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Incredible honeymoons don’t always require a passport and a flight to an exotic locale. In fact, given Arizona’s exceptionally diverse geography including the cactus-filled Sonoran Desert, Sedona’s iconic red rocks, the seemingly neverending Grand Canyon, snow-capped mountains, and 125-plus lakes—many newlyweds might be surprised to learn that they can find the romantic adventures or complete serenity they’re seeking all within State 48.
Here, we’ve outlined all the best reasons to book a honeymoon in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Sedona, or Tucson, with the help of a few honeymoon planning experts.
Meet the Expert
- Trisha Pergande is the founder of Seven Oysters Travel, an affiliate of Travel Edge Network.
- Ruchi Harnal is the owner and a luxury travel advisor at Harnal Travel.
- Ashley Les is a luxury travel advisor and the founder of Postcards From, an independent affiliate of Protravel International, Global Travel Collection.
- AJ Williams is the founder and executive producer of AJ Events.
- Linda Jelencovich is a luxury travel advisor and the cofounder of Super Travel of Palm Beach.
- Dr. Terika Haynes is a travel agent and the CEO of Dynamite Travel.
- Cindy Aguilar is the director of communications for Visit Tucson.
- Emily Lawrence is a senior communications manager of Experience Scottsdale.
Planning Your Arizona Honeymoon
Think Arizona is just a barren brown desert with tumbleweeds blowing across the roads? While that is the case in some of the more rural parts of the state, Arizona is actually quite diverse in terms of landscape and climate—and that diversity translates into a wide array of activities, restaurants, and hotel accommodations for couples who have just tied the knot.
“Arizona is a magical place for honeymooners,” says Ruchi Harnal, owner and luxury travel advisor for Harnal Travel. “There is a plethora of reasons to honeymoon in this wonderful location—some being the sunsets, the sunrises, and picturesque mountain-scapes over the horizon. There are so many things to do for those who are active and those who want to relax.” Arizona also impresses honeymooners with world-class cuisine, ample opportunity to connect with nature, and some of the most luxurious resorts and spas in the country.
The absolute best time to plan for your Arizona honeymoon depends on the part of the state you’re visiting. For Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Tucson, choose October, March, or April, when the temperatures are perfect and there are seasonal activities to enjoy (May begins to warm up into the low 100s, but evenings are often still quite pleasant for outdoor dining). If you don’t mind donning a few layers to enjoy outdoor activities, then November-February is also a great time to visit (and some days can still creep into the 70s). When planning a Sedona honeymoon, take the 4,300-foot elevation into account: Summer days are typically in the upper 90s (lows in the 60s), and winter days are often in the 60s (with lows near freezing). Yes, it’s quite possible to see snow dusting the red rocks in January or February.
Without further ado, here are our Arizona planning basics:
- Language: English
- Currency: U.S. Dollar
- When to Go: October-April
- Getting There: For stays in Phoenix and its surrounding suburbs, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) is the obvious choice. Planning to spend your time in Tucson? Choose the smaller Tucson International Airport (TUS), the second-busiest in the state. The Sedona airport doesn’t host commercial flights, so if you didn’t receive the private jet listed on your wedding registry, you’ll want to fly into Flagstaff Pulliam Airport or Phoenix Sky Harbor and make the drive (25 miles from Flagstaff and 120 miles from Phoenix).
- Transportation: Unless you plan to stay in Old Town Scottsdale and mostly spend your time in that neighborhood, it’s wise to rent a car because there’s not much available in terms of public transportation—and it’s an absolute must if you plan to visit Tucson, Sedona, or more remote parts of the state. When staying within Scottsdale, Phoenix, or Tucson, Ubers are easy to access.
- Must-Pack: Desert nights are surprisingly cool and winter days can be chilly, so bring layers to peel off or pile on through the day and evening if you visit in October through April. Choose sensible footwear for outdoor activities and evening attire for restaurants and bars (Old Town Scottsdale is like a mini-Vegas!). Be sure to bring a refillable water bottle to stay hydrated in the dry desert air, plenty of sunscreen and lip balm, a high-quality pair of sunglasses, and, of course, a swimsuit.
Where to Stay During Your Arizona Honeymoon
Some of the most swoon-worthy resorts in the nation reside in Scottsdale, Phoenix, Tucson, and Sedona—and your toughest choice when planning your Arizona honeymoon itinerary will be selecting which fabulous property you’d like to spend each day and night enjoying. There are countless options that would have been worthy of making this list, but we zeroed in on the absolute best of the bunch—some of the following are dripping in five-star luxury and tranquility while others deliver Southwestern charm and history. Either way, you’re in for a treat.
