Real Honeymoons: Summer 2014

Danielle & Andrew: Cancun

With limited vacation days to work with (Andrew is in the Army), the newlyweds crammed as much fun, sun and adventure as possible into their all-inclusive Mexican getaway. Want their honeymoon?

  • Budget: $2,800
  • Time of year: October
  • Length of trip: 7 days
  • Travel time: 6 hours from Richmond, Virginia

Where To Stay: Danielle and Andrew immediately fell in love with the ocean views from their suite—which also included a “never-ending” mini-bar—at Riu Palace Las Américas. They spent their time at the all-inclusive resort enjoying the quiet beach, warm water and nightly live entertainment. They even managed to fit in an evening couple’s massage under a tiki hut on the sand.

While You’re There: When they weren’t busy sunbathing, the couple made the most of their honeymoon, filling their days with activities and excursions arranged through the hotel. They took a ferry to Isla Mujeres and snorkeled and swam with dolphins, sharks and stingrays. Another highlight was the Xplor adventure park, where they zip-lined and rafted through a stalactite cave. “We highly recommend a day at Xplor,” Danielle says.

Follow Their Advice: Go on some truly memorable adventures. “Our mind-set was that we’ll have plenty of future opportunities to sit on a beach and relax, so we were happy to splurge on unique and memorable experiences,” Danielle explains.

Sara & Michael: Pacific Northwest

New Yorkers Sara and Michael planned a whirlwind culinary tour of the West Coast from Seattle to San Francisco. The best part? They paid for almost all of it with credit card points. Want their honeymoon?

  • Budget: $3,000
  • Time of year: June
  • Length of trip: 13 days
  • Travel time: 6 hours from New York City

Where To Stay: In Seattle, the couple used The Westin Seattle as their base while exploring the sites. “Chihuly Garden and Glass is not to be missed,” Sara says. From there, they began their road trip south, stopping at The Nines hotel in Portland, Oregon, where they were greeted with strawberries and champagne. Near Mendocino, California, they spent a night at Little River Inn, where treated themselves to a couple’s massage.

While You’re There: “We loved exploring new cities and driving through each area, letting the map be our guide,” Sara says. Having saved so much on travel, the newlyweds splurged on food, including dinner at The French Laundry in Yountville, California. “We ate at amazing restaurants,” she says. Their fave? It’s a tie between The French Laundry and Canlis in Seattle.

Follow Their Advice: Take some time to explore the scenery between Bend, Oregon, and Eureka, California. “Crater Lake was one of the most breathtaking spots I’ve ever seen,” recalls Sara. “It was a good two hours out of the way in both directions, but it was worth it.”

Amanda & Tim: French Polynesia

Looking for ultimate relaxation, Amanda and Tim headed to Tahiti, Taha’a and Bora Bora for almost two weeks of luxurious tropical living. Want their honeymoon?

  • Budget: $ 7,000
  • Time of year: late September
  • Length of trip: 12 days
  • Travel time: 8.5 hours from Los Angeles

Where to Stay: The couple spent four days in a beachside villa at Le Taha’a Island Resort & Spa on Taha’a. “It felt like we were sleeping in the middle of the jungle— but in ultimate comfort,” says Amanda. After “roughing” it, they made their way to Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora, where they spent five days in one of its incredible, you-only-live-once over-water bungalows.

While You’re There: Because there are fewer people, Amanda says the snorkeling in Taha’a (a smaller, more remote island) is absolutely amazing. In Bora Bora, they took a break from lounging on the beach and by the pool to Jet Ski around Mount Otemanu and try stand-up paddleboarding. The views of the water and mountain are simply amazing and the ideal backdrop for the perfect day.

Follow Their Advice: Avoid spending your entire honeymoon on the island of Tahiti. “We found it to be more touristy than some of the other islands,” Amanda says.

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