Honeymoons on the Cheap


The Kimber Modern in Austin, Texas.Photo: Courtesy of Venue

Beach …   Adventure …    Snow …    City

Vieques, Puerto Rico
Eight miles off the coast of the main island, Vieques remains one of the most unspoiled white-sand spots in the Caribbean. Take a night swim in the bioluminescent waters at Mosquito Bay.
Stay at: Hix Island House (from $255; hixislandhouse.com).
Get there: 6.5-hour flight via San Juan; from $940.

Mui Ne, Vietnam
A former fishing village with white, gold, and red sand dunes, Mui Ne claims to be Vietnam’s sunniest spot. Take a kite-surfing class at Jibe’s Beach Club and zigzag across the South China Sea.
Stay at: The Sailing Club Mui Ne (from $70; sailingclubvietnam.com).
Get there: 21-hour flight to Ho Chi Minh City, plus 4-hour drive; from $2,020.

Cape May, New Jersey
Relaxing comes naturally in Victorian Cape May, but dedicate one active day to sampling some of the Eastern seaboard’s best fishing; spend four hours saltwater fly-fishing for striped bass with Captain Ray on the Tide Runner (flyfishingcapemay.com).
Stay at: Congress Hall (from $169; congresshall.com).
Get there: 3-hour drive.

Mount Hood, Oregon
Mount Hood is the only spot in the U.S. where it’s possible to ski during the summer. If you’re truly hard-core, strap on some crampons and climb the mountain—then snowboard down.
Stay at: Timberline Lodge (from $225; timberlinelodge.com).
Get there: 6-hour flight to Portland, plus 90-minute drive; from $438.

Novia Scotia, Canada
Sea kayak through the Bay of Fundy, hugging the amber-hued cliffside and ancient trees of the Joggins Fossil Cliffs. (NovaShores Adventures leads day-long tours.)
Stay at: Gillespie House Inn (from $119; gillespiehouseinn.com).
Get there: 2-hour flight to Halifax, plus 3-hour drive; from $584.

St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands
St. John is baking hot in the summer, but also cheaper and blissfully quiet. Head to Waterlemon Cay, and snorkel with sea turtles, starfish, and stingrays.
stay at: The Eco-Tent and Estate Concordia Studios (from $80; maho.org/concordia.cfm).
Get there: 4-hour flight; from $542.

San Ignacio, Belize
Trek through the tropical forest of the Pine Ridge Mountain Reserve, delighting in the waterfalls, orchids, and brilliant-hued toucans. The wonders at nearby Cahal Pech are man-made; you’ll marvel at the ruins of the 2,000 year-old Mayan temples.
Stay at: Chaa Creek resort (from $160; chaacreek.com).
Get there: 6.5-hour flight; from $840.

Cusco, Peru
Once you adjust to the Andean altitude of almost 11,000 feet, Cusco is a great town for ruin scrambling. Start small by roaming Sacsayhuamán, a pre-Colombian fortress in the hills above the city; next, hop a train to tour the lost Incan city of Machu Picchu.
Stay at: Libertador Palacio del Inka Cusco (from $254; libertador.com.pe).
Get there: 9-hour flight; from $2,116.


Nantucket, Massachusetts.Photo: iStockphoto

Beach …   Adventure …    Snow …    City

Santa Fe, New Mexico
Do an art crawl down Canyon Road, where more than 100 galleries cluster in a one- mile stretch. Source ghoulish Mexican Day of the Dead toys at Pachamama, which specializes in Spanish Colonial art and Latin-American folk art. The town is surrounded by red rock mountains; schedule a night hike so you can catch the moonrise.
Stay at: Inn on the Alameda (from $170; innonthealameda.com).
Get there: 7-hour flight, plus 90-mintute train; from $398.

Zermatt, Switzerland
Ski the fabled slopes of the Matterhorn, one of the highest summits in the Swiss Alps at 14,000-plus feet. Wake before dawn to make the first run of the day. The early lift ticket will cost you an extra $10 or so, but you’ll have the slopes practically to yourself. Choose one of 42 on-slope restaurants for an après-ski pint and raclette.
Stay at: Mirabeau Hotel & Residence Zermatt (from $242; hotel-mirabeau.ch).
Get there: 8.5-hour flight, plus 4-hour train; from $884 for flight, $300 for train.

Nantucket Island, Massachusetts
Once the summer hordes decamp, Nantucket’s flat topography and dramatic coastline make for great cycling. Pack a picnic basket with lobster rolls and a good blanket, and pedal the three-mile path to Surfside Beach.
Stay at: The White Elephant (from $275; whiteelephant.com).
Get there: 4.5-hour drive, 2-hour ferry; from $260 (ferry).

Miami, Florida
Get close to alligators and herons by canoe with a half-day tour (Everglades Rentals and Eco Adventures). Avoid Art Basel during the first weekend of December.
Stay at: Fountainebleau Miami Beach (from $249; fountainebleau.com).
Get there: 3-hour flight; from $396.

