprise by a rogue wave haha
3.5) Bellows Beach
Very beautiful and secluded beach on the East side of Oahu.
This beach is split into two different section. The public section and a military section. The Air Force owned part of this beach for its “military training” hehe. The best part about the military section is the amnesties like cabins, gas station, camp ground, and recreation center It is technically a military beach, which is why it is often private. However, there is an entrance for anyone to enter.
There are many more awesome and epic locations in Hawaii and we are only scratching the surface here haha. If you’re still lost and don’t know what location is best for you, I would love to chat with and and help you figure out a few locations that would be perfect for your elopement; locations that represent you and your partner perfectly!
Like I said there are many more locations in Hawaii. Contact me for more secret locations 😉