Best US Destinations for Second (or Third Honeymoon) at Any Budget
By Janine Devine
Once is never enough. It’s a phrase common to all sorts of good things from edgy dialogue on police tv dramas to James Bond flicks.
It’s a phrase that should apply to honeymoons, too.
You’re no longer newlyweds. If it’s been a while since your first, you are different people than when you tied the knot. Kids, careers, crazy siblings, aging parents… these all call for some alone time with the one you love.
We’re taking a look at some of the best US honeymoon destinations to inspire a second, third, or even fourth honeymoon. This is not a complete guide to every part of every state featured. The West Coast is worth an entire guide on its own!
We will, however, cover lodging and some experiences from affordable to over the top. If you spend a little time looking with an open mind and a sense of adventure, it’s easy to find romance in any destination. What’s important is that you plan together to ensure that those little personality differences, food or activity likes and dislikes, cover you both fairly. It can’t be all snorkeling and whitewater rafting when you’re just after a couples massage and room service!
Visit the Los Angeles area for beaches, wineries, and National Parks.
Beaches, wine, food, and celebrity sightings can make California an over-the-top destination, but there are plenty of wallet-gentle surprises here. The perfect honeymoon destination isn’t far off if you look for hotels in a small town or further inland.
San Clemente has all the Spanish Revival architecture and none of the heart-stopping costs of Los Angeles.
It’s ideally situated—about an hour and change drive from both Hollywood to the North and San Diego to the South—with white sand beaches, a bustling pier, and thriving art and culinary scenes. The historic Casa Romantica Cultural Center and Gardens are irresistible if you love flowers. The 2.5-acre estate has 33 gardens, along with the cultural center itself in a Spanish Revival home. Stroll or bike along the scenic Beach Trail, take a whale-watching cruise from nearby Dana Point or learn to surf. San Clemente Cove, a condo resort, offers sea views from its suites with private balconies, fireplaces, and full kitchens. Their resort fee includes parking in the underground garage.
Another option is to drive north up scenic State Route 1 (better known as the Pacific Coast Highway). There you’ll find Pismo Beach. There’s surfing, horseback riding on the beaches of Oceano Dunes Natural Preserve or ATVing on the dunes. The Shore Cliff Hotel features all oceanfront rooms and suites, with terraces or balconies
If the word budget isn’t in your vocabulary, you will be spoiled for choice. Every luxury hotel brand has some presence here, with all the expected services and amenities that come with that name.
But if want an authentic living experience during your stay, consider a luxury rental. We’re not talking an Airbnb here, although there are some luxury homes on the site. OneFineStay is part of an international hotel brand, AccorHotels, that features a portfolio of curated, high-end, pre-verified villas, homes, and apartments in key destinations. You’ll have complete privacy, a certifiably clean home or townhouse on arrival, 24/7 area support, and you won’t lack for service if you want it. They will make arrangements for a chef or for spa treatments, if you request. A minimum stay of three nights is required, but you can refine your search by all that matters to you: pool, garden, and parking for Beverly Hills, Bel-Air, Pacific Palisades, and Venice Beach.
Napa and Sonoma – Wine Country
Napa and Sonoma are also to-do’s on any honeymoon destination list. Where there’s wine, well there is….lots of relaxation? There are delights for bodies and palates in the hotel experiences of both Sonoma and Napa. This area is home to some very luxe hotels, mostly independent, but a few from some iconic names, with both Four Seasons and Montage adding their branding in 2021. For more privacy, rent out an entire property through Airbnb or VRBO.
If your yearning for a romantic getaway in an indulgent atmosphere is greater than your budget, consider the award-winning boutique hotels of Four Sisters Inns. With seven petite, romantic inns in the Napa and Sonoma wine regions, each with its own flavor, you’ll find at least two that will make your heart stir. Pair their Healdsburg Inn on the Plaza with the Provençal-inspired Maison Fleurie in Yountville to make a reasonably-priced getaway with daily breakfasts, mid-afternoon wine & cheese plates, and complimentary bicycles on loan (bring your own helmets).
Now you’ll have more funds to spend on all the incredible dining experiences you’ve been wanting to try. The microclimates and fertile soil so kind to grapevines also deliver an incredible bounty of produce.
Try wiking, which combines hiking, a superb activity in this region, with wine-tasting. Wine not? Need something else to do here besides drinking wine?
