Explore the Best Places to Elope in Magical Hawaii

March 1, 2023


Dreaming of elopement in Hawaii

When I first stepped foot on the soil of these magical islands, secluded in the middle of the ocean, I was instantly hooked. The smell of hibiscus and plumeria, beaches for days, majestic volcanoes and rainbows peaking from the clouds after every afternoon rain.

best places to elope in hawaii
hawaiian forest
road to hana elopement

I will never forget falling asleep to the sound of coqui frogs in my treehouse while reading about the best adventures of this paradise of the Pacific. It was nothing short of magical.

“Hawaii is like an isolated jewel set in the vastness of the Pacific Ocean. And like facets of a gem, the islands have their own unique qualities. Travelers who take the time to look beyond their obvious beauty will discover a chain of islands that is at once lush and stark, modern and ancient, simple and exotic.”

Rita Ariyoshi


Hawaiian Islands are the the most dreamy place for a tropical elopement or a micro wedding. One of the major perks of planning an elopement in Hawaii is the ability to combine your trip with an unforgettable honeymoon on the islands. 

You can visit the islands all year long thanks to their tropical climate, which also makes your travel planning a lot easier. But before we get to it, here some terminology. Everybody knows mahalo, but do you know pau hana or holoholo?

best places to elope in hawaii

Pau Hana

While you’re most likely not going to Hawaii to work, you can still pau hana – or enjoy an end of a work day with a happy hour at a fancy rooftop bar.

best places to elope in hawaii
kauai napali coast elopement


This hawaiian word literally translates to going for a walk, ride, sail, or simply to go out for pleasure. You will most likely be doing a lot of that while exploring the Hawaiian islands.

In this blog post, you will find:

big island beach
surfing in hawaii

Can you elope in Hawaii?

You absolutely can! All you need is a flight ticket, an elopement photographer, an officiant and a marriage license!

And if you don’t want to go through the technicalities of filing a marriage island in Hawaii, you can get married prior to your Hawaii adventure in your home state, which will eliminate the need for a Hawaii marriage license and an officiant. You can still make your experience beautifully romantic, exchanging your private vows anywhere you desire. The best places to elope in Hawaii include pristine beaches and waterfalls, summits of a volcanos, ridges and cliffs, or off the coast of Honolulu while sailing at sunset.

suset at a hawaii beach
wild orchids in hawaii
flying over maui

How to elope in Hawaii (LEGALLY)

  1. Choose the island and the best places to elope in Hawaii based on terrain and landscape
  2. Book your Hawaii elopement photographer
  3. Dream up your activity/adventure in the best places to elope in Hawaii (I will help with suggestions and the planning)
  4. Obtain permits (permits are typically required in national and state parks)
  5. Book your travel and accommodation
  6. Apply for a marriage license
  7. Enjoy your unforgettable Hawaii elopement!



best places to elope in hawaii

The process of applying for a Hawaii marriage license is fairly easy and can be done online prior to your arrival.

  • Apply for your Hawaii marriage license online
  • Pick up the document from an authorized marriage license agent once you arrive on the island, before your official elopement ceremony.
  • After the elopement ceremony, your officiant will file all legal documentation on your behalf.
  • The state of Hawaii will mail your marriage certificate to your home address within 4 to 6 weeks.

Please refer to the state of Hawaii’s eligibility to legally marry. When physically obtaining the license, you both need to be present. The only legal documentation required is a government-issued photo ID, such as a driver’s license or passport.

elope in hawaii

rainbow over mauna loa
best places to elope in hawaii
erupting volcano in the big island
lava in the big island

hawaii elopement photographer

The best places to elope in Hawaii:

Where to elope & take wedding photos in Hawaii

There are eight different islands in the state of Hawaii out of which six are the most visited: Maui, Kauai, Oahu, The Island of Hawai’i (or The Big Island), Lanai, and Molokai, with its own rugged beauty.


Haleakalā National Park, Maui

Watching the sunrise at Haleakalā Volcano and a hiking along the summit is an absolute must if you are an adventurer at heart. 

