If you want to stay within the U.S. for your honeymoon, you may have considered spots like Niagara Falls or New Orleans, Savannah or Seattle—perhaps Nashville or Austin. There’s a lot of spots in the U.S. that get a ton of honeymoon buzz, but there’s also some amazing destinations you probably haven’t yet considered that deserve to be at the top of your must-visit list.
Below, the 20 most unexpected domestic honeymoon destinations that haven't crossed your mind yet.
Savannah or Atlanta are pretty popular destinations, but have you considered Adairsville? History buffs and Southern cuisine enthusiasts seeking a more unchartered, yet equally romantic escape, may want to check out Barnsley Resort in Adairsville, Georgia. Located just an hour outside of Atlanta in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, this is a place where history, outdoor adventure, and Southern comfort come together as one. This resort-meets-playground has everything, with authentic Southern cuisine and onsite adventures including horseback riding, clay shooting, award-winning golf, miles of trails for hiking, an intimate spa, and gorgeous gardens, situated on the storybook site of an 1840s southern estate. The Barnsley story starts with an epic tale of love, with remarkable ruins from the original manor built by Godfrey Barnsley for his wife, Julia, and a pre-Civil War farmhouse. For a most intimate getaway, book an Arbor Cottage, Barnsley Resort’s most spacious (and private!) one-bedroom accommodations.
For an artsy twist to a honeymoon escape, head to Minneapolis, where a romantic weekend is best spent biking around the city, gallery hopping, and catching the latest shows. Located inside the iconic Foshay Tower—Minneapolis's first skyscraper—just a stone’s throw from local theaters and museums, W Minneapolis - The Foshay is an ideal home base for exploring one of the sexiest, most cultural cities in the Midwest. Channel historic love stories from the roaring 1920s with original Art Deco design, a speakeasy-style Prohibition bar, and 30th floor observation deck with incredible 360° city views.
Stock Island, FL
Stock Island is technically part of Key West, and named after the herds of livestock once kept there. The area has flown under the radar for decades, serving as a shrimp boatyard, fisherman's haven, and local haunt for bohemian artist-types, but has recently undergone a major transformation with the arrival of a brand new hotel. Inspired by the industrial nature from which Stock Island has developed and Key West’s tradition of working waterfronts, fishing fleets, and marinas, The Perry Hotel Key West at Stock Island Marina will welcome its first guests on May 1, with private outdoor showers and two "boat-to-table" seafood-driven restaurants that specialize in coastal comfort cuisine with fresh seafood sourced right from the hotel’s backyard. Within the Stock Island Marina Village, guests have access to additional restaurants, an on-site distillery, local artists’ studio, an organic community garden, and a very popular dog park. Among the endless outdoor excursions available to newlyweds are luxury chartered cruises to Cuba that leave right from the hotel’s private marina.
Nantucket itself is designated a National Historic Landmark District—and it's the perfect spot for couples interested in a living historical experience unlike anything you’d find on the mainland. Whether you’re looking for quiet beaches, untapped nature, easy access to fine dining with no reservations needed (fall/winter/spring), or a buzzing, festive quintessential New England summer town (summer!), the island can appeal to everyone. Nantucket’s Greydon House opened just last October and this will be its first summer season.
Key Largo, FL
Key West gets all of the fame and acclaim, but for a change of scenery and a destination with Instagram-worthy sunsets, head to Key Largo. With expansive stretches of warm white sands (a rarity in the Upper Keys), Playa Largo Resort & Spa is just an hour's drive from Miami, and has a chic beach house vibe with a sunset-on- the-bay design that pays homage to the resort’s tropical island surroundings. When couples are ready to turn their trip up a notch, they can zip through the mangroves on an inflatable zodiac boat, grab a beach cruiser for a sun-soaked ride down US-1, or hit the water on a stand-up paddle board. Also, just a short drive from the resort is the quirky boutique shops in Rain Barrel Village, Islamorada Brewing Co., and John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park—all great options for those wanting a quintessential Key Largo experience.
All-inclusive luxury meets summer camp at the Point Resort in New York’s Adirondacks. Spend your days roaming the woods looking for the perfect picnic spot (your basket packed with Veuve and sandwiches), and your nights dining in elegant attire. Once owned by William Avery Rockefeller, this spot personified 19th century notions of romantic escape. Actually, it still does.
