Weddings are unforgettable experiences, but honeymoons can be essential for couples to shake off all that pre-wedding stress. A honeymoon spent sunbathing in the sand, paddleboarding through the surf, and exploring a quaint beach town can be the perfect way for newlyweds to relax after the big day and start their new life together. To make honeymoon planning a little bit easier, we’ve compiled a list of 10 amazing and romantic beach destinations right here in the U.S..
1. Coast Guard Beach - Eastham, Massachusetts
This Cape Cod beach is ideal for the couple looking for a secluded spot. The sands are piled high into dunes, and with a little bit of exploring, it’s easy to find your own slice of sand. Coast Guard Beach is a great place for swimming or boogie boarding, and the expansive beach offers plenty of space for long romantic walks by the water, beautiful views from the Coast Guard station, and the occasional seal sighting.
When you're ready for a bite, head to nearby Eastham, Massachusetts. The town is renowned for its amazing seafood. The happy couple can dine on reimagined New England favorites like shellfish steamed in brown ale at Mahoney's Atlantic, or take a culinary trip from Cape Cod to Cape Town with the South African bunny chow at Karoo Restaurant.
If you don’t mind a few extra people and are looking to swim or sunbathe, plan your honeymoon there between late June and August. If you’re looking to avoid the crowds and don’t mind cooler weather, the off-season is the perfect time for uninterrupted time by the water.
Local tip: Take a beach break and split the staff-recommended Seafood Platter for Two at Arnold's Lobster and Clam Bar. This spot's been a Cape Cod favorite for 40 years!
2. Hanalei Bay - Kauai, Hawaii
Hanalei Bay is said to be one of the best beaches in all of Hawaii, famous for its scenic mountain backdrop. The shore is split up into multiple sections, each with its own appeal. For honeymooners looking for more tranquility, Waikoko Beach is tucked away at the end of the bay, making it perfect for a quiet day of sunbathing. Black Pot Beach Park is far more crowded, but visitors have the opportunity to rent surfboards and paddle boards for some play time in the water. Waioli Beach Park offers the best surfing in the bay.
The natural beauty of Hawaii is justifiably famous, and experienced Kauai-based nature photographer Aaron Feinberg of aFeinberg Photography recommends couples looking for unforgettable views should take their cameras to the jaw-dropping Waimea Canyon or Queen's Bath (weather permitting). If your photos turn out more blurry than beautiful, you can also pick up one of Feinberg's shots at his galleries in Hanalei Town, Poipu, and Princeville.
The best time to visit Hanalei depends on your beach interests. Couples looking to take surfing lessons or spend time swimming or snorkeling should consider that the surf tends to be much smaller around May and June. However, warm temperatures and a friendly welcome exists all year round.
3. Myrtle Beach - Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
This 60 mile stretch along South Carolina’s coast line is one of the most popular beaches in the U.S., and and it's not hard to see why. The shore offers silky white sand, swimming, sunbathing, sailing, and surfing opportunities. Couples can spend the day strolling hand in hand along the boardwalk, sunbathing by the water, or exploring local restaurants (try the fried green tomatoes at Bovine's) . When the sun sets, the party's just starting on Myrtle Beach. Nightlife options range from live country music at long-standing local haunt The Bowery to dancing the night away to the hottest jams at Club Boca.
Jack Hannigan, founder of local business Jack's Surf Lessons, agrees that this beach is a prime honeymoon destination, "There's a lot of neat areas to go to around here, and for people on the East Coast, Myrtle Beach can be an excellent low-budget option, too". He suggests honeymooners interested in spending some quality time together take a couples surf lesson.
If you’re looking to experience all the excitement and attractions of Myrtle Beach, visit between June and August. For lower temperatures, lower humidity, and fewer crowds, aim for March, April, and May.
Local Tip: A honeymoon is a great time to learn a new shared hobby. Jack's Surf Lessons offers couples sessions, or head inland for three days on the green with Classic Swing Golf School.