Cruise down Road to Hana, Maui

This beautiful windy road has the most stunning views, hundreds of waterfalls along the way and a bamboo forest to get lost in. Road to Hana is a magical treat to enjoy in a convertible, to soak in all the beautiful scents of Maui.

Beaches in Maui:

Red Sand Beach, Kapalua Tide Pools, Punalau Beach, Wailea-Makena Beach


The Nāpali Coast, North Shore, Kauai

Spanning along Kauai’s North Shore, the Nāpali Coast is a sacred place defined by dramatic beauty. These emerald-hued cliffs with razor-sharp ridges tower above the Pacific, revealing beautiful beaches and waterfalls that plummet to the lush valley floor. One of the best places to elope in Hawai!

Waimea Canyon, Kauai

Scenic canyon nicknamed “The Grand Canyon of the Pacific”, Waimea Canyon State Park overlooks of one of the State’s scenic treasures – the deep, colorful gorge of Waimea Canyon. The park consists of a scenic drive, lookouts of the canyon, a viewpoint of Ni‘ihau Island, wildland picnicking and trails

Kōkeʻe  State Park, Kauai

Kōkeʻe State Park is covered in forest, wild flowers and hiking trails making it an excellent spot to see native plants and colorful endemic Hawaiian forest birds. The park also offers roughly 45 miles of the state’s finest hiking trails. Some trails lead to views of Waimea Canyon, others wind through wet forests with sweeping views of valleys opening up to the North Shore.


Shipwreck Beach and Polihua Beach

When choosing where to elope or take your wedding portraits in Hawaii, dream up the landscape, views and terrain. Whether you’re looking for lush rain forest vibes, dramatic cliffs, pristine beaches, this unforgettable piece of paradise has it all!


Hoʻomaluhia Botanical Garden, Oahu

Strolling or driving through these lush 400 acres of botanical gardens in Oʻahu, you will truly agree that Hoʻomaluhia is rightfully named “a peaceful refuge.”  

Secret Island, Kualoa Ranch, Oahu

Beautiful secluded area with pristine white beach and a view of the Kualoa Ranch cliffs.

Ka’ena Point State Park, Oahu

Ka‘ena Point State Park is a relatively remote and wild coastline park with hiking, snorkeling, picnicking, and shoreline fishing opportunities.  


Eruption viewing at Volcanoes National Park, Island of Hawai’i (The Big Island)

You’ve probably never seen lava before. Well, now is your chance! Head out to Volcanoes National Park for some good old volcano eruption viewing. This park is one of the best places to elope in Hawaii.

Mauna Loa, Island of Hawai’i (The Big Island)

Driving to Mauna Loa and exploring ancient layers of lava is a beautiful meditative experience. You can choose to cruise in your car, or do a hike in this stunning landscape (dress warm and prepare well!).

Mauna Kea Summit and Observatory, Island of Hawai’i (The Big Island)

Both of these majestic locations, Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea are sacred to native Hawaiians. Drive up to Mauna Kea – the tallest mountain in the world from base to peak at more than 33,500 feet, for sunset and stay for the beautiful night sky. 


Kawakiu Beach, Kalaupapa and Halawa Park

Hawaii elopement activities

Hawaii Island Hopping

If you like flying low in a small plane, Mokulele Airlines is your jam!

Horseback Riding, Oahu

There are so many beautiful locations to explore on foot or on a horseback.

Helicopter Tours, Kauai

Helicopter tours are popular on each of the islands, and while buzzing of the helicopters above your head can get annoying when hiking the ridges of Kauai or Oahu, it can also be one of the best places to elope in Hawaii – right on board of the helicopter. Or you can simply just fly over this gorgeous island and see the landscape from a different perspective.

Private Sailing, Oahu

One of the best experience of my life was a private sailboat tour in Oahu, just outside of Honolulu. The trimaran of Cruise the Island is considered the fastest sailing charter in the Hawaiian islands and the ride is absolutely exhilarating!

