Have Spouse, Will Travel

California Coast

The Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) winds along the Pacific Ocean for 550 breathtaking miles. People with a fear of heights tend to drive northbound only, so there’s more highway between them and the ocean below. Rent a convertible at the San Francisco International Airport, drive south and in two hours, you’ll be pulling into Carmel, California. (Its beautifully rugged terrain has attracted artists like Ansel Adams and architects like Frank Lloyd Wright, not to mention scores of golfers.) The main beach offers waves for surfing and sand for a romantic picnic. Later, stop at the Point Lobos State Natural Reserve and try to catch a glimpse of playful sea otters or gray whales migrating offshore. Continue on to the 165-room Hearst Castle, built on 127 acres of gardens and terraces, which is now a state park.

Where You Should Stay

Clint Eastwood owns Mission Ranch Resort, a beachfront property in Carmel. Although the resident flock of grazing sheep gives it a rustic charm, it has plenty of luxury touches for honeymooners, like in-room whirlpool tubs and fireplaces.

Think camping isn’t a honeymoon-worthy activity? Think again. A prime example of “glamping” (aka glamorous camping), the Treebones Resort in Big Sur gives you the great outdoors—postcard-worthy Pacific sunsets and an open-air sushi bar—while providing you with a luxury Mongolian yurt (a fabric tent), complete with electricity and high-thread count sheets to cuddle up in.

Where You Should Eat

The Flying Fish Bar & Grill in Half Moon Bay has been turning out inventive fusion flavors—like blueberry pork ribs—for the last 20 years. Regulars rave about the crab cioppino, full of locally sourced Dungeness crab. The cliffside dining room of Sierra Mar (at the Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur) offers stunning views and is a fitting setting for dining on local fish, meat and produce. The prix fixe “Taste of Big Sur” menu changes seasonally, and dishes include a caviar tasting and roasted chanterelles.

Desert Drive

Start your married life in the wedding capital (Vegas, baby!) and then explore The Wild West together. Head north from Las Vegas to Zion National Park in Utah, with its brilliant cream, pink and red sandstone walls and miles of short trails, then continue to the Grand Canyon. Honeymooners who aren’t avid hikers may want to stick to the Rim Trail, which has access to shade and shuttle bus stops. Finish at Tlaquepaque, an arts- and-crafts village in Sedona, Arizona, and walk the cobblestone streets while browsing galleries for handmade rugs and jewelry.

Where You Should Stay

Built in a rustic log cabin-style, the Zion Lodge in Springdale, Utah, has wooden balconies that are a perfect place to split a bottle of wine before dinner and stone fireplaces for cozying up after. Rent bikes in town to easily explore the area. At The View Hotel in Monument Valley, Utah, every room at the Navajo–owned property enjoys valley views. Sign up for the Wildcat Trail hiking tour, which leads you 900 feet down to the valley’s floor.

Where You Should Eat

You only honeymoon once, so why not order the tasting menu at The Eiffel Tower Restaurant in Las Vegas? Quench your thirst after traveling at the Oak Creek Brewery & Grill in Sedona, which serves premium beers brewed on-site. Snack on homemade, ale-infused French onion soup.

New England Escape

Puttering around quaint New England towns makes for a low-key honeymoon (whether it’s a short trip before a longer vacation later or not). Start in artsy Portland, Maine. Then head to Bar Harbor, home to the rugged islands of Acadia National Park, and go whale watching. Drive down to Beantown for a night and take one of the many couples’ cooking classes held at the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts. Continue south to picturesque Cape Cod for shops, galleries and quiet beaches dotted with lighthouses.

Where You Should Stay

The Omni Mount Washington Resort, a modernized National Historic Landmark, was once popular with presidents and prime ministers. The New Hampshire hotel now caters to honeymooners with golf and horseback riding. The Chatham Bars Inn, a 100-year-old former hunting and fishing lodge, is set on 25 beachfront acres in Chatham, Massachusetts. Ask about the morning seal-watching cruises.

Where You Should Eat

In Portland, the James Beard award-winning kitchen at Fore Street changes its menu daily, but the oven-roasted mussels and spit-roasted pork loin are always available. Locally lauded crispy fried fish and shellfish are the menu stars at Seafood Sam’s in Falmouth, Massachusetts.

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