Honeymoon

The Best Honeymoon Destinations

You newlyweds deserve a truly incredible vacation. And by now, you’re also probably pretty sick of making decisions (seriously, who knew you’d ever be forced to have an opinion on card boxes?) Sit down. Grab a drink. We found the absolute best destinations for every kind of checklist, meaning we did the picking for you. You’re welcome.

The Best Honeymoon Destinations in the USA

Why not make it easy on yourself? These locales don’t require a passport, waiting in line at border control, changing over your cash, or adding an international data plan to your phone. But they don’t sacrifice beauty, luxury, or the kind of one-for-the-ages honeymoon you’ll talk about truly forever.

San Juan, Puerto Rico

Best Honeymoon Destinations - San Juan Aerial View
Courtesy of San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino

It’s an American territory, but the thousand miles between Florida and the Enchanted Isle—not to mention its rich, varied history—make Puerto Rico feel like another world. Its warm, inviting residents are happy to show off their isle and its swift comeback from Hurricane Maria: Major transport hubs are all up and running, and in San Juan, it’s almost impossible to spot signs of the devastation. (Lasting damage was concentrated in inland, more rural areas.) But Puerto Rico’s main industry is tourism, so its residents are eager to welcome you: Eat and drink your way through Old San Juan, an adorable Latin American downtown with candy-colored buildings and pretty churches, forts, and street art. Hire a catamaran to take you coral reef-hopping in the Caribbean sea. And up on dry land, expect coasts lined with white-sand beaches abutting gentle turquoise waves, with perfect sunsets, flexing palm trees, the whole nine yards. We like San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino for an affordable resort experience; there’s a network of pretty pools and a yawning spanse of perfect beach, and their honeymoon package comes with a bottle of champagne and chocolate covered strawberries upon arrival, daily breakfast and dinner for two, and roundtrip airport transportation, so you can arrive like true VIPs.

Sedona, Arizona

Nestled in Arizona’s red rocks region, Sedona is one of those otherworldly places where the very air feels different. Hippie-leaning folks will dig all the crystal shops, tarot card readers, and guides eager to show you local “energy vortexes,” but even the biggest skeptics will enjoy hiking through the stunning terrain, browsing through boutiques and art galleries, filling up at Sedona’s impressive restaurant scene, and enjoying this rust-red corner of the universe. Enchantment Resort Sedona, a picture-perfect resort with a jaw-dropping spa, offers a romance package that comes with a “romantic amenity” upon check-in (eyebrow waggle), a junior suite (complete with a patio and fireplace), and daily breakfast and dinner in your room or at any restaurant on the property.

Napa, California

A classic for a reason: If you’re a fan of great wines, luxurious accommodations, and rolling vineyards reminiscent of Tuscany, well, you won’t do much better than Napa. It’s romantic AF, with charming bed-and-breakfasts and stunning boutique hotels packing rooms and suites meant for two. And its downtown is downright adorable, with turn-of-the-century architecture, a beautiful opera house, and a promenade along the river. If you’d like to stay right in the city (which makes wine tastings walkable—hey, drinking/driving/winding up in the hospital is probably not the best note on which to start your marriage), consider the new Archer Hotel Napa, a boutique hotel with a full-service spa. It’s part of First Street Napa, a massive new development with cool shops, a rooftop bar, and even a Charlie Palmer Steak joint.

The Best Honeymoon Destinations on a Budget

Um, you just spent a breathtaking figure on the wedding itself, correct? Maybe now’s not the time to rack up debt on an incredibly expensive honeymoon. (Hey, you’ll have many, many future anniversaries to celebrate.) That definitely doesn’t mean you’re stuck staying in questionable motels or dining at slightly dodgy restaurants, though. Set your sights on these magnificent cities to see how honeymooning doesn’t have to break the bank.

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Exterior view of The Conrad Fort Lauderdale and skyline
Conrad Fort Lauderdale

Sandy beaches, swaying palm trees, a Midcentury-charming downtown you can explore on foot, via a bike, or in a ferry through canals—this charming beach town has a lot to love. It’s about an hour north of Miami, but with lower prices and a more laid-back air. Don’t miss FATVillage (a.k.a. the Flagler Arts & Technology Village), an artsy, ever-changing district to the north of Fort Lauderdale’s downtown; it’s packed with cool galleries, hip street art, and busy artist studios. Or head to The Yard to see Fort Lauderdale’s boho side—think funky antique shops, cool cafes and juice bars, and a weekly flea market. For an upscale but relaxed stay, we like the Conrad Fort Lauderdale, which offers a long stretch of reserved coastline, nautically inspired decor, in-suite live chef demonstrations, and couples treatments at the spa.

