Planning a wedding is serious business. The one-night event can be months, or even years, in the making. That's why anyone planning their nuptials should also build in a little time right after the big day for a romantic minimoon to set their marriage off on the right foot.
A minimoon is the perfect way to take a few days, turn off your phone, forget the thank you cards, and just be present with your new partner before embarking on an entire lifetime together.
To help you plan an unforgettable getaway, we rounded up 15 amazing minimoon ideas around the U.S., plus a few international options, to set the stage for your happily ever after.
Catalina Island, California
Catalina Island is a great escape for West Coasters looking to get away from it all without breaking the bank on their minimoon. Hop on the ferry from Long Beach, San Pedro, or Dana Point to be transported to your island getaway, where you can enjoy hikes through the vast wilderness (and maybe even spot a buffalo or two), bike through the town of Avalon, take a ride on a glass-bottom boat, or sip a fruity concoction while sitting on the sand in front of Bellanca Hotel. Stay the night in the beautiful hotel and make sure to grab breakfast at The Pancake Cottage down the street to refuel for your second day of adventure.
Santa Barbara, California
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Although Santa Barbara is located just a few hours north of Los Angeles, it feels light-years away, thanks to its slow pace and old-timey atmosphere. Spend your day walking up and down State Street, the main shopping thoroughfare, take a dip in the ocean at East Beach, and stop in at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art for a quick dose of culture before heading back to your hotel — preferably The Ritz-Carlton, Bacara, located on the Santa Barbara coast.
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The city of Portland is the ideal destination for food and craft beer lovers looking for a quick escape. The city is chock-full of fantastic restaurants and boasts an estimated 70 breweries. Hike around Washington Park to build up an appetite for some seriously tasty ice cream at Salt & Straw. Then, spend the night at the luxurious Ace Hotel and soak in your room's personal claw-foot bathtub to ease any tension away.
Seattle, well-known for its music scene, has more than a few attractions for you and your new spouse to explore. Walk along the waterfront and hop on a romantic Ferris wheel ride, visit the Chihuly Garden and Glass, take a tour of the aquarium, or check out the Space Needle. With the Four Seasons Hotel Seattle as your home base, you can hop on the ferry to Bainbridge Island before returning to the hotel for dinner at Goldfinch Tavern.
Boulder is often overshadowed by its bustling neighbor, Denver, but don't let the city's smaller size fool you. Beyond world-class restaurants and spectacular shopping, Boulder also offers gorgeous vistas and tremendous outdoor activities, including hiking, mountain biking, or simply strolling down the city's picturesque streets, hand in hand.
There's a reason why so many love songs originate in Nashville. From honky-tonks to tiny hole-in-the-wall dive bars, the city has plenty of activities to offer minimooners seeking a little adventure. Spend your day at Arrington Vineyards, sipping on wine and enjoying a picnic lunch and free music, before making the roughly 30-minute drive back to the city for even more entertainment at the Wildhorse Saloon. And book your stay at The Hermitage Hotel, where nearly every country music star has stayed.
New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans has something for everyone, from beignets to voodoo and beyond. The city's wildly eclectic feel means you'll never have a dull moment during your short stay. Walk the French Quarter to discover the many shops, then stop in at SoBou during happy hour, before heading out to discover the city's vibrant jazz scene. Finally, retire for the night at Hotel Maison de Ville, the historic 18th-century French Quarter property where A-listers like Elizabeth Taylor stayed while visiting the stunning city.
St. Louis, Missouri
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St. Louis' vibrant food scene and diverse mix of outdoor activities makes it the perfect spot for a close-to-home minimoon for Midwesterners. Take in a baseball game at Busch Stadium, home to the St. Louis Cardinals, visit the Missouri Botanical Garden, and then enjoy a four-course meal with a show at Bissell Mansion Restaurant & Dinner Theatre before tucking in for the night at The Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis.
Two hours north of Portland, Maine, sits the small and quaint town of Camden. Surrounded by wilderness on one side and a glimmering bay on the other, the town's picturesque Main Street is the perfect setting for a quiet walk to reflect with your new life partner. Go hiking in the hills, take a dip in several of the town's lakes, or sit and chat with one of the 5,000 locals who call the town home before nestling in at The Norumbega Inn, which overlooks lobster boats bobbing in the bay.
