By Rebecca Padgett
Just because you’ve ridden off into the sunset as a new couple doesn’t mean the celebrating has to stop. Many couples wish for their first married moments together to be just the two of them — carefree and relaxed — hence how the honeymoon came about. Recently though, a new trend in after wedding festivities has become increasingly popular — the mini-moon.
You’ve heard the term, but what is the mini-moon? Essentially, a mini-moon is an abbreviated honeymoon. On average, the expanse is three to five days in a nearby city.
There are a variety of reasons that couples are opting for the mini-moon option. Because mini-moons are shorter in time and distance, they are intended to save you money. This can be ideal for those who have already spent a lot on the wedding or for those saving up for a longer honeymoon in the future.
Between wedding planning and the wedding itself, you might have come close to exhausting your vacation time at work, or you have other scheduling conflicts that interfere with a getaway soon after the wedding. Mini-moons allow you to enjoy just enough time away and accrue more vacation time for the future.
Others find that mini-moons are less stressful because they require less planning. Because mini-moons are usually within the United States and quickly accessible by car or plane, you don’t have to combat the stressors that may come with an international locale. With less time spent on travel, you can make the most of your vacation.
Below are 10 locations that are easily and quickly accessible by car or plane from Northwest Florida. These cities are perfect for walking or provide excellent transit systems. There are secluded mountains or bustling city scenes and those in between. Consider any of these cities for a whirlwind mini-moon of equal parts relaxation and romance.
1. Northwest Florida Beaches
We might be slightly biased on this one, but thousands of tourists and travel polls agree that the Emerald Coast is home to the most romantic beaches in the United States.
It might have something to do with the iconic white sand and stunning sunsets. This expanse is wide reaching because each beachside stretch of the region presents its own unique beauty, from rustic, historic Apalachicola to the bustling beaches of Destin to the pristinely romantic Alys Beach.
Resorts such as the WaterColor Inn & Resort, The Pearl Hotel, Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa, The Henderson and more offer all-inclusive honeymoon packages.
Spend your days sunkissed and kissing by the pool or ocean and your evenings dining on the freshest regional seafood while sipping cocktails at sunset.
2. St. Augustine, Florida
There’s something special about celebrating a brand new chapter in our oldest city.
St. Augustine holds a certain historical charm that radiates in the air. History-buff couples will delight in the many history tours and ghost tours occurring day and night.
Stroll hand in hand down the cobblestone streets complete with cute boutiques, delicious dining and a lively bar scene.
3. Savannah, Georgia
Savannah, like its tea, is sweetly Southern with its sweeping tree-lined squares, postcard-pretty homes and friendly faces. From quaint bed and breakfasts to luxury hotels to restored homes for rent, there is no lack of beautiful places to stay.
Stroll River Street with your choice of alcoholic beverage in hand, simply because it’s legal there, while shopping, dining and watching the massive container ships pass by.
Savannah is a highly walkable city allowing you to ditch the car and stumble upon your next venture. If you’re craving a coastal breeze, beautiful Tybee Island is a short drive away.
4. Gatlinburg, Tennesse
The mountains are calling! The breathtakingly beautiful Great Smoky Mountains of Gatlinburg, to be specific.
After the planning and the wedding itself, the perfect place to relieve stress and reconnect is in the tranquility only a forested mountainside can provide. Pamper yourself at a mountainside resort or rent a cabin complete with scenic sunrises and sunsets erupting from the mountain peaks.
No matter the time of year, Tennessee embodies the best of each season — blooming springs, sunny summers, colorful foliage falls and snowglobe winters. The nature-centric couple will delight in mountain hikes, river kayaking, waterfall viewing and ziplining.
If you find yourself seeking vibrant city life, these notable Tennessee cities are only a few hours away — Knoxville for its hip downtown and scenic valleys, Memphis for blues and barbeque and Nashville for live music 24 hours a day by the most talented musicians in U.S.
5. Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston is simply charming with its pastel-hued homes and Southern hospitality. In recent years, Charleston has shaken off the sleepy Southern town stigma and emerged with award-winning dining, boutique hotels, buzzing bars, handcrafted distilleries and breweries, and a booming arts and cultural scene.
Charleston is best traveled by foot, bike or horse-drawn carriage.
King Street is a popular destination offering up antiques, gorgeous hotels, eclectic restaurants, craft cocktails and brag-worthy oysters.
Take advantage of the nearby waterways via a paddleboard or canoe. For the epitome of romance, take a champagne-fueled, sunset cruise on a sailboat.
6. Asheville, North Carolina
Ah, Asheville! With its rolling hills and temperament weather, it’s easy to see why the Vanderbilt family decided to build their massive mansion there. As the largest privately owned estate in the United States, The Biltmore House is a sight to behold and spend the day exploring. Be dazzled by the richness and opulence of the home, tour the well-groomed gardens and wine and dine at the many restaurants.
Asheville has an impressive number of breweries and wineries that offer daily tours. The River Arts District is a mile-long stretch of art galleries featuring paintings, ceramics, jewelry and more.
The Blue Ridge Parkway is a must-see with miles of trails, waterfalls and scenic overlooks.
8. New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans is a city for the fun-loving couple that wants to keep the party going. Bourbon Street is sprawling with bars to celebrate in.
While bar hopping is certainly a popular pastime in NOLA, there’s much more to this lively city. The food is unparalleled — from Cajun to Creole to Southern-style and seafood, you could spend your entire trip just sampling and noshing on an array of flavors from award-winning restaurants.
The history of New Orleans is rich and unique. Learn about a variety of former residents, from pirates and prisoners to witches and Voodoo queens during ghost and graveyard tours.
9. Boston, Massachusetts
Boston bustles and brims with a variety of whims to strike any couple’s fancy, and it does not lack in tours and attractions. Learn about our nation’s most iconic moments via The Freedom Trail, stroll the scenic Boston Common and Public Garden and watch America’s favorite pastime at Fenway.
Enlightening and engaging indoor activities include The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, The Boston Public Library, The Museum of Fine Arts or a tour of Harvard.
On a nice afternoon, pedal your sweetheart around in a legendary Swan Boat, and don’t leave the city without eating a lobster roll.
10. Austin, Texas
In Austin you don’t need a 10-gallon hat or cowboy boots, but you absolutely can wear them if that’s your style. Austin has emerged as a favorite city for millennial couples to frequent because of its eccentric arts scene, live music, natural beauty and variety of innovative food options.
Austin’s food claim to fame are BBQ joints and Mexican restaurants. This city loves its live music and is home to many popular music festivals throughout the year.
Not only is Lady Bird Lake pretty, but it is also home to 1.5 million of Austin’s most beloved residents … bats. Each day with a beer or margarita in hand you can watch the bats take flight at sunset. As they say, keep Austin weird!