10 great honeymoon destinations in the USA

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As you contemplate that great post-wedding getaway, consider a few of the world’s most popular honeymoon destinations.

1. Hawaii. Exotic islands are a frequent first choice among newlyweds, who love the white-sand beaches, deep-blue waters and swaying palms. The islands of the 50th state offer sun and fun against a glorious backdrop. The Garden Isle of Kauai is a natural wonder with its dramatic Waimea Canyon, windswept cliffs, sparkling waterfalls and lush jungle. Maui is perfect for couples on the go, who can hike the Na Pali Coast or kayak down the Wailua River and then trek through picturesque Waianapanapa State Park. Oahu, the home of Waikiki Beach, is a true fantasy island and a surfer’s dream, and also the home of historic Pearl Harbor. The big island of Hawaii is also a popular destination, as is the small unspoiled island of Lanai.

2. Niagara Falls. Sure, it’s kitschy, but couples with a sense of humor will love this traditional honeymoon destination, known as the Honeymoon Capital of the World. Niagara Falls has an abundance of wedding chapels and honeymoon accommodations ranging from the campy (hotel rooms with heart-shaped bathtubs) to the ultra-deluxe. Whatever you do, don’t miss the famed cascading falls, which can be viewed by air or on the famous Maid of the Mist tour boat.

3. Las Vegas. Call it the marriage mill, or the assembly line of love. That’s Sin City. Each year, 115,000 couples – more than 300 a day – tie the knot in ceremonies that range from high end (at one of the city’s opulent casino hotels) to lowbrow (a drive-through wedding officiated by Elvis). The marriage-minded love Las Vegas because they can get hitched on the spur of the moment, 24 hours a day, without a blood test. And if many made-in-Vegas marriages don’t last, well, the investment is small – just $60 for the license. You can take the extra wedding cash and spend it at the poker table.

4. San Francisco. You’ll leave your heart in this spectacular city by the bay, rich in history, culture and the arts. Pier 39, Ghirardelli Square, the Cannery and Fisherman's Wharf are musts for first-timers. Don’t miss the city’s bustling Chinatown district; Pacific Heights with its boutiques and restaurants; Fillmore Street, one of the nation’s top shopping districts; North Beach, an Italian neighborhood packed with fabulous eateries; and Marina Green, overlooking the awe-inspiring Golden Gate Bridge. You can also take a ferry ride to Alcatraz or flash back to the ’60s with a visit to Haight-Ashbury. Don’t miss the artsy Castro district.

5. The Florida Keys. For many honeymooners, Key West is the ultimate escape, and getting there is half the fun. To reach the Keys, you have to drive across a chain of small islands from Key Largo, just below Miami, to Key West, at the southernmost tip. It’s laid-back, barefoot ambience blends with upscale hotels, restaurants, boutiques and galleries. And the ghost of Hemingway haunts every corner.

6. Orlando. The young at heart will love this Florida tourist haven, which includes Disney World, Universal Studios (including the Wizarding World of Harry Potter) and Sea World. Cape Canaveral is within driving distance, but once you have checked into your hotel, you don’t have to go anywhere – everything you need is at your fingertips. Couples who stay at Disney World have a host of restaurants, entertainment options and amusement rides to enjoy; it would take a week just to sample a fraction of it.

7. The Outer Banks. For East Coasters, OBX is an affordable and accessible choice, with one caveat: keep an eye on the weather, as this series of barrier islands jutting into the Atlantic off North Carolina is vulnerable to storms, and the water is often too cold for bathing in the off-season. That said, there is a sense of romantic seclusion about the Outer Banks, and plenty of B&Bs for your leisure pleasure. Visit Nags Head and the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, tuck into some native seafood, and stroll the wild and desolate beaches.

8. Napa Valley. Enjoy undulating hills and the fruits thereof in this splendid swath of California wine country north of San Francisco. Napa is one of the premier travel destinations in the world, with cuisine and fine wines to match. The accommodations and amenities are second to none, with spas and hot springs that have attracted guests since the early 19th century. With about 300 working wineries, there are breathtaking vineyard views at every turn, with tours and tastings to tickle your fancy, sparkling vintages to tickle your nose, and a sense of restfulness and peace that is unique in the nation.

9. Savannah. The Hostess City of the South offers an irresistible mix of big-city amenities and small-town charm, all with a Southern drawl. Stroll hand in hand through historic streets lined with grand old-growth trees, view extraordinary period architecture, take a riverboat ride, visit scores of galleries, boutiques and shops, and indulge in some of Georgia’s good old Southern cooking.

10. Cape May. No list would be complete without this Victorian coastal city, the very first seaside resort in the United States. Amble down Cape May’s leafy lanes, take a horse-drawn carriage ride, and survey the charming 18th century homes, many in pastel colors with gingerbread trim. On the southern tip of New Jersey, Cape May has countless unique boutiques, a renowned restaurant community, several excellent live theater companies and is a birding hot spot. Visit the famous Cape May Lighthouse near Sunset Beach, where you can scoop up Cape May diamonds – smooth quartz stones that can be polished to a high sheen for pendants and bracelets.

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