The Best Locations for a Winter Honeymoon
10 magical places.
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Photo By: Paul Markow
Photo By: Kokomo Private Island
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Photo By: Erick Higuera, Baja, Mexico
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Places that Come Alive During Winter
Did you tie the knot during peak wedding season and wait to take your newlywed trip? Or, are you celebrating your union with a winter ceremony? Either way, the coldest time of year really is the best time to take that romantic trip. From tropical getaways to arctic expeditions, check out these 10 winter-ready honeymoon destinations.
Castle Hot Springs
Known as the “Grand Dowager of Arizona hotels,” Castle Hot Springs was the state’s first-ever luxury resort. It was originally established in 1986 around a series of thermal hot springs that were used for healing long before any Europeans—or hoteliers—arrived in the area. The restorative resort, which formerly hosted celebrities and prominent Americans like Cecil B. DeMille, the Vanderbilts and President John F. Kennedy, just reopened this fall after a major renovation. In addition to the 120-degree mineral-rich springs, the 210-acre property offers couples an ideal space to detox from the stress of the big day with a wide range of health and wellness activities such as horseback riding, archery and hikes through the Sonoran Desert and Bradshaw mountains.
This South Pacific nation spans across an archipelago of more than 300 mind-bogglingly beautiful islands. With rugged landscapes, white sand beaches and coral reefs in crystal clear lagoons, there’s a reason it’s long been considered a top honeymoon destination. One of the most romantic places to take up residence is Kokomo Private Island Fiji; the all-inclusive, uber-luxurious resort offers couples the chance to dive, snorkel or relax on the beach while dining on world-class cuisine. Each suite boasts its own infinity pool and garden. And, because winter is considered the slow season, the sprawling island is even quieter and more intimate. Couples who want to see the islands without breaking their bank can kick back at the less expensive and still gorgeous Tiliva Resort, Mai Dive Astrolabe Reef Resort or Oneta Resort.
Daylight is limited in Finland during wintertime. Around the winter solstice, its vibrant capital, Helsinki, sees only six hours of sunlight. In the northern reaches of Lapland, the sun stays below the horizon throughout all of December and into January. It may sound gloomy, but all that darkness gives visitors ample opportunity to see the northern lights. In places like Kuusamo, couples can ski on illuminated slopes, hang with reindeer and take a sauna tour while waiting for an aurora to light up the sky. While a cozy trip to Lapland sure as heck is a memorable way to kick off married life, we suggest starting or ending the journey with a stopover in Helsinki. The capital city boasts great restaurants, innovative art museums like the newly opened Amos Rex and a must-try sauna scene.
La Paz, Mexico
Combining fancy farm-to-table style restaurants with hidden cafes and gorgeous old-world architecture around its central plaza, La Paz is a quaint, cosmopolitan city. Its coastal location toward the mouth of the Gulf of California on Baja California Sur makes it a haven for sea life—especially in the winter. From October through March, Whale Sharks pass through the area, giving visitors a chance to swim alongside the giant fish. From January to March, the highlight is whale watching in Magdalena Bay and the mammals are so friendly that they come right up to small boats.
Where in the world is Churchill, you ask? It’s on the Hudson Bay in the far north of Manitoba, Canada—probably not what most folks envision as a romantic honeymoon destination. But the small city is called the “polar bear of the world,” one of the few human settlements where the adorable (and vicious) mammals can be observed in the wild. In late winter and early spring, visitors can head to Wapsuk National Park to watch female polar bears emerge from their dens with their adorable cubs. You can also cuddle up with your betrothed on a dog-sled ride while awaiting the northern lights. Think about it: what could be more romantic than cute animals, glowing skies and long nights?
The Florida Keys, Florida
If sitting around by the pool in a balmy subtropical breeze sounds like your post-wedding dream, there’s no need to pull out your passport: take a road trip through the Florida Keys and Island hop between very secluded, luxe resorts like The Moorings Village, Little Palm Island and the Sunset Key Cottages. Get fresh fruit smoothies at the Robert is Here fruit stand in Florida City on the way down. Take a snorkel trip to see the underwater Jesus statue at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. Fill up on stone crabs and key lime pie, and take a seaplane from Key West to see the crystal waters surrounding the 19th-century fort at Dry Tortugas National Park. And, of course, if you just want to sit in the sun with a frozen drink in hand–enjoy it!
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Jackson Hole is one of the most beautiful places in the entire United States, no matter the season. The western-style town is surrounded by rolling pastures, home to cows and passing elk, and the nearby Grand Tetons soar straight into the blue sky. And it’s one of the top ski towns in the west! While its slopes are definitely a top draw in the winter months, there’s still plenty to do for those who don’t love speeding down the side of a mountain. Winter visitors can go tubing and snowmobiling or take a cozy horse-drawn sleigh ride while sipping hot mulled cider.
The food is bold and delicious; the temples glisten; and the nature is so beautiful it looks like it has been plucked straight from a screensaver. Thailand is a great place to visit throughout the year, but November to early April is when the weather is at its coolest and driest (i.e. best). Visitors who’d like to kick back on the sand while getting a massage can take their pick of one gorgeous beachfront resort or another, including the luxurious Zeavola Resort & Spa and Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui—and plenty of other nice places that cost a heck of a lot less. And those who want more adventure can dive, snorkel, rock climb or head out to the northern jungles near Chiang Mai for multiday backpacking trips.
Patagonia, Chile and Argentina
One of the most famous mountain regions in the world—and the inspiration for one of the best outdoors’ brands in the US—Patagonia is wild and vast. The southernmost tip of South America boasts dramatic mountains, beautiful fjords and ancient glaciers that are sure to inspire feelings of awe. The best time to go is between November and March. Head to Torres del Paine National Park to join a trek for a day or spend a few nights in a cozy eco dome at EcoCamp® Patagonia. Couples who really want to take an expedition can catch a cruise down to Antarctica. Talk about an extraordinary start to married life!
The Languedoc, France
One would be hard-pressed to find a person who does not love the South of France. Stretching from Provence to the Pyrenees and the Spanish border, the sunny region boasts beautiful beaches, rolling vineyards (that make up one-third of the wines produced in France) and a mix of caves, gorges and forests. Sleep and eata Michelin-starred meal inside the walls of a 2,000-plus-year old fortress Carcassonne. Visit pristine Roman remains in Nimes and fill up on fresh seafood overlooking the pink salt marshes at Gruissan. Then come home and brag about all the things you experienced at this under-the-radar European destination.