Cape May, New Jersey
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Cape May is, without question, a quintessential American beach town. In fact, the town, which sits at the southernmost point in New Jersey, was America's first seaside resort. Cap May beckons to beach-loving newlyweds who come and relax on the boardwalk, stroll the preserved Victorian districts, and spend a few nights in one of the historic hotels. Grab a bite to eat at The Lobster House and lay your head down at Carroll Villa Hotel, a seaside retreat dating to 1882.
Outer Banks, North Carolina
Though the journey to the Outer Banks is a bit more complicated than other spots on this list (some of the islands are only accessible by ferry), the destination is still worth the trip. In the Outer Banks, newly minted spouses can dive into history by visiting the site of the Wright brothers' first flight, climb the island's iconic sand dunes, and even hike to the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. After a long day of adventuring, enjoy a Cuban steak and margarita at Barefoot Bernie's and spend the night at The Castle Bed and Breakfast.
When in Miami, soak up the sun (but don't forget the sunscreen) on the famous sands of Miami Beach and cool off in its crystal blue waters. Visitors can also shop for a few "Miami Vice"-worthy threads in South Beach before picking any of the luxurious restaurants along Ocean Drive. And while there are a plethora of fantastic, over-the-top places to stay in Miami, you can't go wrong with the Fontainebleau.
Getty Images/iStockphoto The once tucked-away Mexican town has become the It destination for travelers looking for a quick retreat south of the border. From LAX, fly just a few hours south to Cancun, Mexico, and from there take a two-hour drive south to be welcomed by a quiet community, stunning beaches, and a few fruity cocktails waiting just for you.For the ultimate Tulum experience, dine at the Hartwood (but be warned: reservations are a must), and stay at Casa Malca, which sits along a secluded 600-foot-long stretch of pristine beach so you can watch the sunrise and sunsets in peace.
The once tucked-away Mexican town has become a popular hot spot for travelers seeking a quick retreat south of the border. From LAX, fly just a few hours to Cancun, where a two-hour drive lands you in Tulum, known for its stunning beaches, Mayan ruins, and great food. For the ultimate Tulum experience, dine at Hartwood (reservations are a must) and stay at Casa Malca, which sits along a secluded 600-foot-long stretch of pristine beach, so you can watch the sunrise and sunset in peace.
Québec City, Canada
For those living in the New England area, Québec is either a leisurely drive or quick flight, depending on your preference. The Canadian city will make you feel like you're on a European vacation with its old-world French charm, cobblestone streets, and breathtaking architecture. Spend the afternoon visiting one of the museums, take in a show at Théâtre Capitole, and finish it off by enjoying a meal at the quirky Bistro Sous le Fort, where you won't want to miss the French onion soup. Afterward, while away the evening at Auberge Place d'Armes, whose structure dates back to the 1600s.
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If it's a tropical minimoon you seek, head to the Dominican Republic. In less than four hours, those living in the tristate area will be transported to the beautiful paradise. Learn to surf in Cabarete on the northern coast, and after a day of adventures, dine at Yalla, a tapas restaurant that sits right on the beach. To spend the night close to the sand, book a stay at Ultravioleta Boutique Residences, a beachfront property with an unbelievable pool.
Santa Fe, New Mexico
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Part of Santa Fe's appeal is the variety of things to do and see while here. If you love art and your partner is the outdoorsy type, spend the morning exploring Meow Wolf (an immersive art display) and the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum while they head to the surrounding hills for some epic mountain biking. Link up for a walk through the historical downtown and the country's best New Mexican cuisine — just make sure to douse whatever you order in the area's famous green chile. And the hip-yet-understated El Rey Court hotel has everything you need to relax with your partner: an outdoor pool and hot tub, gardens, and a sauna.
The unassuming town of Granby is not the most obvious minimoon destination, but for couples wanting to reset and relax, the destination's C Lazy U Ranch is hard to top. The dude ranch has been in operation for more than 100 years and offers a traditional Wild West experience — yes, we're talking about horse rides, tall tales around a fire, and slow mornings with endless coffee and gourmet breakfast. You and your sweetheart can snuggle in your cozy mountain cabin, explore the wide-open space, and reminisce about your big day on horseback.
Isla de Vieques, Puerto Rico
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Just off the east coast of mainland Puerto Rico lies Vieques, a honeymooners' paradise. The island is quiet and lush with sprawling sandy stretches, including a black-sand beach. Mosquito Bay, which shines bright with bioluminescence at night, is a can't-miss. Stay in the farmhouse-style Finca Victoria, a boutique hotel that sits on one of the island's highest points and provides amazing views. With complimentary yoga, breakfast, and a handful of furnished terraces and hammocks, you might not want to ever leave.