11 Best Honeymoon Destinations in the USA

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Napa Valley is an excellent 40th birthday celebration destination
A Napa sunset. Photo credit: Shutterstock

If you think “Honeymoon” is synonymous with “Europe” or “Bali” or other faraway, exotic lands, think again. For many newly-married couples, their honeymoon is a dream trip to a bucket destination but sometimes, couples want and need to stay close to home. That doesn’t mean a honeymoon destination in the USA can’t still be a dream trip.

Sometimes, a honeymoon destination close to home means the couple is short on money or travel time but no matter the reason, a honeymoon close to home can still be amazing and include romance, indulgent spa days, gourmet meals and more. Here are 11 of the best honeymoon destinations in the USA to suit all budgets and interests.

From comfortable, unique hotel rooms to activities to enjoy with your love, each location on this list of US honeymoon destinations offers plenty of memory-making options. The perfect honeymoon is just up ahead – maybe just around the corner.

Read More: 10 Best Honeymoon Destinations on a Budget

1. Napa Valley California

This famous California wine region north of San Francisco is best known for its hundreds of hillside vineyards. For wine-loving newlyweds, a Napa Valley honeymoon is a dream come true.

Where to stay

If you want to go all out, get a suite at the Four Seasons Napa Valley and step out onto your private balcony with views of the grapes. The Cliff Lede Winery has five onsite rooms with private balconies and fireplaces, including breakfast from a local bakery. Many Napa-area wineries offer casitas, cabins, or small inns for guests, so if your goal is to immerse yourselves in the grapes and winemaking process, it’s certainly a possibility.

Things to do

Aside from wine tasting and more wine tasting, Napa has a strong gourmet food scene. Check out the Oxbow Public Market. Paddle down the Napa River or explore the area by bicycle. Lots of outfitters and organized tour groups are available. The area isn’t just about wine – several breweries are located within walking distance of each other, so why not plan a beer crawl?

One of the most popular activities in Napa is the Napa Valley Wine Train which allows you to tour the area from a vintage locomotive. The train is also a traveling restaurant, so you can eat well while sipping the region’s best wines.

2. Charleston South Carolina

Known as the Holy City, Charleston is an under-the-radar Southern honeymoon destination. The brick buildings and trees dripping with Spanish moss add a romantic, slightly mysterious vibe to the city. Plus, the nearly year-round warm weather makes outdoor activities in Charleston comfortable during the fall and winter months.

Where to stay

Hotel Bennett is Charleston’s most luxurious hotel. Swim in the rooftop pool or indulge in a massage or other treatment in the onsite spa. Book a suite or a King Club Level accommodation to elevate your honeymoon. Club-level amenities include welcome champagne, personalized itineraries, cocktail hour, personal concierge, and more.

A close second is the French Quarter Hotel, a boutique hotel offering touches such as evening turndown, luxury European linens, and a pillow menu.

What to do

Get out and explore the city – Walking tours and boat tours alike allow you to learn the history of Charleston. An evening horse-drawn carriage tour or a ghost tour might also appeal. If you’re an architecture buff, check out the historic homes and buildings on Rainbow Row or Magnolia Plantations and Gardens. Folly Beach is a must-do for beach lovers. Finally, Charleston has a cutting-edge food scene. Get a crash course in low-country cuisine by taking a dedicated food tour.  

3. Chattanooga Tennessee

Located along the Tennessee River, Chattanooga is one of the greenest cities in the United States. There’s no shortage of activities with a walkable downtown riverfront area, a fantastic southern food scene, and beautiful outdoor spaces. Chattanooga might not be the top southern city you’d consider for a honeymoon. Still, if you’re interested in something off the beaten path, this charming Tennessee city won’t disappoint you.

Where to stay

For elegant, 1920’s style luxury, check out the Read House in the heart of downtown Chattanooga. Walking in the door feels like a return to another time, but the hotel has all the comforts of modern updates to compliment its yesteryear charm. Couples who love a good ghost story will want to ask for a tour of Room 311, reportedly haunted by the spirit of who died there in 1927.

Things to do

Stroll hand in hand along the banks of the Tennessee River and check out the street art. Rock City Botanical Garden offers a beautiful stroll through fairy-tale-like rock structures. Don’t forget to take a picture in front of Lover’s Leap. After visiting Rock City, hop over to the Incline Railroad and ride in the world’s steepest train car. Chattanooga is on the Tennessee/Georgia border, so some of the area activities may actually be across the state line.

The Chattanooga Choo Choo (a building, not a train) is a don’t-miss spot. The old train station is now a huge entertainment complex with restaurants, bars, entertainment, and an onsite hotel. You can even have a beer inside an old train car. Chattanooga is 133 miles from Nashville if you’re up for a road trip and want to explore further.

4. Puerto Rico

If you want to feel like you’ve left the United States without leaving the United States, Puerto Rico is the place to be. Absorb the warm culture, sands, and warm people at this island destination, just a short flight from Miami. Best of all, you don’t need to get a passport or exchange money to enjoy Puerto Rico because it is a U.S. Territory. Spanish is widely spoken, but service people will speak English.

