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1 Hotel Hanalei Bay
Photograph: Courtesy 1 Hotel Hanalei Bay

The best honeymoon destinations in the USA

Enjoy marital bliss at one of the best honeymoon destinations in the USA

Clara Hogan
Written by
Sarah Medina
&
Clara Hogan
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What's better than your wedding day? After all, it's the day you've likely envisioned for months—if not years—and when you're surrounded by all of your friends and family, partying the night away to celebrate your love. There's only one thing better: your honeymoon. While the day you get hitched is definitely a lifetime highlight, it can also bring a lot of stress and exhaustion. The post-wedding trip, however, is all about relaxation and romance—just the two of you.

While some couples venture off abroad to the likes of Europe or somewhere tropical, you don't have to travel far to have a memorable honeymoon. From California's Wine Country to the beaches of Nantucket to the desert in Arizona, the best honeymoon destinations in the USA will create a perfect paradise to celebrate your nuptials and new life together while staying domestic. 

RECOMMENDED: The most romantic places in the USA

Top honeymoon destinations in the USA

1. Hanalei, HI

Hawaii is hardly an under-the-radar honeymoon spot, but this idyllic bay tucked into the north coast of Kauai offers a more under-the-radar spot that is now home to the newest 1 Hotel resort, which merges luxury and sustainability. At the 1 Hotel Hanalei Bay, enjoy an oceanfront sanctuary with activities that center on self-care, exploration and helping to take care of the surrounding land. While it’s perfectly acceptable to spend your entire honeymoon marveling at the gorgeousness of the resort from a beach towel, there are other options: surf lessons, snorkeling at Tunnels Beach and kayaking along the Hanalei River. For a more strenuous adventure, bring your camping gear and embark on the Kalalau Trail, a 22-mile roundtrip hike featuring waterfalls, river crossings and remote beaches.

2. Nantucket, MA

Nantucket, a tiny island off of Cape Cod, is very much a seasonal summer destination with dune-backed beaches, marked by unpainted cedar-shingled buildings, many surrounded by manicured privets. This was a favorite vacation spot for the Kennedys and the cobblestoned streets are lined with restaurants, high-end boutiques and steepled churches, but the town’s main role in history is the part it played as a hub in the 19th-century whaling industry. As such, the island features quite prominently in the classic novel Moby Dick. Incorporate some maritime history on your honeymoon and visit the Egan Maritime Institute, where there is a permanent exhibit of the works of celebrated marine artist Rodney J. K. Charman.

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3. Scottsdale, AZ

If Jay Z and Beyonce consider it good enough for their honeymoon, I'd say it's good for any of us. That's right—out of anywhere in the world—the famous duo escaped to Scottsdale to enjoy their post-marital bliss, staying at Sanctuary Camelback Mountain, a luxurious and blissful retreat nestled on 53 acres of the Arizona desert. Regarding things to do, Scottsdale is a spa lover's paradise with more than 50 luxury resorts and day spas—plus, with options like hiking, horseback riding, wine tasting, golfing, shopping, and dining out, there's something for everyone.  

4. Napa, CA

Rolling hills, vineyard views, world-class food and wine: Napa is hands down one of the most romantic getaways in the US. Imagine your days spent like this: sipping bubbles while enjoying a California-fresh breakfast; spending the day stopping by charming wineries and exploring quaint towns like St. Helena and Yountville, and dining over candlelight and one of the many renowned restaurants. When it comes to choosing where to stay, Napa's luxury lodging is top of its class, from the large Meritage Resort & Spa to the trendy Archer Hotel to the classic Hotel Yountville. For a truly special experience, book a seat on the Napa Valley Wine Train, which will whisk you past wineries while you and your boo enjoy a multi-course food and wine pairing. 

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5. Sedona, AZ

Visitors to this desert enclave are drawn by its red-hued buttes, its artsy vibe, and its vortexes—natural occurrences that supposedly possess intense and mystical energy. But you don’t have to commune with the Earth in order to appreciate the magic of Sedona. Simply reserve a Creekside Cottage at L’Auberge de Sedona and snuggle under the stars on your private deck or cool off with a rinse in the outdoor shower. Make sure to explore beyond the resort, walking among the crimson cliffs or tracing the path of Oak Creek on the West Fork trail, one of the area’s most iconic routes. You’ll surely leave refreshed, relaxed and more in love than ever.

