Find your perfect destination by plane, train or car.
By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey
Getting married is the start of a new adventure and what better way to begin than with an exciting trip to a fabulous destination? Local travel agents, wedding planners and newlywed couples shared their suggestions (and experiences) for the most romantic honeymoons. Just choose your preferred mode of transportation—plane, train or car—and off you go to make your first married memories.
If you’ve ever dreamed of jetting off to another continent, an exotic island or an A-list locale, now’s the time to make that dream a reality.
Italy: The Amalfi Coast and Venice
Fly out of Philadelphia or Baltimore
Kit Burns, owner of Villa Vacations by Doorways Ltd. in Bryn Mawr, Pa., recommends the charming Southern Italian town of Positano, with its pastel-colored homes perched precariously on the steep mountainsides and lovely pebble beaches, including the secluded, non-touristy Fornillo Beach. Learn how to recreate some of the culinary memories you’ll make here by taking a cooking class at the Hotel Buca di Bacco. Stay at La Terrazza, a villa apartment within walking distance of the hydrofoil or bus, each of which can allow you to sample the distinctive scenery and personalities of some of the other picturesque coastal towns including Capri, Naples and Sorrento.
For their recent honeymoon, Wilmington newlyweds Stefania Forte-Costa and Henry Costa turned to Christina Maddox, owner and founder of Heaven Sent Wedding Consultants, also in Wilmington, to plan a trip to Venice. In addition to the requisite visit to Piazza San Marco and gondola ride on the Grand Canal (both don’t-miss experiences, says Forte-Costa), the couple enjoyed day excursions to the islands of Murano, known for its exquisite glass, and Burano, known for its handmade lace and architecture. Forte-Costa described their hotel, the San Clemente Palace Kempinski, situated on a private island accessible by the hotel’s complimentary boat, as “very beautiful and classy.”
Accommodations: La Terrazza, $2,600 per week in spring, $3,350 in summer, villavacations.com. San Clemente Palace Kempinski starts at $691.23 per night, kempinski.com.
Direct flights from Philadelphia International Airport
Couples looking for someplace decidedly different are attracted by the Land of Fire and Ice’s dramatic landscape with waterfalls, glaciers, ice caves, geysers, black sand beaches and lush green lowlands to explore on snowmobiles, ATVs and 4X4s, according to Jennifer Dooling, travel advisor at Avenue Two Travel in Villanova Pa. Seasonal celestial shows—the Northern Lights in fall and winter and the Midnight Sun in summer—dazzle the eye. Few people know that during summer, when the temperature ranges from an average in the 40s to highs in the 60s, Vatnajokull National Park becomes “an emerald green grassland island” surrounded by the glaciers, providing a stunning setting for some brisk hiking, notes David Diamond, sales director for Expedia CruiseShipCenters in Bear, Del. (He also says that Iceland is a port of call for many northern Europe cruise itineraries.) Year-round, Iceland’s Blue Lagoon, located in a volcanic lava field, and other natural geothermal spas offer rejuvenating hot mineral water soaks. Stay at the Hotel Borg in the capital city of Rejkavik and experience the rich history and culture of this 1,000-year-old country.
Accommodations: Rates for the Hotel Borg begin at $318 per night, keahotels.is.
Fly out of Philadelphia International Airport
It rained a lot when Gillian and Mark Lattanzi went to this quieter Hawaiian Island on their recent honeymoon. But the couple, who met in Villanova, are about to complete a military tour in Texas and will be moving back to the Main Line this year, had a great time anyway. One of the highlights was the several-hour drive on the road to Hana with its hairpin turns and numerous stops along the way to admire waterfalls, Kaihalulu’s red beach and the black sand beaches in Wai’anapanapa State Park. At the luau Feast at Lele, they sampled the food and cultures of the various Hawaiian Islands. Assisted in their planning by Jennifer Supper, director of special events at Kaleidoscope Weddings in Wayne, Pa., they stayed at the oceanfront Westin Maui Resort and Spa, Ka’anapali.
Accommodations: The Westin Maui Resort and Spa, Ka’anapali, from $369 per night, marriott.com.
