K.C. was a featured writer for Yahoo! Travel before joining trips to discover in 2013. She is the author of Best Travel Guide for First Time Visitors to Ireland, an Amazon bestseller every year between 2013 and 2016. She has been a featured expert on Newsweek, Travel + Leisure, Travelocity, among others.
Read full bio
Let’s face it – not everyone has the budget to plan an elaborate dream wedding, but that doesn’t mean a fabulous honeymoon is off the table. There are still plenty of budget-friendly destinations where your dollar can be stretched a lot further, including these fantastic honeymoon getaways.
If you’re dreaming of the Caribbean but can’t afford to fly overseas, places in the Florida Keys, like Key Largo and Islamorada, may be a great option. If it’s too far to drive, bargain flights to Miami can often be had from New York City as well as many other major cities throughout the U.S. Once there, rent a car and enjoy driving along the Florida Keys Scenic Highway, which stretches for over 106 miles across the enchanting islands filled with palm trees swaying in the breeze and miles of spectacular ocean vistas. Once there, you can snorkel in warm waters, swim with dolphins, and watch gorgeous sunsets while toasting to your new life together.
Portugal is another one of the most affordable Western European destinations, less expensive than its neighbor Spain and the popular Greek Islands. It also retains much of its old-world charm, filled with ancient castles, picturesque coastal towns, and endless olive groves. Many of the eclectic urban neighborhoods are just now being complemented with chic beach retreats, along with outstanding golf courses. A full week’s stay at one of Lisbon’s five-star hotels runs the same as just one or two nights at a luxury hotel in other European capitals. It’s also known for fairly low dining costs and rental car rates.
Jamaica is known as one of the most budget-friendly Caribbean destinations, although many of the top resorts run upwards of $400 a night per couple. You don’t have to stay at Couples, Sandals, or Gran Bahia Principe to enjoy it. In fact, just their presence has brought down hotel rates across the island. You’ll find many offering lots of great specials and incentives, including free nights. And, with budget airlines flying between many major U.S. cities and Montego Bay, Jamaica has become one of the cheapest places to get to in the Caribbean as well. Once there, hike to romantic waterfalls and swim underneath the warm, cascading water, or enjoy lazing in the sunshine and snorkeling in the dazzling sea.
Mexico is well-known for being a more affordable honeymoon destination, and you’ll find practically an endless number of beautiful beaches, great snorkeling, and all sorts of other activities that don’t cost an arm and a leg. While there are plenty of luxury resorts nearby, you’ll find more budget-friendly options too close to the beach.
Rocky Mountain National Park, as well as the surrounding area, offers some of the most picturesque, dramatic mountain scenery in the U.S. Estes Park, located just outside the park’s eastern border, offers a wide range of secluded cabins as well as romantic B&Bs, resorts and hotels. Many feature an in-room or private Jacuzzi on a deck overlooking the river, along with a fireplace, perfect for cozying up to and sparking your own flame. During the day, enjoy hiking through the wilderness and picnicking in lush meadows at the edge of a beautiful stream with dramatic, rocky peaks as the backdrop.
Ireland has become one of the best travel values for those who want to honeymoon in Western Europe. In fact, Dublin has gone from being one of the most expensive capitals to one of the best bargains. Still, your best bet is to visit the Emerald Isle’s spectacular west coast, with its picture-postcard scenery, charming villages, castles and vibrant green that stretches for what seems like forever. With bed and breakfast accommodations found throughout the country, you’ll have a wide range of choices, including romantic thatched-roof cottages overlooking the Atlantic at a reasonable price.
Further down California’s coast, in Big Sur, you’ll find dramatic scenery as well as a beautiful coastline that has inspired numerous artists and writers, like John Steinbeck. Deep gorges cut through rugged mountains, with pine forests extending to the edge of gorgeous beaches, including one on which McWay Falls plunges 80 feet, right at the edge of turquoise-hued waters. You’ll find all sorts of accommodations here, including everything from campsites that overlook the Pacific for under $20 a night to cozy ocean-view glamping getaways and high-end resorts. Fall asleep at night, cuddled up with your new spouse, listening to the sounds of the crashing waves and even the playful barking of sea lions in the distance.
