The Ultimate Guide to the Best Honeymoon Destinations in the US: From Desert Retreats to Coastal Delights
Looking for the ultimate romantic getaway? Look no further! Get ready to embark on a journey through the most breathtaking and enchanting destinations right here in the United States. From the mesmerizing beauty of Sedona and the grandeur of the Grand Canyon, to the idyllic charm of Charleston and the sun-kissed beaches of Miami, this article will unveil the best honeymoon destinations in the US. So, prepare to be whisked away as we guide you through a diverse array of landscapes, captivating cities, and serene island escape. Let's dive into the wonders waiting for you!
Castle Hot Springs, Arizona
Courtesy of Castle Hot Springs
If you're seeking complete seclusion, luxurious standalone suites with large outdoor bathtubs, and delicious farm-to-table five-course meals, then Castle Hot Springs is the perfect romantic sanctuary for your honeymoon dreams. The name Castle Hot Springs is fitting because this 1,100-acre property, which accommodates no more than 63 guests at a time, is home to three stunning hot springs. The first hot spring, with temperatures ranging from 105 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit, is the hottest natural (non-sulfuric) hot spring in the world. The all-inclusive resort epitomizes desert opulence, with indoor and outdoor fireplaces where you can enjoy your morning coffee, and exceptional five-course meals (included in your nightly rate) featuring produce sourced from their on-site farm and greenhouse. For couples looking to add an unforgettable adventure to their honeymoon, Castle Hot Springs offers the Via Ferrata, a harnessed rock climbing experience inspired by alpine climbing in Europe. Adventurous souls can scale the sheer Arizona desert cliffs without the risk of falling, reaching the top of the 400-foot Castle Peak.
Wellness-focused couples seeking active adventures should head straight to this desert destination. Whether it's hot air ballooning or hiking, the possibilities for outdoor activities are endless, says Gregory. Ambiente Sedona, one of the most highly anticipated U.S. resort openings of 2023, offers reservations starting in February. Gregory adds, "The hotel design is completely unique for Sedona. It features floor-to-ceiling glass walls that provide panoramic views of the Red Rocks from your rooms. Some rooms even have rooftop terraces where you can admire incredible sunset views."
Grand Canyon, Arizona
The national parks are ideal honeymoon destinations in the U.S. for couples seeking a domestic getaway. And what better place to start than the pièce de résistance—the Grand Canyon. After your wedding, spend your days hiking the magnificent cliffs and your nights under the stars at Under Canvas Grand Canyon. This glamping honeymoon becomes even more romantic with Under Canvas' ensuite tents, many of which feature private decks and wood-burning stoves to keep you warm after sunset.
If a winter honeymoon destination is your top choice for romance, then this iconic American ski culture town is a worthy contender. Stay at a five-star property and explore four mountains for skiing, snowboarding, and indulging in other activities. After hitting the slopes, couples can unwind with spa treatments and delicious restaurant options, followed by late nights in the hot tub. It is Aspen, after all.
Santa Fe, New Mexico
This high-desert town has something for every type of honeymooner, from artists and spiritualists to snowbirds and foodies. Immerse yourself in the cultural offerings such as the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum and the New Mexico Museum of Art. Indulge in mouthwatering green chiles and chocolate at one of the city’s many excellent restaurants. And if you're craving an adrenaline kick, Ski Santa Fe is just a 30-minute drive from downtown.
Stay here: Santa Fe has no shortage of cute boutique hotels, but The Inn of the Five Graces is perhaps the most beautiful stay in town. This 24-suite hotel is filled with antiques and hand-laid tile mosaics. Guests can enjoy wood-burning kiva fireplaces and lush tapestries in every room.
Santa Barbara, California
Photo: Alexander Spatari / Getty Images
Some of the country's most beautiful towns, agrarian regions, and beaches can be found in the region of Santa Barbara. Sun-kissed newlyweds looking for Pacific eye candy—twisty roads along Highway 1, fields of blooming agriculture, an abundance of organic fare, and stunning ocean views—should prioritize this destination. Don't forget to rent a convertible!