Fly out of Baltimore-Washington International Airport
Begin your African adventure with a tour of Cape Town, the Mother City, including the Bo Kaap or Cape Malay Quarter with its fascinating cultural, religious and architectural heritage; a 3,500-foot ascent up Table Mountain in a cable car and Green Market Square for arts and crafts from throughout the continent, suggests Ian Swain, president and owner, and Ian Swain II, vice president of operations, at Swain Destinations in Ardmore. Spend the night at the contemporary waterfront One & Only Resort. A less than three-hour plane ride away is the Singita Sabi Sands Private Game Preserve known for its high concentration of big game and frequent leopard sightings. Land Rover and walking safari excursions are included with your stay at Singita Boulders Lodge. May through December are the best times for animal viewing.
Accommodations: One & Only Resort, from $600 per night, oneandonlyresorts.com. Singita Boulders Lodge, from $2,000 per night including all meals and drinks, singita.com.
Miami South Beach and Key West, Fla.
Fly out of Philadelphia or Baltimore
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Land in Miami and take a puddle-jumper or a less than four-hour drive to Key West, which Angela Armutcu, owner of Jetset Travel in Dover, Del., describes as “Florida’s Caribbean” with its low-key attitude, lush beaches and fine restaurants. Rent a bike and tour the island, stopping at Ernest Hemingway’s home and museum, the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory and Mallory Square with its unique shops and restaurants. Take a sunset wine sail and overnight at The Reach Hotel. Then head back to Miami’s chic South Beach, which attracts celebrities with its fun-loving party atmosphere including new wave dining spots and glitzy nightclubs. Relax on the beautiful private beach at the Delano South Beach Hotel.
Accommodations: The Reach Hotel, $220-$759 per night, reachresort.com. The Delano South Beach, $407-$705, morganshotelgroup.com.
Moorea and Bora Bora
Fly out of Philadelphia International Airport
Right off the French Polynesian island of Moorea you can snorkel, swim with and pet stingrays then picnic on your own private motu (island). Bora Bora is surrounded by a natural coral reef, which keeps the diverse and colorful marine life inside, giving an aqua safari true wow effect. Book an over-water bungalow at the InterContinental Resort & Spa on either island and, on Bora Bora, you can have your breakfast delivered to your room via flower-bedecked canoe, a sight you don’t want to miss, says Evelyn Spencer, owner of Chadds Ford Travel. For best flight and room rates go between January and Mother’s Day.
Accommodations: InterContinental Resort and Spa Moorea, from $721 per night. InterContinental Bora Bora Resort Thalasso Spa, from $861.61 per night, intercontinental.com.
Sit back and relax as you watch the scenery continually change outside your window. Amtrak offers numerous all-inclusive round-trip packages to a variety of top travel spots, so you can enjoy the journey as well as the destination. Package and booking details can be found at amtrakvacations.com.
Charleston, S.C. and Savannah, Ga.
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During this six-day rail trip, you’ll enjoy sightseeing tours of these two historic southern cities with plenty of time to explore the shops and restaurants of lively River Street and the lovely 30-acre Forsyth Park in Savannah. In Charleston you will visit the Battery and the Citadel, the military college of South Carolina, and Magnolia Plantation, which was founded in 1676. After your tour of the home, you’ll stroll the estate’s magnificent gardens, the oldest public gardens in America, with thousands of flowers and plants. In Savannah, you’ll take a sightseeing cruise of the harbor.
Package price: From $1,199 per person.
Jazz Blues and Rock ‘n’ Roll—Chicago, Memphis and New Orleans
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Just the ticket for music lovers, this 11-day getaway will take you to Chicago, Memphis and New Orleans, beginning with a multi-day hop-on, hop-off sightseeing tour of the Windy City. Be sure to check out the local blues venues located throughout its downtown area. Rock ‘n’ roll aficionados can explore the roots of their favorite genre in Memphis, which, in addition to a tour of the city, includes admission to Elvis’ glorious Graceland. Then it’s on to New Orleans, with a sightseeing tour and a battlefield tour aboard a paddlewheel boat.
Package price: From $1,749 per person.
