9 Mini-Moon Destinations for Every Type of Couple
Celebrating your newly-married status with the perfect honeymoon is something everything couple needs to help kick off married life on the right foot. After the hours spent planning the details of the big day, meeting with and booking vendors, and all the effort that went into choosing your flowers and décor, you've totally earned a vacation.
The problem is, not all couples have the luxury of taking that much-needed time off right after saying "I do." Whether you're postponing an epic trip for later, or have just enough time for a short getaway, there's the perfect mini-moon destination out there for every couple. We've handpicked some easy escapes in the United States, whether your passion is culture, history, food, or just relaxing on the beach. Here, we've broken down where to go based on what you want to do and what you can do while you're there. Plus, we're even suggesting the perfect date night for you and your partner in each locale! Mini-mooning just got a whole lot easier.
For Nature Lovers: Sonoma County
"Scenic route" doesn't do justice to this Pacific-skimming stretch of Highway 1. Head here for hiking, incredible restaurants, and, of course, wine.
Where to Stay: AutoCamp Russian River (from $200 per night) is a new collection of tricked-out Airstream trailers equipped with spa like bathrooms, private sundecks, and Malin + Goetz toiletries in Guerneville's redwood forest. Activities are refreshingly low-fi, such as bonfire-side wine and board games in the midcentury-modern clubhouse.
What to Do: Raid AutoCamp's gourmet canteen for a picnic in Goat Rock State Beach, followed by a kayak tour with WaterTreks EcoTours (707-865- 2249) in nearby Jenner, where the Russian River empties into the ocean. And look for harbor-seal pups. Then it's off to Littorai, one of the area's best wineries, to taste award-winning, biodynamically grown Chardonnays and Pinots.
Date Night: At Healdsburg's new Single Thread Farm-Restaurant, Kyle and Katina Connaughton—chef and farmer, respectively—specialize in tasting menus that have in the past included dishes like Sonoma grains with tempura mustard blossoms and herbs, and guinea hen with blood orange.
For Hungry Historians: Philadelphia
This richly historical city (est. 1682) has a thoroughly modern dining scene, so you can savor both past and present.
Where to Stay: Located in a former bank building, the stately Ritz-Carlton (from $279 per night) shot to the top of Philly's hotel ladder after a recent head-to-toe renovation. Book one of the huge, cushy suites for access to the club lounge and dramatic views.
What to Do: Among the world-class cultural stops is the brand-new Museum of the American Revolution. Its expansive galleries are filled with military portraits, weapons, manuscripts, and the personal wartime effects of George Washington.
Date Night: A South Philly food crawl along electric East Passyunk Avenue includes house-made culatello (dry-cured meat) at Le Virtu, Malaysian skewers grilled on coconut-shell charcoal at Saté Kampar (267-324-3860), and, for dessert, cioccolato scuro (super-dark chocolate) at Capogiro Gelato Artisans.
For Pool People: San Juan, Puerto Rico
There's no passport required to experience the island's azure water, rain forests, and colonial city.
Where to Stay: With its vaulted halls, wave-splashed sundeck, and butterfly staircase, the Condado Vanderbilt (from $425 per night) is right at home on Ashford Avenue, San Juan's ritziest address. In the 1920s, it hosted dignitaries, actors, and tycoons—and following the final phase of a multiyear restoration, it's once again the place to see and be seen.
What to Do: Explore historic Old San Juan in the morning, stopping at Cuatro Sombras for guava-buttered toast and house-roasted coffee made from beans grown on the owners' mountain estate. Meander along the cobblestone streets and check out El Morro fortress before a relaxing afternoon at the hotel, where your personal pool and beach butler await.
Date Night: Chef Jose Enrique has become a powerhouse in the Puerto Rican culinary scene, and his namesake restaurant on the Placita de Santurce still commands multihour waits. So wait: The festive ambience (and mojitos) will make time fly. The chalkboard menu—heirloom mustard-greens salad, wood-smoked suckling pig, crispy whole fish—embraces local ingredients in a city that's just coming around to that movement.
For Cocktail Enthusiasts: New Orleans
Legend has it the modern cocktail was invented here. Whether your poison is small-batch mescal or frozen daiquiris, you'll find it.
Where to Stay: From the outside, the Garden District's Pontchartrain Hotel (from $149 per night) is as regal as it gets—and inside, a recent complete makeover has given the historic property some modern-day appeal. Chef John Besh is behind the four on-site food-and-drink venues, including the Bayou Bar (duck fat–infused Sazerac, anyone?) and Hot Tin, a rooftop lounge with rum cocktails and amazing views.
What to Do: Founded by famed bartender and author Dale "King Cocktail" DeGroff, the Museum of the American Cocktail inside the Southern Food and Beverage Museum celebrates the art of drink-making with vintage absinthe tools and interactive Prohibition lore. There's also a new restaurant from Top Chef favorite Isaac Toups.
