Whilst the idea of two weeks on an exotic island beach is appealing to many honeymooners, these days more and more newlyweds are opting for multi-destination experiences. After the stress and excitement of The Ceremony, it’s becoming increasingly popular for couples to seek a mix of romance and adventure in multiple destinations to provide the need for stimulation as well as relaxation.
The world is, literally, the newlyweds’ oyster, so narrowing the choice of one country with easy-to-plan and mutually desirable destinations is the critical first step. Secondly, to address respective needs for romance, culture, and/or adventure.
With that in mind, the US West Coast is rich in delivering on every desire and every budget. In this article we unpack our perfect ‘Stateside honeymoon experience’ - laying out the kind of experience newlyweds will enjoy most and the memories of which will linger longest...
For our money, the richest mix of romance, adventure and culture is in combining three of the top West Coast ‘hot spots’ over 2-3 weeks – San Francisco, LA and Hawaii. All easily accessible, but each providing unique attractions, cultures and experiences.
The most rewarding half-day spent on the first step of the ultimate multi destination honeymoon is the flight to San Francisco – the first chance for couples to kick back, relax and together anticipate the adventure ahead!
With its wealth of scenic locations, top-notch restaurants, and exciting places to explore, San Francisco brims with honeymoon nectar! The Bay Area presents some of the most inspiring scenery – truly, the crown jewel of San Fran. Just perch together on a rock overlooking the Golden Bridge to really take in the beauty of ‘The City by the Bay’.
Book your first honeymoon night dinner at one of The Bays’ most romantic restaurants – you’ll be spoilt for choice, our top recommendations are: Frascati, Chez Panisse and The French Laundry, or try the Paris-style bistro Cafe Jacqueline and order their sumptuous soufflé to share with your new spouse. Then take a romantic stroll through the Golden Gate Park’s lush gardens and fill the senses with exotic blooms at the Conservatory of Flowers. For a more dynamic experience, check out the sea lion life at Pier 39 on Fisherman's Wharf and hop on a ferry to Alcatraz Island for a haunting tour of the notorious former prison.
You’re then in the best location to explore the city's impressive collection of museums. If you love art, head to the architecturally stunning de Young museum and the Legion of Honor which is filled with beautiful ancient art. Take in one of the nearby aquariums, the planetarium, natural history museum, or the four-story rainforest inside the inspirational California Academy of Sciences.
Of course, a spot of post wedding retail therapy may suit you both – so a ramble along the tempting shop windows around Union Square, Hayes Valley, Haight-Ashbury, upper Fillmore, the Mission, Sacramento Street, Chinatown and downtown's San Francisco Shopping Center. Each mall and neighbourhood have a distinctive feel; from urban sophisticate to one-of-a kind creative designs. And while many people may think shopping in San Francisco is an expensive venture, there are possibilities for every budget.
It's only an hour and a half flight from San Fran to LA – so just a quick hop to your next honeymoon haven.
LA can be one of the most romantic places in the United States - the diversity of opportunities for romance is pretty much unparalleled anywhere in the world. From a beach getaway to a mountain retreat; from urban gardens to private sunset flights over the city; champagne spa baths for two to steamy nightlife; if you can't find something in LA to set the right romantic mood, you aren't looking hard enough!
You don't have to travel to Italy to take a romantic gondola ride—Gondola Getaway in Long Beach allows you to take rides around the canals of Naples Island and Alamitos Bay, while Gondola Adventures in Newport Beach offers the most ornate gondolas around, and both offers are competitively priced with a range of ride times that can fit into your budget and your schedule.
Be sure to take extra layers for your romantic gondola ride, as it gets pretty cold out on the water after the warm LA sun disappears behind the horizon, giving the perfect excuse to cuddle up.
Talking of water, there's nothing quite like a private excursion on the water to get the romantic blood flowing, and with plenty of options to choose from, Los Angeles is one of the best cities to rent a sailboat or charter a yacht to take you and your loved one on a private cruise of the bay.
You can either book a charter with a skipper, or if you're a skilled sailor, rent a boat and pack a picnic. Either way, you’re guaranteed to enjoy the romance of the sights and sounds of this relaxing day trip.
The greater Los Angeles area has an abundance of beautiful public gardens, from richly packed botanic gardens to intimate Japanese meditation spaces. Ideal for newlywed nature-lovers and those who want to escape the city's busy streets; the best public gardens in Los Angeles feed the senses with romantic stimulation in awe-inspiring and picturesque settings.
Among the top lush destinations in the city, The Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens in San Marino is perhaps the one destination you can get the most out of your garden adventure, with over 120 landscaped acres with 13 glorious themed gardens. Along with the exotic plants, love birds can also browse through collections of ancient manuscripts, of note, the 15th Century Gutenberg Bible.
Hawaii and Oahu
Five hours might seem a lot but the flight to Hawaii is so worth the trip for honeymooners! Having experienced the culture, cuisine and landscape of LA and San Francisco, arriving in Hawaii is like landing on a different planet altogether!
Touching down in Honolulu is like landing on Neverland – awesome! This incredible tropical island feels like a dream land. Perfectly suited for honeymooners! Honolulu and its surrounding neighbourhoods are perfectly crafted for newlyweds. For the traditional romantics, there are plenty of restaurants for dinners and romantic sunsets, whereas for the more adventurous couples there are activities like shark diving and snorkelling, Oahu truly has it all. Here’s some of the best romantic things to do on Oahu:
If you’re looking to mix adventure and adrenaline with romance, look no further than the North Shore. Get in the ocean with your newlywed and go shark diving with North Shore Shark Adventures. Couples will bond during all the excitement while enjoying the sun-soaked natural beauty of the island. You can also experience the spectacular beauty of the North Shore on horse-back for a different kind of romantic adventure. Weave through untouched forest with a panoramic ocean view.
If in search of a romantic beach getaway then escape together to Lanikai Beach for the day. Nearly a mile long, Lanikai offers plenty of space for loving couples to find an uncrowded spot to picnic and swim in the calm waters. Small off-shore islands make a dramatic backdrop to the bright white sand.
Also, in Hawaii, restaurants for romantic diners are a-plenty! Here are some top recommendations:
Hawaii is lucky to have a fresh supply of seafood right in its backyard. Poke (raw, bite-size pieces of fish covered in seasonings) is a common seafood dish enjoyed by locals. Check out Fresh Catch, which certainly has some of the freshest and tastiest poke on the island.
In the centre of Kalihi lies one of the state's oldest Hawaiian eateries, Helena’s Hawaiian Food, serving traditional Hawaiian food using the family secret recipes of founder Helen Chock. Take the plunge and experience some of this local, melt-in-your-mouth goodness. Definitely try the Fried Butterfish Collar!
Ultimately, a week in San Francisco; a week or less in LA and several nights in Hawaii, in our experience, combine to make the best multi-destination honeymoon on the planet – and will definitely feel out of this world!