By Lydia Geisel

Published on October 17, 2018

03_Utah_amangiri_02_photo_courtesy_of_AmanResorts Pin It
photo courtesy of aman resorts

For some couples, it’s not the wedding that counts: It’s the honeymoon. But with busy schedules and prior engagements taking over before the plane takes off, most newlyweds aren’t enjoying the three-week-long long escape in the South of France they really want. Instead, whether for the sake of getting back to real life or saving money, they’re settling for abbreviated excursions that stop short of their dream hiatus. 

Squeezing a honeymoon into 72 hours doesn’t have to feel like a compromise. In fact, a “mini-moon” can be a great way to get the alone time you want on the budget and timeline you need—that is, if you’re traveling to the right place.  

Across the continental US (and beyond), await uninhibited landscapes, sceneries, and transportive retreats that will make you and your spouse feel like you’re a million miles away. Be it a four-hour car ride to a lesser-known desert locale or two-hour flight to a remote waterfront getaway, the perfect honeymoon destination is never hard to find if you know where to look. For a mini-moon that’s guaranteed to transport, check out a few of our favorite low-key destinations ahead.

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photo by Kristi Rugg for NPS

Acadia National Park, Maine

For New Yorkers who consider Long Island a faraway trek, the New England coastline will prove to be an otherworldly escape. Bordered by sweet towns and villages—like Bar Harbor and Winter Harbor—Acadia National Park is a haven of rural wilderness along the Atlantic shore. For the duo with a soft spot for rugged and rocky landscapes, Acadia’s untouched beauty and abandoned bedrock provide an idyllic backdrop. Couples who are less seasoned in the art of exploration, however, can swap hiking and whale watching for the secluded islands, which are riddled with tiny bookshops, seaside lighthouses, and street cafes.

Where to stay: Asticou Inn

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courtesy of spring house hotel

Block Island, Rhode Island

Located 12 miles off the Rhode Island coast, Block Island has long been loved for its rocky beaches, dramatic cliffs, Victorian homes, and sheer distance from more popular summer towns, like Providence and Newport. Because the locals here work so hard to maintain the area’s quaint character, Block Islands’ timeless charm has effectively gone untouched.

Where to stay: Spring House Hotel

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courtesy of Aman Resorts

Canyon Point, Utah

Situated in a protected valley and surrounded by majestic rock formations in Southern Utah, Amangiri’s minimal design, uninterrupted mountain vistas, and ultra-luxe spa are just three probable reasons Emily Ratajkowski spent her own mini-moon here. Seemingly designed with romance in mind, guests can seek Navajo healing treatments at the spa, bask in dusty dune views by the outdoor pool, or simply admire the peacefulness of the desert.

Where to stay: Amangiri

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courtesy of Nobu Ryokan

Malibu, California

In theory, you’d expect Malibu to resemble any other California beach neighborhood. But, up close, Barbie’s favorite beach town defies all assumptions. Equipped with shoji doors, sandy-colored furnishings, modern tatami mats, and linen kimonos, Nobu Ryokan—a hotel designed to resemble traditional Japanese homes—offers a transportive experience only an hour’s drive from LA. Between the lush ocean-facing gardens and tranquil suites, newlyweds will never want to leave the grounds.

Where to stay: Nobu Ryokan

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courtesy of Juniper House via Airbnb

Marfa, Texas

Now a hub for young creatives, up-and-coming artists, and photo-hungry influencers, Marfa is an ever-growing haven of chic boutique hotels, adorable Airbnbs, new age shops, and noteworthy restaurants. For a sizzling Southwestern weekend getaway, look no further than this captivating cultural scene, which offers a slice of Texas solitude and, with it, a side of art.

Where to stay: The Juniper House

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courtesy of LAuberge De Sedona

Sedona, Arizona

The towering red rock formations in Sedona give the land an almost mystical aura. While a favorite destination for those in search of healing forces, couples will find it easy to reconnect here after all the wedding chaos. See yourself starting each morning off in an open-air outdoor cedar shower or reaping positive energy at a river’s edge? We found your temporary refuge.