Cozumel, Mexico

This Mexican island, with its Mayan ruins, sparkling-blue water, and remote, undeveloped vibes, is a perfect place for you two to get away from it all. It’s about 185 square miles, most of them wild inland jungles and jagged coastlines, so the odds are good you’ll get a glimpse of exotic birds, pygmy raccoons, and maybe even wild boars. (You can arrange a horseback ride or guided tour to get close—but not too close—to the wildlife in the jungle and along the island’s mostly untouched eastern shore.) The flora and fauna you’ll find under the sea are just as impressive, with next-level snorkeling and scuba diving along thriving coral reefs. (There is even, we kid you not, a sandbar covered in starfish.) We love the Explorean Cozumel for making a dream vacation totally within reach: The boutique-like hotel is the only one on the island that includes daily activities (like stand-up paddleboarding lessons, sunset kayaking followed by stargazing, and excursions to Mayan ruins in the jungle) as well as all meals.

Montreal, Canada

Dreaming of a European adventure…but kinda not digging the transcontinental airfare? Montreal has all the perks of hopping across the pond—world-class restaurants and museums, charming architecture, road signs and conversations around you in French—without the hefty costs. To explore the city on a budget, consider snapping up Passport MTL, which scores you major discounts at 28 attractions and includes public transportation. (The 48-hour option costs about $64 USD, and is worth over $300). Take a free walking tour of gorgeous Old Montreal with Free Montreal Tours, and fill up on great eateries in Mile End or at one of Montreal’s famed, sprawling markets. Adorable Airbnbs abound, but we also like M Montreal—part of that upscale-hostel trend with (don’t worry!) private rooms and en suite bathrooms comparable to a fancy hotel, but at a fraction of the price.    


The Best Beach Honeymoon Vacations

Yeah, schlepping around a new city with a guidebook in your backpack and a camera dangling around your neck is cool and all—but you know what’s probably more appealing after that super-exciting-but-good-god-stressful period of planning and pulling off your wedding? You, your beau, a pina colada, and a beach ball. Here’s where to make it happen.

Kauai, Hawaii

It’s Hawaii’s wildest, lushest island, with dazzling waterfalls, cliffs plunging into the sea, jagged mountains braided into valleys, and what’s known as the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific.” And that’s in addition to all the things you expect from a trip to Hawaii: tiki drinks, hula dancing, poke, shave ice, luaus, and beautiful, powder-sand beaches. (Because if you’re going to fly all the way out there, you want to see some topography, not a lineup of buildings along the beach that evokes SoCal, right?) Explore vast, gaping Waimea Canyon, take some surfing lessons along the coast, stroll or horseback ride past limestone formations and sea turtles at the Mahaulepu Coastal Trail, or just kick back with a Mai Tai. The Grand Hyatt Kaua‘i Resort and Spa, with multiple pools and hot tubs scattered across its manicured grounds, makes a great home base. Bonus they don’t promote nearly enough: The pool area is 24 hours, and you haven’t lived until you’ve capped off an evening in a hotel bar with a 2am dip in the jacuzzi.

Cancun, Mexico

View of resort with pool and ocean in Cancun.
Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach

Hear us out! While the Mexican city tends to bring to mind spring breakers and tequila shots, the city has undergone a grown-up makeover and is seeing a resurgence of cosmopolitan visitors. (And let’s not forget that less than 2 percent of the city’s annual visitors are college students—so unless you time your honeymoon poorly, you’re unlikely to be mobbed by coeds.) The destination’s sun-splashed beaches and awesome restaurants make Cancun the honeymoon you’ve been dreaming of, and if you get sick of sitting around sipping daiquiris (wait, what?), there are beautiful cenotes (natural sinkholes), an underwater museum, and an outdoor archaeological museum. You can also hop on a ferry for a day trip to Isla Mujeres, a funky little island with pretty rock formations, cute outdoor cafes, and kitschy shops. Or just sit…on the beach…with your feet in the sand. We totally stan a little post-nuptial sloth. For the best of everything, book a suite at the Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach, a lavish 5-star resort with a 40,000-square-foot spa and a sprawling stretch of secluded beach.     

Monte Carlo, Monaco

Picture people sunbathing in the South of France. Now think about fancy Italians vacationing along the Mediterranean Sea. Marry (ha) those two images in your mind, and you’ve got Monaco. The entire country is the size of NYC’s Central Park—with France off to one side and Italy off to the other, so you can easily pack three countries into one trip (or even one day). But you also won’t want to leave, because Monaco has it all within walking distance: perfect beaches, cool museums (including the surprisingly awesome Oceanographic Museum), an incredibly ornate and civilized casino (featured in several James Bond films), and epic restaurants (yeah, that’ll happen when you’re tucked between France and Italy). Our favorite ultra-luxe lodging is the Hotel Metropole, the country’s only independently owned inn with over-the-top everything: a Michelin-starred restaurant from Joël Robuchon,  a Givenchy spa designed by Didier Gomez, a pool area designed by Karl Lagerfeld—well, you get the idea.


