Bet you didn’t expect this kind of blog post from a self-proclaimed Hawai’i-obsessed travel advisor. I am ashamed - but this is the true story of the time I thought Hawai’i seemed too underwhelming to be considered for a honeymoon destination.

Six years ago when my now-husband and I got engaged, we spent hours musing about where to honeymoon. I remember someone recommending Hawai’i to us, to which I scoffed at. Me! A Hawai’i Destination Expert! I now hang my head in shame at my youthful ignorance. In my mind, Hawai’i was just another state in America, and why on earth would I want to honeymoon in a state? I wanted white sandy beaches, lush tropical forests, and plunging waterfalls, and surely that couln’t be found in a state.

sea cliffs of molokai morning sun from helicopter

Um hello, naive 22 year old me - Hawai’i has all of those things, and more.

Flora and fauna.

Everywhere you look, there is tropical scenery galore found in abundance. To anyone thinking Hawai’i is just like Florida - think again. Don’t make the same mistake I made.

hawaiian monk seals on poipu beach in kauai during sunset

The beaches are stunning - pristine sandy stretches of every color imaginable. Hawai’i is home to black, red, and even green sand beaches. Dazzling blue waters lap the shores. The humpback whales, giant green sea turtles, and monk seals frolicking in the waves only adds to the magical environment that is Hawai’i.

Sea cliffs and volcanic mountains tower from the Pacific, formed by millions of years of erosion and volcanic activity. These landscapes are covered in lush green vegetation and brightly colored tropical flowers. Rushing waterfalls cascade down through the valleys, fed from the warm rains that pass over the islands.

The people are warm and welcoming, encouraging all visitors to respect and learn of their proud Hawaiian culture. Situated thousands of miles from the mainland, Hawai’i has managed to keep a lot of the authentic culture intact and it is celebrated regularly with festivals and events. The environment and historic sites are well-protected and revered unlike any other area in America.

big beach makena in maui kahoolawe in the distance

In the end, we chose the Caribbean island of Antigua for our honeymoon. It was lovely, but my biggest regret is that I didn’t begin my love affair with Hawai’i sooner. I always used to say that I would never “waste my time” going to the same destination more than once. What lies I told myself. I’ve been to Hawai’i four times now, with a fifth trip in the works. And I only plan on adding to that number.

If you’re like 22 year old me in thinking that Hawai’i isn’t deserving of your hard-earned money and vacation time, I urge you to reconsider. There is a reason many visitors return over and over again. It’s addicting, and despite the long flight and higher price tag, it’s hard to stay away.

Once you visit, you’ll understand exactly what I’m talking about.

Have you been to Hawaii yet? No?! Let’s fix that ASAP.