Date Night: Another Top Chef alum, Nina Compton, runs one of NOLA's hottest restaurants, Compère Lapin. Sip frozen rum horchatas at the bar before tucking into cold-smoked tuna tartare with crispy bananas and other dishes that nod gracefully to her Caribbean heritage.
For Weekend Warriors: Manchester, Vermont
This picturesque town is perfect in any season—and a haven for lovers of the great outdoors.
Where to Stay: On Manchester’s Main Street, Kimpton Taconic Hotel (from $269 per night) makes a great base for active couples: Rooms are equipped with walking sticks, hiking kits are available at the front desk, and a concierge can arrange an adult summer-camp schedule, complete with a wake-up call that sounds like a bugle.
What to Do: Ski Stratton in the winter. Kayak the Battenkill River in spring and fall. Take a few laps in the Dorset Quarry swimming hole in the summer. Regardless of when you go, the Spa at the Equinox, with its timbered indoor pool and fireplace-warmed relaxation room, is the place to recover.
Date Night: The Reluctant Panther is the paradigm of a cozy Vermont inn. And its new chef, the Israel-born Sigal Rocklin, is mixing things up in the kitchen. Don't miss the braised lamb shank over chamomile couscous and rib eye glossed in Szechuan-peppercorn bordelaise.
For Seafood Fans: Bluffton, South Carolina
Surrounded by live oak trees and winding waterways, this charming Lowcountry village offers Carolina's culinary best.
Where to Stay: Reopened last fall after a sweeping renovation, Montage Palmetto Bluff (from $370 per night) is less a resort than a miniature town, with its own gourmet market and archaeology museum. Every afternoon, there are complimentary tastings of local specialties like hoppin' john (a dish made with black-eyed peas and rice) and bonfire-roasted oysters.
What to Do: Head down to the docks in the historic district for a shrimping or crabbing trip with May River Excursions. Or cruise to an oyster farm or tour the waterway to spot dolphins, white egrets, and other wildlife.
Date Night: Peel-and-eat white shrimp and blue crabs are on the menu at Toomer’s Family Seafood House, a casual spot from the clan behind the iconic Bluffton Oyster Co.
For Laid-Back Sun Seekers: Northeast Florida
Three reasons to visit this Old Florida region: low-key beach villages, midcentury architecture, and classic southern charm.
Where to Stay: A few blocks from idyllic Atlantic Beach, three local entrepreneurs turned a circa-1947 motor court into the retro Hotel Palms (from $159 per night). The 11 rooms have an Ace-by-the-sea aesthetic (concrete floors, flamingo-print pillows).
What to Do: Take advantage of the 65 miles of mostly sleepy, sandy coastline stretching from Fernandina Beach to St. Augustine. We particularly love the often-empty Fort Clinch, on the upper tip of Amelia Island, which is backed by grass and salt marsh.
Date Night: In St. Augustine's Lincolnville Historic District, Preserved, serves such modern-southern fare as pork belly with kimchi collard greens in a Victorian manor house once owned by Thomas Jefferson's great-granddaughter.
For Gallery Hoppers: Santa Fe
New Mexico's capital is a hub for creativity, with contemporary native works and cutting-edge immersive art experiences.
Where to Stay: The recently made-over La Posada de Santa Fe Resort & Spa (from $120 per night) has a resident curator, Sara Eyestone, who sources works from more than 30 artists, many of them local. An artist herself, she hosts a talk and tour of the on-site gallery every Friday, and can often be found painting in the lobby.
What to Do: Check out the Ellsworth Gallery, which has a mix of contemporary pieces and Japanese samurai antiques; and the IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, home to eight thousand works, most by Native artists. Then it's off to Meow Wolf's House of Eternal Return, a psychedelic interactive mystery mansion whose benefactor is Game of Thrones author (and local) George R. R. Martin.
Date Night: Try the iconic green-chile cheeseburger at the new-school stand Shake Foundation.
For Urban Detoxers: The Catskills
A couple of hours north of Manhattan, this adored weekend escape balances rugged mountain life with stylish indie inns.
Where to Stay: In Callicoon, Nine River Road (from $149 per night) just debuted eight chic rooms in an 1800s building on the Delaware River. Or book a stay across from Hunter Mountain at the storied Scribner's Catskill Lodge (from $145 per night), which was reborn last year. It's a design lover's dream—and the cozy library lounge, buzzy bar, and meditation sessions make it hard to leave.
What to Do: Take a hike around iconic Mohonk Mountain House in the nearby Shawangunks; there are more than 85 miles of trails, ranging from "rock-scaling expert" to "I can do this in flip-flops." Wind down with a soak in the spa's mineral pool. (The property recently added the six-suite Grove Lodge, its first new rooms in more than 100 years.)
Date Night: In Oneonta, the family that owns Brooks' House of Bar-B-Q—which is furnished with paper place mats, unironic taxidermy, and the largest indoor charcoal pit east of the Mississippi—has been cooking chicken to smoky perfection since 1951.