The Grand Canyon
On this eight-day excursion, you’ll take the Northeast Regional train to Washington, D.C. then connect with the Capitol Limited to Chicago and the Southwest Chief to Williams, Arizona, the Gateway to the Grand Canyon. The historic Grand Canyon Railway with take you to the South Rim where you can access numerous spots that afford breathtaking views from the canyon’s edge. This trip also includes three nights’ hotel accommodations, four nights on the Amtrak trains, round-trip on the Grand Canyon Railway and two meals. An optional helicopter tour of the canyon offers a thrilling experience.
Package price: From $2,009 per person.
Glacier National Park
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The water is turned off at Logan Pass for the season. Bring your own water. Weather dependent, the last day the Logan Pass Visitor Center will be open is Sunday, September 29th. Visiting a national park usually requires more preparation than visiting a local neighborhood park or a nearby theme park. Some national parks may feel like a step back in time with less conveniences than you are accustomed to in every day life. For example, running water in Glacier is never guaranteed. While there are water stations around the park, many are seasonal and subject to disruption. Since the water at Logan Pass Visitor Center has now been turned off for the season there is no water bottle fill station or flushing toilets. All visitors planning to hike in the area should be prepared by bringing their own water. Water can also be filtered and treated along trails, however, many seasonal streams dry out this late in the year and are not guaranteed. #StaySafe #protectglacier
The best time to visit this national treasure in Montana is during the summer when all tours such as the Big Sky Circle Tour and Two Medicine Valley Boat Cruise are in operation. During your eight-day adventure, you’ll take an exhilarating ride on the famed Going-to-the-Sun Road, which bisects the park, viewing the park’s diverse natural landscapes and wildlife. During a peaceful sail on Two Medicine Lake, you’ll learn about the history of the Blackfeet tribe native to the area. With over 700 miles of trails, the hiking is outstanding whatever your experience and skill levels.
Package price: From $2,269 per person.
You’ll have plenty of time to explore this historic city at your own pace during this three-day getaway. You’ll start with a hop-on, hop-off sightseeing tour of the downtown area. Make sure you include a walk along the 2.5-mile red brick “Freedom Trail” from Old North Church to Faneuil Hall with pretty Boston Common and such Revolutionary-era sites as King’s Chapel and Paul Revere House along the way. In Boston, Newberry Street is synonymous with upscale shopping. And you can dine on some of the freshest seafood you’ll find anywhere in the country.
Package price: From $599 per person.
New York City
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No matter how many times you visit the Big Apple, there’s always plenty to see and do. Your four-day package makes it easy to get around with a Gray Line New York Tour which can include a two-hour city-by-night highlights jaunt, ferry ticket to Ellis Island and Liberty Island or Downtown Cruise, tickets for the observation deck at either the Empire State Building or Rockefeller Center’s Top of the Rock and pass to the South Street Seaport Museum. As part of the package you can take in a Broadway show and dine in a renowned local restaurant.
Package price: From $1,069 per person.
You don’t have to travel far to have the honeymoon of your dreams. Many super-romantic getaways are located just an easy road trip away.
Maryland’s Eastern Shore:
Haverford, Pa.: 2 hours, 20 minutes
Milford, Del.: 1 hour, 12 minutes
Summer is peak time to make the most of the watersports available on the rivers and Chesapeake Bay. Both Jennifer Dooling of Avenue Two Travel and Ian Swain of Swain Destinations recommend the posh Inn at Perry Cabin in St. Michaels, where you can take a two-day beginner’s course to learn how to sail a yacht or take a picnic basket for two out on a charter boat. Or, at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Golf Resort, Spa and Marina in Cambridge, you can rent jet skis, paddleboards or take a kayak tour to Blue Heron Rookery to catch a sighting of nesting bald eagles.
Accommodations: Inn at Perry Cabin begins at $520, belmond.com. Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Golf Resort, Spa and Marina begins at $239, hyatt.com.