The Best Caribbean Honeymoon Destinations

What’s not to love about the Caribbean region? It’s conveniently close to our part of the globe (no umpteen-hour flights literally halfway around the world), and it’s got all the laid-back, chilled-out, toes-in-the-sand vibes you crave for a romantical escape. Try these islands to soak up those warm Atlantic vibes.  

Antigua

Epic parties, Meghan Markle—Prince Harry seems to only like the finer things, right? So follow his good taste to Antigua, one of the stops on his visit to seven Caribbean islands. He stayed at the Blue Waters Resort & Spa on the island’s northwestern shore, a recently renovated resort sprinkled with lush tropical gardens and dotted with postcard-perfect beaches. Antigua is a one-time volcano now circled with coral, and instead of balmy beach stretching as far as the eye can see, it’s dotted with perfect, secluded beaches tucked among its coves. If you feel like tearing yourself away from the sand (and really, why bother?), you can visit the island’s historical Nelson’s Dockyard, which has the distinction of being the only working Georgian dockyard left on the planet (its restored wood and brick buildings house bars, eateries, a museum, and more). No judgment if you just chill at the resort, though, especially considering Blue Waters’ Pure Luxury Honeymoon Package comes with a VIP check-in and welcome amenities, champagne and chocolates upon arrival, romantic nightly turndown service, champagne breakfast, private use of the spa’s pool, a couples massage, and more.

Turks and Caicos

Best Honeymoon Destinations - Sanctuary Pavilion in Turks and Caicos

Turks and Caicos comprises 40 low-lying islands scattered across a chunk of sea in the Bahamas. The main island of Providenciales (aka Provo) is home to a whole lineup of luxury resorts, restaurants, and shops, while smaller islands offer a little more of the luxurious Robin Crusoe feel. The area’s a scuba diver’s paradise, with a 14-mile barrier reef rippling with life off Providenciales’ north shore and a stunning 7,000-foot-tall wall of coral plunging down near Grand Turk’s western coast. For a truly luxurious experience, look into a resort on a private island, such as the posh COMO Parrot Cay. There’s pristine beach, of course (Bruce Willis and Keith Richards have homes on the compound), but where the resort really stands out is its comprehensive wellness programming: There are delicious, healthy options on every menu, and the Shambhala wellness center has guided meditations, Ayurvedic consultations, workout classes, mindfulness walks, and more. The property’s “Paradise for Two” package is popular for honeymooners; it comes with champagne, breakfast daily, a couple’s massage, and either a castaway picnic lunch or private dinner in a scenic Tiki Hut.

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Punta Cana is one of those vacation towns where activities just abound; there are white-sand beaches abuting sparkling water for stand-up paddleboarding, snorkeling, or kiteboarding, and (should you need a break from the saltwater) the jungle-y Ojos Indigenas Ecological Reserve, where you can jump from platforms into crystal lagoons in the Ojos Indigenas Ecological Reserve. The massive Puntacana Resort and Club spans 26 miles of coastline, with three hotels (all at different price points), two championship golf courses, the Oscar de La Renta Tennis Center, and a fully-loaded Six Senses Spa.


The Best Tropical Honeymoon Destinations

If your idea of a great vacation includes weird fruits, jungle-y foliage, and the kind of warm, humid breezes that force you to slow down and cool off with a mixed drink, you should probably set your sights on that band of land belting the equator known as the tropics.

Bali, Indonesia

It’s not just for Eat, Pray, Love experiences (unless you’re into that)—Bali is a surprisingly large island with diverse experiences across its surface. On the Bukit Peninsula, Nusa Dua is the resort area, with so-pretty-it-hurts coastlines and lush, vibrant gardens lacing every property. The five-star Mulia is about as gorgeous as it gets, with epic pools and restaurants spread out across a compound of suites, villas, and buildings so vast, everyone gets around on golf carts. Up in Ubud, you’ll find the Balinese culture you’ve always pictured: Think emerald green tiered rice paddies, traditional dance performances, markets shilling local handicrafts, and stunning temples galore. The luxurious Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, is set along the Ayung River, a jungle-like compound blanketed in butler-attended suites and villas and offering awesome local tours, including one in a vintage VW convertible. Hike, bike, get spiritual in the island’s ubiquitous religious sites…or just relax in Bali’s totally tranquil vibes.  

