1514236_10151895297703992_588906560_nRick and I have an amazing partnership. We have been business partners for many years and have over 50 years of marriage between us, to other people! There is in fact, a Mrs. Griffin and a Mr. McKenna. Our spouses, Denise and Ralph, are the often-unsung heroes of our business partnership, keeping the home fires burning as Rick and I jet around the world writing about incredible places.

So when Expedia released the results of the 2015 Expedia Heat Index, it got me thinking about romantic destinations, and a Hawaiian vacation I took with my mister that conjures up memories of love, luaus and leis.1475820_10151894297768992_181722621_n

While my husband and I had traveled together before, our first really big trip, our first romantic vacation was to Hawaii island. Before we ever left the ground, I spent hours reading about the island, the weather and the Hilton Waikoloa Village where we stayed. I was in love with Hawaii before we ever left the mainland.

We rented a convertible at the airport. With the top down, we meandered along the sunny Kohala coast of Hawaii Island. In all honesty, the island doesn’t even have to try and woo you. With swaying palms and tropical fauna, it was love at first sight. The Hilton Waikoloa Village is a lover’s paradise. 62 oceanfront acres, with breathtaking views, our room overlooked nothing but palm trees and ocean. As we settled in for the next 8-days, we ordered room service and sat peacefully on our balcony, trying to take it all in. All of a sudden, as if on cue, two whales danced in the sea before us, our own private show.

We had barely arrived at the resort and Hawaii was everything we hoped for and more.Big Island LoveIn the morning, we had breakfast al fresco. I can still taste the sweet, juicy pineapple, the likes of which I have yet to taste anywhere else. I made it my daily mission to enjoy pineapple at breakfast. My mission was an overwhelming success.

With 62 acres of beautifully landscaped tropical gardens, lagoons, and beachfront we could have easily never left the resort grounds. While my husband is not usually the romantic type, something came over him in Hawaii. We would stroll hand in hand along the shore, the warmth of the sun melting away all of the worries and stress we had left on the mainland. We were a couple of kids again, swinging side by side in hammocks, care free, taking it all in while enjoying views we had only previously seen in the movies. It was enchanting.

We got up-close with dolphins at Dolphin Quest, an interactive encounter in the water where not only did we learn about dolphins from a marine mammal expert but we got to touch, feed, play, and swim with them. And Katy Perry has nothing on us. Keeping with our theme of romance, I kissed a dolphin and I liked it!

At night under a sky covered in glistening stars we indulged in a Hawaiian feast of Polynesian delicacies that included kalua pig, fresh fish and fruits. The Luau was captivating, with fire batons, mesmerizing drum beats, ancestral song and hula.

Eventually, we took advantage of the convertible we had rented and set out to explore the island. We headed to Hawaii Volcano National Park, and Kilauea and Mauna Loa, two of the world’s most active volcanoes. This is one of the most popular visitor attractions in Hawaii as well as a sacred place for native Hawaiians. The landscape here is a stark contrast from the other side of the of the island, and it has a mysterious and alluring pull. The temperature is decidedly cooler and drew me into my husband’s arms lest I freeze to death. He didn’t seem to mind.

As we worked our way back to the resort we stopped for lunch in Hilo, the capital of the big island. We walked around town, picked up some grass skirts and coconut bras for the kids and watched surfers in the bay.

With an average rainfall of 140 inches annually, this area is lush with waterfalls and tropical rainforest. As we drove back from whence we came, we stopped a dozen or more times, one stop more picturesque than the next. To say the drive was scenic would be a gross understatement. It was spectacular!

To this day, every time I smell the scent of coconut, my mind wanders back to the romance of Hawaii Island. From black sand beaches to smoldering hot lava, Hawaii island is Camelot for couples.

hawaiian palm tree

Looking for a romantic getaway of your own? Check out Expedia’s Valentine’s Day Escapes

and an awesome sweepstakes “Go Where Romance is the Main Language” with LAN & TAM Airlines and Expedia’s Instagram

For more inspiration on romantic destinations check out these posts from our Expedia Viewfinder Family

Romantic Travel Destination: Dublin, Ireland with Girl Gone Travel

The Most Romantic Places in Colorado: Kara Williams/The Vacation Gals

Bali’s X-Factor: Beach, Sun and Luxury with Tripstyler

Sultry and Alluring Buenos Aires with No Vacation Required

Romancing a return to Cusco, Peru with Wandering Pod

Reconnecting in romantic Budapest w/ Travel with Kate 

Getting sexy in Croatia/Captain and Clark


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