4. Carmel Beach - Carmel-by-the-Sea, California
Carmel Beach is a laidback getaway for honeymooners looking to unwind. The white crystalline sand stretches out next to clear blue water, and the beach is a prime spot for watching a golden sunset or sea lions playing off the coastline.
Nearby Carmel-by-the-Sea is a quaint, family-friendly town full of local cafes, boutique shops, antiques, art galleries, and restaurants. Couples can sample the best in local wines by going on the Carmel Wine Walk by-the-Sea wine tour. Organizer and wine buff Celeste White recommends honeymooners indulging in some celebratory sparkling wines, such as the Brut Rose from Caraccioli Cellars or 'Isabelle' from Scheid Vineyards. Those more interested in a bold red or a dry white will also find their bliss on the tour.
The summer months are guaranteed to be warm, but to avoid crowds, consider honeymooning in Carmel in autumn or spring. It's the perfect destination for couples looking for a charming and artistic town, easy beach access, and pure relaxation.
Local Tip: Honeymooners can take their furry friends along at this pet-friendly destination. Dogs are allowed off-leash on the beach, and puppies can dine in style at the Forge in the Forest or Carmel Belle.
5. South Marco Beach - Marco Island, Florida
South Marco Beach sits on Florida's Gulf Coast, where hooneymooners are guaranteed a large expanse of white sand and clear blue water. The beach is lined by elegant hotels and condominiums, making it perfect for a luxury honeymoon escape. The beach has very limited public access and amenities, so staying at the resorts means you’ll have a more private feel. It’s an ideal beach destination if you’re looking for some uninterrupted time together and quiet walks in the sand.
South Marco Beach is part of Marco Island, the largest in a chain of almost 10,000 islands off the coast of Florida. Couples can continue the indulgent luxury experience off-beach with a his-and-hers gourmet coffee at Wake Up Marco cafe: the owner recommends a Salty Caramel Latte for him and a Sweet Caramel Latte for her.
Temperatures here rarely fall below 75 degrees, making it a perfect year round destination. Traffic to the island peaks in January through March, so book your trip early, or aim for the off-season.
6. Wailea Beach - Maui, Hawaii
Hawaii's Wailea Beach promises calm waters and leisurely afternoon swims. The water here is clear with soft sand and calm waters, perfect for paddle boarding or a kayak tour along the coast.
Aside from the breathtaking beach, the town of Wailea is a destination in itself. The shopping and dining are world-class, and the town is host to events like the Maui Film Festival and Whale Week. Spend time sampling nutty Hawaiian coffee at Honolulu Coffee or join in the incredible dance and celebration with the Grand Luau at Honua'ula, three-time winner of Best Luau in South Maui by Maui News.
The best times to visit Maui are in April and May or September through November. These seasons offer great weather without the crowds and high rates.
Local Tip: Don't bother trying to shove your snorkel equipment in the overhead bin- it's easy to rent whatever gear you need at Snorkel Bob's.
7. Honeymoon Beach - St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands
Honeymoon Beach is well worth the short ferry ride from U.S. Virgin Island St. Thomas to nearby Water Island. This is one of the less-crowded beaches in the area, and the secluded spot comes equipped with a snack shack, gift shop, and beach rentals for snorkeling equipment, beach chairs, and boats. The beach is mostly surf-free, and the sand is lined with palm trees and umbrellas for plenty of shade.
St. Thomas is often considered the most cosmopolitan of the US Virgin Islands. Despite its small size, the island offers plenty of activities. Couples can hike up the ninety nine steps of the capital Charlotte Amalie for a breathtaking view of the Caribbean, or let gravity do the work for them by ziplining through the trees above Magen's Bay with Tree Limin' Extreme Ziplining. Like many islands in the Caribbean, St. Thomas offers amazing food, golfing, eclectic shopping centers, and local entertainment.