L'Auberge de Sedona
Step into a romantic world of seclusion along the meandering banks of Oak Creek at L’Auberge de Sedona. “The resort offers luxury cottages for a more intimate experience with cozy fireplaces and huge outdoor showers for shampooing in the moonlight,” says Trisha Pergande, founder of Seven Oysters Travel, an affiliate of Travel Edge Network. “And while there is so much to do offsite, the resort also has a great onsite spa, yoga classes, and stargazing sessions.
You and your new spouse will have to pinch each other while marveling at the spectacular 360-degree view of Sedona at Ambiente, A Landscape Hotel—yes, it’s real! “This sustainability-focused and adult-only property has villas with floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook Sedona’s wildlife, red rock mountain peaks, creeks, and orange canyon walls,” says AJ Williams, founder and executive producer of AJ Events. “Each villa also has its own private rooftop where you cuddle up on the daybed next to the fire pit and enjoy stargazing. It’s the perfect combination of relaxation and outdoor adventure for couples.” Did we mention each of the 40 cubed-shaped private guest Atriums has an oversized soaking tub and a walk-in shower for two?
Castle Hot Springs
For a luxury adults-only oasis in the desert complete with three natural thermal hot springs pools, head about an hour north of Phoenix to Castle Hot Springs. “Castle Hot Springs is a truly amazing experience,” says Williams. “You can immerse yourself in the mineral-rich water that overlooks the desert and palm trees. The wellness spa uses water treatments and herbs from the farm for the ultimate spa experience. Romance and wellness combined.” Your stay comes with meals (many of the ingredients are grown on the onsite farm and greenhouse) and activities for two.
Hacienda del sol Guest Ranch Resort
Tucked into Tucson’s Catalina mountain foothills with stellar views of the Santa Catalina and Rincon Mountains, Hacienda del Sol Guest Ranch Resort was designed to reflect the natural beauty of the Sonoran Desert and has been a luxe refuge since 1929. “The 34-acre property features elegant guest rooms, a new outdoor terrace with two pools and an expansive sun deck, and an expanded collection of art and sculptures from local artists nestled amongst the resort’s lush botanical gardens,” says Cindy Aguilar, director of communications for Visit Tucson. “Plus, Hacienda del Sol has an incredible restaurant with one of Arizona’s most extensive wine lists and in-room spa treatments.”
Billed as “the hotel that never sleeps” W Scottsdale is the perfect destination for honeymooners looking for a nonstop party to celebrate their nuptials — it’s the place to see and be seen in the Entertainment District of Old Town Scottsdale. Select one of the 17 spacious penthouse suites that provide exclusivity and luxury when you’re ready for some alone time, each features a lavish master bedroom, floor-to-ceiling windows, private balconies, and full kitchens. Honeymooners can also unwind during rejuvenating treatments at AWAY Spa or in a private cabana on the WET Deck. And an evening at the property’s onsite restaurant, Sushi Roku, is sure to tempt your tastebuds.
Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North
Situated in north Scottsdale, in the foothills of Pinnacle Peak, Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North offers 210 luxurious casita guest rooms, inclusive of 22 suites, most of which come equipped with an outdoor private plunge pool, garden shower, and wood-burning fireplace or chiminea. On property, honeymooners will enjoy romantic sunrise hikes to Pinnacle Peak, wellness programming and a full-service spa, al fresco dining in Talavera and Proof, and sunset cocktails in Onyx Bar & Lounge. Complimentary weekly programming includes stargazing, and wine and spirit tasting.
Sanctuary Camelback Mountain, A Gurney's Resort & Spa
Want to honeymoon where Beyonce and Jay-Z did? Then the Sanctuary Camelback Mountain, A Gurney’s Resort & Spa is for you. “With panoramic mountain views, decadent cuisine, a tranquil spa, and secluded casita guestrooms, couples are guaranteed a luxurious experience,” says Emily Lawrence, senior communications manager of Experience Scottsdale. You won’t find a more impressive infinity pool in Arizona and spa treatments will take you on an Asian-inspired journey for the ultimate in relaxation and rejuvenation.
The Hermosa Inn
For a tucked away, more quiet stay, Lawrence says couples would be remiss to pass up The Hermosa Inn in Paradise Valley. “This luxury boutique hideaway just minutes from Scottsdale and its many attractions offers an intimate Southwestern environment,” she says. The adobe architecture was handcrafted in the 1930s by cowboy artist Lon Megargee as his residence and art studio and still retains all its authentic charm. Each of the 43 hacienda-style rooms and casitas is individually decorated for a one-of-a-kind stay.
JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort & Spa
Another Paradise Valley gem, JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort & Spa is an award-winning resort featuring adobe-style architecture and nostalgic charm. Relax in newly renovated guest casitas or suites (some come with private swimming pools), and keep busy with 36 holes of championship golf, six tennis courts, four swimming pools, and seven restaurants and lounges. The Spa at Camelback Inn treats couples to locally-sourced ingredients and harnesses the therapeutic benefits of the desert.
Things to Do During Your Arizona Honeymoon
There’s no shortage of ways to keep busy in Arizona—so let this serve as your reminder that you don’t have to do it all on this trip if you’d rather spend days sipping margaritas at an infinity pool. But for those who want to spend some time exploring all that Arizona has to offer, check out this list of romantic, outdoorsy, and relaxing options that will help build memories that’ll last a lifetime.
Soar Across the Skies
Looking for a romantic way to check something off your adventure bucket list? “If the couple is adventure-seeking, a private hot air balloon experience is perfect for adventure and romance,” says Dr. Terika Haynes, travel agent and CEO of Dynamite Travel. Rainbow Ryders is the premier and largest hot air balloon business in the Southwest and delivers sunrise and sunset experiences with a celebratory toast.
Visit the National Parks
Immerse yourself in nature in State 48. “Grand Canyon National Park and Saguaro National Park are great for couples who like to hike and explore,” says Dr. Haynes. “These national parks will also serve as great backdrops for newlywed photos. Saguaro National Park, in Tucson, has more than 90,000 acres of breathtakingly gigantic saguaro cacti (the Sonoran Desert is the only place in the world where they grow) and the South Rim of the Grand Canyon is the perfect spot for hiking.
Take a Pink Jeep Tour
See Sedona’s famous red rocks up close and personal on the ride of your life. “In Sedona, I definitely recommend doing a Pink Jeep Tour, which brings the Arizona country to life with a rugged off-road adventure,” says Harnal. You’ll step into an open-air pink Jeep Wrangler and buckle up, as your guide points out some of Sedona’s most iconic red-rock formations and stops for photos.
Stroll in the Japanese Friendship Garden
Romance is alive and well at Phoenix’s Japanese Friendship Garden, where you can walk the tranquil 3.5 acres hand-in-hand. “Take in views of the greenery and the ponds and enjoy this serene oasis,” says Ashley Les, luxury travel advisor and founder of Postcards From, an independent affiliate of Protravel International, Global Travel Collection. “The garden was designed to promote peace, harmony, and cultural engagement.” There are also stone footbridges, lanterns, more than 50 varieties of plants, a 12-foot waterfall, and a Koi pond to help you find your Zen.
Sip the Day Away on a Wine Train
Checking out the Verde Valley Wine Trail—located in Northern Arizona, with more than 25 wineries in Cottonwood, Jerome, Clarkdale, Camp Verde, Cornville, and Sedona—is the perfect way to unwind. Or take the Verde Canyon Railroad Grape Train Escape wine tour, the ideal way to sit back and relax as you taste Arizona wines and wind your way through the rugged desert landscape.
Find Your Zen at Luxury Spas
Arizona is known for its luxury spas, and there are plenty to choose from statewide. “The recently renovated Mii amo Spa is set among the red rocks of Boynton Canyon and has consistently been voted one of the best destination spas in the country, offering couples an opportunity to recharge and connect,” says Pergande. “The resort also has access to miles of onsite trails for both hiking and mountain biking.” Other local favorites include the Well & Being Spa at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess (getting a Black Rose Facial at the Sisley-Paris Spa is a particularly magical experience) and The Spa at Civana Wellness Resort & Spa (the hydrotherapy circuit and WATSU therapy are especially divine).
Experience the Butterflies
The largest butterfly conservatory in the country is in Scottsdale Arizona, and Butterfly Wonderland is an otherworldly experience to enjoy with your better half. Meander around the rainforest-like environment and feed the Koi fish or stand still and allow up to 70 different species of butterflies to land on you and tickle your skin. Spoiler: This might be the only place in the desert you find a little humidity.
Kayak or Stand Up Paddleboard the Lower Salt River
It may be partially desert, but Arizona has plenty of water if you know where to look—and the Lower Salt River offers up spectacular scenery at every turn. Saguaro Lake Ranch offers guided and unguided tours and they are an ideal way to revel in the tranquility of the Sonoran Desert's flora and fauna.
Can't-Miss Experience: When cruising the Lower Salt River, be on the lookout for wild horses. There are as many as 500 living here, and lucky visitors may spot a herd of these magnificent mustangs drinking along the shoreline or cooling off with a dip in the river.
Gaze at the Stars
On a clear night from March through October, you and your better half can view a sky full of stars on a Stellar Adventures’ Arizona Stargazing Tour. An expert astronomer leads this night-time tour into Arizona’s peaceful Sonoran Desert, guiding your observation of celestial wonders—you may see Jupiter’s moons, Saturn’s rings, and other sky phenomena through a high-powered telescope.
