A Little Romance

Hawaii's Best - The Caress of Sand and Surf
  |  Gorp.com

There is no destination that has cornered the market on romantic getaways over the years quite like the islands of Hawaii. This is the quintessential honeymooner's haven—white-sand beaches and swaying palms all set in the packaged comfort of a safe American getaway. It's Exotic Lite—the simplicity of organizing a vacation has made the islands a victim of their own popularity. Most visitors now spend the bulk of their vacation in the condominium sprawl of Waikiki Beach, which, with its trinket shops and fast-food chains, has all the charm of a suburban strip mall.

This is unfortunate, since the original hype for this Pacific chain was well-deserved. Hawaii offers some of the most spectacular beaches, waterfalls, and tropical landscapes in the world, and it is still one of the more romantic spots to indulge in outdoor activities. Finding the untamed parts of Hawaii these days just takes some effort. It requires abandoning the crowds of overdeveloped Oahu, and exploring the more remote corners of the other islands.

For extended, isolated hiking adventures, the Na Pali Coast, on the north side of Kauai, has a system of trails and visitor facilities along 60 miles of rugged shoreline. These are the playgrounds of sea turtles, frigate birds, and just a handful of intrepid travelers who venture more than a few days into the state park each year. For Hawaiian escapes, it can't be beat.

But for some of us, a self-contained trip along an isolated coast sounds like more work than romance. Not to worry—there are a number of options for soft-core recreation in Hawaii; vacations that will challenge you physically during the day but offer some luxuries and pampering as well. The best providers of these package trips, companies like Road Less Traveled, offer a different activity each day—biking, hiking, sea kayaking, and horseback riding—and visit several islands in the process. The beauty of these trips is that there is no "base camp"—you stay at quaint Bed and Breakfasts wherever you go—and consequently you experience more of what the islands have to offer.

Published: 28 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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