6. Point Reyes Station, CA

Point Reyes Station is an outdoorsy escape just north of San Francisco with excellent hikes, wildlife viewing, and plenty of comforts. Jutting 10 miles into the Pacific Ocean, Point Reyes National Seashore is home to tule elk, elephant seals and 150 miles of trails. One particularly beloved hike is Alamere Falls, an eight-mile trip where you’ll come across a waterfall that empties onto the beach, an ideal spot for a romantic picnic. And the adventure doesn’t end at sunset; consider a nighttime kayak tour in Tomales Bay, where bioluminescent organisms flicker in the water. Before you depart, hit the must-visit The Marshall Store for a lunch of garlicky BBQ oysters and fresh seafood—the perfect cap to a NorCal honeymoon. 

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7. New Orleans, LA

Laissez le bon temps rouler! That's what they say down in the Big Easy, which translates to: let the good times roll. And a honeymoon in New Orleans is definitely going to be a good time. With stunning hotels, incredible history, beautiful architecture, and vibrant culture, NOLA has a magical romance to it that will sweep you both off your feet. Spend your days strolling the cobblestone streets, taking a carriage ride, and enjoying a dining scene featuring modern chefs pushing the boundaries of cuisine and classic restaurants that will transport you back in time.

8. Cape Cod, MA

Reaching 65 miles into the Atlantic from mainland Massachusetts, this picturesque peninsula is a place to embrace life’s simple pleasures: oversized ice cream cones and seafood freshly snatched from the ocean, leisurely bike rides and sunny beaches along 400 miles of coastline. Base yourself at one of the many inns or B&Bs, then dive into the activities on hand, namely eating fried clams at picnic tables, engaging in lively games of mini-golf, lazing about on the nearest stretch of sand and hopping on a whale watch every now and then. Traffic can be a drag during the summer high season, so choose your town wisely. For an LGBTQ-friendly destination with funky shops and galleries, think Provincetown. For historic charm, think Chatham. For culture, think Wellfleet, where you can catch a local play or snuggle up at the drive-in, which dates to 1957. Also, enjoy its own mini-golf course and ice cream stand. This is Cape Cod, after all.

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9. Savannah, GA

The New South rubs elbows with the old in this grand dame of Southern cities, and the key to your visit is embracing both extremes. Start with the old: Stroll through popular Forsyth Park (which dates to the 1840s), gawk at Savannah’s stately homes, and pause in the verdant loveliness of the city’s 22 historic squares. Then go new: Stroll through the galleries at the SCAD Museum of Art, sample local craft brews, and dig into the biscuit and bone marrow at The Grey. If you’re up for a nocturnal adventure, ask your concierge for the password to the speakeasy-style Mata Hari or commune with spirits from the other side on a ghost tour. When you’re ready to recharge, head for the sandy beach on Tybee Island, then visit the ruins of Wormsloe, Savannah’s oldest standing structure and the 18th-century home of carpenter Noble Jones. A photo together on its oak-lined, moss-shrouded boulevard is the only souvenir you’ll need to bring home. 

10. Key West, FL

As close as you can get to the Caribbean without leaving the States, this laid-back island is known for its one-of-a-kind joie de vivre, which has attracted plenty of notable residents (think Ernest Hemingway and Tennessee Williams)—never mind its hard-partying reputation. But there’s plenty to see and do here that doesn’t involve getting drunk. Think less about laying on the beach and more about embracing the isle’s carefree, celebratory vibe. Wander through Old Town and visit historic sites like the Hemingway House and Key West Cemetery (‘till death do you part, right?); take to the turquoise water for a snorkeling trip or a sunset sail; then park yourself in Mallory Square to watch the street performers while you munch on a conch fritter. Catch a meal in the garden at Blue Heaven, where chickens and cats wander by your feet, then collapse into a canopy bed at the Mermaid & the Alligator, an elegant inn with just the right romantic touch. Before you head for the mainland, toast your marriage with a Hemingway Daiquiri. The writer may not have been a relationship role model, but he certainly had good taste in cocktails. 

