Hawaii is unlike any other place in the world. What better way to celebrate the beginning of your marriage than starting your life together in paradise? We’d like to start by saying that we eloped in Hawaii ourselves! We remember how overwhelming the planning process felt when we were planning it from thousands of miles away! At the time, I had only visited Hawaii once and wasn’t sure of locations and other important information that would help us with planning. But it is possible and we hope that this guide of the best places to elope in Hawaii helps you with creating the day you two are dreaming of. This complete Hawaii elopement guide tells you the best places to elope in Hawaii and how to elope in Hawaii.
Please research appropriate permits and access before scheduling your Hawaii elopement or destination engagement session. Remember to always practice “Leave No Trace Principals” and leave the environment better than how you found it! Respecting the trails preserves the land around it. Only take memories with you (and we’ll take the photos!).
It depends on what you’re looking for! The summer months bring more sunshine, calmer waters for snorkeling, more tourists and traffic, and usually more frequent sea turtle sightings. The winter months have more rain and clouds, rough surf (awesome for experienced surfers or those who want to admire the huge waves from the shore), humpback whales, and less tourists. There are perks for either season, it just depends on what you are wanting to see and do!
The weather throughout the year usually ranges from the mid 70’s to high 80’s Fahrenheit. In the winter months, there is often heavy rainfall and overcast skies.
Keep in mind that if you want to hike to your elopement location, rainfall may affect the ability to get to your location safely. Have a nearby backup spot in mind, just in case! Some hikes that aren’t even that steep can easily become dangerous after just a day’s rain.
It is also important to note that the rainfall throughout each island varies. For example: On Oahu, it rains frequently on the Windward coast of the island but it is almost always sunny in Waikiki.
Charts from Google.
This goes for anywhere in the world where there is a lot of tourism: never leave any valuables in your car. Even if you are only leaving your car for a short period of time! Break-ins can be common for cars parked near trailheads. So don’t leave anything in your car, especially visible if you were to peer into the windows.
LANDSCAPES: tropical rainforests | black sand beach | green sand beach | mountains | volcanoes | lava rock | bamboo forest | cliffs | canyons | waterfalls | caves | beaches
The marriage license fee is $60.00 (plus $5.00 portal administrative cost). The fee may be paid online or in-person at the time the application is submitted to a marriage license agent. The marriage license expires 30 days from and including the date of issuance, after which it automatically becomes null and void. There is no waiting period once the license is approved.
For more details, click here.
Having a Big Island elopement always calls for extra adventure!! The Big Island is technically the island of Hawaii, but it is the largest island, hence its nickname. There is so much to see and do here. Keep in mind: this is called the Big Island for a reason. There are only a few main highways, so going from that one location to the next can take an hour or multiple hours! It is an island for those who like road trips and adventure. You absolutely need to rent a car.
When deciding on lodging, consider if you should stay Kona side (west coast) or Hilo side (east coast). If there is more you want to see and do on either side, plan to book your hotel or airbnb there.
Snorkel with Manta Rays at Night (or Scuba!!)
This is one of my all time favorite experiences in Hawaii and is the number one thing I recommend doing if you visit the Big Island. I (Sydney) went on a Manta Ray snorkel tour in Kona. The boat tour started just before sunset so once we were out on the water, I saw one of the most incredible Hawaiian sunsets to this day. Then, we geared up and got in the water once it was dark. There was a long, rectangle foam noodles for us to hold onto and float while we looked down into the water. These tours use lights to attract plankton which draw in the Manta Rays who eat them!
Manta Rays are magnificent, gentle creatures. They swam right up along the foam noodles like it was their runway and would even brush up against your hands! I will say, do not touch the Manta Rays. We went with a great tour who respected these wild creatures. While we are there to admire them, do not disturb them. It was an unforgettable experience. If you get cold easily, wear a swim shirt!
Bike or Hike to active Lava Flow
On the east side of the island is approximately a 6 mile gravel trail that leads you lava flowing into the ocean. It is nothing short of amazing to witness new earth being made before your eyes. You can also walk but renting a bike is much faster. We recommend going at night so you can see the lava glow and avoid hot temperatures of the day.
This national park has active lava flow and lava rock formations as far as the eye can see. There is plenty to explore here and it makes for an amazing place to elope. Keep in mind that you may want to bring some warm layers because it can be chilly due to the elevation.
The park’s website says “ceremonies may be held anywhere that is easily accessible with the exception of Halema’uma’u Crater and the hula platform near the Kīlauea Visitor Center. Most couples choose overlooks with a view into Kīlauea Caldera or Kīlauea Iki Crater, or forested areas like Kīpukapuaulu. There is a non-refundable $150.00 application fee for the wedding permit.” You can apply for a permit here.
