Getting married – it’s exciting, but it can also be stressful with all the arrangements to be made. So afterward, when it comes to the honeymoon, that’s the time when you want to leave everything behind you, just relax and spend time together.
Where are the best places in America to do this very thing? Here are some favorites.
Gatlinburg, the gateway town to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, was recently rated one of the top wedding destinations in the world. Gatlinburg offers a variety of romance and wedding packages, and there are plenty of activities for honeymooners of all interests.
Tennessee has made it easy to get married, and Gatlinburg is nestled amid layers of mountains that offer a captivating and beguiling charm. The Smoky Mountains are for many people the place for a romantic getaway, a place to propose marriage, and the perfect setting for a wedding, with a local industry geared to doing all the work for you.
Vacation cabins snuggled in the Smoky Mountains are the perfect place to spend a honeymoon. Gatlinburg cabins offer luxury with a hot tub on the deck, gourmet kitchens for staying at home, and stunning mountain views. Kick off the honeymoon with a cabin that offers a heart-shaped Jacuzzi in the master suite and a rose-petal-covered bed. Order a picnic basket for an intimate picnic in the Smokies, or take a romantic scenic drive or an easy walk in the countless natural attractions all around. Order an in-room spa treatment for both of you and finish the day with a gourmet, candlelit dinner, served in your cabin.
The world outside the cabin offers a vast assortment of attractions and enjoyments, from shows and dinner theater in the evening to shopping discoveries in abundance throughout the area. Outdoor adventures include mountain coaster rides, sky lifts and a tramway up the mountain, observation decks, mountaintop restaurants, zip lines, and other treetop adventures.
There’s horseback riding, whitewater rafting, and skiing in winter, and the national park offers tranquil hikes and easy walks in idyllic settings teeming with wildlife, wildflowers, and over 100 species of tree in a United Nations-designated unique ecosystem. There are abundant streams, picnic areas, and visitor centers to get absorbed into nature.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas, the quintessential destination for instant marriage, also offers options for honeymooners as well as those seeking wedding venues. From the glitz of the Strip and the casinos to the intimacy of a cozy mountain cabin, newlyweds of all interests can find romance and adventure here.
Start the romance on a sunset helicopter tour over the Las Vegas Strip. Check out any of the many museums, or one of the world-class shows. Almost every hotel on the strip offers world-class cuisine as do many restaurants in Vegas. Downtown Las Vegas food critic John Curtas may help you navigate the choices.
Just an hour away from town, Mt. Charleston offers hiking trails and picnic areas at 6-10,000 ft. elevations, which is a great way to avoid the heat during the summer, and supremely cozy in winter, in one of the rustic lodges and cabins where newlyweds can snuggle together in their own world. Snowshoeing and skiing are available for those who venture outside. West of town a few miles, Red Rock Canyon offers a beautiful National Conservation area for hiking and rock climbing. Southeast of town, Lake Mead offers water recreation and houseboat rentals.
Hawaii is a popular honeymoon destination, and Maui is the jewel of Hawaii, an island of 727 square miles, which honeymooners can comfortably explore in a week or less. In addition to the beautiful beaches and relaxing resorts, there are many activities for honeymooners to do.
You can’t go wrong with any of the resort hotels of Kaanapali on the west coast of the island. The resorts are on the beach and offer water sports, cabanas, and drink service. Honeymoon packages are available, with all the accouterments for romance. But more unique experiences are also plentiful. Consider staying in Lahaina, a quaint village located on the southwest of the island. The architecture in Lahaina reflects colonial times in Hawaii and is within walking distance of the many shops and restaurants in the village. Visit one of the many art galleries in the area and pick up some of the local artwork to commemorate your honeymoon.
Hana, located on the northeast corner of the island, offers seclusion. Even if you don’t stay there, the drive there is a must-do activity, simply for the journey itself. There are many romantic stops to make along the way to see waterfalls, go on short hikes, or stroll through beautiful foliage. Be sure to bring a guidebook explaining all the attractions along the way. The journey can take an entire day because there is plenty to see along the way.
Maui is home to Haleakala Volcano at more than 10,000 ft. elevation. Book a tour and be sure to bring warm clothes! Other great destinations are the Lavender Farm, the pineapple farm, and of course, beaches – Maui has over 30 miles of white, yellow, red, and black sand beaches to choose from.