→ Cooking classes
→ Kayaking or canoeing the Russian River
→ Ziplining in the coastal redwoods
→ Biking, sailing in the bay
As well as climate and beaches, California has also been blessed with diverse terrain and we didn’t want to miss focusing on the incredible National Park and State Park experiences you can make a part of your honeymoon. These honeymoon spots are filled with diverse, majestic scenery. There are diverse lodging options here as well, the majority of which are very affordable, if not easy to reserve during high season. But you can book a variety of lodging options and price points, including RV and camping sites, along with experiences and tours online.
Travel to this Caribbean island and you won’t need a passport to visit. When you fly back home, you don’t need to meet the international entry requirements of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of your arrival.
Puerto Rico is so more than just Señor Frog’s and spring-break insanity in San Juan. You can still enjoy the colonial charms of Old San Juan. Here you’ll find authentic character in a small, quieter area boasting a wealth of history, art, restaurants, and bars. No sand here, though. Palacio Provincial has the same historic allure as Hotel El Convento, which is the queen of Old San Juan but has edgier interior décor as well as a rooftop bar to watch the sunsets.
Staying at El Convento gives you access to Courtyard by Marriott Beach Resort on Isla Verde. You do need to ask for a voucher and there are no transfer shuttles. Condado is an upscale and newer area. If an ocean view room is crucial, this is where you want to be. The Olive Boutique Hotel is an intimate, relaxed little gem right off the Condado lagoon which is doesn’t have the undertow and big waves that make the beautiful Condado Beach a bit hair-raising.
The Olive is all suites, all individually decorated, with outdoor tubs and spacious terraces. A rooftop bar to watch the sunset and a popular steak house from a well-regarded chef completes the picture. The beach is only a few steps away.
But if you’re looking for something very organic and close to nature, consider the El Yunque National Forest and the atmospheric Rainforest Inn. Depending on the route you choose (highway or scenic seaside) you’re in the garden of Eden in under an hour from SJU International Airport. This secluded eco-reserve/b&b will definitely put the romance back into the picture. The ocean is a half-hour away, but there are secluded swimming holes and cascading waterfalls within walking distance. No TVs here, either, but excellent wifi and those beautiful little frogs, the coqui, will sing you to sleep at night with their enchanting voices.
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And yes, those are male frogs, trying to do what male frogs want to do. Follow his lead.
During the day, there is a yoga studio on-site, and you can also book a massage. At night, kayak through the bioluminescent bay in El Yunque. Now you don’t need the day-trip to nearby Vieques to see this amazing natural phenomenon. The inn serves vegetarian food in a communal setting, but not to fret, there are many bars and restaurants within a 5-mile drive from here. Rainforest Inn has just three villas. The Jungle Villa is the one you want, with a hanging bed, expansive deck with a pair of hammocks, and twin bathtubs from which to enjoy the jungle view while sipping champagne. Sometimes all you need is alone time and this is indulgence at its best.
At the opposite spectrum in pricing is Dorado Beach, A Ritz Carlton Reserve, a luxury resort on 50 acres, a little over a half-hour drive from SJU airport. Although the resort is family-friendly, the beachfront suites here — and be sure to ask for the East Beach which is quieter — are luxurious with just the right kind of naughty thrown in. You have a seemingly open wall out onto the surf, a plunge pool (the good kind) and you can walk right out to the beachfront to your own lounges. There is none of that insane pre-breakfast stowing of shoes, beach bag, and towel to claim your space. You’ll have an ambassador assigned who will be very attentive, sometimes more attentive than you want, but if the resort is busy you’ll need them to make dinner reservations for you. And what delicious delights await, including the Positivo Sand Bar where you dine with the sea to your left and the sand beneath your feet. A Robert Trent Jones (Sr.) golf course is part of the property that used to belong to Laurance Rockefeller; the course has been recently updated by Trent Jones Jr.
Spa treatments at the luscious Spa Botanico are indulgent: there are some services that are performed on platforms up at the tree level. Hike the 11 mile Rockefeller trail through different microclimates of beach and forest. Embark on a (group) cruise around San Juan or go fishing or scuba diving.
New Orleans, Louisiana
You’ll find New Orleans has a lot of romance to offer honeymooners with its quirky character, amazing food, outrageous alcoholic libations, live music, exquisite architecture, and lush gardens add so much to the city’s magic.
Any city whose official motto is Let the Good Times Roll (“Laissez les Bon Temps Roule”) has got to be great for any kind of vacation but it’s a winner as a honeymoon destination. With the upcoming opening of the five-star Four Seasons, almost all the big brands will be here. Boutique hotels like the city’s original boutique: Soniat House are what make New Orleans one of the best honeymoon destinations in the southern US.
