Your honeymoon is a once-in-a-lifetime trip you get to take with your once-in-a-lifetime person, so you’ll want something absolutely epic to kick off your married life together. That could mean eating your way through an Italian honeymoon or relaxing with your feet in the water on a tropical Caribbean beach. Or it could mean something entirely different: Enjoying the fresh air, fun activities, spectacular views—and special bonding opportunities—of a mountain honeymoon.
"Most mountain destinations are removed from larger cities," says travel advisor Ragan Stone. "What comes with that is an opportunity to be more present while you’re there."
Meet the Expert
Ragan Stone is a luxury travel advisor and founder of Ragan Stone Travel. She is based in Birmingham, Alabama.
A more secluded environment can also be better for more introverted couples. "If you know you don’t do as well in a big, lively setting, there’s no need to force it just because the trend is to go to a beach destination," Stone continues.
That’s especially true because there are so many amazing destinations to choose from, even right here in the U.S. From snow-capped peaks in Utah to the verdant green forests of North Carolina, there’s a mountain honeymoon to suit every style—and a bevy of fun activities and luxurious resorts to round out the trip. Read on for a look at some of our favorites right now.
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The Great Smoky Mountains
This subrange of the Appalachian mountains runs along the Tennessee-Carolina border. On the Tennessee side in Walland, at the base of The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, you’ll find the South’s favorite mountain luxury resort: Blackberry Farm (pictured). The 4,200-acre property is beloved for its legendary farm-to-table meals and cooking classes, classically posh lodgings, and gorgeous scenery as far as the eye can see. (There’s also no shortage of outdoorsy activity options, which include fly fishing, horseback riding, archery, and more.) While you could happily pass your time never leaving the property, the national park boasts 900 miles of hiking trails, and, if the craving hits for some small-town exploration, Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg are each under an hour away.
If you’re okay to trade in pampering and luxury for a once-in-a-lifetime adventure, the 49th state will provide honeymoon memories you’ll never forget. "This trip is for couples who want to indulge in activities instead of well-appointed hotel rooms," says Stone, who does note that the Within The Wild adventure lodges at Tutka Bay and Winterlake make for pretty stellar accommodations. While you’re there—Stone recommends splitting your time between the coast and the interior—you can see bears, go fishing, kayak through glaciers, and so much more. An unexpected bonus: surprisingly great cuisine. "People don’t realize that the food in Alaska is actually wonderful, because it’s so fresh," Stone adds.
The Green Mountains
Vermont takes its nickname, "The Green Mountain State," from this mountainous range that runs from north to south in the western half of the state. (They’re called The Green Mountains because, even in winter, the evergreen trees still shine through the snow.) If you’d like your Green Mountain honeymoon to have a hearty dose of small-town charm, make the Woodstock Inn & Resort in Woodstock your home base. Woodstock is especially magical come the winter season when you’ll enjoy sleigh rides at the Billings Farm & Museum, fun workshops at Farmhouse Pottery, and skiing at nearby Suicide 6. For a taste of luxury, venture further away from civilization to Twin Farms in nearby Barnard. This 300-acre inclusive resort boasts sumptuous rooms, a private pond for ice skating, delicious dining and wine options, and a top-notch spa. Don’t want to move from the comfort of your room? In-room couples’ massages are a brilliant choice, especially if you’re staying in a private cottage with its own jacuzzi.
Highlands, North Carolina
With an average elevation within town limits of over 4,000 feet, this beloved North Carolina mountain town—located in the southern Appalachian mountains—is one of the highest townships east of the Mississippi River. While you’re there, you’ll enjoy luxe inns such as Highlander Mountain House (pictured), the spa at Old Edwards Inn, and delightful, cozy meals in a bounty of wonderful restaurants. (Don’t miss the breakfast sandwiches at Mountain Fresh Grocery.) Hiking happens in the Nantahala National Forest, where you won’t want to miss taking in views of three nearby waterfalls: Glen Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, and Dry Falls. Another popular hiking route takes you up Whiteside Mountain.
Looking for an easy, budget-friendly mountain getaway from New York City or Philadelphia? Look no further than the Poconos. In this woodsy, mountainous swath of Northeastern Pennsylvania, those craving a truly private getaway can stay at a private cabin (Camp Caitlin offers some of the most stylish), while couples after a resort experience should book at the adults-only wellness destination The Lodge at Woodloch or the charming Mansion at Noble Lane. Outdoorsy fun happens at the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area (pictured) and Lake Wallenpaupack, while the charming towns of Jim Thorpe and Honesdale offer shopping and restaurants. Book a table in advance at Native, which is run by two uber-talented expats of the Philly restaurant scene.
The red rocks, mesas, and buttes of Arches and Canyonlands National Park make for a decidedly different kind of elevation experience, but it’s absolutely one worth exploring. "Moab is a great option for clients who want a totally isolated location," says Stone. "But because of the cost, I wouldn’t spend an entire week." Nightly rates at celeb-loved Amangiri (pictured) were, at one point, the highest in the world, but Stone has also arranged upscale private glamping experiences for clients through EXP Journeys. If hiking the desert terrain isn’t high adrenaline enough for you, know that mountain biking is also extremely popular in the region.
Nestled at the entrance of Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park, one of the East Coast’s best destinations for leaf-peeping come fall, you’ll find the charming town of Sperryville. What it lacks in size—just 571 acres!—it more than makes up for in surprisingly upscale home-grown restaurants (Three Blacksmiths), cool shops (Happy Camper Equipment Co.), and unique spots for beer and cocktails (Pen Druid Fermentation, Francis). For a truly memorable experience, take a long, leisurely drive through Skyline Drive (pictured) to view the foliage, then settle in for the night at The Inn at Little Washington, a legendary Michelin-starred dining experience in nearby Washington, Virginia.