Summit Camelback Mountain
It’s a badge of honor to reach the top of Camelback Mountain, the most iconic site in Scottsdale. Get an early start and bring more water than you think you’ll need to ascend the 2,704-foot mountain. You’ll have your choice of two paths, the Cholla is longer and Echo Canyon is steeper, but make no mistake—both are difficult hikes. Once you’ve reached the top, you’ll be treated to views of the entire Valley and ready to grab a bite to eat.
Where to Eat During Your Arizona Honeymoon
Arizona excels in Southwestern and Mexican cuisine, of course, but the statewide food scene is far more diverse than you might expect. From James Beard award-winning dining to hole-in-the-wall restaurants that’ll leave you craving a second visit, you certainly won’t go hungry on your honeymoon. If you visit during the high season (February through April and around the winter holidays), be sure to make reservations in advance if you have your heart set on a particular experience.
Who doesn’t want to spend their honeymoon surrounded by palm trees, water fountains, and fire pits? Palma, in downtown Phoenix, has such a great vibe for an outdoor brunch or happy hour at dusk. “The entrance is a mini paradise in itself, that connects to a bowling alley bar next door,” says Linda Jelencovich, luxury travel advisor and cofounder of Super Travel of Palm Beach. “They offer yummy sushi and other dishes to complement the well-crafted drinks. It’s definitely a place where you can experience major beach vibes.”
Christopher's at Wrigley Mansion
Led by James Beard award-winning chef Christopher Gross, Christopher’s in Phoenix offers a unique fine dining experience within a mansion built by chewing gum magnate William Wrigley Jr. (it was a gift to his wife for their 50th anniversary). Enjoy the eight-course tasting menu and endless choices of wine—your view includes wall-to-ceiling windows showcasing unobstructed views of the Sonoran Desert.
Mariposa Latin Inspired Grill
Nothing compares to staring out at Sedona’s gorgeous red rocks while enjoying an intimate dinner and that view can only be found at Mariposa. “This Latin-inspired restaurant is one of Sedona's most picturesque spots with an expansive patio, panoramic views, and a delicious menu of tapas and grilled selections,” says Pergande. Be sure to arrive prior to sunset, so you can watch the rocks change colors while dining on handmade empanadas.
Cress on Oak Creek
Sedona’s Oak Creek is one of the most inviting spots to dine, and few spots can hold a candle to a private al fresco experience at Creekside Reserve at L’Auberge de Sedona. “It’s very romantic and the food is just as great,” says Williams. “You will dine under a canopy of vines, a chandelier, and hear the sounds of the creek flowing by.” Enjoy a six-course chef-curated tasting menu and selections from the wine cellar.
Tito & Pep
Tucson is the first of two U.S. cities to be recognized as a UNESCO City of Gastronomy, honoring its 4,000-year history of Mexican and Native American cuisine. Tito & Pep—a 2022 James Beard Best Chef: Southwest Semi-Finalist—is a prime example of a local restaurant using local ingredients to pay homage to the city’s rich culture. Dishes are cooked over a mesquite wood-fired grill and they specialize in one-of-a-kind cocktails.
The Grill at Hacienda del Sol
You’d be hard-pressed to find a more breathtaking view in all of Tucson than at The Grill at Hacienda del Sol—hello, mountains! Choose from over 800 wines from its award-winning menu while you dine on new American cuisine. It’s also a great spot for brunch, as the Sunday brunch buffet features a carving station, seafood, roasted vegetables, eggs benedict, omelets, and more (not to mention a glass of Champagne or a mimosa).
Budgeting for an Arizona Honeymoon
Budgeting for an Arizona honeymoon will depend largely on the season you're traveling, as this dictates the price of airfare and the cost and availability of hotel rooms. Peak season runs from October to April—with February through April as the absolute most popular months due to such annual events as Major League Baseball Spring Training, the Phoenix Open golf tournament, the Barrett-Jackson car auction, and the Tucson Gem, Mineral & Fossil Showcase (the biggest in the world)—so our experts recommend that honeymooners book their trip during shoulder months like October to January or May when prices will be milder for flights and accommodations (you'll also avoid the heat and tourist crowds).
To really save some money while luxuriating in a five-star resort, couples should consider planning their honeymoon for the summer months. Yes, you’ll likely experience triple-digit temperatures and possibly some monsoons from June through September, but saving upwards of 60 percent on the ultra-luxe hotel of your dreams might be a worthwhile tradeoff. During this time of year, you’re also more likely to find epic specials on treatments at spas and potential discounts on activities, too.