By the time you tally up the total cost of a wedding, from the flowers to the food to the venue, you’ll likely be shocked by your final bill. But why should you spend your money on food for your parents’ friend’s neighbor whom you haven’t seen in 20 years when you could spend it on a lavish honeymoon for you and your spouse? It seems that more and more people are asking themselves this very question and choosing to invest in their honeymoon instead of their wedding. So in honor of this, we sought to find out exactly how much $20,000 can get you in some of the most popular U.S. honeymoon destinations.
We used Expedia to find resorts with at least a 4-to-5-star rating and estimated average honeymoon costs by using said resorts as a point of reference. Eateries were pulled from the restaurants at the resorts first and then outsourced when needed through Expedia or TripAdvisor. Activities were found through the resort websites and Expedia. Flight prices were pulled from the Bureau of Transportation and supplemented by Google Flights for Honolulu and Jackson Hole.
Each city was ranked based on an ideal two-week honeymoon vacation, so the more you could do with the same $20K, the higher on our list the city was placed. Ties were decided by leftover money, since in theory that could be used for some honeymoon shopping or other miscellaneous expenses.
Where $20K Goes the Furthest for a Honeymoon in the U.S.
Do you prefer the mountains or the beach? While cost always needs to be considered, no one wants to vacation somewhere bland just because it’s inexpensive. This is especially true for honeymoons since they’re an inherently romantic getaway. Every newlywed wants to visit somewhere beautiful, and it’s probably because of this that every city on our list is either in the mountains or by the beach. So whether it’s the peaks of the Rockies in Aspen or the surf off Laguna Beach, here are nine of the best honeymoon destinations in the U.S. (and how much each will hurt your pockets).
Breakdown by City
Out of our nine total cities, Savannah was one of just two that could fit an entire two-week trip into the $20K budget comfortably. Paying less doesn’t mean you’re getting less, however! The Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa, as the name suggests, provides visitors with an attached golf course and a full-service spa, but there’s also a marina, three restaurants, and three bars on site.
Once you’re out and about, the tours you can take in Savannah are second to none. As a part of the Old South, there are lots of historic sites like the Wormsloe Plantation, but the city is scenic too, with streets like Bluff Drive that you can drive down yourself. Savannah also has a reputation for being haunted, so if you carry an appreciation for the supernatural, the city’s many ghost tours might be a point of interest.
Our second best city for a $20,000 honeymoon is also in the South. Hilton Head was the only city on our list besides Savannah that could comfortably fit a two-week stay at a luxury resort into the $20K budget, and also like Savannah it’s home to a Westin resort. However, while Savannah is right next to a few beaches of its own, the beaches at Hilton Head are generally regarded as some of the best in the entire country.
Hilton Head’s beaches aren’t just pretty, though: They’re also teeming with life. The best way to experience this is through one of the island’s dolphin tours, where you can see pods of dolphins swimming and maybe even jumping out of the water!
Transitioning from the beach to the mountains, Asheville is one of Appalachia’s top tourist destinations. We looked at the Omni Grove Park Inn, which features a view of the mountains that’s worth every penny, and an awesome, almost cave-like indoor pool.
While hiking is a given, Asheville and the surrounding area also offer lots of whitewater rafting and ziplining experiences. And once the sun sets, breweries are plentiful, and someone you recognize might be playing at The Orange Peel, a popular local concert venue.
While we’re sure Honolulu places first on a lot of personal rankings, the main thing keeping the U.S. tourism staple out of the top three is price. If you want to stay for as long as possible, you’ll probably have to sacrifice money in other areas. For the willing, however, what can be said about Hawaii that hasn’t already been said before? It’s one of the ultimate vacation destinations.
We focused on the Royal Hawaiian luxury resort specifically, where each room comes with a complimentary iPad that you can use throughout your stay. The resort is also connected to a shopping center, and everything from scuba diving to snorkeling to real-life luaus is never more than a few miles away.
Representing the beaches of the northeast, Nantucket is a quaint island off the coast of Cape Cod. We singled out the Union Street Inn, which is the only bed and breakfast on our list and has won many awards for exceptional service. It’s a change of pace from the other resorts we’ve covered so far, boasting amenities like a library and a backyard garden.
The city itself is known for its beaches, but also its history. While sailing tours are scenic and surely tons of fun, places like the Nantucket Whaling Museum, known for the way it displays the island’s history as a whaling hub, are popular stops too.
Aspen is a city with a reputation that precedes itself, especially if you’re really into skiing or snowboarding. But these aren’t the only activities we recommend. If you’ve ever wanted to ride a snowmobile or dogsled, or take a hike in snowshoes, Aspen’s the place to do it. Our recommended resort, the St. Regis Aspen, also offers in-room mini bars and massages.
$13,808 will buy you just over a week at Charleston Place, where the luxury suite has everything from a rainfall showerhead to its own wet bar. The hotel is also home to an art gallery and hosts its own private horse-drawn carriage tours through the city.
Charleston is a lot like Savannah, combining beaches and old southern history into one awesome package. You can’t go wrong with any of the historic city tours, but for a more adventurous endeavor, there are paddle board rental options that could end with you seeing everything from dolphins to turtles to manatees to birds.
Like Aspen, Jackson Hole is another Rocky Mountain honeymoon option, but if you’re more into national parks than skiing or snowboarding, it’s definitely the better of the two. Not that there isn’t skiing and snowboarding in Jackson Hole, but it’s worth noting that Jackson Hole is home to Grand Teton National Park, Menor’s Ferry Historic Site, Mormon Row Barns, and Jenny Lake, and it sits just 60 miles south of Yellowstone.
Rounding out our list of U.S. honeymoon destinations, the Golden State finally makes an appearance thanks to Laguna Beach. A spot that should be on every beach-loving newlywed’s radar, Laguna is home to a Waldorf Astoria resort that gives visitors access to their own private beach.
Guests can sign up for surfing lessons or go on a wine tour in Temecula, an area that’s famous for its vineyards.
Cost Breakdown by Destination
Here are the cost estimates for each of our top U.S. honeymoon destinations divided up by category. Note that these are all ballpark estimates, however, and remember that we used 4-to-5-star resorts as our main point of reference, so you can definitely make a cheaper honeymoon work pretty much anywhere if you’re willing to forgo some luxury.
We can’t say that we blame any fiancé or fiancée for deciding to put more emphasis on the honeymoon than the wedding, but if you are the type (or getting married to the type) of person who still wants that storybook ceremony, find the perfect engagement ring at Shane Co. With options that fit any budget and lots of engagement ring customization options, there’s truly something for everyone.
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