Best Unique Honeymoon Destinations in the U.S.
Haystack Rock | Cannon Beach, OR
Grand Hotel | Mackinac Island, MI
Sweetheart Rock | Lanai, HI
The first trip you take as a married couple is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, so you won’t want to go just anywhere. There are endless lists on the internet of beautiful U.S. honeymoon destinations, but the same places seem to pop up over and over again. There are plenty of popular locales, but what about the many amazing destinations that don’t get as much recognition? Below are our top picks for unique honeymoon destinations that might not be on your list, but should be.
About 50 miles outside of our nation's capital, Middleburg, Virginia is the perfect blend of historic elegant charm and Southern hospitality. Here you’ll find peaceful and picturesque countryside, stately horse farms, and the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. Chosen as one of the “10 most underrated romantic destinations” by CNN, Middleburg is refined and upscale without being pompous. Often referred to as “the Nation’s Horse and Hunt Capital,” visiting fox hunters and equestrians rub shoulders with amorous couples.
Stay at the luxurious 340-acre Salamander Resort and Spa — the perfect home base for a romantic honeymoon in Middleburg — where all 168 rooms have breathtaking views of the sprawling scenery. Get pampered at the resort’s 23,000-square-foot spa, which features 14 treatment rooms and a private outdoor courtyard with a heated pool. Guests also have access to the property’s horse stables, riding and hiking trails, and a zip line!
Head over to Greenhill Winery and Vineyards for a memorable wine tasting experience. Situated on a beautiful farm, guests can grab a glass of wine and take a romantic horse-drawn carriage ride around the estate.
Cannon Beach, Oregon
Cannon Beach is an Oregon Coast treasure with its rugged shorelines, emerald forests, spectacular views, and cozy vibes. It’s the perfect place to spend your days hiking, biking, and surfing, and your evenings cozied up by a fire. Pay a visit to the beautiful and iconic 235-foot high Haystack Rock, a grand rock formation that was formed by lava flows millions of years ago. Haystack Rock is easily accessible during low tide, surrounded by vibrant tide pools filled with starfish, anemone, and crabs. And be sure to keep an eye out for Tufted Puffins, the unofficial feathered mascots of the area.
When you’re ready to relax after a long day of exploring, book a room (and a massage) at the beachfront Stephanie Inn. This luxe coastal retreat was basically designed for romance — every room features a cozy fireplace and a jetted tub.
From fine dining to laid-back eateries, Cannon Beach’s up-and-coming food scene offers something for everyone. Enjoy foie gras pasta, fresh caught fish, and delicious Oregon pinot noirs at Newmans at 988 — an intimate, 10-table restaurant with a menu that marries Pacific Northwest flavors with French training and Italian cuisine.
The isolation and tranquility of Lanai makes it a great Hawaiian honeymoon destination, and makes you feel like you’re on your own private island. With acres of unspoiled beauty, few cars and no traffic lights, Lanai is the perfect place to decompress and connect with your loved one. One of only two hotels on the entire island, the Four Seasons Resort borders a marine preserve abundant with colorful fish, sea turtles, and spinner dolphins. It is situated on an awesome bay that’s great for snorkeling and scuba diving through amazing underwater lava tubes.
While there is plenty of relaxing to do by the hotel pool, the island is also an adventurer’s paradise. Hike to the iconic Puu Pehe, or Sweetheart Rock, which rises 80 feet out of the water and is a Lanai landmark — and if you stay for sunset you’re in for something truly spectacular. While there is no need for a car during your stay (there are plenty of free shuttles), the island has 400 miles of off-road paths that you can explore in 4-wheel drive vehicles rented by the day. Check out Keahiakawelo, an otherworldly red rock garden that looks as if it should be on the surface of Mars rather than a Hawaiian island.
Looking for an unusual activity to try? Pay a visit to the Lanai Cat Sanctuary, where you can give hundreds of feline residents some much-needed love and attention. But, be warned. With an absence of street signs and no address, the directions for getting here are comically described as “heading down a dirt road and hanging a left at a really big rock” Note: They also recommend standing on a box in the middle of a field if you’d like cell reception.
No matter which activity is more your style, Lanai is a one-of-a-kind island vacation.
