Fall weddings allow couples to capitalize on late day, beautiful sunsets without the unbearable 90-plus degree weather that hangs around until mid-September. If avoiding oppressive temperatures is a key focus for your big day, it should also factor into your honeymoon planning.
Kaua’i is the oldest and most rural of the (accessible) Hawaiian islands. Many would argue that it is also the most beautiful. The average high temperate in September and October is a comfortable 81 degrees with a nice ocean breeze. It’s the perfect place for couples to start their married life together now that the wedding chaos is behind them.
Kaua’i is a versatile honeymoon destination appealing to all types of newlyweds. If you’re looking for a place to decompress, enjoy a Mai Tai and relax with your honey by the pool, then this is the place for you. By contrast, if you’re looking for a more adventurous honeymoon filled with snorkeling, sea turtles and hiking the Napali Coast, then it will work for you too. The “Garden Island” is whatever you want it to be; as low-key or intense as you desire.
There are two luxury hotels on the island worthy of honeymooners: the Grand Hyatt Kaua’i Resort and Spa and the St. Regis Princeville Resort. These two amazing accommodations are located on opposite sides of the island, with the Hyatt on the south side in Poipu and the St. Regis in Princeville on the north. Both locations have their advantages and you can’t go wrong with this level of luxury. One advantage of the Hyatt is the option of registering for your honeymoon there (i.e. getting your guests to pay for your room, dinner, drinks). It’s a bit of an unorthodox way to approach a wedding registry, but great for the modern, pre-marriage, cohabitating couple who doesn’t need new forks and knives.
Things to Do
If you want to swim with sea turtles, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to do so. Tunnels beach is a little hard to find, but well worth it. Pristine sand, not too crowded, and of course, huge, friendly sea turtles. Look and take pictures with your must-have water-resistant camera, but don’t touch. It’s against the law. Of course, if turtles aren’t your thing, you can simply enjoy one of the island’s numerous white sand beaches.
The Napali Coast can be attacked by both land and air. For adventurous (or at least in shape) folks, the Hanakapi’ai hike is an absolute must. Hikers can choose to go as far as Hanakapi’ai Beach (four miles roundtrip) or brave the eight mile round trip hike to the beautiful, refreshing waterfall. The hikes are breathtaking, but require a medium-level of physical fitness. Bring lots of water and water shoes with serious grip to trek through several river crossings. Also, start the hike early. It can take several hours for the straight hike, and you’ll want to leave some time to take in the sights.
Helicopter tours are another option for taking in the island. Many parts of the Napali Coast are unreachable by foot, so the air tour guarantees you see everything, including the waterfall entrance seen in Jurassic Park.
Before the trip, picking up The Ultimate Kauai Guidebook: Kauai Revealed is an absolute must. This book is an insider’s guide to the island, with detailed descriptions and maps of quiet hidden beaches and shave ice stands without “real” addresses (i.e. “after mile marker 8, take 20 steps east and look up”). The book also includes restaurant and excursion recommendations. It’s a great tool for prioritizing what you want to accomplish during your trip.
Plan on spending at least a week there to get the most out of the honeymoon. There is so much to do, and it’s very possible you won’t experience everything Kaua’i has to offer. But isn’t that what anniversaries are for?