You don’t have to fly overseas for a once-in-a-lifetime romantic vacation.
Editor's Note: Those who choose to travel are strongly encouraged to check local government restrictions, rules, and safety measures related to COVID-19 and take personal comfort levels and health conditions into consideration before departure.
What do you truly want out of your honeymoon? That's the first question you need to ask yourself and your partner when looking into honeymoon destinations in the U.S. or abroad. Some couples want adventure, others want pure luxury, but one theme remains constant: every couple wants their honeymoon to be an unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime experience. This is the trip you've been waiting for and saving for, and for some travelers, it's their first big splurge vacation. Whether you want an elaborate adventure, a secluded romantic vacation, or unrivaled luxury, you can absolutely find your dream trip at one of the best honeymoon destinations in the U.S.A.
Couples choose to stay domestic for their honeymoon for any number of reasons. Of course, some have seen their wedding and honeymoon plans turned upside down by COVID-19 and a domestic honeymoon seems like the only option. But some couples are just so exhausted by wedding planning that they'd prefer to skip the long-haul flight, while others have to stay in the country as they work out immigration and visa logistics. And finally, there are plenty of couples who have traveled the world and realized how much they still have to see of their home country. So, whether finding a honeymoon destination in the U.S. was your last choice or your first, we're here to tell you that you are going to be blown away by the five-star domestic honeymoon options. Here are the 13 absolute best places to honeymoon in the U.S. for romance and adventure — and to bring you and your partner closer than ever.
Castle Hot Springs, Arizona
If your idea of paradise is utter seclusion, standalone suites outfitted with enormous al fresco bath tubs, and indulgent farm-to-table five-course meals, then Castle Hot Springs is the romantic sanctuary of your honeymoon dreams. The name Castle Hot Springs doesn't lie — on this 11,000-acre property, which hosts no more than 63 guests at a time, there are three gorgeous hot springs: the first, ranging from 105 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit, is the hottest natural (non-sulfuric) hot spring in the world. The all-inclusive resort is the pinnacle of desert opulence, from the indoor and outdoor fireplaces next to which you can enjoy your morning coffee, to the exceptional five-course meals (included in your nightly rate) with produce sourced from the on-site farm and greenhouse. For the couple that wants to add an unforgettable adventure element to their honeymoon, sign up for Castle Hot Springs' Via Ferrata, a harnessed rock climbing experience inspired by alpine climbing in Europe. Adventurous souls can scale the sheer Arizona desert cliffs without ever being at risk of falling — kind of an accessible Free Solo situation — to the top of 500-foot Castle Peak.
The Hamptons, New York
The Hamptons gets ritzier and more idyllic every year, but they have always had an air of romance. From the days of Gatsby to today's Montauk scene, the Hamptons remains a couples' escape, where city stressors fall by the wayside to make way for fabulous parties, charming wineries, and south of France-reminiscent lavender fields. Whether you're coming to the Hamptons from lower Manhattan or flying in from Chicago, let yourself and your spouse sink into the seaside bliss of this extravagant area by checking into the Hamptons' first wellness resort, Shou Sugi Ban House, a Japanese-inspired enclave of health and serenity in Southampton with 13 picturesque cottages.
Napa Valley, California
Napa sells itself as a honeymoon destination. It's one of the most romantic destinations in the U.S., hands-down. And the beauty of Napa is there's so much to explore in every town in the valley. From farm-to-table dining at Acacia House in St. Helena, to spending the afternoon at Tank Garage Winery in Calistoga, to lounging at Archer Hotel Napa's rooftop in downtown Napa, this honeymoon is for the classy, food and wine-loving couple. For perfect accommodations — and more wine — stay at the brand-new Montage Healdsburg, which just opened in late 2020 and offers opulent standalone bungalow-style suites and an adjacent vineyard, Aperture Cellars, steps away from the property.
Maine is an oft-unsung vacation hero of New England, with enough seafood, wilderness, and gorgeous views of the Atlantic Ocean to characterize it not only as one of the best honeymoon destinations in the U.S., but also as an essential couples' vacation spot. Honeymooners should set their sights on Ogunquit, where sunrises over the Atlantic and lobster rolls will set the tone for your marriage. Aside from noshing on lobster rolls and chowder at Lobster Shack in Perkins Cove and picnicking and strolling along Marginal Way (a three-mile waterfront path), reserve a pampering week at Cliff House Maine, a seaside retreat on the southern coast known for The Spa at Cliff House's healing, restorative treatments.
For the fun-loving couple looking for a hearty dose of culture on their honeymoon, Nashville is a city of good food, art, and music. Your honeymoon here will have architectural elements — Nashville is known for the Parthenon, made in the image of the original Athens structure — and music inspiration from the shops on Music Row, as well as some truly memorable barbeque from Martin's. For the over-the-top accommodations you're after, book the Thompson Nashville penthouse suite, which features the mid-century modern decor and freestanding titanium tub that design dreams are made of.
