Outside-the-Box Honeymoon Getaways

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For the honeymooning couple who wants something unique, cuddling on a romantic beach may be the answer. Yet the beach is not the only awesome place to go. Consider these picks of the top destinations in the United States and a couple of European spots.

There are so many wonderful places to explore in the United States that it is impossible to say which ones are best. It depends to a great extent on what you want to do—visit the beach, go hiking in the mountains, or explore the big city. The following are only a few of the possibilities.

For the big city lover, you can’t go wrong with New York—museums, restaurants and nightlife. San Francisco has Fisherman’s Wharf with crab and clam chowders, fabulous shops and eateries, museums and, of course, the Golden Gate Bridge. Thinking outside the box, what about New Orleans?

This historic city is named The Big Easy for a reason. Everything is a little more relaxed and laid back. For romance, you can tour the French Quarter in a carriage or cruise the Mississippi on the steamboat Natchez. New Orleans’ nightlife is centered in the famed French Quarter’s numerous bars and jazz parlors, but that’s not all. There are the haunted tours that will introduce you to voodoo, haunted mansions and restless spirits! For museums, visit the Besthoff Sculpture Garden and Southern Food and Beverage Museum. Diehard football fans might even get to see the Saints play in the Superdome.

Hawaii has so many beautiful locations for the newlywed couple—Hawaii (the Big Island), Maui, Lanai and Kauai. All these marvelous beaches are great, but what about somewhere in the continental United States? Why not visit the northeast for a change of pace?

Try Kennebunkport, Maine. Goose Rocks Beach is one of many beaches along the coastline. Take a few minutes to visit Walker’s Point for a glimpse of the Bush family during their summer vacation. The Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge is 9,125 acres, a large salt marsh and estuary featuring hiking trails and bird watching. Finish off the day in Dock Square, the center of town in Kennebunkport. The quaint boutiques and local craft shops sell everything from souvenir shirts to hand-crafted jewelry. Dock Square is also home to many highly rated restaurants including Mabel’s and the Clam Shack, known for its famous lobster roll.

Another great location for honeymooners is Lake Tahoe, with its crystal-clear waters and jagged peaks. Lake Tahoe has two different areas that focus on different activities. On South Lake Tahoe there are a few beaches dotting the lake’s shoreline and themed casinos, from Old West saloons to edgy nightclubs. On the other end of the lake is the Northstar California Resort with the Ritz Carlton and upscale shopping and dining. There are over 100 trails for skiers of all levels and seven snowboarding terrain parks, and an ice rink, all for the winter sports enthusiast. Numerous resorts with varying degrees of services are scattered around the lake between these two main hubs.

If you’re looking for a European destination, Crete is a marvelous location to explore all things Greek. There are lovely beaches for relaxing and soaking up the Mediterranean sun. Vai Beach, also known as Palm Beach, is a fantastic place to laze in the sun. You can rent a beach umbrella or sit under the trees in Europe’s largest palm grove. The 4,500 palm trees have been there for over 2,000 years. Be sure to arrive before 2:00 p.m. when busloads of tourists arrive.

Leave the tourists behind and explore Old Town, which covers the northern part of Rethymnon. Getting lost in the alleyways of Old Town leads to meeting the locals and eating fabulous food. It’s easy to regain your orientation, since the Venetian Fortezza or the harbor is easily spotted and Old Town is small.

Bruges is a magical destination in northern Belgium. During the day you can explore the medieval streets, take in the striking architecture, and peruse the scrumptious chocolate shops for some of the world’s best chocolates and cookies. Take in a bike carriage tour with a private guide to see the castles and canals. Learn about the old-world Bruges lace. For food, take a private food tour with ten tastings that include a local dish filled with shrimp, salmon and quail eggs. Move on to the local fish market and then to the town’s brewery for beer and sausage. The tour finishes with waffles and coffee.

The best honeymoon is the one during which you get a chance to relax after the wedding festivities are over. Begin by deciding what you would like to do, and perhaps one of these destinations will help you find that unusual place you’re looking for. Bon voyage! ■

Sources: travel.usnews.com and the experience of the author.