The best beaches in the United States to spend your post-wedding getaway.
There's something crazy romantic—and relaxing—about an island honeymoon. It's just so easy to unwind from all of the wedding-planning stress when you're surrounded by water, its calming waves, and your new husband. But if you don't have the time or the money to fly halfway across the world to the beaches of Thailand or beyond, there are plenty of amazing honeymoon (or mini-moon) destinations much closer to home—no passport required. (Disclaimer: For the purposes of this list, we're leaving out Hawaii.) Here are a few of our favorites.
Photography: Robin Jacobson/Courtesy San Juan Islands Visitors Bureau2 of 8
San Juan Islands, Washington
This archipelago off the coast of Washington is made up of 172 islands—of which just four have regular ferry service. There's San Juan and Orcas, both of which provide ample opportunity to hike, kayak, and go whale watching (the best time of year to spot orcas is between May and October). Though not technically part of the San Juans, make sure to visit Lummi Island, home to The Willows Inn. The property has seven charming rooms, but its claim to fame is its chef, Blaine Wetzel, who creates a prix-fixe menu from ingredients that are collected daily (either fished, foraged, or farmed).
Photography: Courtesy Shelter Island Chequit Hotel3 of 8
Shelter Island, New York
For New York City couples looking for a nearby retreat that's complete with beautiful beaches and great seafood, head to this small island, accessible by ferry from the North and South forks of Long Island. The best way to explore is by bike; you can rent one at Piccozzi's Bike Shop. As for where to stay, don't miss the new, 37-room Chequit, from the same team behind the Salt House Inn in Provincetown. With simple-yet-stylish rooms and complimentary breakfast in bed, you'll be basking in newlywed bliss in no time.
Photography: Courtesy Kiawah Island Golf Resort & Spa4 of 8
Kiawah Island, South Carolina
This small barrier island on the Atlantic coast is less than 30 miles from downtown Charleston—which makes it a perfect mini-moon spot for those tying the knot in the popular wedding destination. The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Resort is an ideal base (request a corner room for prime sunset views). You can indulge in couple's spa treatments, ride bikes, go fishing, and tee off on one of five world-class golf courses.
Photography: Courtesy Sea Island Resort5 of 8
Sea Island, Georgia
For a destination that exudes Southern charm, head to this private island, which—together with Jekyll Island, St. Simons Island, and Little St. Simons Island—makes up Georgia's Golden Isles. At the Mediterranean-style Cloister, splurge on a one-bedroom villa; you'll get direct beach access, an oversized balcony, and a deep tub for post-swimming soaks. You can spend your days golfing, playing tennis, horseback riding, kayaking, or going on salt marsh tours.
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Photography: Courtesy Nantucket White Elephant Inn6 of 8
With cobblestone streets and lighthouses galore, this romantic isle off the coast of Cape Cod is your quintessential New England getaway—you can bike around, relax on the beach, fish, and or go whale watching. For a luxurious, relaxing stay, there's the waterfront Inn at the White Elephant (sister property to Nantucket's equally top-notch Wauwinet). For something a bit more hip, there's 21 Broad, whose mostly white rooms are punched up with pops of bright colors.
Photography: Courtesy Amelia Island Tourist Development Council7 of 8
Amelia Island, Florida
Horseback riding at sunset is as romantic as it gets—even more so when you're doing it on a postcard-perfect beach. Lucky for you, this barrier island off of Florida's east coast is one of a handful of places in the U.S. that still allows it. While there are plenty of charming bed-and-breakfasts on the island, for a more traditional resort stay, there's the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island. Set on 13 miles of the coast, it comes complete with a fire pit that overlooks the ocean, four restaurants, and 446 guestrooms with private balconies.
Photography: David Ball via Wikipedia8 of 8
Mackinac Island, Michigan
What's so romantic about this almost-four-square-mile island in Lake Huron? How about the fact that you can get around by horse-drawn carriage? Cars were outlawed in the late 1800s—but you can travel by foot and bicycle as well. It's home to historic rock formations and an abundance of lilacs (the annual Lilac Festival takes place every June), and there's ample opportunity to take to the water, whether in a kayak or on a sailboat. Book one of the new one-bedroom Cupola Suites at the aptly named Grand Hotel: it first opened in 1887, was the setting of the 1980 film Somewhere in Time (starring Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour), and has hosted five U.S. presidents.