Lisbon, Portugal
Make like a local and dine on salt cod and veal knuckles at Bica do Sapato, a former boat factory. Afterward, head to Alfama, Lisbon’s medieval quarter, for live fado, Portugal’s longing-filled folk music.
Stay at: York House (from $77; yorkhouselisboa.com).
Get there: 8-hour flight; from $864.

Bonaire, Netherlands Antilles
Autumn is high hurricane season in the Caribbean, but the ABC islands of Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao are largely protected from big storms. Choose Bonaire for its diving—the island is ringed by a pristine reef teeming with sea horses, frogfish, and the occasional shark.
Stay at: Deep Blue View (from $1,250 per week; deepblueview.com).
Get there: 8-hour flight; from $1,068.


The mountains of Northwestern Thailand.Photo: iStockphoto

Beach …   Adventure …    Snow …    City

Pai, Thailand
Hike through the mountains of Northwest Thailand, where this sleepy valley has emerged as a backpacker’s delight. Start the day with a dip in the hot springs, then take a bamboo-raft trip to the Karen tribal villages, where the women—distinguished by their elongated, ring-clad necks— sell their embroidery.
Stay at: Quarter Hotel (from $133; thequarterhotel.com).
Get there: 25-hour flight to Chiang Mai, plus 3-hour bus; from $2,810.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
You can enjoy February’s raucous four-day Rio Carnival without joining the tourist throngs—skip the big parades and follow the locals to Lapa, a tumble-down colonial district that turns into one big block party, with music spilling out into the streets and spontaneous blocos (parades of dancers following flatbed trucks toting samba bands).
Stay at: Hotel Santa Teresa Rio (from $310; santateresahotel.com).
Get there: 10-hour flight; from $2,184.

Mendoza, Argentina
The Napa Valley of Argentina, Mendoza is an arid region of vineyards and fruit orchards. Between wine tastings, meander through the fields on horseback, keeping an eye on the rugged Sierra Pintada Mountains and, beyond, the snow-capped Andes.
Stay at: Viñas del Golf (from $150; vinasdelgolf.com).
Get there: 13-hour flight via Santiago; from $1,798.

Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Winter is low-season at this tony mountain town, infamous for its challenging runs and frigid winter temperatures. Powder-hounds love the Hobacks; the ultimate in fall-line skiing, they offer a 2,500-foot vertical drop.
Stay at: Hotel Terra (from $171; hotelterrajacksonhole.com).
Get there: 6.5-hour flight via Salt Lake City; from $651.

Quebec City, Quebec
The Quebec area boasts hundreds of miles of groomed cross-country ski trails. Glide blissfully (for free!) through Battlefields Park, a forest with views of the St. Lawrence River and more than seven miles of trails.
Stay at: Fairmont Le Château Frontenac (from $199;


Snowmobiling in Iceland.Photo: Courtesy of Mountaineers of Iceland

Beach …   Adventure …    Snow …    City

Vancouver, British Columbia
Connected to the rest of downtown by a causeway, the once-industrial Granville Island is now the city’s culture hub, with artists’ studios, galleries, theaters, and shops. Eat your way through its vast Public Market, a retro-fitted factory that brims with fresh fare ranging from coho salmon and morels to stinging nettles and passion fruit.
Stay at: Shangri-La, Vancouver (from $415; shangri-la.com).
Get there: 6-hour flight; from $720.

Austin, Texas
No trip to Austin is complete without a dose of country music, so test out your two-step at the Broken Spoke; their chicken-fried steak pairs perfectly with live honky-tonk. If it’s the second Sunday of the month, drive 40 miles south to the refreshingly ungentrified Gruene Hall for a rollicking gospel brunch.
Stay at: The Kimber Modern (from $250; kimbermodern.com).
Get there: 4-hour flight; from $726.

Reykjavik, Iceland
Explore ice caves and snowmobile over glaciers with a Mountaineers of Iceland tour, then uncramp your muscles by plunging in the steaming, geothermal waters of the Blue Lagoon.
Stay at: CenterHotel Thingholt (from $280; centerhotels.is).
Get there: 6-hour flight; from $1,428.

Aspen, Colorado
Aspen in the springtime is for hikers. Set out for Smuggler Mountain Road trail—just a short walk from the main drag—and follow it through long switchbacks and aspen groves to a grand lookout over the town framed by the Rockies.
Stay at: The Little Nell (from $330; thelittlenell.com).
Get there: 5.5-hour flight via Denver; from $656.

Little Corn Island, Nicaragua
Disconnect on Little Corn Island, a car-free isle that’s 40 miles off the Nicaraguan coast. Nab a palm-shaded table at Habana Libre, and savor the slow-roasted pork or jalapeño lobster en plein air.
Stay at: Casitas at Casa Iguana (from $65; casaiguana.net).
Get there: 8.5-hour flight via Managua; from $958.

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Honeymoons on the Cheap