Need ideas for an adventurous and relaxing honeymoon in August.
April 14, 2014 7:55 AM   Subscribe

Where should we go for a week-long honeymoon in early August?

We are looking for destination ideas. We plan a more indulgent honeymoon next year, but we want to take a short trip to unwind and start our marriage. We're looking for a mix of attractions. Beaches for relaxing, interesting history and/or active stuff: bike tours, surfing, etc. Swim up bars earn extra points. Some useful background information:
  • We will leave from Boston in early August
  • We have a ~$3k total budget for ~6 days
  • We have previously enjoyed trips to Portland, OR, Wells, ME, Costa Rica (Arenal, Monteverde and Tamarindo), Greece and Lyon, France.
  • We want to avoid hurricane season, and unbearable heat.
  • From previous AskMe posts, we are thinking about USVI or Puerto Rico.
  • We are thinking about Halifax due to some very compelling tourism commercials we saw, but it doesn't seem to offer the same mix as USVI or PR.
  • Cuba is out because she's American.
  • We are not considering a previous AskMe recommendation of the California central coast, because we will be in Big Sur for another wedding a couple weeks later.
  • Hawaii is probably too expensive, or possibly a time-sink due travel from the east coast.
Please share your experience with these or other destinations that sound like a good fit.
posted by KevCed to Travel & Transportation (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Mr. Kitty and I went to the Bahamas (specifically the Out Islands) which tend to be a little less touristy/Atlantis like, and more "go hiking! go snorkeling! lie on the beach!" We stayed on Andros and enjoyed ourselves, but it depends on what you're looking for with relaxing.

We tend to dislike "all inclusive/never leave the resort except in very controlled conditions" kinds of places, and prefer more modest accomodations, with great views and easy access to snorkel/swim/bike/etc.

We went for 4 days in 2011 and it cost ~$1800 total? I think, all in all, about 5 hours of travel? We flew to Charlotte, then Nassau, then the outer islands. I recall them having a special recently where the Bahamas would pay for your flight to the outer islands from Nassau as a tourism special - so you may want to look into that.
posted by Suffocating Kitty at 8:03 AM on April 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

USVI is great, snorkeling yes yes.

Halifax is a charming city but IMO not that different from small New England cities, so you can probably assess reasonably well how you will like it.

Iceland is one possibility maybe? Not warm, but gorgeous and with natural hot tubs.
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:28 AM on April 14, 2014 [2 favorites]

Wanting to avoid hurricane season and unbearable heat sort of rules out the Caribbean in August.

If you take the swim-up bar part of the equation out, it opens up a lot of interesting possibilities. What about Newfoundland? I was considering Halifax for an upcoming trip and got, from people who have been to both places, "if you want to go to Nova Scotia you might as well go to Newfoundland instead." I asked a question about it here and the excellent answers got me fully on board.

You could also spend a few days in the Asheville, NC area - rent a cabin in the woods, hike around in nature, experience Asheville's great restaurant scene and weird hippie vibe - and then drive to the coast for a couple of days of beach time. North Carolina has beautiful beaches.
posted by something something at 8:46 AM on April 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: When you mentioned Halifax I thought of Prince Edward Island. I have some beautiful memories of red-sand beaches and sunsets from a childhood trip. The coastline has a grassy, windswept, sand-dune kind of feeling. The countryside is gorgeous.
posted by PercussivePaul at 9:02 AM on April 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

Seconding avoiding the Caribbean in August -- it's swelteringly hot, and you are smack in the middle of hurricane season.

This may be a bit of an unusual suggestion, but if surfing and beach culture is your ideal honeymoon environment, you may want to consider Montanita, Ecuador. It's a beautiful little beach town, in the 80s in August, with great waves for surfing. You can also go hiking in the rainforest, take bike tours, and explore the huge Machalilla National Park. You can rent a private beach front cabin for next to nothing (seriously, you can rent one for a month for around $200) and good food and drinks are easily found and also very cheap. The sunsets are amazing, and the locals are very sweet.

It's about a 6 hour flight to Guayaquil from the East Coast, and you can rent a car and drive to Montanita (it's about 100 miles away)

If you are really up for some incredible sight seeing, you might like a tour of the Galapagos Islands instead. Plenty of surfing there too! It's pricier than staying on the mainland, but PENGUINS!
posted by ananci at 10:01 AM on April 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

Aruba is out of the hurricane belt and it's not too hot in August.
posted by Hop123 at 5:45 PM on April 14, 2014

Thirding Iceland, which is only about four hours by plane from Boston. We went in August. The days are typically around 60-65F. There are multiple swim-up bars in the Blue Lagoon! There's adventure out the wazoo in Iceland: snorkeling (sure, you wear a dry suit even in August), whale watching, northern lights, glacier tours, riding on Icelandic horses, snowmobiling, and so on. Reykjavik is a pretty cosmopolitan little city, and you can get to glaciers and snow from there in about an hour either on guided tours or by driving a rented car.

Still one of my favorite vacations ever. I have been to Jamaica, the Caymans, Playa del Carmen, Antigua. None of them compare to the fun of Iceland. Caveat: Iceland is not cheap but it can be done on your budget.
posted by ImproviseOrDie at 4:30 AM on April 15, 2014

Response by poster: Thanks for all the replies. I think we want to save Iceland for a time of year when we can definitely see the Northern Lights. I think we will avail ourselves of the new ferry from Portland, ME to Yarmouth, NS and take in some of the maritime provinces with our cars and bikes.
posted by KevCed at 7:18 AM on May 20, 2014

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