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Finding the Tidal Pools at Makapu'u Point
To reach the tidal pools off Makapu’u Point, one must venture off the safety of the paved walkway that winds its way up to the Lighthouse. The walk itself is scenic with views of the Pacific and in the winter, a prime spot for whale sightings. It's precisely at the whale watching lookout where we parted ways with the path to traverse down the side of a cliff.
The gravel trail zigzags across the face of the cliff, periodically marked by spray painted arrows, leading down to the aquamarine pools which stretch out like fingers on the rocks below. Careful with our footing, we scooted across flat boulders and shimmied down rocks, the sparkling blue pools beckoning us down.
Finally the trail leveled out. We picked our way around the jagged rocks, avoiding the blowhole. To my back loomed the great, grey cliff. In front of me were the tidal pools, perfect and deep and still against the frothy waves-and for now, it was all ours.
Floating in the pool with a cold coconut porter, I quickly learned to face the ocean, and not just to spot the humpbacks breaching close to shore. As the sweetest moments often come with a slight hint of danger, large waves could crash into the pools at any moment threatening to slam me into the surrounding rock walls. But for the most part, I was guarded from the churning water-content to soak in the relative safety of our private tidal pool, nothing but sea and sky, and a tiny group of tourists, high above us, taking photos from the top of the cliff.
Romance isn’t the only thing that makes hearts race on Hawaii: The islands offer ample adventure. Paradise Air Hawaii offers ultralight hang gliding tours so daring couples can circle each other over Oahu. Renting a double kayak from Kailua Sailboards & Kayaks challenges pairs to stay afloat—and in sync!—as they paddle along Oahu’s Lanikai Beach. On Maui, rent bikes from the Haleakala Bike Company, watch the sunrise from the head of the Haleakala volcano, and contemplate anew the phrase phrase “light my fire.” And there’s no rendezvous more enchanting than the Kalalau Trail along Kauai’s Napali Coast, with its endless views over land and ocean and its brilliant starry displays for couples camping on the trail at night.
Miles of seashore trails offer vistas of crashing waves, breaching whales, and fishermen plying their centuries-old trade. The Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Trail in Oahu State Park is a quintessential coastline ramble; a paved trail leads directly to the lighthouse. For a more challenging outing, hikers can cross the Makapu’u-TomTom Trail for continuous views of the coastline atop the Makapu’u Ridge. On the Big Island, South Point—the southernmost point in the United States—was a safe harbor for the first Polynesian settlers to Hawaii and, in a fitting epilogue, is also the starting point for a hike to the Papakolea Beach, whose startling green sand is a draw for hikers from around the world.