After months of planning and a day of overly demanding relatives, it’s understandable that most couples want a relaxing honeymoon where they can lazily doze on the beach and indulge in one too many Piña Coladas at the hotel bar. But what about starting off life as that eccentric couple that doesn’t do the mundane, expected honeymoon? (You’ll have enough of that during the marriage). Here’s a ‘go here, not there’ unique honeymoon guide that will up your couple coolness factor by a few hefty points.
You want: Sun, Sand & Surf[caption id="attachment_37907" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] So you want some sun and sand for your honeymoon? Photo courtesy of Unsplash[/caption]
Your first thought for a beach honeymoon is probably Hawaii, southern Florida or somewhere in the Caribbean, and let’s not forget one of THE most popular honeymoon destinations, Mexico. But, what about a beach with sand as soft as flour? Or a beach with penguins waddling around instead of diapered babies? Keep reading!
Destin, Florida[caption id="attachment_38068" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] Check out that powdery sand on Destin’s beaches. Photo by Just Jennifer CC BY[/caption]
Destin is nestled in the nook of the Gulf Coast, boasting intimate (do NOT go during Spring Break), white-sand beaches and emerald waters. Other than pristine beaches, Destin is close to the Deep South so you can experience foods smothered in Cajun and Creole spices. Make sure to try a basket of hush puppies (fresh out of the fryer, of course) and to head to local favorites like the Donut Hole for a romantic talk over a slice of homemade pie.
Stay at: The Hilton Sandestin[caption id="attachment_37912" align="aligncenter" width="999"] Pristine beach views at the Hilton Sandestin. Photo courtesy of the Hilton Sandestin. [/caption]
The Hilton Sandestin is right on the beach so you can stroll lazily up to your room for a romantic bubble bath after a day soaking up the sun. The hotel spa, Serenity by the Sea, specializes in couples’ massages so you can romance it up before retiring to your private beachfront balcony for a glass of bubbly.
Cape Town, South Africa[caption id="attachment_38071" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] See the adorable penguins at Boulders Beach. Photo by Bas Leenders CC BY[/caption]
Cape Town is like an African California, but with better food and amazing culture. Hit Boulders Beach on a clear, blue day to catch a glimpse of the waddling African penguins! For a romantic evening after a long day sunbathing at the beach, take the Sunset Cable Car up Table Mountain for a spectacular view of colors bursting from behind the setting sun.
STAY AT: The Radisson Blu Waterfront[caption id="attachment_37913" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] They’re not joking when they say ‘waterfront.’ Photo courtesy of the Radisson Blu Waterfront.[/caption]
Since the beach is what you’re looking for, waste no time at the Radisson Blu and get right out to the water! Lounge on sundecks suspended over the Atlantic or opt to head to one of the nearby beaches like Camps Bay or Clifton Beach. The nautical decor, fresh breezes and oceanfront views accompanied by African hospitality and food is an unbeatable experience.
You want: Adventure[caption id="attachment_38047" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] Partake in an adventure of a lifetime with your new partner in crime. Photo courtesy of Unsplash.[/caption]
Lots of couples dream about an adrenaline-pumping experience at the massive Disney theme parks in Orlando, FL — think again — excessively long lines and whining children doesn’t scream ‘romance.’ You could do what everyone else does and try parasailing and scuba diving in Mexico, which sounds fantastic — but we’ve got more unique ideas!
Appalachian Trail, American East Coast[caption id="attachment_37920" align="aligncenter" width="2048"] Appalachian Trail view from New Hampshire. Photo by Louis Jones CC BY[/caption]
Hike part of the Appalachian Trail through Tennessee and North Carolina on America’s East Coast. The Appalachian trail is 2160 miles long, so unless you’re planning on taking a two month honeymoon, better pick a section. Try the Nantahala Mountains in North Carolina. The hike will take you about three days if you average about 10 miles per day. Or try the Smoky Mountain paths for a more challenging hike that will take you about four days of steeper trails to complete. Get your heart pumping with your new partner in crime and don’t forget to stop for some smooches and photo ops from the mountain tops.
STAY AT: The Grand Bohemian[caption id="attachment_37923" align="aligncenter" width="960"] Enjoy a relaxing stay after days of hiking. Photo courtesy of the Grand Bohemian. [/caption]
After exploring the Nantahala National forest and maybe hitting Cherokee and the Smoky Mountain National forest, rest your achy bones at the Grand Bohemian in nearby Asheville, North Carolina. The Grand Bohemian is a perfect blend of rustic charm and pure opulence. The Tudor-inspired edifice is decorated with antler chandeliers, hand-carved wooden furniture, and tufted, velvet headboards on plushly-covered beds. Make sure you take advantage of the Hotel’s Poseidon Spa for a hot stone massage or a romantic massage for two!
