There’s no one way to do a honeymoon—and that’s especially true if you’re considering Virginia as a destination. From serene waterfront resorts to charming Southern towns and rustic mountain adventures, the state has options for everyone, and they’ve all got a bit of romance at their core.
“Our state slogan is ‘Virginia is for lovers,’” says Andrew Cothern of the Virginia Tourism Corporation. “We’re all about doing what you love, with the people you love.”
Meet the Expert
Andrew Cothern is the communications manager for the Virginia Tourism Corporation.
In the Old Dominion state that could mean exploring the wineries of Charlottesville, taking a long, scenic drive through Shenandoah, or dining at a Michelin-rated restaurant in a quaint country town. If this is all starting to sound like perfect fodder for a post-wedding getaway, read on for what to know when planning your honeymoon in Virginia, including destinations for every season, the most romantic resorts and hotels, and what you can expect to spend.
Virginia Honeymoon Cost
The cost of a Virginia honeymoon can vary greatly, depending on where you decide to go, what you decide to do, and how long you decide to stay. Remote cabins can run as little as $60 per night, while suites at high-end luxury resorts such as Primland can top out at over $3,000 per night. Virginia does not have a state-wide lodging tax, but there will be a sales tax of 4.3% on any accommodations, along with any local city or county fees.
Unique Virginia Attractions
Situated halfway between New York and Florida, Virginia is home to 39 state parks, 22 national parks, and over 300 wineries. Additional honeymoon-worthy destinations in the state include:
- Assateague Island National Seashore: Assateague is technically split between Maryland and Virginia, but the Virginia portion is home to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, where beautiful wild horses walk freely on undeveloped beaches.
- Shenandoah National Park: The state’s largest national park is world-famous for its amazing fall foliage. Wind through it all via Skyline Drive, a 105-mile road that runs along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
- Bristol: Country music fans will want to mosey down to this small city, which is split in half across the Virginia/Tennessee border and is known as the birthplace of country music—and has a museum to prove it.
- Virginia Creeper Trail: Calling all adventurers! This 34-mile bike trail runs through gorgeous greenery and quaint small towns just above the Virginia/North Carolina border.
Virginia Honeymoon Ideas by Season
Northern Virginia and neighboring D.C. are ultra Instagrammable destinations come spring thanks to the dozens of cherry blossom trees that hit peak bloom around April. “There’s also a number of botanical gardens throughout the state,” says Cothern. Some favorites: Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden outside of Richmond and Norfolk Botanical Garden on the coast.
From the quiet inlet waters of the Chesapeake Bay to more traditional oceanside getaways in Virginia Beach, there’s plenty of ways to enjoy the Virginia coastline come summer. Love fresh seafood? In the Northern Neck, oysters are an especially big draw. “There’s a number of companies that will take you out on the water, let you fish for oysters, and get the whole experience,” says Cothern.
In Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, the rolling hills of the state’s Piedmont region, and, of course, the Shenandoah Valley, you’ll find stunning foliage pretty much every way you turn come fall. Take it all in while winery hopping at gems like Early Mountain, Bluemont, and Gray Ghost—just be sure to plan for a DD!
Ahead, the 14 most romantic hotels and resorts for a Virginia honeymoon.
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The brainchild of Sheila Johnson, a co-founder of the BET television network and the first African-American female billionaire, Salamander has all the trappings of a refined country estate. Set on 340 acres of picturesque Virginia hunt country, the property features 186 spacious rooms and suites—each with their own patio or balcony!—and a host of on-site activities, including swimming, tennis, bocce, life-size chess, and a full equestrian center, where experienced and new riders can trot the outdoor riding arena and set out for the trails. Come hungry to the family-style Sunday brunch, where you’ll fill plate after plate with upscale American bites, and don’t forget to book an appointment at the spa, which is beloved by denizens of nearby D.C. for its meticulous facials, indulgent massages, and heated stone loungers in the whirlpool area.
After two years of major renovations and upgrades, this Charlottesville-area resort reopens in August as a delightful homage to Southern hospitality. You’ll pass your days with 18 holes on the Pete Dye-designed golf course, trading volleys on the clay tennis courts, or simply relaxing underneath a waterside cabana at the outdoor infinity pool, then dress up for dinner at Marigold by Jean-Georges, the resort's seasonally-inspired eatery helmed by legendary French chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. Pop by Crawford’s, the cozy on-site bar, for a nightcap, then settle in for a luxurious night’s sleep in any one of the 80 plush rooms and suites. Attention all couples who require ample space while getting ready: you’ll be pleased to know that all accommodations come equipped with double vanities in the bathrooms.
Looking for artsy vibes in a big city? Look no further than this buzzy boutique hotel in downtown Richmond, where the rooms are splashed with millennial pink, modern furnishings, and loads of original paintings and prints. Brunch in one of the airy lobby restaurant’s wraparound booths is a must before hitting the town—both the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and the independent shops of Carytown should be on your list—as is the ultimate honeymoon souvenir: an original piece from the hotel’s on-site art gallery (or, at the very least, a candle from the cooler-than-it-has-any-right-to-be lobby gift shop). Also good to know: The Quirk opened a sister property in Charlottesville last March, and it just might be more stylish than the original.