Where to stay: L’Auberge de Sedona

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courtesy of aman resorts

Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Sure, a sunny and sandy vacation in Bora Bora sounds nice, but so does a brief trip packed with spiked cider and skiing. Backed by a burgeoning food scene and snow-capped peaks of the Grand Tetons, Jackson Hole is easily one of the most underrated spots to mini-moon out west. If dog sledding and sipping hot tea by an open fire don’t scream romantic stay for two, what does?

Where to stay: Amangani

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courtesy of the inn at perry cabin

St. Michaels, Maryland

Picture this: Four calm and quiet days of unparalleled relaxation and pampering on the Chesapeake Bay. Tucked away in the tiny town of St. Michaels, Maryland, The Inn at Perry Cabin, a luxe, and recently-renovated 200-year-old hideaway, is easily the Eastern Shore’s best-kept secret. Whether you and your partner spend your weekend basking beneath a canopy of magnolia, cypress, and holly trees or a private sailing lesson, your brief yet rejuvenating stay will feel like a lifetime of bliss.

Where to stay: The Inn at Perry Cabin

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courtesy of woodstock inn

Woodstock, Vermont

Capturing the quintessence of rural New England living, Woodstock packs as much beauty and charm as the Cotswolds. Peppered with rustic farmhouses, cozy taverns, and single-lane bridges, this picture-perfect destination is a definite winner come wintertime. Who says you can’t mini-moon over the holidays?

Where to stay: Woodstock Inn and Resort

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courtesy of Montage Palmetto Bluff

Bluffton, South Carolina

Forgo the Charleston crowds for total serenity at this low-country getaway, which sits just an hour’s drive outside of Savannah, Georgia. While only offering a more reserved picture of the deep south, the tiny village of Bluffton packs a vibrant punch. Think, rose-colored window panes and boldly colored wrap-around porches.

Where to stay: Montage Palmetto Bluff

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courtesy of calistoga ranch

Calistoga, California

The rolling hills of Napa Valley are a great mini-moon substitute for Tuscany—if not, dare we say, even better. For the duo with a hankering for wine country, look no further than Calistoga Ranch, an upscale resort situated on 157-acres marked by ancient oak trees, rock-hewn streams, and moss-covered boulders.  

Where to stay: Calistoga Ranch

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photo by Connor Siedow

Kauai, Hawaii

If a non-traditional tropical trip is what you seek, swap the Big Island for Kauai—Hawaii’s most pristine (and least commercially developed) island. With its dramatic cliffs, expansive canyons, and all-encompassing rainforest, you’ll get everything you want out of your dream Hawaii honeymoon, but with a short and sweet twist.

Where to stay: The Bay Bungalow at Hanalei

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courtesy of Iroquois Hotel

Mackinac Island, Michigan

Given its sheer proximity to big cities like Detroit and Chicago, Mackinac Island (located at the intersection of two great Lakes) has become the perfect pit stop for Midwesterners. Not unlike our favorite New England villages, Mackinac boasts a plethora of well-preserved Victorian homes and darling bread and breakfasts. Go for the mini-moon. Stay for the lake, lighthouses, and small-town charm.

Where to stay: Hotel Iroquois

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photo by Lee McDowell for NPS

Badlands National Park, South Dakota

Calling all edgy couples: If you’re on the hunt for a badass mini-moon, glamping in South Dakota will surely deliver. While it’s tempting to retreat to better-known mountain region, like Appalachia or the Adirondacks, the killer sunsets, big-horned sheep, prehistoric allure, and overall savage scenery of the Badlands may convince you otherwise.  

Where to stay: Black Hills Lodging

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photo by Ashely Knedler

Savannah, Georgia

Alone, the moss-covered oak trees that border the famous Forsyth Park are reason enough to put you in the mood for romance. Add horse-drawn carriages and antebellum mansions into the mix and you have an unforgettable mini-moon in the making.

Where to stay: The Bohemian

See more honeymoon destinations: 

The Absolute Best Places on Earth for a Honeymoon

Why You Should Honeymoon in the Seychelles

How to Squeeze a Honeymoon into 72 Hours

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