You’ve just gotten engaged, and now it’s time to plan the wedding of your dreams. And with that, comes an exciting trip for you and your new bride or groom to plan: a honeymoon!
From the Caribbean and Bora Bora to a romantic adventure in the Italian countryside, the world is filled with far-off destinations for us to celebrate our love. But for some of us, after an expensive wedding year, a quiet getaway in our own backyard (the United States!) is all we really need.
Looking for a different kind of honeymoon? Try one of the resort destinations listed below. They’re all in the U.S., they’re all in off-the-beaten-path destinations, they’re all romantic, and with their beautiful grounds and undeniable charm, they’ll all make you feel like you’ve traveled somewhere exotic.
Polk County, Florida: Streamsong Resort
Sitting between Tampa and Orlando, rural Polk County isn’t known as a top tourist destination. But stay at Streamsong Resort and you’ll find a reason to keep going back. Nestled amid the stunning naturescapes and seclusion of inland Florida, with a landscape that looks more like New Zealand than rural America, this luxury 16,000-acre resort has a grotto-style spa, five restaurants, award-winning golf courses, a sporting clays course, archery, a lakeside infinity pool, guided bass fishing, nature trails and more.
However, you spend your day, end it with drinks at Fragmentary Blue, the resort’s 6th-floor bar with 360-degree views. It’s the perfect place to cuddle as you watch the sun go down over your slice of Polk County paradise.
What’s nearby: Orlando’s theme parks, Gulf coast beaches, beautiful Bok Tower Gardens, Safari Wilderness Ranch, the world’s largest collection of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture at Florida Southern College, LEGOLAND Florida Resort Water Park and Westgate River Ranch Resort & Rodeo
White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia: The Greenbrier
Nestled mountainside on the southeastern fringes of West Virginia, this treasured resort is a throwback to 19th-century America, with all the luxury and convenience of 21st-century living. The decor is Kate Spade-meets-Gone With the Wind, and to go with the theme, there are nightly waltzes, 700+ cottages and well-appointed hotel rooms, tailed waiters and a level of service that is second to none.
The resort itself might as well be its own city—there are 11,000 acres of sporting (archery and falconry, anyone?), a mineral spa, a TPC golf course, tennis and equestrian schools, nature trails, a casino, a full-service MedSpa, 20 restaurants, afternoon tea, a chapel and even a hospital system.
It’s said to be the spot where the first Mint Julep was crafted in 1816, and was famously the site of a now-declassified bunker to government officials from 1961 to 1992, which you can tour today. (No cameras allowed!)
What’s nearby: Lost World Caverns, Monongahela National Forest Ranger Station, Downtown Lewisburg and Mountain Music Trail
Healdsburg, California: h2hotel
This everyone-knows-everyone California town is a real-life Stars Hollow. Sitting in the northern part of Sonoma wine country, in the heart of the Russian River Valley, base yourself at this eco-luxe hotel and spend your honeymoon indulging in good farm-to-table food, great wine and small-town charm.
At h2hotel, spend your days lounging by the pool or getting spa treatments at its sister property, Hotel Healdsburg, and walk down the street for outdoor movies and live music in the town square. Offering something for everyone, Healdsburg has bike riding, music, a craft bar scene, tasting rooms and of course, vineyards; all in the heart of beautiful Sonoma.
What’s nearby: La Crema Estate at Saralee’s Vineyard, Kendall-Jackson Wine Estate & Gardens, The Redwood Canopy Tour, Raven Performing Arts Theater and San Francisco attractions
Gateway Canyons, Colorado: Gateway Canyons Resort & Spa
Edging the Colorado and Utah border, and the brainchild of Discovery Channel Founder John Hendricks, Gateway Canyons Resort & Spa is a property like no other. Sitting in the heart of Unaweep Canyon, and at least an hour away from anything remotely commercial, this luxury resort blends into the “purple mountains majesty” of the American West.
Here, guests can stay in luxury casitas, get spa treatments, take outdoor showers, go off-roading, hop on helicopter tours over the Moab desert, go on sunset horseback rides, and tour the onsite Gateway Colorado Auto Museum, which houses John Hendricks’ private auto collection.
Want to explore the area on your own? Thanks to a program called “Driven Experiences,” guests of the resort can borrow a car from the Gateway’s luxury fleet and do it in style. Just picture yourself driving through the red rocks in a Porsche 911 or a Bentley Continental. Booking that reservation yet?
What’s nearby: Moab Desert, hiking, camping, ATV off-roading, rock climbing, and stargazing
-Written by Jennifer Agress, a Miami-based travel writer and editor who would go to any of these places on her (hypothetical) honeymoon.