Looking for the ultimate off-the-grid honeymoon? Pack your bags and head 80 miles east of Seattle to Suncadia Resort. Nestled among 6,400 acres of Cascade Mountain forest, Suncadia has a sumptuous woodland feel that's perfect for newlyweds who want to get away from it all. Paying tribute to being together in the great outdoors, newlyweds can take their first walk to wedded bliss at the resort’s 1,000 steps—a unique concrete stairway that starts at the property’s lodge and leads you down to the trickling Cle Elum river—making it a unique place to capture your love.
Hollywood, Florida, may be the anti-South Beach, and that’s what makes it wonderful. Once heralded as a spring break mecca, Miami’s neighbor to the north is experiencing another transformation. The destination’s dining trends have moved past chains to a more diverse, eclectic, and chef-driven scene, giving rise to highly-rated, freestanding, interesting hotel-based restaurants. Included are dozens of extremely popular hotspots on Las Olas Boulevard (Fort Lauderdale’s Rodeo Drive)—low-key hidden gems such as Bubbles & Pearls and Hardy Park, and higher profile restaurants including Kuro and Burlock Coast Seafare & Spirits. In hotel news, a restored mid-century modern building is now home to a trio of boutique hotels in Fort Lauderdale’s North Beach Village neighborhood—the Ikona and Fortuna opened beachside in 2016 and the third, Mirra Hotel, is on track to open later this year. Choose from the Coastal American Point Royal from Geoffrey Zakarian, modern Japanese Izakaya and Monkitail from Michael Schulson, the festive Nuevo Latino Playa from Sue Torres and Darren Carbone, casual grab-and-go market the Canteen, or family-friendly sweets shop Candy & Cones, among others. Other early 2017 openings include HYDE Resort, the beachfront sister property to the newly opened Beachwalk Resort in Hallandale Beach, the Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort, and the Plunge Beach Hotel in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea.
Salamander Resort & Spa, located in Middleburg, Virginia, is just a quick drive from Washington, D.C., and the perfect place for a romantic small town getaway with plenty to do. The on-property activities range from empowering adventures such as zip-lining and countryside horse rides, to slower paced experiences such as award-winning spa treatments and foodie encounters.
Lake Charles, LA
Many covet the indulgent fun of New Orleans or Baton Rouge, but a great spot just a morning’s drive away is Lake Charles, Louisiana. This has the gambling and the beads and the amazing food of New Orleans but in an authentic, small-town atmosphere. Take a ghost tour or visit the Mardi Gras museum, and stay at the epic Golden Nugget while you are there. Don’t forget to take a swamp tour and maybe spot a few alligators. Still want to hit NOLA? You can easily fit both into the same trip.
Coachella Valley, CA
A Palm Springs desert oasis awaits at Miramonte Indian Wells Resort & Spa, an idyllic Coachella Valley escape perfect for honeymooners looking to go off-the-grid. This Mediterranean-style property is nestled in the town of Indian Wells and boasts 360-degree views of the dreamy Santa Rosa mountains. Lace up those hiking boots and explore the local trails or take a thrilling Jeep excursion of the San Andreas fault line that includes door-to-door service to what is considered "the most tortured landscape on earth." Opt for a trip to nearby desert hotspot, Joshua Tree, for a once-in-a-lifetime rock climbing session that will let you become one with nature and each other.
Longboat Key, FL
Honeymooners eyeing the Gulf Coast of Florida oftentimes consider the quaint coastal town of Sarasota, but many don’t realize the hotels are located on the bay without access to a beach. For a true beach honeymoon, newlyweds should instead head to Longboat Key—a small barrier island just minutes off the coast of Sarasota. Stay at the Resort at Longboat Key Club, known for spacious accommodations with private balconies overlooking the sparkling white sands and turquoise water. Plus, the property is just minutes from St. Armands Circle—a local hot spot with 100-plus restaurants, boutiques, and bars.
You’ve probably considered Napa, but that’s not the only place to go in California if you want a boozy honeymoon. "The oldest wine region in California, Livermore is a perfect honeymoon destination for the couple looking to relax and unwind,” says Kevin Dennis, owner of Fantasy Sound Events Services as well as the Tri-Valley Wedding Professionals. While you are there, check out Wente, an amazing local vineyard.
