10 Perfect Mini-moon Destinations

We got engaged in October and married in April. A six month engagement.

That may sound quick to a lot of you, but we were too anxious/excited to wait! Six months was honestly the perfect amount of time to plan, organize, and execute a wedding. Anymore time and things would have gotten complicated… I (Alli), would have begun to second-guess colors and bridesmaid dresses (Is cream too “blah”? Is it weird to have my girls buy dresses off the Anthropologie sale rack?), Bobby would have started to agonize over our song choices (Is Jonsi too hipster?), and both sides of our family would have quickly become over-involved (well, that part was inevitable).

A short engagement was just what the doctor ordered. We really didn’t hit any major stumbling blocks, except for one thing: the honeymoon. See, I own my own company, so I have the flexibility of taking time off when needed. But being a high school math teacher, that wasn’t the case for Bobby. We knew that if we waited until the summer to get married, we’d have plenty of time to honeymoon… but we were antsy and ready to be married sooo… we landed on the decision to “mini-moon”! We took a 4-night roadtrip up the California coast, and it was perfect. (Later that summer did our “real” honeymoon in Panama - so we basically had two honeymoons!) We thought we were being so original, but have since learned that a lot of millennials take the mini-moon route these days. (Hey, we’re working people here!) But not everyone knows where to go on such a tight time frame.

Here’s our top 10 favorite mini-moon destinations that are romantic, relaxing, pampering, bustling, accessible and DO-ABLE! Heck, visit them all!

1. Palm Springs, CA: Warm desert air, palm trees swaying in the wind, iconic hotels, a hip foodie scene, world-renowned shops and museums… what more could you want in a mini-moon? Whether your vibe is to relax and never leave the hotel (stay at the L’Horizon), or stay somewhere close to the hustle & bustle of downtown (stay at the Rowan), or you’re looking for something away from the crowds (stay at the Sparrows Lodge), Palm Springs has it all. Make sure you squeeze in breakfast at Cheeky’s, dinner at Workshop Kitchen, and drinks at Counter Reformation while you’re there!

Date Night at Workshop Kitchen

2. New York City, NY: Maybe you and your significant other are the city-loving types, and if so, there’s nowhere better than the Big Apple! Stay at 11 Howard, walk to brunch at The Egg Shop and coffee at Happy Bones, stroll the Brooklyn Bridge, explore Chinatown and Little Italy, go to Top of the Rock, and splurge on the best Italian food of your life at Don Angie.

3. Catalina Island, CA: If you live in Southern California and are feeling the tropical-itch, book a boat ride to Catalina Island! In one hour you’ll be transported to what feels like a far-away island, complete with fun restaurants, bars, pristine beaches, and more! Stay at the Pavilion Hotel, dine at Bluewater Grill and The Inn at Mt Ada, take a golf cart around the island, get pampered at the Island Spa, and see a movie at the historic Casino!

Amazing views of Avalon

4. Portland, OR: Want a little city with a side of nature? Portland is a perfect mini-moon destination, because you can easily have both! Stay at the Kimpton Hotel Monaco or the trendy Hi-Lo Hotel, shop the famous Portland Saturday Market, smell the roses at the International Rose Test Garden, and escape the city and hike around Multnomah Falls! And if you’re coffee addicts and foodies like us, you’ll be in heaven. Don’t miss Jam on Hawthorne for breakfast, Departure for sunset happy hour, and Tusk for shared Mediterranean plates. And for your all day caffeine kick, try Heart, Good, and Coava Coffee.

Exploring Multnomah Falls!

5. Aspen, CO: It doesn’t get more romantic than cuddling by the fire, watching the snow fall, and drinking hot toddies… and in our opinion, Aspen is the perfect mountain town to do just that! It’s a little further removed than other Colorado ski towns, making it feel more intimate and exclusive. Plus, some of our favorite hotels and restaurants are there too! Stay at The Limelight Hotel or The Little Nell (or both!), indulge in a couples massage at The Spa at the Viceroy Snowmass, enjoy raclette at La Creperie du Village and drinks at The Marble Bar Aspen, and ski/snowboard to your hearts’ content!  

Playing in the snow at Wagner Park

Romantic dinner at Le Creperie du Village

6. Napa, CA: If nothing sounds better to you then spending a couple of days aimlessly eating and wine tasting, you can’t beat Napa. Stay at the romantic White House Inn, wine taste at Domaine Carneros, Round Pond, and Tank Garage Winery, and dine at Boon Fly Cafe (breakfast/brunch), Oxbow Public Market (lunch), and The Charter Oak (dinner).

Domaine Carneros for some champagne!

7. Puerto Rico: Puerto Rico is surprisingly affordable and easy to get to, making it an awesome mini-moon destination! You’ll feel as though you’ve arrived in a different country, but you won’t even need to change your passport! Stay at the Hotel El Convento (right in the heart of Old San Juan), the Royal Isabela (if you’re golfers), or the the Dorado Beach for a picture-perfect (and very exclusive) oceanfront vibe. Dine at Caficultura (in Old San Juan) for breakfast/brunch, Marmalade (in Old San Juan) for a romantic dinner, and La Coctelera (in Old San Juan) for trendy (and delicious) cocktails.

8. Laguna Beach, CA: This little slice of California paradise is absolutely perfect for mini-mooning. It’s warm, (mostly) sunny year-round, it has stunning beaches, luxurious hotels, and award-winning restaurants. You won’t want to leave! Stay at Casa Laguna Hotel & Spa, The Inn at Laguna Beach, or The Montage, dine at Cafe Anastasia (breakfast/brunch), The Deck (lunch/drinks), South of Nick’s (dinner), and grab cocktails at Broadway.

Stunning views from the Inn at Laguna Beach

9. Taos, NM: Taos may be a bit off the map, but that’s exactly why we like it. It’s rural and cozy, and has a rustic charm that will take your breath away. Stay at the romantic Casa Gallina, explore the historic Taos Pueblo, dine at Orlando’s for authentic New Mexican faire, and the Love Apple for a charming and intimate, farm-to-table dinner. And don’t leave without trying the chocolate at Chokola Bean to Bar!

It’s hard to leave the cozy fireplace at Casa Gallina

Exploring the historic Taos Pueblo

10. Carmel-By-The-Sea, CA: Maybe we’re biased because this is where WE went on our mini-moon, but we think this quaint little California beach town is perfectly idyllic for a mini-moon! It has everything from European charm to coastal California flavor - it’s like something out of a movie! Stay at The Cypress Inn or La Playa Carmel, walk and shop along Ocean Avenue, dine at Dametra, La Balena, and La Bicyclette, catch the bagpiper at sunset at The Inn at Spanish Bay, and end the night with cocktails at the iconic Grasings Bar.

There you have it… our top ten spots! Let us know if/where you’ve mini-mooned, we’d love to hear! And whether you just got married or you’re going on five years (like us), we encourage you to keep mini-mooning! Who says you can’t? ;)