Ditch the Passport! 15 Brag-Worthy U.S. Honeymoons

Who says the US can't be exotic? These fairy tale-worthy spots are right in your backyard (well, sort of).

Whoever said good things come to those who wait probably never spent 15 hours in two different airports just trying to get to a romantic (read: remote) honeymoon destination. Save yourself the travel hassle without sacrificing your dream trip by celebrating wedded bliss right here in the USA.

From beaches to mountains, cities to wide-open spaces, these are our 15 favorite places for a domestic honeymoon.

Monterey, California


Photographer's Choice/Getty Images

Great For: Nature Lovers
Budget: $$
Best Time of Year to Go: Year-round
Where to Stay: The elegant European-style Spindrift Inn is a warm, romantic retreat with stunning ocean views. Almost all the rooms have real wood-burning fireplaces, perfect for cuddling up at night. (From $169/night.)
What You Can't Miss: Paddling the Elkhorn Slough at sunset is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for animal lovers. As the sky lights up a brilliant pink, you’ll be spotting harbor seals and exotic ocean birds, and you’re sure to fall in love with the adorable sea otters who’ll bump your kayaks hello. 

Nashville, Tennessee


Malcolm MacGregor/Flickr/Getty Images

Great For: Music Lovers
Budget: $$$
Best Time of Year to Go: Year-round
Where to Stay: The big name in town is the Hermitage Hotel, a legend for more than 100 years. The classic elegance of the hotel carries up to the rooms, which feature luxuriously huge beds and spacious suites. (From $350/night.)
What You Can't Miss: Ready to discover the next big thing (aside from your new-couple status, that is)? The Bluebird Café is where Garth Brooks, Taylor Swift and many more great artists were first spotted. 

Kona, Hawaii


Greg Elms/Lonely Planet Images/Getty Images

Great For: Hikers
Budget: $$$$$
Best Time of Year to Go: Spring and Fall
Where to Stay: The most romantic destination on the Big Island is the Fairmont Orchid on the white-sand Kohala Coast. From open-air oceanfront massages to the colony of sea turtles that visit the beach in the afternoon, you'll never want to go home and write all those thank-you notes. (From $450 a night.)
What You Can’t Miss: From the green-sand beaches of Papakolea to the verdant Waipio Valley, there are plenty of trails and it’s easy to hike on your own. But for something you really won't forget, have a guide take you up Mauna Kea, the highest mountain in Hawaii. You’ll eat dinner together on the mountain after getting a little sweaty, and hit the summit at sunset for a triumphant kiss under the stars. 

Napa, California


Riser/Getty Images

Great For: Wine Lovers
Budget: $$$$$
Best Time of Year to Go: Spring, Summer or Fall
Where to Stay: Meadowood’s elegant bungalows are spread out over 250 acres, so the two of you will feel like you’ve escaped to your own private estate. Dine at the sublime Michelin 3-star restaurant, and bring a bottle from their 1,200 options back to your room to share by the fire. (From $650/night.)
What You Can’t Miss: California’s wine country is best enjoyed when someone else does the driving, so you can focus on the sipping and smooching. Tell Flex, a small family-owned company with great connections in the valley, what you like to drink, and they’ll create your dream itinerary.

Charleston, South Carolina


Corinne J. Humphrey/Lonely Planet Images/Getty Images

Great For: Old-School Romantics
Budget: $$$
Best Time of Year to Go: Year-round
Where to Stay: For that classic Southern elegance, just steps from Charleston’s charming center, the Planter’s Inn has been the definition of Southern hospitality since 1844. The plush, cozy rooms are almost as decadent as the hotel’s 12-layer coconut cake (because you know you barely got a bite of your wedding cake). (From $250/night.) 
What You Can’t Miss: Charleston has something sweet hidden around nearly every corner, from adorable boutiques to world-class restaurants, plus plenty of history. Experience it all with a horse-drawn carriage tour, tailored to your interests and ready to sweep you right off your feet. 