PRO TIP: Keep in mind that you should stay on the Hilo side (east coast), which is only an hour drive from the park. If you were to stay in the Kona region along the west coast of the island, it would be approximately a 2.5 hour drive to the park. That may not be a drive you want to worry about if you decide to elope at sunrise!
Kona has several beach state parks along the coast that would make for a great location to elope in Hawaii. Kiholo Bay is a state park along the west coast (Kona side) of the Big Island. During our visits, it was fairly quiet. There is plenty of beautiful lava rock formations and a black sand beach that spans the entire bay. You can often find sea turtles lounging in the sand. If you go left at the fork and walk down the beach in that direction, you will find crashing waves on the lava rock cliffs.
Please note that you (or the wedding officiant) must apply for a permit to have the ceremony at any beach state park. If you want to have your elopement in the summer months when the sunset is close to that time, keep in mind that the gate to the state park that closes at 7PM. The permit allows state park employees to be aware of your elopement so they do not lock you in overnight.
Waipio Valley is a lush valley on the north shore that offers black sand beaches and waterfalls. You can park at the scenic Waipio Valley lookout and hike down to the black sand beach for your elopement. The hike is one mile down and very steep. Hikers have noted that it is pretty intense cardio when you hike back up to your car! It is definitely worth the view of the cliffs once you are on the beach.
Drive time from Kona: 1.5 hours | Drive time from Hilo: 1 hour
A Kauai elopement is probably the best option you can choose because each side of the island has different natural wonders to enjoy and admire.
We can’t make this list without suggesting one of the most infamously gorgeous locations (and one of the rainiest) in the world. The luminous, turquoise caves and epic, tall, green mountains that stand along the shore create one of the most beautiful places in Hawaii. Whether you exchange vows on a boat tour that cruises along the coast and caves, elope near the trailhead or make an adventure of hiking into the trail for a unique and quiet spot, the options are endless.
One of our suggestions would be Kalepa Ridge Trail. It is about a 30 minute hike to the first scenic viewpoint. We highly recommend checking out this article for other great spots to hike on Kauai for more inspiration!
Along the west side of Kauai is a white sand beach with a view of cliffs right along the shore. The park is on the quieter side of the island and has views of the sunset!
Along the southern coast of Kauai is a gorgeous cliff for the most dangerous and daring of jumpers. But it is also an epic location to elope in Kauai! You will get the best of both worlds: beach, turquoise waters, and a brief hike up to exchange vows with an incredible view. This cliff can also be a great spot to whale watch in the winter months (January and February are best!).
Waimea Canyon is recognized as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific for good reason. I remember walking up to the lookout for the first time and being in total awe. It is fun to drive the road that hugs the canyon to explore and search for waterfalls. Waimea Canyon Lookout is the main lookout and has the most foot traffic. There are many other lookouts and secret spots you can find along the road that are more private. This is a gorgeous place for an elopement at sunset.
Lanai is considered to be the last untouched island. It is a small island with many dirt roads (perfect island to rent a Jeep Wrangler) but also home to luxurious resorts and golf courses. Pu’u Pehe, also recognized as Sweetheart Rock, has a rather tragic story in Hawaiian folklore but is a stunning spot nonetheless. It is approximately a 15 to 20 minute hike up to have a view of the landmark that overlooks Hulupoe Bay. You may also have the chance to see wild pods of spinner dolphins!
There are many locations in the park that would make for an incredible spot for your ceremony. Our top recommendation would be eloping at Haleakala summit at sunrise. It is an incredibly peaceful place with mind-blowing views. The hour drive up on the Healakala summit side of the park is a long, winding road. You pass evergreens, grazing cattle, and daring cyclists. The further you drive up, the air is cooler and there is a mystical fog that takes over the land. This is a great option for those who want something different than the beach . The best part is that you can elope up near the summit and finish off your honeymoon in tropical Maui paradise.
You have to reserve tickets if you want to elope on Haleakala summit at sunrise. You can do that here. No reservations are required at this time for sunset. Arrive early to allow for plenty of time to drive up and park if you elope at sunrise. Make sure to bring plenty of warm layers because it is windy and cold!
Because it is a national park, you must pay a $150.00 permit fee and submit an application. You can do that here!
Makaluapuna Point is a beautiful spot on Maui for sunset. The lookout features unique lava rock formations that literally looks like dragon teeth. Here is a link that discusses the Dragon’s Teeth access trail. Just west of Dragon’s Teeth is Oneloa Beach, also known as Ironwood Beach. Crashing waves, lava rock and a beautiful view sunset view awaits you.
