Nicknamed "The Orchid Isle," but most commonly called "The Big Island" by locals, Hawaii is literally hot, hot, hot and cold, cold, cold. The youngest and eastern-most island in the chain, not to mention the biggest, Hawaii’s’ hottest attraction is indisputably its flowing molten lava, but this isle of contradictions also dishes up snow-capped mountains, in addition to tropical rainforests, turquoise blue seas, black beaches, and 11 of the 13 climates of the world. So if you’re the type who likes a change every five minutes of so, the Big Island is your island. Explore the below locations to find your perfect wedding spot, and best of luck narrowing it down to just one!
BEACHES + PARKS
A half-mile long and nearly 200-feet wide, Hapuna Beach is an island favorite and, as such, is usually busy until late afternoon. But as one of America’s best beaches, it’s hard to pass up a romantic exchange of vows here. There are also convenient restrooms, picnic tables, and pavilions, and as with all public beaches in Hawaii, it’s free to marry at Hapuna Beach.
Location: 75 Aupuni St., South Kohala District, Hilo, HI 96721 (off of Highway 19 in NW Hawaii)
This little beach, adjacent to the Four Seasons Hualalai, has a rocky and sandy shoreline, beautifully well-maintained landscaping, and spectacular sunsets. There are also large shade trees, picnic facilities, and restrooms, plus it’s free!
Location: Off of Highway 19 in West Hawaii
Old Kona Airport State Park
What used to be Kona’s first airport is now a mile-long beach with plenty of free parking (all on what used to be the runway!) The beach here is more rocky than sandy, but there’s easy ocean access and it’s often empty at sunset, making it ideal for a secluded sunset ceremony, complete with stranger-free photos. It’s free to marry here, and there are also picnic tables, pavilions, some grassy areas, and restrooms.
Location: Off of Highway 19 in West Hawaii, just two minutes from Kona
Punaluu Black Sand Beach
Drama-seeking couples will revel in the uniqueness of a black-sand backdrop on their wedding day. And you might even get an endangered sea turtle or two to act as witnesses! Plus, it’s free.
Location: 25 Aupuni St, Hilo, HI 96720
Richardson Ocean Park
Considered Hilo's best beach park, this favorite stretch of sand is framed by trees and has covered pavilions, restroom facilities, and easy access to the ocean. And, you guessed it -- it’s free! It also has some of the best snorkeling in the area – SCUBA ceremony, anyone? The beach is protected from waves by a black-sand sea wall, and within the center’s beach you can swim with schools of fish, turtles, and manta rays. Dolphins are known to frequent close-by, with an occasional humpback whale passing in the background, so get those cameras ready.
Location: 2349 Kalanianaole Ave, Hilo, HI 96720
Volcanoes National Park
Home to Kilauea, the most active volcano in the world, Volcanoes National Park is vast, encompassing seven distinct ecological zones, various archaeological sites, cultural landmarks, and art exhibits. Plus, there’s even a second volcano in the park, the larger but less active Mauna Loa. Imagine a ceremony in the park’s secluded woods, overlooking majestic Kilauea. You can even have your Prince Charming ride in on a horse! There is a $75 permit fee to marry in the park.
Locations: Highway 11, Hawaii National Park, HI 96718
Kona Outdoor Circle
For more formal or mid-day ceremonies, the gardens at Kona Outdoor Circle are ideal. There are beautiful, green grassy lawns and perfectly maintained gardens, plus there’s a beach park nearby, which is ideal for sunset photos. Please call for prices.
Location: 76-6280 Kuakini Hwy, Kailua Kona, HI 96740
Akaka Falls State Park
If cascading falls, babbling brooks, and fragrant flora are your cup of Kona, Akaka Falls State Park will satiate your appetite for something different. Actually comprised of two waterfalls, Kahuna Falls (the less majestic of the two) and Akaka Falls (a spectacular 422-foot drop), this spot is made even more magnificent by the surrounding dense rainforest, filled with ferns, bamboo, and blooming white ginger. It’s a short ¼-mile walk to the falls (paths are not wheelchair accessible) and there is a $75 permit fee. Restroom facilities are available by the parking area. Makes an undeniably perfect backdrop for wedding photos.
Location: Take Just north of Hilo. Take Route 19 to Route 220 and follow the signs to Akaka Falls State Park, which is about 3 miles from the intersection of 19 and 220.
WHERE TO APPLY FOR A MARRIAGE LICENSE ON THE BIG ISLAND
For the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of marriage agents on the Big Island, call the Department of Health at 808-974-6068.