Park City, Utah
As the home of the Sundance Film Festival and the 2002 Winter Olympics, this popular skiing and snowboarding destination in Northeastern Utah offers a taste of the luxe life against a backdrop of wintry adventure. Make your home base The St. Regis Deer Valley, Montage Deer Valley, or newly opened Pendry Park City, then spend the day hitting the slopes. Après-ski hotspots include High West Distillery and several options at the St. Regis (don’t miss the nightly champagne sabering!), and one of the most inventive sushi meals you’ll ever have awaits at Yuki Yama.
Upstate New York is home to a surplus of stylish mountain getaways for couples, and many of them are found in charming hamlets that dot the subrange of the Appalachian Mountains lining southeastern New York. Honeymoon-worthy accommodations await at Scribner’s Catskill Lodge in Hunter, Foxfire Mountain House in Mt. Tremper, and Urban Cowboy in Big Indian, while some of the best meals can be found at Brushland Eating House, The DeBruce, and Silvia. Great spots for hikes include the Tusten Mountain Trail and Overlook Mountain, you’ll hang with furry friends at Buck Brook Alpacas, and stellar spa options are available at the new Hemlock Spa at Kenoza Hall (pictured). You can also spend your days exploring hip towns such as Livingston Manor, Narrowburg, and Pheonicia.
Big Sky may arguably be the biggest draw to the Treasure State, but, 60 miles to the Canadian border in Montana’s northwest corner, Whitefish also offers year-round fun. Come winter, you’ll ski at Whitefish Mountain Resort and cozy up fireside at The Firebrand Hotel or Hidden Moose Lodge; in warmer months, explore Montana’s Rocky Mountains in Glacier National Park (pictured), which boasts over 700 miles of hiking trails and the chance to spot wild mountain goats and bighorn sheep. No matter the season, you’ll want to visit the nearby towns of Kalispell and Columbia Falls, and sample as many huckleberry treats as you can get your hands on. Slightly more tart than a blueberry, the wild fruit is a celebrated local specialty.
This former mining town sits 8,750 feet up in a box canyon in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, which keeps it surrounded by mountains and forests. Skiing is a major draw, but so is the free-spirited, come-as-you-are mentality that permeates the main drag of Colorado Avenue, and the residents of the gingerbread Victorian homes dotting the town. "It’s more off the beaten path than a Jackson Hole, which can be filled with families," says Stone. For a honeymoon-worthy splurge, book a few nights outside of Telluride at Dunton Hot Springs (pictured), a luxury resort consisting of private log cabins that overtook an 1800s ghost town. "There is one particular cabin that has a bath fed from hot springs, which is really special for couples," Stone adds.
Sun Valley, Idaho
Snowbirds and celebs adore this central Idaho resort town for the skiing (Oprah Winfrey and Justin Timberlake have both owned homes in the area), but it’s just as magical in warmer months when horseback riders take to the hilly trails, the meadows are filled with wildflowers, and you can canoe and paddleboard the waters of Sun Valley Lake (pictured) and other swimming holes. (Additional draws include the Sun Valley Summer Symphony and, come fall, the quirky Trailing of the Sheep Festival.) Though Sun Valley Lodge may be the most well-known when it comes to accommodations, Tamarack Lodge and Hotel Ketchum give you direct access to the charming town of Ketchum, where Bigwood Bread serves up a delicious breakfast, and Huck & Paddle is a stylish spot for souvenirs. For a romantic activity that’s also tinged with adventure, go stargazing at the Central Idaho Dark Sky Reserve.
Old souls and grand-millenials alike will appreciate the charming inns and B&Bs in this woodsy, hilly range of the Appalachians in western Massachusetts and northwest Connecticut. Newer standouts include The Cornell Inn, which recently underwent a gorgeous transformation through a first-of-its-kind partnership with a suite of BIPOC interior designers, White Hart Inn, which is celebrated for top-notch cuisine, and The Inn at Kenmore Hall, which is owned by a former J.Crew fashion exec. (For more old-school luxury, try Wheatleigh or Blantyre.) Fall is an ideal time to visit, as you’ll enjoy an abundance of art galleries, festivals, and great antiquing.
The Sierra Nevada Mountains
This 400-mile-long mountain range covers a large swath of California, providing ample opportunity for year-round mountain adventure on the West Coast. On the California/Nevada border lies Lake Tahoe (pictured), the largest freshwater lake in the Sierra Nevadas. Lake Tahoe is one of the most popular destinations for a rustic-meets-high-end experience, with skiing in Squaw Valley in the winter and hikes through Emerald Bay State Park in the summer being two major draws. Want to return to the lap of luxury after a day spent outdoors? Book a suite at The Ritz-Carlton Lake Tahoe or the eco-conscious Edgewood. For a more fully immersed in nature experience, Wylder Hope Valley offers cabins, yurts, and a vintage spartan trailer in the High Sierra.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
If you’re over Vail and Aspen but still crave an established, luxury-minded ski destination, head to this mountainous valley located on the western border of the Cowboy State. Make like Mandy Moore and book a honeymoon suite at Caldera House (pictured), the area’s newest luxury lodgings, or ball out at Amangani, a sister property to Aman’s infamous Amangiri. Beyond hitting the slopes and enjoying the aprés-ski culture, you can also enjoy dog-sledding, heli tours, and the chance to spot bison and elk in the wild. Grand Teton National Park is also a short drive away.