Palm Springs, California
This Southern California desert oasis is often associated with pool parties, colorful retro motels, and mid-century modern furniture stores, making it an Instagrammable option for a bachelorette weekend. While Parker Palm Springs best embodies the aesthetic, the new Sensei Porcupine Creek in nearby Rancho Mirage brings a whole new vibe to the area. "It's best suited for couples looking for a wellness-style retreat," says Gregory. "With 230 acres, stunning grounds, and a Nobu restaurant, the property offers privacy and exclusivity as day guests are not allowed."
Seattle and the San Juan Islands, Washington
If you're from the East Coast, visiting the Pacific Northwest feels like stepping into another continent. The natural beauty of the Puget Sound, Mount Rainier, and the coastal islands will captivate you with live music, Douglas-fir trees, and West Coast oysters. Begin your honeymoon in Seattle at the Four Seasons Hotel Seattle, renowned for its unrivaled infinity pool overlooking Elliott Bay. Then make your way up to the San Juan Islands, a hidden gem of a honeymoon destination. Rent a luxurious Airbnb on a remote island and revel in the peace and stunning scenery of this far-flung Pacific island vacation.
The Pacific Northwest
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The Pacific Northwest offers stunning and moody landscapes, much like the characters found across Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey. With its prehistoric volcanic activity, Washington State and Oregon are home to famous sites like Olympic National Park and Crater Lake, as well as innovative tech companies. The region's culture is understated and relaxed, but the standard of living and dining is high. Coffee culture and farm-to-table tasting menus are just a few of the highlights in this destination.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Courtesy of Aman Resorts
Aman vacations are known for their over-the-top luxury, and an Aman honeymoon is truly unmatched, whether in the U.S. or abroad. For a winter paradise near Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park, book your honeymoon at Amangani in Jackson Hole. From Amangani's private ski lounge and dog sledding to wellness treatments for two in winter, or a western hiking and wildlife adventure in summer, this is a once-in-a-lifetime honeymoon destination.
Courtesy Taylor River Lodge
Honeymooners seeking a more unplugged mountain experience should skip Vail and Aspen and explore the secluded southwest corner of Colorado. This region offers outdoor adventure throughout the winter and summer months. "Because it’s so remote, you’ll find more all-inclusive packages at lodge-style accommodations," says Gregory. Dunton Hot Springs and Taylor River Lodge are Gregory's top resort picks in the area. "All meals are included, along with guided activities like rafting, fishing, and horseback riding. It's off-the-grid, but you'll be very well taken care of."
Denali National Park, Alaska
Photo: Daniel A. Leifheit / Getty Images
Wildlife lovers and foodies should seriously consider an Alaska honeymoon. One of the best ways to experience the state is by cruise or by booking a tour operator who can take you to all of the wildlife sightings and lesser-frequented parts of the state.
The American West, US
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The American West, encompassing Utah, Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico, offers one of the largest luxury development regions in the country. Couples will appreciate the subtle luxury offered at five-star properties in this region. Imagine views of rose-tinted canyons and stargazing in the desert during a luxury ranch honeymoon.
The Hawaiian Islands, US
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The dream-like Aloha State, with its six islands—Hawai'i, Oahu, Maui, Kauai, Molokai, and Lanai—is situated in the middle of the Pacific. Thanks to prehistoric volcanic activity, this destination boasts lush vegetation and dramatic landscapes. Hawaii offers authentic culture, stunning resorts, and conservation efforts. Swim with whales, turtles, and other beautiful marine life—just remember not to touch them.
The Virgin Islands, US
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The Virgin Islands, US, specifically St. John, St. Thomas, and St. Croix, are all perfect honeymoon destinations for couples with different preferences. St. Thomas is a bustling port city with luxurious properties and is easily accessible from various US cities with direct flights. On the other hand, St. John and St. Croix offer a more private and intimate experience, requiring a short ferry ride from St. Thomas, immersing couples in the true island atmosphere.