Where to stay

For the ultimate beachfront hotel with tons of amenities, stay at the Royal Sonesta San Juan in Isla Verde. Isla Verde is a popular hotel district just a short drive from the airport. There are restaurants and bars onsite, but it’s also easy to walk to other restaurants, bars, and cafes. The hotel has an epic pool and access to the best beaches. Beach chairs, umbrellas, and towel service are included. While you won’t want to leave the hotel property, you should try to get out and explore the surrounding area.

If you want to stay in Old San Juan, El Colonial and El Convento are worth looking into. They each have a smaller, boutique hotel-style feel with rooftop pools. Both are located in the heart of San Juan, which is a great place to shop and sample the cuisine and culture of Puerto Rico. El Colonial is adults-only.

Things to do

A stroll through Old San Juan is a must to get a sense of Puerto Rican culture and history. Drive an hour away from the city and explore Ciales, which has coffee farms, waterfalls, and lush green landscapes. Other popular activities are exploring the bioluminescent bay by kayak (you can also go swimming), rum tasting, and indulging in all the water sports and beach activities, such as snorkeling. If you want to mix with the locals, pick a lazy Sunday and go on a chinchorro, Puerto Rico’s version of a daytime bar crawl with lots of open air, music, and tasty snacks.

5. Anna Maria Island Florida

Anna Maria Island is located on the western coast of Florida. This seven-mile stretch of pristine beaches encompasses three towns: Bradenton Beach, Anna Maria, and Holmes Beach. Accessible from the Sarasota Airport, Anna Maria Island is another place inside the United States that makes you feel like you’ve been transported somewhere more exotic and makes for an amazing honeymoon. The white sand beaches and clear turquoise water will make you feel like you’re in the Caribbean.

Where to stay

This area is heavy on vacation rentals and beachfront cottages, which are great for honeymooners seeking privacy. Bradenton Gulf Islands Tourism maintains a complete list of rental agents and area hotels.

Things to do

Anna Maria Island is the place for lounging on the beach and eating delicious, fresh seafood. If you’re looking for a laid-back honeymoon that’s all about relaxation and fun in the sun, and small-town charm, put this one on your list. Downtown Anna Maria Island also has fabulous shopping, so carve out some time to fully explore the boutiques.

6. Sedona, Arizona

If you’re looking for a Southwest honeymoon destination, Sedona is the perfect honeymoon destination. An easy 116 miles from Phoenix’s Sky Harbor Airport, the jaw-dropping red rock formations offer striking scenery and a peaceful, serene vibe. Sedona is also known as a center for spiritual healing. The Sedona vortex, a unique geological and spiritual phenomenon said to predominantly occur in and around Sedona, is believed to be the reason for this. A vortex, a swirling center of energy that can produce a range of physical, emotional, and spiritual effects, is thought by many to be the reason behind the appeal of this destination.

Sedona also has some of the best golf courses in the Southwest. The best time to visit is between March and May when the weather is warm but not too hot. You’ll also enjoy great weather in the fall.

Where to stay

Ambiente is Sedona’s newest, most sought-after luxury resort. This is a landscape hotel, which means it harnesses sustainability and low-impact architectural elements to allow the natural environment to take center stage. Ambiente has an onsite spa (for hotel guests only) and has a 21+ policy for guests, making it an ideal retreat for honeymooners. Rooms are referred to as “atriums” with floor-to-ceiling windows that allow guests maximum exposure to the gorgeous views.

Things to do

Most of the activities in Sedona center on the red rocks. Here are a few ways to enjoy nature and the scenery: hiking trails, horseback riding, yoga, photography, meditation, rock climbing, and mountain biking. There are also a wide variety of tours available for every interest, from Jeep and ATV tours, bike tours, helicopter tours, wine tours, hot air balloon tours and more. The Chapel of the Holy Cross, built directly into the rocks, is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the area. You can also take a day trip to Grand Canyon National Park from Sedona.

7. New York City

The Big Apple is vibrant and full of culture and almost unlimited options. Whether you want to see the traditional sights, such as taking a ferry ride to see the Statue of Liberty or visiting the top of the Empire State Building, honeymooners will have no trouble creating their own adventures. If you like a little bit of everything or a ton of choices, this is one of the best honeymoon spots.

Where to stay

Few cities are as home to the number of luxury hotel properties as New York City, so if a splurge is what you want, there are no shortages of luxe properties to choose from. The iconic Plaza Hotel, St Regis, the Langham New York Fifth Avenue, and the Carlyle are just a small sampling of the city’s most well-known luxury hotels. There are also many boutique hotels and pied-à-terre (available through Airbnb and Vrbo), so I recommend deciding your budget and what you want to be near and working backward from there.

What to do

Take in a Broadway show and have dessert afterward at Junior’s Cheesecake. Take a romantic carriage ride through Central Park. New York City is a museum lover’s paradise, so schedule some time to explore The Met, the Museum of Natural History, and more. And, since New York City is such a melting pot of food culture, foodies can take your pick of whatever kind of cuisine you fancy. But don’t leave without a famous pizza slice or an authentic New York Bagel.