Since the Grand Bohemian is located at the entrance of the historical Biltmore Estate (largest home in America), you’ll be able to continue the honeymoon by exploring 8000 acres of the Estate. Try horseback riding, fishing, or take a romantic stroll around the Estate and its massive gardens. Or you can skip the gorgeous Bohemian and opt to actually stay at the historical Biltmore.
Patagonia, Chile[caption id="attachment_37921" align="aligncenter" width="2048"] Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia, Chile. Photo by Giullaume Baviere CC BY[/caption]
Explore the pristine surroundings of southern Chile’s Patagonia region. Separated from Argentina by the Andes mountains, the Patagonia region is an adventurer’s playground. From hiking and horseback riding to kayaking and mountaineering, the region boasts crystal lakes, granite mountains, lush forests and ice fields. We suggest you head to Torres del Paine National Park to see a little bit of everything! Try touring the region on horseback and keep your eyes peeled for the local guanaco, a long-legged camelid similar to a llama, who likes to graze the mountainous regions of the park.
STAY AT: Las Torres Patagonia[caption id="attachment_48411" align="aligncenter" width="800"] Photo via trivago[/caption]
The Las Torres Patagonia is a must-stay if you’re looking for an authentic Patagonian experience. The hotel, or estancia (ranch), is located in a remote area of the Torres del Paine National Park. Make sure to bring all your hiking equipment and clothes for both warm and cold climates. The ranch is a few hours drive from any town and the weather can be unpredictable, but exciting. The Ranch prides itself on staying true to its roots and Patagonian culture by providing authentic Chilean meals with products from the on-site organic garden, offering homemade beer from the on-site brewery and assuring that staff is dressed in traditional banqueano (cowboy) style.
You want: Romance[caption id="attachment_37926" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] See romantic destinations you never dreamed of below. Photo courtesy of Unsplash.[/caption]
The obvious honeymoons that come to mind when you think of romance are the Florida Keys, the Bahamas, and iconic European cities like Paris. While we do agree that these places have some sensual appeal factors — there are a few hidden gems you might want to try if you’re looking for an alternative passionate getaway.
Bled, Slovenia[caption id="attachment_37931" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] Glimmering Bled Lake in Slovenia makes for true romance. Vincente Villamon CC BY[/caption]
Try jetting off to the exclusive city of Bled, Slovenia for a uniquely romantic experience. Positioned on the shimmering Lake Bled near the border with Austria, Bled is surrounded by lush forests and dramatic mountain-scapes. Visit the Bled Castle and share a slice of kremsnita, a traditional Slovenian vanilla and cream cake.
STAY AT: Vila Istra[caption id="attachment_37935" align="aligncenter" width="975"] An intimate, private escape at the Vila Istra. Photo courtesy of the Vila Istra.[/caption]
The gorgeous Vila Istra is tucked away in the nook of high trees overlooking the tranquil Lake Bled. This luxury villa turned design hotel has an intimate allure with views of Bled Castle. The dining experience is exclusive and precise, with many dishes explained first-hand at your table by the Chef. You’ll fall in love with the privacy and refinery at the Vila Istra.
Prince Edward Island, Canada[caption id="attachment_37932" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] Enjoy quiet, uninterrupted romance on Prince Edward Island. Photo by Steve Sutherland CC BY[/caption]
Could anything be more romantic than the setting of the best-selling classic Anne of Green Gables? Probably not. Hike the quiet sand dunes covered in tall grass as you tour this Atlantic island’s many historical lighthouses. Stop-in a nearby cafe for hot chocolate and locally-made peanut brittle.
STAY AT: The Fairholm National Historic Inn[caption id="attachment_37937" align="aligncenter" width="960"] Soak up romantic history at the Inn. Photo courtesy of the Fairholm National Historic Inn. [/caption]
Built in the 1830s, the Fairholm started out as a private home and was converted to an Inn in the mid 90s. The Inn retains its family-oriented character with the owners and staff on-call 24 hours a day. Doris, the long-time innkeeper, cooks a fresh breakfast every morning, as she has for the last decade. For honeymooners, the Inn recommends the Brecken Suite, which occupies the entire third floor of the home. The Suite comes equipped with a cozy fireplace, a two-seat tub with jets, heated floors and the option to have breakfast-in-bed.
You want: Culture[caption id="attachment_37971" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] Find culture in local art, food and markets. Photo by Martin and Kathy Dady CC BY[/caption]
Anyone looking for a honeymoon oozing with culture would probably think of the usual suspects like Rome, New York or San Francisco. You know what to expect from these destinations — try something more exotic!