Local restaurant hotspot Havana Blue designed for us their perfect St. Thomas honeymoon meal: "start with our Latin inspired Caviar followed by the Spicy Tuna Crispy Rice. The Green Chile Caribbean Lobster with manchego potato rounds out the main course and the tableside Flaming Sweet Plantain Fosters finishes off the perfect meal for two." Heavenly!
The best time to visit the island is from April to June, when you can expect mild weather and little rain. December to March is the area’s peak season.
8. Rialto Beach - Forks, Washington
Rialto Beach is the perfect destination for honeymooners that would prefer a tent or cabin to a big luxury resort. The beach is rocky in areas with giant driftwood logs scattered along the sandy shore, and the heavy surf pounds against seastacks, or natural rock columns, that define the Rialto shore line. Weather along the Washington coast stays cool, but the lower temperatures are perfect for games of paddle ball and frisbee or an ocean-side jog. If you’re up for a long walk up the beach, visit Hole-In-the-Wall and see the huge arching rock structure that extends into the ocean. If the tide is out, be sure to explore the tide pools along the way.
Rialto Beach is closest to Forks, Washington, a town whose claims to fame are its status as rainiest city in the lower 48 U.S. states and for being the setting of Bella and Edward's hometown in the Twilight series. The Forks Visitor Center recommends fans going on a self-guided tour of spots from the novels, although there are plenty of non-vampire-themed shopping and dining options in town, too. Visitors are welcome to check in to a cozy cabin or bring along camping gear and spend the night under the stars at one of the many campgrounds in the Olympic National Forest. The area is full of beautiful hikes through the rainforest and along the coast.
The best time to visit Rialto Beach ranges from mid-summer to early fall, as this time of year offers mild temperatures and little rainfall.
Local Tip: Before heading out, stock up on food and other camping essentials at long-time local favorite Forks Outfitters.
9. Coronado Beach - California
A romantic location with white sand beaches, gorgeous ocean views, and plenty to do, Coronado Beach is a beautiful spot for a sunny Southern California honeymoon. This beach is never too crowded and offers plenty of space to give honeymooners a feeling of privacy. The beach extends almost a mile in each direction, perfect for long walks at sunset.
The town of Coronado offers great dining options and shopping within the small and charming community. The excellently-named Coronado wine bar Wine A Bit recommends honeymooners indulge in a glass or two of their real Champagne, as 'there's nothing like it for celebrating'. Outdoorsy couples can bike to explore the small island or hop on a ferry and get a different perspective of the beautiful beaches. For a big city experience and more activities, take a ride across the bay to San Diego and explore what the beautiful city has to offer.
Sunny days abound in SoCal, so there is really no bad time to visit Coronado Beach. March to May and September through November will avoid school vacations and may offer lower rates on accommodation and activities.
Local Tip: Test your couple teamwork skills with a three hour sail around the bay with Sail San Diego...or just kick back with a cold one and let their trained crew take the lead.
10. Old Orchard Beach - Maine
Old Orchard Beach in Maine perfect for couples both young and young at heart. Aside from the sprawling coastline and soft white sand beaches, the pier hosts an array of fun activities. Grab a cold cone at Big Licks and spend the afternoon challenging each other to arcade games or face off in a game of shuffleboard. There is also a small amusement park for a romantic ride on the Ferris wheel. The beach is clean, uncrowded, and perfect for swimming. Visit in July or August for warmer water at the beach, or wait until September and take in the beautiful fall colors.
The town of Old Orchard is full of local shops, amazing seafood restaurants, and an array of other fun eateries. Enjoy a night on the town and listen to live music or stop at a karaoke bar to make some of your own. Nearby is Maine’s largest city, Portland. Take a day trip to see this historic New England city and visit the Portland Museum of Art or stop in at Rising Tide Brewing for some special brews and food trucks. It’s the perfect place to spend the day exploring with your sweetheart.
Local Tip: No trip to Maine would be complete without an authentic Lobster Roll. Tami Lyn's Place is top-rated on Tripadvisor for a reason!
This article was written by Alexis Hartmann, Tripping.com Content Contributor.