Cheap Honeymoon from the Southeast?
July 5, 2009 1:32 PM   Subscribe

Where to honeymoon? Budget <$1000 all-inclusive, marriage mid-May next year, duration <5-7 days, starting location = Columbia, SC.

Future Wife and I are getting married mid-May next year and don't know what/where to do about a honeymoon.

[I take that back. We know that we want to honeymoon in Japan--that has always been our one dream--but we don't have the money for it and won't for at least five years/longer if children. (We need to buy a house/rent because we currently live with our parents separately, have ~$40,000 in student loans together, two aging cars, no savings, and relatives who are unable to contribute financially. We are collectively only making ~$40,000 a year and our credit is pretty much nonexistent. Given that we will be paying for a modest wedding as well, Japan seems pretty out of reach.)]

So what should we do? We're both pretty adventurous, we enjoy city and natural environments and have vacationed (with relatives) in Asheville, Charlotte, Charleston, Myrtle Beach, and around the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We enjoyed all of it so long as there was Something To Do (shopping, short nature walks, sightseeing, culture/local attractions, etc.)

I mention these places because She has mentioned that She would like to do something "different" together. I agree. We just don't know what "different" is. That's where you come in!
posted by Phyltre to Travel & Transportation around Columbia, SC (15 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
That seems like a REALLY tight budget for a 5 day honeymoon. Consider airfare: a very conservative estimate would say $500 for a pair of round trip tickets for you to stay in the US. That leaves only $500 more for accommodations and food for 5 days, and that doesn't include entertainment. Maybe a cruise would be right for you? I think they tend to offer decent rates if you book really far in advance.
posted by Night_owl at 1:38 PM on July 5, 2009

A quick look at the Carnival website shows that a 7?-day cruise leaving from Charleston starts at $509 per person.
posted by Night_owl at 1:41 PM on July 5, 2009

Is that $1000 for the both of you, or together?
Cruises can be cheap, but keep in mind all the extra costs that come on top of the advertised prices -- tips, alcohol, and shore excursions are the big ones, and can conceivably double the cost of the trip.
posted by cgg at 1:45 PM on July 5, 2009

Response by poster: The total window is for LESS than 5-7 days, if we can't make the $1000 last us that long, we will shorten it. We won't have more than $1000 collectively. We just can't afford more.
posted by Phyltre at 1:48 PM on July 5, 2009

Get a condo or cottage on Tybee Island. If you're willing to be a short walk from the beach instead of right on it, it can fit in your budget easily. A great beach, you can drive there instead of fly, and you're within easy reach of Savannah for walking tours/restaurants.
posted by Daily Alice at 1:52 PM on July 5, 2009

I just got back from a 7 night all-inclusive trip to Cuba for about $1300 US for two people at a 4.5 star resort... Wish I could recommend that to you.

That said, you should be able to find Mexican resorts in a similar price range. Just watch the various discount travel places... You won't be able to book that far ahead though I wouldn't think.

Alternately, what about camping? Money spent on camping supplies (assuming you don't already have them) will continue giving back for years. If you're into camping, that'll open up a huge list of places that are well inside your budget.
posted by glider at 2:01 PM on July 5, 2009

Stay local, stay at a Bed & Breakfast somewhere within driving distance you've never been. Start with your own state, then if nothing strikes your fancy go farther afield.

Many B&Bs do discounts for week-long stays. Since B&Bs are privately owned, you've got a lot more flexibility in regards to cost, and the proprietors are often happy to work with you if you call and say "Here's our budget for lodging -- what can we do with it?"

Mr. Concolora and I drove to Long Island and stayed at a lovely B&B for our honeymoon -- we toured the vineyards, took the train into NYC, relaxed on the beach, and had a wonderful, inexpensive time. The two-person Jacuzzi bathtub in our bathroom was *marvelous*. :D
posted by Concolora at 2:04 PM on July 5, 2009

You could drive to charming Manteo, NC, and stay in the "bridal room" at Booth House (Google is giving a malware warning on their otherwise so-so web site, so here: 135 Morrison Grove Road. / Manteo, NC 27954 / Reservations (252)-305-1205 Days • (252) 473-3515 Nights)

We stayed there. It was very nice, quiet (although I've heard you can hear the actors from the nearby big theater production having fun at night sometimes), not too expensive. The back "yard" is grass that runs down right to the edge of the sound.