Miami, Florida


Ohyeahphoto/Flickr/Getty Images

Great For: Lusty Lovers
Budget: $$$$
Best Time of Year to Go: October to May
Where to Stay: Nothing says honeymoon quite like body-painting by the pool—and the Standard has all that and more. Get sweaty in the co-ed sauna, hit the waterfall hot tub after dinner, and try not to blush when you request an upgrade to one of the Wet rooms (or the Full-Spread suite.) (From $300 a night.) 
What You Can’t Miss: Have a sexy night out dancing at the SLS in the heart of South Beach. Reserve dinner at Katsuya and a private table at Hyde Beach to heat up your night. And if something happens in your candlelit cabana…well, welcome to Miami. 

New Orleans, Louisiana

 New Orleans

Bob Stefko/The Image Bank/Getty Images

Great For: Foodies
Budget: $$
Best Time of Year to Go: September to May
Where to Stay: A jewel in the heart of the French Quarter, the Hotel Mazarin transports you deep into the romance of this Creole city. From your morning coffee and beignets in the European-style courtyard to the moment you sink into your plush king-sized bed at night, you’ll feel pampered head to toe. (From $180 a night.) 
What You Can’t Miss: A list of restaurants not to miss in New Orleans might break the internet, so we’ll stick to something every food lover can agree on: bacon, gone high-style. Cochon’s award-winning New Orleans cuisine fuses fresh, local ingredients with just about everything delicious you can do to a pig. 

Vieques, Puerto Rico


Tim Draper/Getty Images

Great For: Beach Bums
Budget: $$$$
Best Time of Year to Go: December to July
Where to Stay: The W’s hip vibe goes laid-back and sexy at the open-air W Vieques, indisputably the most beautiful property on the island. The spacious bedrooms feature naughty open bathrooms, to turn your post-beach shower into a memorable evening. (From $500 a night.) 
What You Can’t Miss: The natural attractions of Vieques are all oceanside: snorkeling at Blue Beach, strolling Media Luna hand-in-hand, and of course, canoodling in the clear turquoise waters. But the big attraction is the bioluminescent bay, which lights up at night with tiny glowing microorganisms. Peer through the clear-bottom canoes on a moonless night for a real-life Little Mermaid moment. 

Moab, Utah


Alan Majchrowicz/Stone/Getty Images

Great For: Outdoorsy couples
Budget: $$$$
Best Time of Year to Go: Spring and Fall
Where to Stay: The warm, Western-style rooms at the Sorrel River Ranch are stylish enough for any sophisticated couple, with a rustic feel that will have you ready to play cowboy. Once you’re riding side-by-side on the resort’s horses, the serenity of this gorgeous country will melt away any lingering wedding madness. (From $400 a night.)
What You Can’t Miss: You know the best things in life are free. And Arches National Park is nearly that. One of the world’s great natural wonders, it's a monument to how beauty is sculpted by time and the elements and is the perfect thing to explore and contemplate as you begin your lives together. 

St. John, USVI

 St. John

Digital Vision/Getty Images

Great For: (Outdoorsy couples, romantic couples, adventurous, etc)
Budget: $$$$$
Best Time of Year to Go: December to May
Where to Stay: Since most of St. John is a pristine national park, the island’s few big resorts have you in glorious seclusion. Your airy, tropical rooms are hidden in the lush foliage, and being free from TVs and telephones helps you focus on each other without distractions. (From $959 a night.) 
What You Can’t Miss: The best way to see the islands isn’t on land, so hop on a private sailboat for a relaxing escape. Snorkel and swim the world-class reefs, visit the nearby BVI for a taste of local cuisine, and sip champagne at sunset as the waves lap at your black-sailed boat. 

