You deserve a romantic honeymoon after months of wedding planning. For many couples that means laying by the beach sipping cocktails, but for those that just can't say no to a rush of adrenaline, it means seeking the perfect adventure honeymoon location. These days, there's more to a vacation than just relaxing, couples are looking for adventure honeymoon destinations where they can really share a once-in-a-lifetime experience. From swimming with sharks in Australia to an off-the-grid desert trek in Morocco, we've rounded up 7 adventure honeymoon ideas.
A Road Trip At World’s End
The most rugged, remote parts of Patagonia are best accessed via car, but planning your vehicle rental, accommodation, and itinerary can be a bit overwhelming. Luckily, Quasar Expeditions offers both guided as well as self-drive Jeep Overland Safari Tours, which are essentially turnkey luxury road trip itineraries. Whether it’s scheduling which excursions you’ll do along the way, or perhaps making sure you’re only doing the most challenging and thrilling hikes en route, Quasar can help plan every stop along the way.
The romantic option would be to self-drive and meet your guides at each stop, that way you and your new spouse can focus on having this extraordinary landscape to yourself between adventures.
Come Face-To-Face With Endangered Gorillas
This honeymoon is about as opposite from “sitting on a beach all week” as you can get. Fly in to the Rwandan capital of Kigali then drive a couple hours north to Volcanoes National Park. There, experienced guides will bring you on a challenging hike through thick, humid forest filled with stinging nettles and who-knows-what hiding in the bush, but all that travel and all that work will be well worth it when you come face-to-face with a family of endangered mountain gorillas. Volcanoes Safaris’ Virunga Lodge is the area’s pioneer for sustainable luxury tourism, and their views of the Virunga Massif are truly like something out of a Photoshop ad, but a handful of new properties catering to honeymooners have also opened up in the area, including Wilderness Safaris' Bisate Lodge and Governors Camp Collection’s Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge.
If it’s an adventurous honeymoon you’re after, you can’t really do much better than a life-changing trek through the African jungle.
Dual-Sport Days That Are Close To Home
When it comes to an adventure honeymoon that’s still romantic, yet a bit more accessible than flying halfway around the planet, there are few places that can compete with Lake Tahoe—the area is just 40 minutes from Reno and 3.5 hours from San Francisco. While the lake’s south side is a better fit for casino-lovers and bachelor parties, North Lake Tahoe is still very much a quaint retreat ideal for active honeymooners. Plus, go at the right time of year (usually around spring) and you can experience the locals’ cherished “dual sport days,” when you can ski Squaw Valley in the morning then boat around the lake all afternoon.
World-renowned Alpenglow Expeditions offers private backcountry tours that will bring even experienced skiers to their knees in the best possible way. And if you need a decadent hotel at which to rest your legs afterward, the Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe can tailor-make your honeymoon stay with rose petals on the bed, bottles of champagne, and couples massages at the spa. But if it’s privacy and water views that you’re after, try renting one of the gorgeous lakefront homes managed by Tahoe Luxury Properties.
Bike Across The Scottish Highlands
The Scottish Highlands are an oft-overlooked honeymoon spot, perhaps due to the shortage of beaches and sunny weather, but whether you two are Outlander fans, Royal Family enthusiasts, whisky lovers, or just outdoorsy people, there is a lot to see here. A bike tour is the best way to experience the challenging climbs and exciting descents of Scotland’s rugged landscape, and you’ll notice things and experience the country in a way you wouldn’t be able to even from a car. There are several companies that operate here, but Wilderness Scotland hits the mark between turnkey service and local insight.
Offering fully customizable tours, guides are able to privatize and customize any itinerary, so newlyweds’ options are limitless: go as quickly or as slowly as you’d like, stop at as many whiskey distilleries as you can stomach, and even incorporate a couple stops at Royalist favorites like Balmoral and Glamis Castles. After your tour, splurge on a couple of nights rest at one of the Highlands’ extraordinary estate resorts, like Gleneagles, where you can shoot clays and have as much tea as much as your hearts desire.
A New Challenge Every Day At New Zealand’s Adventure Capital
Located in the heart of New Zealand’s most rugged part of South Island, the charming small town of Wanaka has long been insiders’ go-to spot for adventure tourism. If you can dream it, you can probably do it in Wanaka. Heli-hiking, bungee jumping, watersports of all types, glacier climbing, even the world’s tallest via ferrata climbing course through a waterfall (aptly entitled “Lord of the Rungs”); all of these activities and more can be found just a few minutes from the heart of downtown. You could easily spend at least a week here doing a different activity every day and not running out of things to do.
While there are a couple of cute hotels to rest at each night, the best thing to do is rent a turnkey luxury home rental from Release Wanaka—the ones with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Lake Wanaka offer some of the most sweeping, romantic views on the planet (check out the pictures from @garypeppergirl’s wedding there if you don’t believe us).
Swim—Sustainably!—With Whale Sharks Through Untouched Coral Reefs
Whale shark swims are not a novelty — they can be done in Mexico, Thailand, a couple spots in the Caribbean, Fiji, and so forth — but there are very few spots in the world where you can do it guilt-free, knowing your actions aren’t harming the animal. While it’s pretty remote, Western Australia’s Ningaloo Reef is one of the most pristine coral reefs left, and the Australian government goes to great lengths to make sure what little tourism is there is regulated so as to keep it that way. Operators like Ningaloo Whalesharks can take you out for a private whale shark swim, and if you schedule it right, you might even find yourself swimming in the middle of a humpback migration at the same time.
Sal Salis, one of the only places to stay in the area, brings new meaning to the term “barefoot luxury,” with a totally sustainable yet utterly luxurious glamping camp set up in the heart of Cape Range National Park. It’s definitely further than hopping a flight to the Caribbean or Cabo, but seeing this extraordinarily human-free landscape makes the trip well worth it.
Off-The-Grid Desert Adventure In Morocco
Morocco has become a well-worn destination for many travelers, but so much of the country remains untapped. Heritage Tours, a leader in custom-designed private travel, is uniquely positioned to help adventure seekers unlock this part of the Sahara, in part because they operate Thaalab Sahara, a private encampment one day’s drive from Fez. Once reaching this remote and luxurious camp, guests can indulge in camel rides, dune surfing and wild dune buggy rides. The best part? It’s so private that the two of you will have what seems to be the entire Sahara to yourselves.