Bryn Mawr: 90 minutes
Dover, Del.: 2 hours, 45 minutes
The mountains have charms that span the seasons, making any time the right time to go, says Jetset Travel’s Angela Armutcu. Chadds Ford Travel’s Evelyn Spenser recommends the elegant, historic Skytop Lodge in Skytop, Pa., where, in winter, you can ski, tube, ice skate, cross-country ski, snowshoe or toboggan on the property’s 5,500 acres. (“There’s great antiquing in the area,” Spencer says.) For warmer weather travel, the luxurious French Manor Inn in South Sterling, Pa., is close to three major state parks for hiking and biking. Make sure to book a dinner—French cuisine, of course—at the inn.
Accommodations: Skytop Lodge begins at $209 per night double occupancy, skytop.com. French Manor Inn begins at $299, thefrenchmanor.com.
Finger Lakes, N.Y.
West Chester, Pa.: 4 hours, 40 minutes
Middletown, Del.: 5 hours, 13 minutes
With more than 100 boutique wineries, breweries and distilleries surrounding Keuka, Seneca and Cayuga lakes, there are plenty of opportunities to swirl, sniff and swish a wide variety of vintages any time of year. Take the shared Wine Tour Trolley if you are feeling sociable, or you could rent a limo to transport you for tastings if you prefer something more private. Whatever your level of wine appreciation, you can take a tasting class or pairing or cooking class at New York Kitchen. Stay at the Juniper Hill BnB in Trumansburg or Los Gatos Bed & Breakfast in Penn Yan.
Accommodations: Juniper Hill BnB is $209-$288 per night double occupancy, juniperhillbnb.com.
Los Gatos Bed & Breakfast is $179-$199, losgatosbandb.com.
Laurel Highlands, Pa.
King of Prussia: 3 hours, 50 minutes
Lewes, Del.: 5 hours, 20 minutes
Located in the mountains of southwestern Pennsylvania just east of Pittsburgh, this lovely area is well known from spring through early fall for offering some of the best Class 1 through Class IV white water rafting around on the Youghiogheny River in Ohiopyle. Or combine biking and rafting with a pedal and paddle tour. Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Farmington has a full-service spa, golf course and casino for some lively nighttime entertainment. In Ligonier, the boutique bed and breakfast Thistledown at Seger House in an early 20th-century mansion is a cozy getaway. Make some time to stroll the main street of Ligonier with its cute specialty shops.
Accommodations: Nemacolin Woodlands Resort begins at $275 double occupancy per night, nemacolin.com. Thistledown at Seger House begins at $150-$350 per night, thistledownligonier.com.
The Berkshire Mountains, Mass.
Villanova, Pa.: 4 hours and 20 minutes
Newark, Del.: 4 hours and 45 minutes
In summer, cultural activities and performances are at their peak in The Berkshire Mountains at Massachusetts’ western edge. From June through August, Jacob’s Pillow hosts dance companies from around the world in an indoor/outdoor setting and Tanglewood, an outdoor venue just perfect for a romantic picnic, is home to the Boston Symphony Orchestra and invites headliner musicians to perform from mid-June to early September. The Shakespeare & Company theater stages plays year-round. Start out your life together feeling great with an all-inclusive spa stay at Canyon Ranch in Lenox or overnight in the center of the Norman Rockwell town of Stockbridge at the late-19th-century Red Lion Inn.
Accommodations: Canyon Ranch Lenox begins at $1,139 double occupancy per night, canyonranch.com.
Red Lion Inn begins at $175 weekday, $268 weekend, redlioninn.com.
Wayne, Pa.: 4 hours
Rehoboth Beach, Del.: 5 hours, 40 minutes
Mystic has been a busy seaport village since the mid-1600s. From early May through mid-October, you can get the flavor of its maritime history with a sail on the schooner Argia and a walk-through of the Mystic Seaport Museum, where you’ll find historic boats you can board and more than 60 19th-century village buildings to visit. At Mystic Aquarium you can sign up for a special encounter, getting up-close-and-personal with sea lions, seals, penguins, beluga whales or stingrays or get an extensive behind-the-scenes experience as a “trainer for the day.” Stay in nearby residential Stonington at Another Second Penny Inn or in the center of the downtown action at The Inn at Mystic.
Accommodations: Another Second Penny Inn begins at $125 double occupancy per night, secondpenny.com. The Inn at Mystic begins at $239 weekday, $269 weekend, innatmystic.com.