A honeymoon in Kennebunkport epitomizes romance and timeless elegance. This seaside village has a gorgeous craggy coastline, beautiful beaches, historic districts, and of course all the lobster you could eat. Unlike most New England towns, many of the hotels here stay open year round (though peak season is June to October) so you can enjoy all the charm even during the snowy winter months. The luxurious Boathouse Waterfront Hotel & Restaurant even has a dedicated “Cupid Concierge” to help make your stay as romantic as possible. Book yourself and your sweetie a romance package that includes anything from rose petals and chocolate covered strawberries to a champagne toast.
The heart of Kennebunkport is filled with adorable little shops and art galleries that you could spend hours perusing. At both the W. Robert Paine Gallery and F-8 Gallery, you can stop in to admire the pieces and meet resident artists. Hungry? It doesn’t get more quintessential Maine than chowing down on a good ole’ fashioned lobster roll. Alisson’s has a great neighborly vibe and an even better oversized signature lobster roll that’s made with big pieces of knuckle and claw meat, lightly tossed in mayo, and served up on a toasted buttered roll.
At the end of your day set sail on a two-hour sunset cruise aboard The Pineapple Ketch. The crew allows you to bring your own snacks and drinks — we’re thinking a bottle of something bubbly to toast the start of your lives together.
Mackinac Island, Michigan
Spend your honeymoon on a trip back in time when you visit Michigan’s Mackinac Island. Mackinac gives visitors a taste of what life was like before the technology era. You won’t find any cars on this 3.8-square-mile island, so hop on a ferry to cross the sapphire waters of Lake Huron, where horse-drawn carriage taxis are waiting to greet you at the docks. Since the only way to get around is by bike, foot, or horse, the best times to visit are during the spring and summer months when the weather is warmer and the cool lake breeze feels like a treat. Stay at the quintessential and award-winning Grand Hotel, which opened back in 1887 as a Great Lakes summer retreat. Now a national historic landmark, guests can enjoy Afternoon Tea in the parlor, formal-dress dinners that were popular in the hotel’s heyday, and sitting on the world’s longest porch in a rocking chair, letting time pass them by.
Spend your day experiencing history at Fort Mackinac, where every morning at 9 am one lucky visitor gets to stand on the bluff of this 1780s fort and fire the Mackinac Cannon. Share a kiss at the cedar grove at the south end of the island, which is where an iconic scene from the romantic classic Somewhere in Time was filmed.
One more thing to mention: don’t be surprised if the locals on this friendly island endearingly refer to you as a “fudgie.” While they didn’t invent it, Mackinac Islanders have perfected the art of fudge making, and most out-of-towners can’t leave without taking some home with them. Joann’s makes authentic Mackinac fudge fresh daily with real cream and butter, and has several locations downtown so it’s easy to pick some up.
Taos, New Mexico
An intriguing blend of fine arts, riveting history, and mountain scenery, Taos is one of the best honeymoon spots to get cozy with that special someone. Surrounded by natural beauty, Taos emerged as an outpost for artists in the early 20th century, when Georgia O’Keeffe and others put it on the creative map. One unmistakable artistic inspiration: the stunning Sangre de Cristo Mountains, located immediately east of Taos and the southernmost subrange of the Rocky Mountains. Today, dozens of galleries showcase everything from watercolors to turquoise jewelry to cutting-edge contemporary works. Stroll hand-in-hand and admire the art collection at the University of New Mexico’s Harwood Museum of Art. Here you’ll find hundreds of pieces of Native American, Taos Society, and contemporary pieces of art.
As Mother Nature’s paradise, Taos has a myriad of activities for outdoor enthusiasts all year round. Snow and sun and mountains and desert make it a haven for couples with adventurous spirits. Make lasting memories by taking a ride in a hot air balloon for breathtaking views of the Rio Grande Gorge, an 800-footdeep chasm, and a sweeping infinite horizon. If you don’t like heights, you can still hike or bike the moderate 10.3-mile Rift Valley Loop Trail and be treated to some awesome gorge angles. Grab a drink after a long day at the Adobe Bar, often dubbed Taos’ living room, where you can enjoy cocktails by the indoor fountain and fireplace. Wind down in your room at the intimate Hotel La Fonda de Taos which offers honeymoon packages like the “Romance & Relaxation for Two.”
Taos is a New Mexican escape that is sure to fuel all of your romantic desires.