A site to celebrate special occasions in Richmond since 1895, this five-star property is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Little touches of luxury—TVs in the bathroom mirrors, Nespresso machines on the valet—abound in the guest rooms, and the Southern twist on afternoon tea served at Lemaire, the hotel’s New American restaurant, is also a treat. Want to continue your taste of the good life? The dinner res to get weeks in advance is at Longoven, which has been lauded by Bon Appetit for its inventive tasting menu, and Sub Rosa is nationally renowned for its bread and baked goods.
This historic 22-room property is situated right in the heart of downtown Middleburg, which places you right in the heart of Virginia’s horse and wine country. Whether you choose to set your bags in the main building or in one of the four small cottages, you’ll want to book the seasonal four-course dining experience at the inn’s charming tavern, where you’ll feast on locally-inspired dishes (seared duck breast! sweet corn bisque!) paired with Virginia wines. Planning to honeymoon in colder months? Middleburg’s Christmas celebration, complete with a parade of American foxhounds, is the perfect mix of pomp and merriment.
There’s no better home base for exploring Virginia oyster country than this maritime-minded resort, which is situated on a private peninsula in Carters Creek in the Chesapeake. If you’re not docking a boat on the 24-slip marina, you can hit the water in one of the resort's kayaks, canoes or paddleboards, or simply choose to take in the views from the open-air pool. Clear a Saturday for the Virginia Oyster Academy, which takes you through harvesting, shucking, and wine-pairing with the bivalves, and don’t forget about the spa, which donates a portion from every “Rappahannock Renewal” body scrub service to maintaining the natural ecosystems of the surrounding bay.
Outdoor enthusiasts ready to splurge on a once-in-a-lifetime experience (and hey, isn’t that exactly what honeymoons are for?) will have a tough time finding a more unforgettable destination than Primland. Located on a secluded swath of 12,000 acres in the Blue Ridge Mountains of southwestern Virginia, the resort offers fly fishing, horseback riding, archery, clay shooting, and more, and even has its own observatory for nighttime stargazing. Accommodations include standalone cabins, private treehouses, and the 18,000-square-feet Pinnacles Suite; there’s also an award-winning spa, a two-story wine cellar, and a private theater.
With 483 rooms and suites and seven dining options, there are endless ways to customize your stay at the historic 250-year-old Omni Homestead. That said, every itinerary should feature a dip in the natural hot springs, which have attracted many U.S. presidents to the property and are best enjoyed in the adults-only Serenity Garden after a pampering spa treatment. Additional onsite activities at the four-season western Virginia resort include skiing, horseback riding, golf, zipline tours, and even falconry. Added bonus: the resort is dog-friendly, so you can bring your pet along for the ride.
If it’s good enough for Frank Sinatra and Elizabeth Taylor, then it’s good enough for a honeymoon, don’t you think? A four-million-dollar renovation recently restored this circa-1927 Virginia Beach hotel to its original Hollywood-inspired glamour, where guests can enjoy colorful suites, access to a private beach club, bike rentals to take along the boardwalk, and indoor and outdoor swimming pools. Unwind with a couples’ soak in the spa, or plan a tour of Tarnished Truth, the first in-hotel distillery in the U.S. Date-night options include cocktails by the fire in the Hunt Room and garden-inspired dishes on the terrace at Becca’s, the Cavalier’s AAA, four-diamond flagship restaurant.
The quirky thing about Bristol is that the Virginia/Tennessee border slices right through the main thoroughfare, so you can hop from one state to the other just by hopping across the street. Not exactly a reason to book your honeymoon there, we know, but if music plays a big role in your relationship, you will love spending a few days at The Bristol Hotel, which is right next door to The Birthplace of Country Music museum. (You can also catch live shows at Paramount.) The hotels’ rooftop bar—the first and only in the city—is a major draw, as is the pet program, which offers snacks at check-in and special turn-down service just for dogs.
Lexington, Virginia is the home of the Virginia Military Institute, Washington and Lee University, and this cozy Federal-style brick hotel, which was voted one of the best city hotels in the continental U.S. in 2020 by Travel & Leisure readers. Just outside its doors, you’ll find a vibrant main street filled with cute shops and farm-to-table restaurants; further out, the Appalachian Trail and Blue Ridge Parkway awaits. When selecting your room at The Georges, opt for one with a soaking tub or private porch for a true taste of slow Southern living.
Situated 90 minutes outside of our nation’s capital in Washington, Virginia, Patrick O’Connell’s three-star Michelin restaurant has been a penultimate spot for special occasions for over 40 years—we’re talking anniversaries, major promotions, and, yes, many, many proposals. After your extravagant, multi-course meal, you’ll retire to one of the property’s sumptuous, antique-filled suites. In the main inn, many are named for famous chefs, including Julia Child, Jacques Pépin, and Daniel Boulud.