Taylor McIntyre/Travel Leisure
For couples who love fun and culture, Nashville, Tennessee is the ideal honeymoon destination. Known for its good food, art, and music scene, Nashville offers a unique experience. You can explore the city's architectural wonders, such as the Parthenon, which is a replica of the original structure in Athens. You can also find inspiration from the music industry with a visit to Music Row. Make sure to try the delicious barbeque at Martin's Bar-B-Que Joint. For a luxurious stay, book the penthouse suite at Thompson Nashville, featuring stunning mid-century modern decor and a luxurious freestanding titanium tub.
Charleston, South Carolina
Taylor McIntyre/Travel Leisure
Whether you've seen pictures of Charleston on Instagram or have visited before, it's easy to see why this Southern city is so special. From romantic walks through White Point Garden or Waterfront Park to sunset catamaran rides on Charleston Harbor, the Holy City has a magical atmosphere that enhances marital bliss. Stay at The Charleston Place for a soothing reflexology session at The Spa and indulge in delicious lowcountry cuisine at Charleston Grill while enjoying live Southern jazz music.
The Low Country, South Carolina
Getty Images / Peter Unger
The coastal marshes of South Carolina have always been associated with romance, even before The Notebook made them famous. The area offers various honeymoon destinations that cater to different preferences. If you're looking for vibrant restaurants and shopping, Charleston is the place to be. However, if you prefer a more relaxed vibe with beaches, golfing, and great food, the area near Hilton Head is perfect for you.
Kiawah Island, South Carolina
Located about 20 miles south of Charleston, Kiawah Island is often considered one of the most beautiful barrier islands in the country. It offers a southern charm reminiscent of The Notebook, with its dreamy marshes and moss-covered roads. Golfing and kayaking are popular activities, but you may find it hard to leave your hotel due to its beauty and amenities.
Stay here: Which brings us to The Sanctuary Hotel at Kiawah Island Golf Resort, the undeniable hospitality darling of the island (and 2023 Gold List winner). This 250-room oasis offers a beautiful stretch of private beach, indulgent meals, a piano bar, and fluffy featherbeds worth ditching those morning alarms for.
Newport, Rhode Island
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If you love the North Atlantic coast and its coastal bluffs, you should consider Newport, Rhode Island for your honeymoon. Newport offers stunning sunset sails, picturesque views, and delicious seafood options.
Block Island, Rhode Island
Photo by Bob Gundersen / Getty Images
If you're looking for a U.S. honeymoon destination with a small-town charm, Block Island in Rhode Island is perfect for you. It's a hidden gem that offers a magical experience. Stay at the modern Block Island Beach House and explore the small island on bikes or motorbikes. Despite its size, the island has over 40 restaurants, including The Oar and Dead Eye Dick's, which offer delicious food with a cozy backyard feel. Don't forget to visit Mohegan Bluffs for a breathtaking view of the rocky beach.
Cape May, New Jersey
Courtesy of Beach Plum Farm
Located at the southernmost tip of New Jersey, Cape May is the oldest seaside resort town in America. It's a historic landmark known for its Victorian architecture and a popular destination for honeymooners. You can stay at Congress Hall, a historic hotel that has hosted several U.S. presidents, or opt for a more rural experience at the Beach Plum Farm. Start your day with an iced coffee at Ostara's Coffeehouse, lounge on Higbee Beach, dine at Mayer's Tavern, and end the night with a martini at the Ebbitt Room. Don't forget to visit the Boiler Room at Congress Hall for some late-night dancing.
Courtesy of Cliff House Maine
Maine is an underrated honeymoon destination in New England, offering beautiful views of the Atlantic Ocean, delicious seafood, and a peaceful atmosphere. Ogunquit is a charming town where you can enjoy stunning sunrises, indulge in lobster rolls at Lobster Shack, and take romantic walks along Marginal Way, a waterfront path. For a pampering experience, book a week at Cliff House Maine, a seaside retreat with a luxurious spa.
Ready for a honeymoon road trip? Start in Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park, where you can enjoy biking, hiking, kayaking, and other outdoor activities. As you head further south to Ogunquit and Kennebunkport, you'll find a quaint New England vibe with luxurious hotels and, of course, great lobster.