Climb up Koko Crater, Oahu

Right outside of Honolulu, also known as the “Koko Head Stairs,” this abandoned WWII railway track is a steep and challenging hiking trail with over 1,000 steps.

Scuba Diving, Island of Hawai’i (The Big Island)

While Hawaiian Islands have tons of scuba diving locations to explore, my personal favorites are Molokini crater and the famous manta ray dive on the Island of Hawai’i. (I am a certified rescue diver, so if you need any recommendations on fun spots to dive at, I am your girl!)

Whale Watching

Winter months are the best for whale watching. Enjoy one of the observation points along the islands, or simply look for a restaurant with a good outdoor seating near the ocean. I guarantee, you’ll be in awe watching humpbacks breach from the ocean. 

Take a surf lesson

You’ll find the best surfers on the beaches of Hawaii, and taking a lesson in the majestic waves of the Pacific will be a memorable experience. 

Offroading in a Jeep

Rent a 4WD and embark on a fun off-road adventure (while staying on trail, respecting the vegetation and native land).

Waipio Valley Lookout, Island of Hawai’i (The Big Island)

Waipio Valley has been closed to tourists since 2022, but you can still enjoy the view of this gem of island.

Snorkel in Hanauma Bay, Oahu

East of Honolulu, Hanauma Bay is a pristine bay with beautiful coral fish and pristine beach. Snorkel in the bay and enjoy the underwater paradise.

When to elope in Hawaii

Thanks to its tropical climate, the state of Hawaii is a perfect elopement destination all year long. A few things to keep in mind:

  • The weather can vary from island to island (for example the Big Island has 8 micro climates and is notoriously rainy along the coasts!).
  • If you choose to travel in the spring/summer months from April – August, you will have a greater chance getting fantastic tropical weather.
  • If you choose to travel in the off season in the winter, you might encounter less tourists, but more rain showers.

How much does it cost to elope in Hawaii

Eloping in Hawaii on a budget. The cost of your elopement is entirely dependent on how much you want to spend. You can track flights on Google and pull the trigger once you feel comfortable with the flight prices. Airlines such as Southwest often run sales from the West Coast to some of the Hawaiian islands. You can then island hop with a local airline for $100 or less to explore. Since Hawaiian climate is so pleasant, you can go on a backpacking adventure and pitch a tent in one of the national or state parks, rent a treehouse off the grid or look for other means of affordable accommodations. Hawaiian nature is the most beautiful wedding chapel, so you don’t have to spend extra on renting a wedding venue!

Luxury Hawaii elopements. If you want to spend the big bucks, there are limitless ways to splurge in Hawaii. Accommodations range from beautiful private rental properties on the coast or in the rain forest, to five star luxury hotels on each island. You can then think of a truly luxurious experience that can include a private wedding ceremony on the beach overlooking the ocean, followed by a fine dining reception featuring fresh seafood and local music. The rest of your elopement experience is entirely up to you, and I can help you craft your elopement weekend.

best places to elope in hawaii

Hawaii Elopement Packages

5 – 10 hours of elopement photography coverage

1 Elopement photographer

1 Videographer (+ drone)

Leis for your elopement ceremony

Unlimited elopement planning and consultation:

Includes a personalized elopement timeline

Vendor recommendations 

Hawaiian islands location expertise

Lodging research

Activity/Trail research

Final deliverable: Hand-picked high-resolution files in a private online elopement gallery 

Book your Hawaii elopement photographer

michigan wedding photographer

kualoa ranch

Hi, lovely, I am Yana! When you book me as your Hawaii elopement photographer, you’re also booking my knowledge of stunning locations and mean elopement planning skills. I spend hours scouting new locations and researching activities to provide my expertise to advise you on the best places to elope in Hawaii. I will also become your sounding board to consult ideas about your dream elopement adventure. Through all of this, we will most likely become friends and I will silently shed a tear hiding behind my camera when I witness you exchange your vows with your one and only. To book your complimentary consultation and chat about your Michigan elopement planning with me, fill out the form below.