Aspen, Colorado


Michael A. Pancier/Flickr/Getty Images

Great For: Ski bunnies
Budget: $$$$
Best Time of Year to Go: December to February for skiing; June to August for hiking
Where to Stay: This mountain retreat knows how to treat couples right. From the on-site ski concierge to the steamy outdoor hot tub to the music playing when you fall into bed at night, all you’ll have to do at the Hotel Jerome is relax and enjoy. (From $350 a night.)
What You Can’t Miss: The hotel will take care of you on the slopes; take care of yourselves après-ski with a treatment at the Remede spa, Aspen’s finest. Along with your ultra-luxe treatment (berries, chocolate & champagne in an aromatherapy bath, plus an hour-long massage, anyone?) you’ll have an all-access pass to the oxygen lounge, steam caves, hot tubs and waterfall pool for a full day of wet and wild relaxation.

Savannah, Georgia


Photographer's Choice/Getty Images

Great For: Outdoorsy couples, romantic couples, adventurous couples
Budget: $$
Best Time of Year to Go: Year-round
Where to Stay: One of the most beautiful buildings in town, the Hamilton-Turner Inn has equally appealing insides -- and that’s not just the wine and snacks in the elegant parlor talking. Each room is unique, so you can find the perfect retreat for your couple personality. (From $220 a night.)
What You Can’t Miss: A cemetery…on your honeymoon? Yes, even in this verdant garden city, the Bonaventure Cemetery stands out as a beautiful walk. Take a tour to absorb the history of the place (and its many famous residents), or simply wander hand-in-hand through the graceful paths and ancient trees of this peaceful place. 

Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts

 Martha's Vineyard

William Britten/E+/Getty Images

Great For: All-American couples
Budget: $$$
Best Time of Year to Go: Spring and Summer
Where to Stay: Feel like a local at the ultra-boutique Hob Knob, where a modern spa and organic cuisine meet luxurious Egyptian cotton-dressed king-sized beds in a classic luxe-preppy setting. Book the private suite for a plush upstairs escape with its own entryway. (From $175 a night.)
What You Can’t Miss: Stroll past the Gingerbread Cottages in Oak Bluffs in the evening. The charming fairy-tale houses are lit up and lovely, the perfect place to start planning your own fantasy of home together. 

Newport, Rhode Island


Kyle Monk/Blend Images/Getty Images

Great For: Sailors and Society Belles
Budget: $$$$$
Best Time of Year to Go: Spring and Sumer
Where to Stay: Live like old Newport society at the Castle Hill Inn, where your romantic, whitewashed private beachfront cottage is just waiting to welcome you home. Located at one end of the legendary Ocean Drive, it’s the perfect entry point for the famed Cliff Walk. And the hotel loves sexy little extras, like its Journelle package complete with lingerie fitting. (From $800 a night.)

For a more modern feel, 41 North is the chicest new boutique hotel (and one of the best restaurants) in town, and you’ll wake up snug right over Newport’s beautiful harbor. (From $150 a night.)
What You Can’t Miss: Think planning your wedding was tough? Imagine the epic galas that were thrown night after night at Newport’s famed summer mansions and your stress will disappear. The Breakers, The Elms, and Marble House are not to be missed by anyone with a love of entertaining. 

Santa Barbara, California

 Santa Barbara

Photographer's Choice/Getty Images

Great For: Sightseers
Budget: $$$
Best Time of Year to Go: Year-round; avoid graduation weekend for UCSB in June.
Where to Stay: The Spanish Garden Inn is a luxury retreat with just seven rooms for lots of privacy on your honeymoon. Enjoy a glass of local wine by the pool, relax in your private gardens, and start each day with beauty courtesy of the hotel’s own art collection. (From $255 a night.)
What You Can’t Miss: Although its equally known for museums, theaters and vineyards, Santa Barbara is a garden spot, and flowers rule. The 1,000 acres of the Botanical Garden are one of the most beautiful sights in California, perfect for romantic strolls and spontaneous picnics. 

Kate Winick and her well-worn passport live in New York City. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram and read more at her website here.

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