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11. Portland, ME

If your idea of a perfect honeymoon involves brewery hopping, memorable meals and a side of New England charm, put Portland into your GPS and head north. This coastal city is one part quaint historic district, one part fishing town and two parts modern culinary and cultural destination. That means you’ll spend a Portland honeymoon downing pints from breweries like Allagash and Rising Tide on the Maine Beer Trail, eating fresh local bivalves from Eventide Oyster Co. and gazing into your beloved’s eyes over plates of masa hush puppies at Central Provisions or in front of paintings at the Portland Museum of Art. When you need to work up an appetite for your next gastronomic adventure, hit the coast and stroll through Fort Williams Park, pausing to snap a picture of the ridiculously photogenic Portland Head Light. You’ll get extra likes if you manage to catch it at sunset.

12. Mammoth, CA

Fancy something a little bit different? Why not consider a winter-themed honeymoon in arguably one of the best ski resorts in the country, Mammoth Mountain in California? The slopes here are so wide, especially if you're used to those pesky narrow European Alpine runs. Available accommodation covers just about every price range—from the Village Lodge to the Westin—and there are countless bars and restaurants to test after a day carving up the powdered slopes. Plus, one of the biggest draws about this location is that it doesn't have to be a winter-themed occasion, Mammoth is equally as beautiful in the summer.

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13. San Juan Island & Lummi Island, WA

Studding Puget Sound, the San Juan Islands are a favorite weekend escape for Seattleites and a welcoming place to come down from the wedding buzz. Reserve a spot on the ferry and head for San Juan Island, the most developed of the archipelago’s 172 named islands and reefs, where you can taste local wines, go for a bioluminescent kayak tour, visit an alpaca farm or just stroll around Friday Harbor on your loved one’s arm. If you’re in town between March and November, book a whale-watching tour and spend a few hours gasping as elegant orcas glide through the Salish Sea. Then, dig into international fare made with local ingredients at Duck Soup Inn. There are plenty of hotels and B&Bs to choose from, but glamping fans will want to book one of Lakedale Resort’s canvas cottages with king-size beds, private baths and electric fireplaces. End your honeymoon with a quick jaunt to Lummi Island, where Noma-alum chef Blaine Wetzel has turned the Willows Inn restaurant into one of the best in the country. Indulge in the tasting menu, then spend the night in one of the inn’s cozy chic rooms.

14. Zion National Park, UT

If outdoorsy adventures are central to your bond, consider moving this Utah park to the top of your honeymoon list. Zion is simply breathtaking with its towering canyon walls and waterfalls that erupt after rains. Popular trails like lofty Angel’s Landing and the Virgin River Narrows draw crowds for good reason, but you’ll also be rewarded for exploring some of Zion’s lesser-known sites, like the Middle Fork of Taylor Creek trail or the Subway canyoneering route. If tent snuggling is your thing, that’s certainly an option, but you don’t have to break out the sleeping bags for Zion. Just east of the park, Zion Mountain Ranch offers comfy cabins with amenities like jetted tubs, fireplaces and views of the ranch’s resident buffalo herd. 

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15. Jackson Hole, WY

Winter in Jackson Hole revolves around the mountain, which boasts 2,500 acres and 133 snow-covered trails. Summer in Jackson Hole is also about getting outside, whether that’s by fly fishing, mountain biking or whitewater rafting. No matter the weather, stay at the Four Seasons Jackson Hole, where thoughtful details make the difference between a nice vacation and a once-in-a-lifetime honeymoon. The hotel’s outdoor pool is heated year-round, and in the snowy months, warmed robes and complimentary hot chocolate make taking a dip extra delightful. During the summer months, the resort can arrange a wildlife tour of Yellowstone National Park, a star-gazing night in Grand Teton or a postcard-worthy hot air balloon ride over this stunning corner of the West.

16. Chetek, WI

Set on a 300-acre estate two hours from Minneapolis, the Canoe Bay hotel is an adults-only escape from the real world. Designed for couples, romance infuses every aspect of your stay here, from the rooms and cottages—all of which feature fireplaces and two-person whirlpool tubs—to the meals delivered to your door crafted using produce grown on-site. This is the kind of place where no one will judge you if you decide to spend the whole day shacked up with your beloved. When you’re ready to venture out, consider snowshoeing, hiking, fishing, canoeing and golf–all within reach. You can’t spend your whole honeymoon in bed, but at Canoe Bay you’re welcome to try. 

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