Mackinac Island, Michigan
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Mackinac Island, also known as the "Hamptons of the Lakes," is a hidden gem for honeymooners. Located on Lake Huron, the island can only be accessed by boat or private plane, adding to its exclusivity. The island offers a unique Caribbean-like experience in the Midwest with its breathtaking blue waters. It's the perfect road trip honeymoon stop for couples who appreciate natural beauty and a touch of romance.
Courtesy Saugatuck Douglas Convention & Visitors Bureau
If you're looking for simple pleasures and a small-town vibe, head to Saugatuck on the western coast of Michigan. This hidden gem offers opportunities for cruising the waters of Lake Michigan, enjoying hard ciders and Saisons on local farms, and relaxing on the stunning white sands of Oval Beach. It's known as a foodie destination with great restaurants like The Southerner and Pennyroyal Provisions. For a unique glamping experience, book a tent at The Fields of Michigan, which also offers a spa cabin.
Getty Images / Atlantide Phototravel
Nantucket is a preppy island in Massachusetts that has attracted celebrities and politicians for years. It offers beautiful architecture, impeccable gardens, and delicious seafood. The island has a range of stylish hotels, from the resort-style accommodations at The White Elephant and The Wauwinet to more boutique options like The Greydon House.
The Berkshires, Massachusetts
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The Berkshires in Massachusetts is a romantic destination throughout all four seasons. Whether you visit during the winter, spring, or fall, you'll find something special. The key to an exceptional honeymoon experience is to fully enjoy the luxurious resorts that are popping up in the area. Start at Miraval Berkshires, the East Coast outpost of the renowned wellness retreat, where you can practice yoga and meditation. Then, head to Canyon Ranch Lenox, an all-inclusive resort with an incredible spa.
New Orleans, Louisiana
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Experience the vibrant and lively atmosphere of New Orleans, where a wave of high-design hotels is opening at a rapid pace. Indulge in cozy meals at romantic restaurants like Coquette and La Petite Grocery, explore the charming architecture of the city, and enjoy the unique nightlife. For a memorable day trip, venture across the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway to the quaint small towns of Covington and Abita Springs.
Miami Beach, Florida
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Don't let the partygoers discourage you. Miami Beach in Florida is a haven for those who appreciate culture, love to party, and are art enthusiasts, especially if they choose to stay at a luxurious five-star property along Collins Avenue or Ocean Drive. The advantage of staying in these upscale accommodations is the direct access to some of the best beaches in the United States, along with complimentary umbrella and towel service. Miami Beach offers more than just relaxation: couples can indulge in world-class fine dining and entertainment options that are often conveniently located within their resort. Shopaholics will also find their own slice of paradise in nearby Bal Harbour.
The Florida Keys, Florida
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The East Coast of the United States hides a hidden gem for every type of couple in the Florida Keys. Take a scenic drive down the Florida Coast, and you'll find yourself transported to another world where you can swim with manatees and other wildlife or enjoy a relaxed island-hopping atmosphere along the Keys.
Disney World, Florida
The happiest place on earth is the perfect USA honeymoon destination! Disney World in Orlando, Florida offers a multitude of adventures, from a culinary journey around the world in Epcot to thrilling rides throughout the park.
For a luxurious and romantic Disney resort, consider Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. This enchanting resort is known for its Victorian elegance and features an incredible orchestra in the lobby. Indulge in spa treatments and take a refreshing dip in the lovely pool.
Things to do in Disney World:
- Experience a culinary adventure in Epcot
- Visit Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
- Preserve your treasured memories with a Disney Memory Maker purchase
- Delight in a romantic dinner at Victoria & Albert’s at the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
- Embark on an exciting safari in Animal Kingdom
- Experience the nostalgia of Magic Kingdom
From stunning beaches to vibrant cities, the USA offers a wide range of incredible honeymoon destinations. Whether you seek adventure in a national park, relaxation on a beautiful beach, or immersion in the culture and cuisine of a lively city, these destinations guarantee an amazing honeymoon experience.