8. Door County Wisconsin

Door County Wisconsin has been a popular tourist destination for over 100 years. Once a summer playground for midwesterners looking to escape hot Chicago summers is now a vibrant community with various four-season activities. Summer is the high season for tourism, but fall and winter offer more seclusion for a romantic honeymoon.

Where to stay

The Dörr Hotel is Door County’s newest and most modern hotel. Located in Sister Bay, the location puts you right in the center of the action. Restaurants and shopping are within easy walking distance. Quaint boutique-style inns are dotted throughout the island. If you’re seeking more privacy and seclusion, check out Airbnb or Vrbo listings.

What to do

There are so many things to do in Door County that you can easily tailor your trip to your interests. There’s a thriving arts community and no shortage of galleries and boutiques featuring various locally made art. Since the peninsula is surrounded by Green Bay and Lake Michigan, almost any water activity you could imagine can be found here, including scenic boat tours.

And you can’t go to Door County without stopping for a meal at Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant. The Swedish meatballs and pancakes are delicious, and you’ll want to get a picture of the famous “goats on a roof.”

9. New Orleans Louisiana

The Big Easy is known as one of the most romantic cities in the United States. While there are family-friendly activities to do in the city, there’s a decadent, adults-only energy in the air, especially after dark. The nightlife in New Orleans is like no other.

Where to stay

If you want to splurge, check out the Roosevelt Waldorf Astoria. The luxe lobby with gilt architecture and gleaming marble tile will elevate your honeymoon and the comfortable rooms and suites are comfortable and well-stocked. A stay here would make for one of the best honeymoon resorts. Pamper yourself in the onsite spa. The property is on the edge of the French Quarter and close to where all the action is.

What to do

Enjoy the city’s music scene. Sample delicious Creole fine dining and more rustic Cajun cuisine – don’t forget a stop at Café Du Monde for beignets and coffee. Stroll through Jackson Square and watch the street performers and artists. New Orleans also has a robust live music scene.

 Let your hair down on the famous Bourbon Street and have a frozen drink longer than your arm! If you want to get outside the city and experience nature, a large selection of tour operators will pick you up at your hotel or designated spots within the French Quarter to take you out for a swamp boat tour.

10. Hawaii

The Hawaiian Islands are perennially popular with honeymooners. Hawaii has eight major islands but the most popular are Maui, Kauai, and Oahu. This archipelago in the Pacific Ocean has it all – romance, adventure, relaxation, and delicious food. The biggest difficulty is choosing which island to spend your honeymoon on, although if you have a larger budget, you can visit more than one island in a single trip.

Where to stay

Since Hawaii is such a popular vacation destination, there are a wide variety of accommodations. If you want pure luxury, both Honolulu and Maui have the splurge-worth Ritz-Carlton. If you’re a Disney-loving couple, Disney’s resort Aulani might be your perfect combination of romance and whimsy. Hawaii has high-rise hotels, resorts, and vacation rentals to suit every budget.

Things to do

Soak up the sun, take a surfing lesson or soak up the culture at a traditional luau. You can also go on a variety of hikes, including the popular Diamond Head and the famous waterfall hikes in Kauai. Go on a whale-watching tour or swim with sea turtles in Maui or soak in the hot springs heated by the island’s many volcanoes.

11. Yakima Washington

Visit Washington’s Yakima Valley in late spring or summer and be treated to beautiful blooms and local farm stands bursting with produce. Yakima is less than 150 miles from Seattle and the perfect budget spot for a romantic getaway any Pacific Coast wine-loving couple would delight in.

Where to stay

Canyon River Ranch is a resort overlooking the Yakima River. The hotel’s amenities have a luxurious feel and a million-dollar view. There’s an onsite restaurant, fly fishing outfitter, and tour operator, making this place perfect for the adventure-loving couple. If you don’t mind roughing it just a little, Cherrywood Farm offers teepee glamping and a relaxing twilight tub where you can soak in a scented bath with open sky views.

What to do

There’s an almost endless number of wineries and breweries in Yakima. Take an established tour with The Little Hopper Bus (the local winery and brewery experts) or call to craft a custom, private tour. They are a lot of fun and are on a first-name basis with area winemakers and brewers.

The Yakima River Canyon offers a fantastic scenic drive (can also be combined with a wine or brewery tour.) In addition, to fly fishing, active couples can enjoy hiking and outdoor adventures, such as rafting, at Umatanum Creek Recreation Center. If you’re looking for hardcore adventure, Shannon Mahre is a legendary local adventure guide. Check out the Yakima Area Arboretum for more sedate strolls and tranquil scenery.

Honorable Mentions

Don’t see what you love on this list? Here are some additional options to add to your list in advance of your next “Where should we go on our honeymoon” discussion.

  • Jackson Hole Wyoming. Fun fact – the Jackson Hole Airport is inside Grand Teton National Park and the only commercial airport inside a national park.
  • Denver Colorado. If winter sports enthusiasts get married during the winter, the ski resorts around Denver may be the obvious choice.
  • New England. Massachusetts, Vermont and Maine all make great honeymoon destinations, especially during the fall when the leaves are turning.

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