Seattle and the San Juan Islands, Washington
If you're from the East Coast, visiting the Pacific Northwest really does feel like visiting another continent. The natural beauty of the Puget Sound, Mount Rainier, and the coastal islands will sweep you both away, wooing you with live music, Douglas-fir trees, and West Coast oysters. Start your honeymoon in Seattle at Four Seasons Hotel Seattle, known for their truly unrivaled infinity pool looking out over Elliott Bay. Then make your way up to the San Juan Islands, the best kept travel secret in the U.S. and a sleeper hit romantic honeymoon. In the San Juans, stay on the remote Lummi Island at Willows Inn, home to one of the best restaurants in the U.S., and revel in the peace and exquisite scenery that comes with this far-flung Pacific island vacation.
Big Sur, California
Yes, California makes the list twice, but in our defense, California is the perfect honeymoon state. If you have not driven the Pacific Coast Highway from Santa Barbara to Santa Cruz, you have not experienced the full beauty of this country. Truly, there is no drive more romantic — not to mention iconic — for a domestic honeymoon. We would recommend breaking up the Pacific Coast Highway honeymoon with a few luxury hotel stays for a honeymoon that walks the line between adventure and romance. Start in Santa Barbara, a West Coast gem two hours north of Los Angeles, and drive all the way to Ventana Big Sur. The five-star glamping destination, perched on the cliffs overlooking the dramatic Pacific Ocean waves, is truly unforgettable. From Big Sur, move through Carmel Valley and Carmel-by-the-Sea, where you can stop for lunch, a wine tasting, or an overnight stay at Bernardus Lodge & Spa. If you're game to continue all the way up to San Francisco, make sure to book the last few nights of your honeymoon at the opulent Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay.
If you're longing for the Caribbean (or the Thai islands), the Florida Keys delivers. Islamorada is one of our favorite keys, not only for their sugar-sand beaches and glittering water, but because it's home to Moorings Village, where you can rent a gorgeous beachfront cottage. Moorings essentially gives you your own slice of the island; a freestanding, private cottage with white-washed walls and luxury island-inspired decor. Rent their Honeymoon Cottage (the name speaks for itself), and enjoy romantic strolls in the tropical garden, mornings lounging on the hammocks, and sunsets you'll never forget.
The Berkshires, Massachusetts
A Northeast gem, The Berkshires are romantic in all four seasons, from blustery winter weather, to spring blooms, to foliage-filled Octobers. The key to treating it as a five-star honeymoon destination, rather than just a spontaneous weekend away, is to go all-out enjoying the fast-growing luxury resort scene. Start at Miraval Berkshires, the first East Coast outpost for this Arizona wellness haven, where you and your partner can practice yoga and meditation, beginning your marriage with a deep sense of serenity and inner peace. Then, slide over to Canyon Ranch Lenox, an all-inclusive resort with an out-of-this-world Berkshires spa.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
There are few honeymoons more over-the-top — in the U.S. or abroad — than an Aman vacation. These hotels are not just the gold standard of five-star retreats, they are tailor made for honeymooners. For a veritable winter paradise, at the gateway to Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park, book your honeymoon at Amangani in Jackson Hole. From Amangani's private ski lounge, dog sledding, and wellness treatments for two in the winter, to a western hiking and wildlife haven with unadulterated remote beauty in the summer, this is a once-in-a-lifetime honeymoon in any season.
Charleston, South Carolina
Whether you've just seen the occasional pastel photo of Charleston grace your Instagram feed, or you've been visiting the area since you were young, it doesn't take much to realize how special this Southern city really is. From strolling hand-in-hand through White Point Garden or Waterfront Park, to taking a catamaran out on Charleston Harbor at sunset, the Holy City will make marital bliss even sweeter. Stay at Belmond Charleston Place, where reflexology and deep tissue massage await you and your new spouse at The Spa, and you can enjoy lowcountry fare at their high-end Charleston Grill while tapping your foot to live Southern jazz.
Looking for the best winter honeymoons in the U.S.? Aspen has to be at the top of your list, because it offers both world-class skiing and winter activities, as well as luxurious après-ski and endless cold-weather spa opportunities. If your honeymoon in the Dolomites or the French Alps got canceled, book a suite at Hotel Jerome, an Auberge Resorts Collection instead, where the spa brings "centuries-old healing traditions of the Roaring Fork Valley" by "harness[ing] indigenous minerals, botanicals, and essential oils." This is a honeymoon for the couple who wants to cozy up by a roaring fire with a bottle of Veuve Clicquot and hide from the world together, but also challenge each other on the slopes and try new adventures, from snowmobiling to tubing.
Grand Canyon, Arizona
The national parks are perfect honeymoon destinations in the U.S. for the couples looking for a domestic bucket-list trip. You may as well start with the pièce de résistance
and head to the Grand Canyon — there's really no destination more perfect after your wedding. Spend your days hiking the magnificent cliffs and your nights under the stars at Under Canvas Grand Canyon. A glamping honeymoon is made especially romantic thanks to Under Canvas' ensuite tents, many with private decks and wood burning stoves to keep you toasty after the sun goes down.
Copyright 2021 Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved. From https://www.travelandleisure.com. By Maya Kachroo-Levine.