This 30 room hotel converted from an 18th century French Quarter residence boasts a location on Chartres Street, which is several blocks from noisy Bourbon Street. Along Chartres you’ll find plenty of art galleries, antique shops, and boutiques to keep you entertained while strolling the atmospheric streets of the French Quarter. The Omni Royal Orleans is also easily accessible to the nightlife of Bourbon Street but far enough away that evening is blissfully peaceful.
Still, you don’t need to pay top dollar to enjoy this city. For budgeting your funds towards fine dining, stay in a mid-range hotel or B&B or any of the recent hotels converted from mansions in the Garden District. A helpful Park & Stay package at The Roosevelt New Orleans, a Waldorf-Astoria Hotel (a Hilton brand and the birthplace of the city’s Sazerac cocktail) is a great deal with Deluxe rooms starting at $260 per night.
Want a bit more excitement? Don’t forget there are casinos here.
You’d think such a buzzy place, a city that never sleeps, might not be the perfect honeymoon spot but its rich history, architecture, culture, and arts scenes, are only a few of the attractions here. The City is home to splurge-worthy hotels, uptown as well as downtown, many of which have inspired movies and books. For every hotel included here, it’s possible to think of at least three others that will have you hanging the Do Not Disturb sign on your door.
Hotel rooms come pricey here, as in all major cities, but there are some lower-cost gems where you can save your budget for all the world-class dining in which you’d plan to indulge. The all-suite Kimberly with a popular rooftop bar is in strolling distance to any number of great restaurants.
Marmara Park Avenue, located in midtown east, boasts huge rooms and an indoor pool. Originally intended as condos, you have a full kitchen in these accommodations, so if you find cooking for each other romantic, you’re all set here. It’s easily walkable to 11 Madison Park (10 minutes) or Gramercy Tavern (14 mins) if you don’t want to cook.
The atmospheric Evelyn Hotel is also a good option. Lest you think I’m an East Side girl, and I am, with Broadway soon to re-open.
I give you something midtown west: The Jewel, a Club Quarters Hotel. Located directly across from Rockefeller Center and just off of Fifth Avenue, you have well-trafficked streets and easy access to any of the popular shows.
But we’re not done with New York just yet. While we don’t recommend renting a car for your stay in NYC, you’ll need one now for a four-hour road trip northwest to the Finger Lakes Region, spreading across several counties between Rochester and Albany.
Here you’ll find pristine lakes, waterfalls, forests, farms, and wineries. The area is home to a myriad of places to stay: restored Italianate or Victorian mansions, country estates, charming B&Bs, not to mention intimate lakeside cabins to rent.
You’ll find picturesque towns surrounded by unspoiled nature; drive north far enough and be charmed by Lake Ontario. The farm-to-table cuisine in some of the area’s restaurants is as close to “farm” as you are likely to get. Set off for a long drive with some picnic provisions and a blanket, or a canoe, and some one-dollar bills in your pocket for those roadside farmstands. You’ll be tasting some of the best berries, tomatoes, local honey, and hand-crafted cheeses you’ve ever eaten.
Want more to taste? There are over 100 wineries here. The region has just the terroir for a few varietals, including some very respectable Dry Rieslings. This is magic and charm over 9,000 square miles in a four seasons destination.
The lodging here isn’t astronomical either. You have your pick of the Monet-inspired Mirbeau Inn in Skaneateles or any of the Inns of Aurora are excellent choices for atmospheric, comfortable accommodations. Pricing is reasonable, depending on the season in which you are looking to visit. A lower-cost but still excellent choice is Glenora Wine Cellars and Inn. With the wine cellars right there, you can remain a taster-in-residence.
Charter a yacht/rent a boat for a honeymoon on turquoise water. Even if it’s just you two, go out for a few days’ sail along California, Florida, or New England coasts. You can coast along the Florida Keys and visit Sanibel Island or see Massachusetts and Maine from the ocean.
Upgrade to a luxe yacht for a full week for a gourmet chef and crew to fuss over you. This is one option that will check all the boxes for you both. Privacy and indulgence just don’t get any better.
Sometimes a romantic honeymoon location is the one you make for yourself. There are hidden surprises and delights in every location, so position yourself to be open to finding them.
Even on your honeymoon, engage with locals or just find yourself a place to sit, sun or shade, and observe. If you’re not at all inspired by this collection, then maybe you’ve been traveling the right way all along. Every place you and your partner vacation is a romantic escape, a chance for a honeymoon. You can find a romantic honeymoon from the dreamy Hawaiian islands of Maui and Oahu, Hawaii to the snowy slopes of Aspen, Colorado if you pick it together.
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