Picking the perfect honeymoon is as much about when you go as where you go. That's because the timing of your trip can affect everything: the vibe, the weather, the activities, and the cost. Think about how different a trip to Aspen is in the winter versus the summer. Or, how much crazier the crowd in Cancun is during spring break than it is during the winter season. Or, how much less sunny SoCal is in June than in September. (It's called June Gloom for a reason.)
So, if you're getting married in the spring and want to plan your escape around your wedding date, definitely factor the season into your decision. One of the best things about saying "I do" around this time of year is that it's the shoulder season for a lot of honeymoon favorites, including the Caribbean and Hawaii. That means it's the period between the high and low seasons, a time when the weather and the prices are good. It's also fall in the Southern Hemisphere, so you can score great rates in bucket-list hot spots like New Zealand and Peru. Considering a road trip? This is an amazing time to take one, whether you want to hit California's Highway 1 or Texas Hill Country.
Read on to find the best place to honeymoon in March and April for you and your partner.
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This charming city may be best known for its canals and row houses, but every spring, the landscape around it bursts into bloom, turning Amsterdam into an ideal home base for exploring Holland's famous tulip fields. Rent bikes and tool around the flower-carpeted countryside, or hit Keukenhof Park, about a 30-minute drive outside the city, where you can check out more than 800 varieties and 7 million bulbs in mid-March through mid-May. After a day of taking in the tulips, head back to the Dylan Hotel, which is within walking distance of the city's floating flower market.
The dry season ends in April, so you can enjoy this Central American nation's Caribbean beaches, Mayan ruins, and jungly ecolodges without the crowds—and for up to 50 percent less. (Tip: The earlier you go, the drier it will be; heavier rains start in June.) Not only is Belize home to the second-largest reef in the world, but whale sharks swim through the warm waters in the quaint village of Placencia from April through June. Sign up to dive with these gentle 60-foot behemoths at Turtle Inn, a collection of thatch-roof huts owned by Francis Ford Coppola.
Often called the St. Tropez of Turkey, Bodrum is where the social set decamps for the summer season. But in spring, the air is sublime, the rains have subsided, and the resorts can be practically yours alone. Live the yachtsman's fantasy at Casa dell'Arte, with its own pier, beach, artist-in-residence program, and yacht for private overnight charters.
California's Highway 1
Who hasn't dreamed of renting a convertible and cruising up the coast along Highway 1? Long spring days and just-right weather mean you can keep the top down as you speed through (or lollygag in) Santa Monica, Santa Barbara, and Carmel. Then finish off your magical mystery tour in the city that will steal your heart: San Francisco. (P.S. The wildflowers are also amazing this time of year.) Take your time as you meander up the coast, but if you can only afford one spendy stay, let it be at Big Sur's Post Ranch Inn, a romance-steeped retreat known for its cliff-top restaurant and gasp-worthy Pacific views.
It's autumn and shoulder season in Peru, which means you'll get great weather and a chance to explore Machu Picchu without the crowds that descend upon Cusco for Inti Raymi (Festival of the Sun) in June. For maximum access to the ruins, check in to the Belmond Sanctuary Lodge, the only hotel located right outside the site.
Prefer to clock your underwater hours when the waters are warm? In April and May, right after hurricane season has ended, the Pacific waters surrounding these 330 Edenic isles are as cozy as a bathtub. At the all-inclusive (and insanely sexy) Namale Resort in Savusavu, you can get certified at its revered dive center and make the most of its low-season rates.
As soon as Easter weekend is over, the Caribbean's spring shoulder season begins. The weather is still sublime, but room rates drop as much as 20 percent. Skip the spring break scene and visit in late April, May, or June, when you and a few other savvy couples will have all those waterfalls, turquoise waters, and talcum-powder beaches to yourselves. May marks the start of mango season and more than a dozen varieties grow here, making a stop at a roadside stand a must. Love music? Check in to the insanely romantic Jamaica Inn—the cottages are worth the splurge—and hit the Ocho Rios Jazz Festival in early June.
What makes spring an ideal time to take a tour through Japan? Not only will you avoid the humid weather of summer, but you'll also get a chance to hit one of the many sakura (cherry blossom) festivals happening around the country. Go the first week in April for the best chance to see trees in full bloom in cities like Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka. While in the latter, stay at the St. Regis Osaka, located just a few minutes away from the sakura festival at Osaka Castle.
In spring, you'll find some of the most idyllic weather of the year in Hawaii, plus sparser crowds; the snowbirds have flown back to the mainland, and summer vacation has yet to hit. That means that along with the gorge beaches, lush landscapes, and celeb-magnet resorts (Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber love the Travaasa Hana), you'll find great deals just waiting to be scooped up. Bonus: Maui's Taro Festival, Steel Guitar Festival, and biannual Onion Festival all happen around this time.
Songs have been written about springtime in Paris, and for good reason: The sun is out, the sidewalk cafés are buzzing, and gardens are abloom. (A stroll through the Jardin du Luxembourg is a must.) Take advantage of the clear skies by booking a hotel with Eiffel Tower views, like the Shangri-La Hotel Paris.
Few cities capture the romance, history, and party-all-the-time vibe like Prague. In spring, the town comes alive with the Festival of Czech Beer and the tongue-in-cheek Prague Spring Music Festival. Splurge on a room at the former palace that is now the Carlo IV, and you may never want to leave its majestic halls.
South Island, New Zealand
Live for wine? Jet to Marlborough on New Zealand's South Island for the harvest season. (It's fall there.) In between tastings of the region's famous Sauvignon Blancs, sit down to wine-paired feasts, wander farmers markets, and explore the jaw-dropping coastline by sea kayak. For your very own villa in the vineyards, check in to Vintners Retreat, where the grapes grow practically in your backyard.
It's not just jazz musicians and aficionados who head to St. Lucia in early May for the Saint Lucia Jazz & Arts Festival. This premier cultural event draws brass quartets, sure, but visitors can also pop into fashion shows, dinner parties, and beach soirees and take advantage of some of the best deals of the year during the island's shoulder season. Your home away from home? The all-inclusive Sandals Grande St. Lucian, just a few minutes from the main stage on Pigeon Island.
Texas Hill Country
Bluebonnets bloom mid-March through mid-April, making it the perfect time for a road trip through central Texas. Along with stretches of wildflower-carpeted hillsides that practically beg to be Instagrammed, this bucolic region between Austin and San Antonio is filled with hiking trails, ranchlands, and charming towns like Fredericksburg, known for its peach orchards, vineyards, and German heritage. Need to cool off? Go tubing in the Guadalupe River or hit the pool at the adults-only Escondida Hotel and Spa, built in the style of a Mexican hacienda.
Ignore the occasional showers and celebrate the coming of spring by hitting up one of the dozens of Easter celebrations in Tuscany. Starting with the fireworks on Florence's Piazza Duomo and moving out into the countryside for parades in Grassina and outdoor markets in Chianti, the whole region around Florence explodes with enthusiasm for what this symbolic fresh start may bring. When in the city, stay at the Four Seasons Hotel Firenze, where staff can arrange for you to have dinner overlooking the Duomo in its private garden or on an open-air terrace on the Ponte Vecchio.
Yosemite National Park
They call it "waterfall season" when the snowmelt rushes from the mountaintops to the streams; we call it paradise. Wildflowers burst from the rocks, meadows are lush with fresh grass, and the dogwoods light the whole place in twinkling white blossoms. Added bonus: Stay in the park (the Tenaya Lodge and Ahwahnee hotel are right there) and you just might see a moonbow (lunar rainbow) reflecting off the midnight mists of May.