Hawaii is famous for its romantic beach and mountain sunsets. From Waikiki's beach on Oahu to the 13,000-foot summit of Mauna Kea on the Big Island, there are a number of great spots to watch the sunset (or sunrise) with that special someone. Here's an overview of what you need to know to find the perfect Hawaii sunset or sunrise.
ROMANTIC HAWAII SUNSETS
One of the reasons that Hawaiian beaches are famous for great sunsets relates to the weather patterns of the islands. Since the winds tend to bring rain in from the ocean to the eastern shores of each island, the western shores are often sunny and dry. This means that many of the most famous beaches on the islands face west (for instance: Waikiki on Oahu; Kapalua, Kaanapali, and Kihei on Maui; and Kailua-Kona and Hapuna Beach on the Big Island). So if you look for a beach facing west on any of the islands, chances are that the sunset will be good. What really makes a romantic sunset, though, is the ambience and what fills the "frame" of your sunset view: sailboats, islands, palm fronds, and so on all add up to make that romantic Hawaii sunset experience.
Other romantic sunset options come from being above it all. Puu Ualakaa State Wayside gives you a nice opportunity to view the sunset above Honolulu and Waikiki on Oahu. On Maui, the slopes of Haleakala near the town of Kula face roughly west and provide perfect sunset views. The Big Island has its own mountain sunset adventure: Mauna Kea. Mauna Kea is perhaps less romantic than some other options in Hawaii, but it's a great experience (check with your doctor first as the altitude is very high).
SPECTACULAR HAWAII SUNRISES
You would expect, then, that the most dramatic sunrises would be found on the eastern shores of each island. Although you can see some really beautiful sunrises from the coast, these are less famous than Hawaii sunsets. For one thing, most people sleep in on vacation. For another, since the famous resorts mostly face west, people often miss the beautiful sunrises. Still, the fact that fewer people are up can sometimes make for some nice moments of reflection, and the clouds are often beautiful even on westward-facing beaches.
One sunrise experience that is quite famous and worthwhile is the sunrise atop Mount Haleakala on Maui. If you are an early riser, this is a great option for you. We describe this sunrise adventure in more detail on our Haleakala page