Gasparilla Island, FL
Coined as the “preppiest place on earth,” Boca Grande, the heart of Gasparilla Island, offers travelers a taste of Florida’s yesteryear. Clustered around the old train depot that brought industry to this pint-sized village, this small, intimate locale has evolved into a playground for discerning travelers. Here, you’ll find vibrant patterned clothing (think Vera Bradley meets Lilly Pulitzer) along with vintage shops and restaurants. Gracing the outskirts of town is the century-old Gasparilla Inn & Club, an iconic resort with trellis-patterned carpets, shell-encrusted décor, and old hardwood floors that evoke a classic old Florida charm. Katherine Hepburn also rented a house on Gasparilla Island for several years. From there, island hop to other barrier islands within the Southwest Florida destination, including Sanibel, a world-class shelling destination and ideal spot for nature-loving couples (plenty of kayaking and home to the expansive J.N. Ding Darling Nature Reserve), and Captiva, an artist community where you’ll find the private home of renowned American painter and graphic artist Robert Rauschenberg, and quirky dining options like the Bubble Room, a three-story venue decked out in nostalgic decor from the '30s, '40s and '50s.
Newport County, RI
With its authentic New England charm, stately mansions steeped in history, and picturesque coastline views, Newport County in Rhode Island has it all. During the Gilded Age, America’s wealthiest families made the "City-by-the-Sea" their summertime hotspot. Today, more than a dozen prestigious properties have been preserved by dedicated organizations committed to protecting their past. For those looking for a quiet honeymoon escape, Newport has a host of activities to keep guests entertained, from the popular Cliff Walk and sailing to Fort Adams State Park and more.
Santa Barbara, CA
Many people think of exotic locales for their honeymoon, but in Santa Barbara, California, you can get all of the culture, beautiful beaches, and mountain backdrops—as well as delicious cuisine and spirits—without having to pack your passport. In addition, honeymooners will enjoy Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone, a buzzed-about walkable area of trendy restaurants, shops, wineries, and more, and of course, Santa Barbara’s stunning architecture at every turn. Two ideal honeymoon resorts include the Eagle Inn and San Ysidro Ranch— actually the honeymoon spot of JFK and Jackie.
Escape just a quick 40 minutes out of the city of Seattle and you’ll arrive post “I do” at vibrant Tacoma, Washington, where its busy urban core is alive and thriving with culture. From the famed museum district where you can explore the city’s art, glass, and history collection to the upbeat restaurants and music venues taking over Sixth Avenue, there is something for every type of traveler. At Hotel Murano you’ll discover a carefully curated international collection of 20th-century works in glass that mix site-specific commissioned pieces with acquisitions from artists’ studios and galleries around the world. Forty-five artists from twelve countries are represented, showcasing an incredible diversity of glass-art techniques and styles. Washington has more craft distilleries than any other state, and the innovation in spirits you’ll see more of in the next decade has already started in Tacoma, especially in Pierce County. Mount Rainier is the ultimate in American alpine climbing. Although you can see Mount Rainier from Seattle, you have to come to Tacoma to experience it. Outdoor adventurers have plenty to do at this all-seasons destination and mountaineers love this 14,411-foot climb.
Monterey County, CA
Listen up Big Little Lies fans, this honeymoon destination is for you! If you prefer the calm of the great outdoors to relax post-wedding—you will be deeply rewarded by the exquisite beauty of Monterey. Experience the Monterey Peninsula on California's Central Coast, from Big Sur to Carmel Valley to Pebble Beach. Go from whale watching in Monterey Bay and hiking the redwood forests of Big Sur to the cozy Carmel-by-the-Sea tasting rooms of the best central coast wineries, all in a day to compliment any wedding weekend. Monterey County has 225 vineyards with 46,000 cultivated acres and more than 60 tasting rooms throughout the county: River Road, Chalone, Monterey, Carmel-by-the-Sea, and Carmel Valley. While chefs have always loved the Monterey region for the fresh abalone, oysters, and other seafood, the culinary scene is growing more than ever. Incorporate these wineries and restaurants to give your celebration that costal flair. The new Folktale Winery is also a perfect setting for wedding celebrations.
Love Los Angeles, but don’t want to deal with all the traffic and crowds on your honeymoon? Consider Pasadena. It’s an intimate but idyllic little city—close to L.A., but far enough removed to feel separate. The Langham Huntington in Pasadena is a city onto itself, with 23 acres, swimming pool, tennis court, huge spa, big suites, and romantic restaurant.
Keuka Lake, NY
Sometimes you don’t have to go far to feel like you are in a different world. If you are into the laid-back, slow pace of small-town life, all the while experiencing a remarkable landscape, consider Keuka Lake (the most unique of all the Finger Lakes) and savor world-class wines like those from New York State's most award-winning winery since 1962. Get out on the water for a beautiful twilight paddle. Take a short drive to the world’s premiere glass museum in nearby Corning. It’s the perfect way to get away from the everyday, and treat yourselves to the quality you time you deserve.