Horseback Riding

A great way to see the island is atop a horse, leaving the direction to the pack while you drink in the views of mountains or the ocean. It may seem like a cliché, but there really is nothing like riding a horse with spectacular ocean views to put you in a romantic state of mind.

Happy Trails Hawaii. Take a guided horseback ride above the North Shore's Waimea Bay along trails that offer panoramic views from Kaena Point to the famous surfing spots. Groups are no larger than 10, and instruction is provided. The rides are particularly family-friendly, and children six and older are welcome. You can take either a 1½- or a 2-hour ride, which includes a 15-minute mini-lesson. Reservations are required. 59-231 Pupukea Rd., Pupukea, Hawaii, 96712. 808/638–7433; www.happytrailshawaii.com. $95 for 1½ hrs, $115 for 2 hrs.

Kualoa Ranch. This 4,000-acre working ranch across from Kualoa Beach Park on Windward Oahu offers two-hour trail rides in the breathtaking Kaaawa Valley, which was the site of such movie back lots as Jurassic Park, Godzilla, and 50 First Dates. There is an hour-long option, but it doesn't take you into the valley. Instead, this tour takes you to the scenic northern section of the ranch with its WWII-era bunkers. Kualoa has other activities such as bus, boat, and jeep tours, ATV trail rides, canopy zipline tours, and children's activities, which may be combined for full-day package rates. The minimum age for horseback rides is 10. 49-479 Kamehameha Hwy., Kaneohe, Hawaii, 96744. 800/231–7321; 808/237–7321; www.kualoa.com. $85 for 1 hr, $130 for 2 hrs.

Turtle Bay Stables. Trail rides follow the 12-mile-long coastline and even step out onto sandy beaches fronting this luxe resort on Oahu's fabled North Shore. The stables here are part of the resort but can be utilized by nonguests. The sunset ride is a definite must. A basic trail ride lasts 45 minutes and visits filming sites for ABC's Lost and the film Pirates of the Caribbean. Turtle Bay Resort, 57-091 Kamehemeha Hwy., Kahuku, Hawaii, 96731. 808/293–6024; www.turtlebayresort.com/things-to-do/sports-recreation/horse-riding. From $85.

Gunstock Ranch. This working cattle ranch encompasses nearly 800 acres on the northeastern shore of Oahu, in the foothills of the Koolau range. Choose among five to ten small-group guided trail rides a day (one to 2½ hours or longer) for riders of all skill levels. Rides are designed to replicate the experience of the paniolo, or Hawaiian cowboy. Some climb high enough to view (on clear days) 30 miles of coastline, and sometimes as far as Maui and Molokai. The ranch also offers private 30-minute horse experiences for ages two to seven, private and group advanced trail rides, and private romantic couples tours with picnics. Advance reservations are required. 56-250 Kamehameha Hwy., Laie, Hawaii, 96762. 808/341–3995; www.gunstockranch.com. Trail rides from $82.

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