Photo: Courtesy of USVI
Most couple's dream of a relaxing, post-wedding retreat filled with lots of sun, sand, and great cocktails. Can you blame them? After the stress of wedding planning, you and your new husband deserve a luxe escape filled with endless white sands and clear water to romp around in. But a beach honeymoon doesn't have to break the bank, either! We found incredible U.S. beach retreats that you can reach without ever having to present your passport!
If you want major beach time, head to the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Soft white sands? Check. Turquoise waters as far as the eye can see? Check. Potent cocktails made with local rum? Check, check, and check. This may be a U.S. territory (bring your dollar bills, y'all), but its spirit is Caribbean through and through.
Take your pick of three isles: St. Thomas, a cruise-ship hub with killer duty-free shopping; laid-back St. Croix, with a rum distillery dating back to 1760; and sleepy St. John, seen above, most of which is a national park. Explore its hiking trails and white-sand beaches from the 96-room Westin St. John (doubles from $299, Westin Resort St. John), which just underwent a facelift, or Caneel Bay (doubles from $459, Caneel Bay), the legendary romantic resort founded by Laurence Rockefeller, which just opened two new restaurants. Who says you need a passport to travel to paradise?
If you want to island hop, try the Florida Keys.
Just 50 miles from Miami, many of these coral islands are linked by the 127-mile Overseas Highway, so you don't even need a boat to hit isles like Marathon and Islamorada — plus tons of islets you've never heard of along the way. (You might, however, want to charter a skipper to take full advantage of the area's killer fishing.)
Everyone eventually ends up on the southernmost outpost of Key West, a party spot with a quirky artist's soul and legendary sunsets. Do it up on bar-dotted Duval Street, then retreat to Casa Marina (doubles from $219, Casa Marina), a hushed resort with an 1,100-foot-long stand. The next day, if you overdid it on the mojitos, put on your sunglasses, toss a towel on your beach chaise, and let the staff ply you with popsicles and frozen cucumbers — great for depuffing partied-out eyes.
Want to add a little excitement to your beach honeymoon? Consider hitting the waves at one these surprising surf spots!
Seaside, Oregon: Pacific Northwest surfers go nuts for the breaks off this beach town, just two hours outside Portland. Cleanline Surf offers lessons every Saturday.
St. Joseph, Michigan: Who knew you could hand ten in the Great Lakes? The small summer swells are great for beginners. Let Third Coast Surf Shop show you the ropes.
Cape Cod, Massachusetts: Best known for charming towns and wild beaches, the Cape has gnarly waves too. Sugar Surf teaches you how to ride them like a pro.
Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina : This is the place to surf in the South. Honeymoon here in summer and you can jump into a surf lesson at Surf Camp.
Cocoa Beach, Florida: The epi-center of Floridian surfing is also a sweet spot for honeymooners. Ron Jon Surf School will help you get your feet wet.