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For a taste of the Caribbean without leaving the United States, consider visiting Islamorada, a group of islands located midway between Miami and Key West. This beachside haven offers a perfect blend of water sports, laid-back live music venues, unique shops, and top-notch dining. Don't miss the chance to visit the iconic Holiday Isle Tiki Bar, a classic tiki establishment and the original home of the famous Rum Runner cocktail.
Stay here: For a true barefoot island experience, check out Casa Morada. This luxurious resort offers breathtaking water views, a dreamy freshwater pool, and suites with outdoor showers and jacuzzis. The property is exclusively for guests aged 16 and above, ensuring a peaceful and intimate retreat.
For an unforgettable island honeymoon that doesn't require a passport, consider visiting the tropical U.S. territory of Puerto Rico. With a quick three-and-a-half-hour flight from Atlanta, you can experience the vibrant capital of San Juan and enjoy lively nights out in the Old San Juan neighborhood, dancing the night away and sipping on refreshing mojitos. If you're looking for beach time, book a suite at one of the luxurious oceanfront resorts that line the coast. The St. Regis Bahia Beach and the Ritz-Carlton's Dorado Beach offer convenient proximity to the city.
According to Gregory, Kauai is gaining popularity and recognition. This lesser-developed island exudes natural beauty, which has attracted billionaires to invest in its untouched landscapes. Several resorts along the southern coast, such as Ko'a Kea, offer all the classic elements of a traditional Hawaiian honeymoon. On the North Shore, the newly opened 1 Hotel Hanalei Bay stands out with its serene interiors and rejuvenating wellness and fitness programs.
The Hamptons, New York
The Hamptons continue to capture hearts with their increasing allure and idyllic charm. From the Gatsby era to the vibrant Montauk scene of today, the Hamptons have always been a romantic escape. Leave the stress of the city behind and indulge in fabulous parties, charming wineries, and lavender fields reminiscent of the south of France. For a truly blissful experience, check into Shou Sugi Ban House, the Hamptons' first wellness resort. Inspired by Japanese traditions, this enclave of health and serenity in Water Mill offers 13 picturesque cottages.
Santa Ynez Valley, California
Getty Images / Lauryn Ishak
Located one hour inland from Santa Barbara, the Santa Ynez Valley in central California is a rising star among wine regions. Here, you'll find a delightful mix of rustic-luxe ranches, casual tasting rooms, and farm-to-table restaurants offering delectable fresh cuisine. After indulging in Grenache Rosés and Sauvignon Blancs in Los Olivos (pictured), embark on a guided horseback ride through the nearby vineyards. Conclude your evening with a mouthwatering, multi-course Michelin-rated meal at Bell's in Los Alamos. For your accommodations, consider staying at Alisal Ranch, The Inn at Mattei's Tavern, or Hotel Ynez, three unique venues perfect for a memorable honeymoon.
Getty Images / Sean Pavone
Known as the Hostess City of the South, Savannah has all the ingredients for a truly romantic getaway. Stroll through stately garden squares adorned with Spanish moss-draped live oaks, enjoy the vibrant arts and music scene, and savor the numerous romantic bars and restaurants. One unique feature of certain areas is the absence of open container laws, allowing you to take a leisurely walk while enjoying a cocktail. While there are many great hotels downtown, the premier resort in the vicinity is the Montage Palmetto Bluff, which also served as the venue for Justin Bieber and Hailey Baldwin's 2019 wedding.
When it comes to planning your dream honeymoon, the possibilities are endless in the breathtaking landscapes and romantic destinations across the United States. From the sun-drenched beaches of Santa Barbara, California, to the rugged beauty of Denali National Park in Alaska, or the sultry charm of New Orleans, Louisiana, you can find the perfect setting to celebrate your love. Whether you prefer the tranquil seclusion of the San Juan Islands in Washington or the lively streets of Miami Beach, Florida, the US offers a diverse range of honeymoon destinations to suit every couple's desires. So, pack your bags and embark on an unforgettable journey together, creating memories that will last a lifetime.
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