Paracas, Peru

If getting off the beaten path is on your honeymoon vision board, allow us to recommend Paracas; it’s totally not your typical tropical vacation, but it’s definitely worth exploring. A few hours’ drive from Lima, Paracas is a coastal town known for its fresh seafood, jaw-dropping wildlife, and pretty beaches. It’s one of those vacation spots most beloved by city-dwelling Peruvians, so there’s little chance the people eating ceviche at the table next to you will be chatting away in English. Must-sees include the tropical desert, a mind-boggling expanse of perfect sandy dunes, and the Ballestas Islands, which are basically a mini-Galapagos: piled high on rocky isles are barking sea lions, cute otters, and oodles of seabirds including, we kid you not, penguins. You also can’t leave without flying over the legendary Nazca Lines, huge, enigmatic symbols scratched deep into the earth by ancient people. (For aliens to see? That’s our guess. #iwanttobelieve) Hotel Paracas makes a beautiful, easy home base, and their couples package includes champagne and a private yacht tour or romantic private dinner on the beach.

Fiji

Best Honeymoon Destinations - Namale Resort and Spa in Fiji

It’s a long ways from home (a 10-hour flight from LAX, to be exact), but that’s how you know it’s worth it. Fiji is a group of 333 islands, a patchwork of private isles, all-inclusive resorts, and vibrant island towns. Each island is ringed with pristine beaches and swaying palm trees, and the water’s perfect for snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking, or surfing, with coral reefs and pretty lagoons cropping up all across the archipelago. But it’s inland where Fiji really stands out: It’s lush and rugged, with beautiful hikes through awesome caves, past twinkly waterfalls, and along thundering rivers. It’s one of those special spots you can see from so many different angles: grab a paddle for some whitewater rafting, go off-roading in a Jeep, parasail or every take a leap from a cliff, or even skydive from high above the islands (uh, best honeymoon ever?). For a truly luxurious (but still adrenaline-tinged) honeymoon, try Namale Resort and Spa, an all-inclusive 19-room, five-star boutique resort with authentic Fijian design.It’s on the northern island of Vanua Levu and your stay includes complimentary activities like snorkeling, paddle boarding, horseback riding, and floating down its unique saltwater river. The Spa Lovers’ Package also comes with two couples massages and one sunset bliss couples massage.  

The Best Honeymoon Destinations in October

The most popular wedding date of 2018 is (drumroll, please…) Saturday, October 20. In fact, September and October have dethroned the summer months as the most commonly chosen times to tie the knot. We’re not surprised; fall foliage is beautiful, summer is hot and already insanely busy, and who doesn’t love winding down the year with a big ol’ celebration of love? If you’re hitching your honeymoon onto the end of your wedding weekend, have we got the destinations for you.

Charleston, South Carolina

The weather in this historic Southern city is ideal in October: low 60s in the early morning, low 80s at peak afternoon. And Charleston makes a charming stateside destination: You’ll find beautiful antebellum mansions on oak-tree-lined paths, an edgy culinary scene, plenty of history, and of course, all that Southern culture. And if you’re staying downtown, you probably won’t need a car—the best way to get around is via bicycle, trolley, or carriage ride, or foot. Stay in the middle of things at HarbourView Inn, a waterfront hotel in the Historic District. Its Celebrate Romance Package is perfect for honeymooners: It comes with a picturesque carriage tour through downtown Charleston, a gourmet dinner for two, rose petal turndown service, artisanal breakfast delivered right to your room, and more.

The Greek Islands

The southerly Greek islands are warm and sun-splashed well into the fall, so you can revel in some beach time (with—bonus—fewer fellow tourists around), even though summer has passed. Lovely Rhodes enjoys 300 days on sunshine a year on its beautiful resorts, ancient ruins, and cobblestone streets. Santorini is sexy and chic, with cool art galleries and vineyards and, of course, more perfect coastline. Milos, a volcanic island dotted with pretty, multi-hued rock formations, is becoming more popular, and Mykonos is a hedonist’s fever dream. Beautiful resorts abound, but we’re fans of On the Rocks Santorini, a romantic luxury hotel carved into the rocks in the less-crowded Imerovigli area.

Stowe, Vermont

Is it even an October honeymoon if you don’t do some leaf-peeping? Stowe, a ski town at the foot of Mount Mansfield in northern Vermont, is at its most epic in October, with beautiful foliage everywhere you look and plenty of perfect hiking and tree-ogling to be done. You can fish, canoe, zipline, and even get a bird’s-eye view of all that orange, red, and gold during a hot air balloon ride. The downtown is quintessential New England, too, with charming old buildings housing great shops, bars, and restaurants. Get all snuggly at Stowe Mountain Lodge, a luxury resort with a golf course, upscale-rustic design, great food, and to-die-for views. They offer a range of room types, from fully equipped cabins to cute, comfy studios, so you can honeymoon in whatever mountain setting you’ve always dreamed of.

-Andrea Bartz

 

Bottom Line

No matter what kind of tempo, terrain, or temperature you have in mind, there’s a perfect honeymoon destination for you.

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