You can do research on things to do on the island of Manteo (see the oldest "Outdoor Symphonic Drama", visit the botanical gardens, go on a 3-hour cruise to see dolphins, etc. - it's a small but nice town).

You can also use Manteo as home base for going to Nag's Head Island, where Kitty Hawk Kites runs a very safe hang gliding school on the dunes. If you want to take a half-day trip to a nearby small airport, you can also take a tandem hang-gliding trip - an instructor "drives" the glider, while a passenger flies along and enjoys the view. It's pretty cool.

This is a tourist area (although Booth House is at the end of a quiet road full of homes belonging to various members of the Booth family, who have lived on the island for a long time), but it's also not a hugely expensive tourist area. Nag's Head itself is popular for the beach-loving crowd, but it's a little barren and, I don't know, harshly touristy (?) for my taste... Manteo is where you'd love to take your dear aunt to shop for seashells and visit a tea room. And then go on a dolphin cruise.
posted by amtho at 2:10 PM on July 5, 2009

Key West?
posted by mdonley at 3:02 PM on July 5, 2009

I loved my honeymoon in Niagara Falls (Canadian side). It IS touristy so you get a wide variety/price range of accommodations, especially as May is not high season at all (our igloos are just melting then). Niagara Parks offers a pass to all the main attractions (Maid of the Mist, Behind the Falls, butterfly conservatory etc) for about $40/person which take two days at least to see. That includes free people-mover bus so if you were planning to take the train up you don't need to rent a car or if you do have the car you don't need to worry about parking fees. The Falls and Clifton Hill (Wax museums, Ripley's believe it or Not etc) are right beside each other in a compact area. There are amazing nature hikes, winery tours, casino, historical museums, and theatre at the Shaw Festival. I'm not a shopper so I can't speak to that. My other suggestion would be Montreal or Quebec city, which feel like they are not in North America but are doable without French.
posted by saucysault at 3:05 PM on July 5, 2009

Expanding on the Manteo idea, any location on the Outer Banks would be "different", at least to a degree. Depends on what your notion of a honeymoon is.

If it was me, I'd look at a B&B/hotel on one of the coastal islands from St. Augustine to Wilmington. I'd look for something comfortable, rather than luxurious, and within easy driving distance of some kiond of population center -- doesn't need to be really big -- with some restaurants, etc.
posted by justcorbly at 3:06 PM on July 5, 2009

Hey, I'd like to recommend Oxford Mississippi, and for the best catfish on earth, nearby Taylor Grocery & Restaurant in, umm, Taylor. There's a lot of history there, including dozens of writers, Square Books, Ole Miss, Rowan Oak, great restaurants from the Downtown Grill to Yocona River Inn and pubs like Proud Larry's with top quality live entertainment.
Plus you can rent a car on the cheap and make the one hour drive to Memphis on the Mississippi, see Graceland and Beale St (Bar-B-Q!)and the National Civil Rights Museum.

This is a repost from a few years tis with ample linkage:
posted by dawson at 5:35 PM on July 5, 2009

I think you could have an awesome time driving 4 or 5 hours away and spending the majority of the money on a nice hotel, maybe a concert or play, and some nice meals out. That sounds great. If I were you I'd figure out what I most wanted to see or do on this trip. Do you want to go to a small town on the shore? Or, do you want to do some hiking in the Smokies? Or, go to a larger city and plant yourself in the center and take public transportation/walk to explore? I was in Knoxville, TN for a conference for a couple of years ago and was blown away by how walkable and nice that little city is....and I spent a day exploring the Smokies a little. I would think that there would be plenty of options for something like that within a half days drive of where you are. Congrats! Have a great time.
posted by fieldtrip at 10:09 PM on July 5, 2009

We went to Myrtle Beach for our honeymoon with almost exactly the same timeline and budget, and had an utterly fantastic time. I know you want something "different" but you might be able to get that by doing different things than you usually do. (For us, it was going to all the cheesy tourist traps and shows, since we were there offseason and it was too early to spend much time on the actual beach.)
posted by oblique red at 2:55 PM on July 6, 2009

Blow the wedding money and elope to japan. Even if it's just for a few days.
posted by anti social order at 3:16 PM on July 6, 2009

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