There are several beautiful lookouts that would make for an incredible elopement spot. Keep in mind that parking can be limited depending on where you decide!
A beautiful, winding road will take you to Halawa Valley, one of Molokai’s natural gems. The raw beauty along the east coast of the island is unreal. The winding drive is absolutely worth the views. There are several spots you can say “I do” that have few visitors around. Definitely consider planning a hike to the waterfalls in the valley!
For the couples out there who desire a gorgeous view for their photos and are willing to hike for it, the Crouching Lion hike is one of our favorite spots on island. It is a hike along the Windward coast that is incredible for sunset or a cloudy day (which happens often because there is quite a bit of rain on this side). You’ll get all the magic with this location—ocean, cliffs, and mountains.
To be prepared, bring: shoes with good traction, a change of clothes, hairbrushes and touchup makeup, wipes or small towel for sweat, and a backpack to hold your wedding attire!
PRO TIP: Because this hike is steep, it can be dangerous to climb after a rainfall. Have a backup location in mind in case the rainfall makes the trail too slippery and muddy to climb!
Lanikai Beach is one of the higher traffic locations on this list. We feel we need to mention it because the ocean sunrise framed by the iconic Mokulua islands makes it pretty incredible. Lanikai beach is a perfect spot for an engagement session or elopement at sunrise. Keep in mind that a weekday in the fall will likely have the least amount of visitors and follows the legal permit requirements for photographers. Parking can be tricky because it is a residential area, so arrive with plenty of time before sunrise. For the more adventurous couple, you can even kayak out to the islands to exchange vows!
PRO TIP: If you opt to kayak or go for a swim, we would recommend avoid eloping in the month of August because Portuguese man-o-wars are notorious for infesting the waters at that time of the year.
Kaena Point Trail leads to the lookout that is the very northwestern tip of Oahu. You can find parking on the North Shore to reach the lookout or the west side of the island in Waianae. We recommend going to the west side and starting the hike there. Take the highway all the way down until you reach a dirt parking lot at the trailhead. It is a flat, rocky trail that takes you to the corner of the island. Then you will realize that you don’t have to walk far for stunning views (be sure to turn around and look at the mountains behind you!).
This is a beautiful spot for an engagement session or elopement on Oahu. It is one of the best spots on island for the sunset and golden hour. Also, the corner of Kaena Point is the best place on island to see the stars!
PRO TIP: If you decide to walk out far on the trail, be sure to bring headlamps for the walk back. For the ladies, bring a change of comfortable shoes to walk in until you reach the spot where you will be taking photos. The terrain is uneven and wouldn’t be the most comfortable if you are wearing heels.
The Makapuu lighthouse area offers many beautiful spots for your ceremony. The Makapuu lighthouse trail is paved, a moderate incline, and two miles in distance (round trip). It typically takes 30-45 minutes to hike to the top. There are plenty locations along the way up that would offer beautiful spots to say “I do.”
This trail has our view of sunrise on the island. The gate to the parking lot doesn’t open until 7AM so you will have to park alongside the road outside of the gate if you want to go at sunrise. If you aren’t in the mood for a hike, there are some great spots at the base of the mountain. There is a lookout to the left of the gate of the trailhead where the second parking lot is located. The lookout can be busy, so we recommend having your elopement on a weekday (check out this elopement at Makapuu Lighthouse Lookout here!). You cant go wrong with this location and the scenic drive to this spot!
Waimanalo Country Farms is a local farm on Oahu that’s tucked away in a residential area by the Southeast coast. The farm is hugged by the stunning Ko’olau mountain range. It is a family-owned farm that offers many activities to the public throughout the year. They have pumpkin-picking in the fall and sunflower fields in bloom throughout the year. They also sell AMAZING homemade lemonade (which you can buy at the local farmer’s markets!).
We think it is 100% worth planning your Hawaii elopement, wedding or engagement session around the sunflower bloom. We would suggest to have the session toward the beginning of the bloom before the flowers begin to wilt. What better way to celebrate your elopement or engagement session with fresh lemonade (in some really cute mason jars)?
To better plan your day on their farm, contact Ever After Moments. The wedding planning business is run by one of the family members that works at the farm! This way, you can plan a time for your elopement or engagement session outside of the farm’s public hours.
We hope you enjoyed this guide for the best places to elope in Hawaii! As far as planning goes, keep your mind open to possibilities and explore all of your options! You can make your Hawaii elopement exactly what you’ve been dreaming of.
We are Sydney and Ryan Kroll, an adventurous husband and wife elopement photography team. We are currently based in Hawaii, but travel for work and play throughout the US and beyond. Our work is best described as candid photography that blends images of love and natural beauty in the great outdoors.