While you’ll have to fly to get there, room rates in Puerto Rico pale in comparison to other Caribbean destinations. Affordable packages can often be found year-round, though fall will bring the very best bargains. In the capital city of San Juan, take in numerous cultural attractions as well as lively nightlife, or, by taking the ferry to Vieques Island, relax and soak in the sunshine on miles of secluded sandy beaches. Blue Beach is famous for outstanding snorkeling with an abundance of colorful fish as well as giant sea turtles. You’ll also see plenty of wild horses, which run rampant across the island, and you can even enjoy a romantic horseback ride along the beach and through lush, green trails.
One of the most alluring island getaways in Greece, Corfu won’t break your bank. Corfu is a picture-perfect Greek island that is a little less well-known than some of the other beach spots in Greece and not as pricy as those ones either. Honeymooners can find affordable hotels here and often inexpensive flights through small, regional airlines. If you’re traveling on a limited budget, you may need to adjust your expectations and settle for simple rooms that don’t include all the luxurious amenities.
Thailand has been a favorite vacation destination among budget-minded backpackers, but it’s also a great place for a beach vacation. The big cost here is the flight, especially if you’re coming from the U.S. But if you can find a good deal on a flight, then the rest of your trip should be well within your budget. Phuket is a beach town that is famous for beautiful beach resorts, but you can often find very reasonable prices on splurge accommodations or settle for low-key accommodations for an even lower price. Popular beach areas here include Racha Yai Island, Naithon Beach, and Patong Beach.
If you’ve got your heart set on Hawaii, you probably already know that it’s one of the pricier domestic destinations, but that doesn’t mean you can’t go. There are good values to be had, particularly on the island of Oahu, which is a beautiful spot for a honeymoon with calm, warm waters, relatively dry weather, and lively nightlife. It’s also cheaper to catch a flight from either coast than one to Maui or Kauai. In Honolulu, with an extensive array of hotels, you can find rates to fit nearly every budget. On the north shore, less than an hour from Waikiki, Ke Iki Beach Bungalows are the ideal spot for couples looking for great prices and a laid-back honeymoon. A beautiful beach is just outside the door, and each bungalow comes equipped with a hammock as well as a full kitchen and grill, so you can save money on dining out too.
Havasupai is an ideal destination for adventure lovers seeking a memorable honeymoon on a budget. It’s internationally renowned for having some of the most breathtaking scenery on earth, including magical Havasu Falls. Located in a remote corner of the Grand Canyon on the Havasupai Native Reservation, you’ll have to make a 10-mile trek to reach the falls, but once you get there, you’ll find cascading waterfalls of crystal-clear turquoise waters, plunging into travertine swimming holes at the bottom.
Lake Tahoe, nestled between the border of California and Nevada in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, is one of the most beautiful lakes in the country. It’s also one of the few places where you can relax on the beach and go hiking or skiing in the mountains on the very same day. Honeymooners will find plenty of romantic beach villas and cozy mountain cabins too. Enjoy taking part in outdoor adventures during the day and the exciting nightlife at the casinos after dark. In the wintertime, this region offers some of the best powder for skiing or snowboarding on the entire planet.
While the waters surrounding the San Juan Islands in Washington State aren’t exactly warm, they are filled with an abundance of wildlife, including resident orca whales and harbor seals. Bald eagles are frequently seen perched on treetops and soaring through the skies. Stay in a romantic, cozy cabin on Orcas Island, paddling off in your kayak just a few steps away, and spend your evenings cuddled up around a beach bonfire. On the largest of the islands, San Juan, you’ll find many charming bed and breakfast establishments as well as upscale resorts, farm-to-table restaurants, art galleries, boutiques, and museums. Join a whale watch tour, or take a stroll along South Beach, the longest in the county.
The Mendocino Coast in northern California offers a bit of the Emerald Isle in the United States. With a rugged, breathtaking coastline filled with picturesque beaches, brilliant wildflowers, and an expanse of green hills, it’s hard to surpass its beauty without going overseas. Located just four hours north of San Francisco, you’ll find a number of wineries in Mendocino where you can sip outstanding Pinot Noirs, produced with locally grown grapes, as well as a botanical garden with trails leading to the Pacific. Cap off your romantic days by dining on Pacific Rim oysters and delectable desserts at the award-winning MacCallum House restaurant, which is set in a Victorian mansion, complete with panoramic ocean views.