Austin, Texas[caption id="attachment_37975" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] The capital of Texas is bursting with culture. Photo by James Loesch CC BY[/caption]
Texas might not have been your first choice for a honeymoon, but the capital city has a lot to offer in terms of great music, delicious food, and prestigious museums. Austin is known as the live music capital of world, with local artists filling the streets and bars with an array of music styles. The food scene ranges from traditional Southern cuisines to modern American and an amazing food truck scene. Make sure to try the Veracruz All Natural truck on Cesar Chavez St. for homemade tortillas and breakfast tacos. Spend an afternoon exploring the Harry Ransom Center where you can catch a glimpse of a Gutenberg Bible. Spend the evening at a honky-tonk, because you’re in Texas and who doesn’t look cute in cowboy boots?
STAY AT: The W Hotel Austin[caption id="attachment_38022" align="aligncenter" width="960"] A chic, cosmopolitan stay awaits you. Photo courtesy of the W Hotel Austin Facebook page.[/caption]
After a day soaking up all the culture that the city has to offer, rest your head on the crisp pillows at the W Hotel Austin. Located in the heart of downtown Austin, the W Hotel offers spacious rooms with meticulous, modern designs complete with Murano glass chandeliers and a surround sound system to listen to the best music Austin has to offer. Head down to the Hotel’s WET® Bar for organic spirits, seasonal cocktails and local beers.
Marrakesh, Morocco[caption id="attachment_37972" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] Explore the colorful souks of Marrakesh. Photo by Dan Lundberg CC BY[/caption]
From the massive souks to the ornate architecture displayed throughout the Medina, Marrakesh is dripping with colorful culture. Explore the spice markets and try the sweets drenched in honey, then head to the zellige-covered tombs and end with a night out in the main square, Jaama el Fna, for some delicious street food and snake-charmer watching.
STAY AT: Riad Azoulay
Located in the old Jewish Quarter of Marrakesh, the Riad Azoulay is not a typical tourist stay. The Riad is hidden in a tiny alley in the middle of local makeshift homes and spice shops. The Riad’s grand wooden doors open up to a pristine oasis that will take your breath away. The Riad smells of fresh cooked Moroccan tortillas and rose petals. Each of the nine rooms are ornately decorated with cedar wood furnishings and colorful tapestries. The staff is meticulous, extremely dedicated and quietly friendly. You WILL fall in love with this sacred place.
You want: Cozy[caption id="attachment_38046" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] It’s time to snuggle up by the fire. Photo courtesy of Unsplash.[/caption]
If you’re more of a mountain couple who prefers fresh powdery snow to white sand beaches, make your honeymoon a cozy affair with snuggles by the fire. Colorado and Utah ski resorts are popping into your mind right now, maybe even the Swiss Alps for a splurge. No need to follow in every other honeymooners’ footsteps — why not a trip to America’s great North or to the exotic slopes of Japan!
Jackson Hole, Wyoming[caption id="attachment_38041" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] Take in gorgeous vistas at Jackson Hole. Photo by Larry Johnson CC BY[/caption]
Jackson Hole is the perfect place to cozy up to a fire and watch the snow fall from the window. Located on the border between Wyoming and Idaho, Jackson Hole is made up of a deep valley of plain-lands surrounded by snow tipped mountains. Native Americans roamed these lands hunting and performing sacred ceremonies. Take a whitewater rafting trip down the Snake River, book a wildlife expedition, or hit the famous slopes for some skiing before retiring to your toasty bed by the fire.
STAY AT: Spring Creek Ranch[caption id="attachment_38039" align="aligncenter" width="960"] Stay warm at the Spring Creek Ranch. Photo via trivago.[/caption]
Stay in one of the nine cozy cabins at Spring Creek Ranch if you want mountain views, a wood-burning fireplace and privacy! Spring Creek Ranch is close to the slopes so you can enjoy a day cutting through powdery snow before snuggling up in your terry cloth robe. Head over to the Wilderness Adventure Spa for a relaxing Teton Forrest Massage incorporating oils and scrubs made from Teton Forrest ingredients.
Niseko, Japan[caption id="attachment_38042" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] Snow forests await you on the slopes in Japan. Photo by Hirotomo T CC BY[/caption]
Located on Hokkaido Island off the north of Japan, Niseko is a ski village boasting snowy slopes sought out by skiers and snowboarders from all corners of the world. The village is dominated by Mt. Yotei, an inactive volcano, that overlooks the town. Try one of the local hot springs (onsen) for a steamy afternoon delight.
STAY AT: The Green Leaf[caption id="attachment_38030" align="aligncenter" width="950"] Check out that view! Photo courtesy of The Green Leaf Hotel.[/caption]
This gorgeous hotel located at the base of Mt. Niseko Annupuri looks even more stunning when covered in shimmering snow. Enjoy snowy vistas from your over-sized windows as you relax bedside with a bubbling Japanese tea in hand. The hotel offers direct ski-out access and boasts a rooftop deck with an open fire pit where skiers can take a midday break. The hotel also offers its own award-winning spa and both indoor and outdoor onsen surrounded by snowy pines and giant boulders.