Whether it's a glamping trip or a volunteer vacation, these escapes are sure to inspire you and your better half.
When planning a honeymoon, many couples gravitate toward tried-and-true destinations known for their romantic and relaxing ambiances, such as Bora Bora and Santorini. Though it's undeniable these popular locales make for amazing post-nuptial escapes, they may not be suited for newlyweds in search of an unorthodox honeymoon. To direct you to some of the globe's more atypical getaways, U.S. News spoke with Renee Meyer, president and founder of Unforgettable Honeymoons, a travel agency that specializes in honeymoons, and Stephanie Cain, the Real Weddings editor at The Knot. If you and your spouse-to-be are looking for an offbeat – but no less memorable – start to your marriage, consider these unique vacations.
Skip the crowds of Maui for the seclusion of Lana'i.
For couples who crave a unique stateside honeymoon, Meyer suggests Lana'i. The smallest inhabited island in Hawaii sets itself apart from Maui – one of the Aloha State's most popular honeymoon hideaways – with remote shorelines and sights such as Shipwreck Beach and the Munro Trail that are literally off the beaten (or paved) path. Though Lana'i lacks much of the commercialization of the other islands (it doesn't even have traffic lights), it isn't without its luxuries. Meyer recommends the Four Seasons Resort Lana'i in particular for its techy touches: Guests are alerted when there is dolphin or whale activity near the resort via an iPad Air app found in each guest room.
Explore ancient temples and outdoor sights in Southeast Asia.
Perfect for twosomes who want a tropical getaway that also offers plenty of culture, Cambodia and Laos offer a blend of adventure and relaxation. When you're not hiking among the intricate temple complex of Angkor Wat, Meyer recommends relaxing at the luxurious Shinta Mani Resort. For a dose of both Asian and French culture, hop on a short flight to Luang Prabang. This charming city in northern Laos sits on the edge of the Mekong River and offers plenty of biking, kayaking and shopping opportunities, not to mention some of the best food in Southeast Asia, according to Meyer. Cain also suggests considering Myanmar, which is home to thousands of gold pagodas and temples dating as far back as the ninth century.
Relax in an overwater bungalow in French Polynesia.
This may sound like a typical post-nuptial getaway, but trust us, it's not. While most couples instinctively look to Bora Bora, those in search of an off-the-beaten-path locale that's just as spectacular and more authentic to French Polynesian culture should turn their attention to Rangiroa. One of the largest atolls in the world, Rangiroa is considered an underwater nirvana for divers and snorkelers. When you're not exploring deserted beaches, sample some of Rangiroa's wine (the island boasts its own vineyard and winery). Plus, a stay on Ranigroa will cost you less than a trip to Bora Bora and free you from the crowds, Meyer adds. She recommends hanging your hat at Hotel Kia Ora Resort & Spa.
Stay on a game reserve in Tanzania.
Though it may not be suited for honeymooners on a budget (nightly rates start at around $1,500 per person during the high season), the Singita Faru Faru Lodge will certainly start your marriage off on a unique and wild note. Situated in Grumeti in northern Tanzania, this lodge is described by Meyer as an "over-the-top bucket list honeymoon." When you're not tracking the reserve's animals on foot via a guided safari walk, enjoy a bird's-eye view of the area with the Singita Balloon Safari, which takes newlyweds up in a hot air balloon over the Serengeti's landscape.
Hike glaciers in Iceland.
Most couples limit their honeymoon research to warm-weather locales in the Caribbean, Mexico or Hawaii. According to The Knot's 2016 Romance Travel Study, the Caribbean is the No. 1 region for honeymoons. But cooler-weather destinations offer just as much adventure, relaxation and romance. Cain recommends Iceland in particular for its diversity: You can cross adrenaline-pumping activities such as glacier hiking and volcano spelunking off your list, along with refreshing soaks in natural hot springs. If you can brave the chill, consider planning your post-nuptial holiday in the winter, when the spectacular and elusive northern lights flood the night sky with a kaleidoscope of colors.
Soak up Japanese culture in Tokyo before heading to the mountains.
Ideal for pairs who crave a bit of urban adventure on their post-wedding getaway, Japan offers cosmopolitan flair and unrivaled culture. Start off in Tokyo exploring the massive Tsukiji Fish Market and the ancient Sensoji Temple. After you've had your fill of Tokyo's electric pace, hop on a train to Karuizawa, a resort town that sits at the foot of Mount Asama about 100 miles northwest of the city. Meyer recommends staying at the luxury resort HOSHINOYA Karuizawa, which features a set of pavilions along a winding river that are similar to the overwater bungalows found in the South Pacific. Walking paths within the surrounding forests will lead you and your spouse to breathtaking sites such as Kumoba Pond and Shiraito Falls.
Give back with a 'honeyteer.'
Your wedding day is all about you and your partner. So why not plan a honeymoon that's all about giving back to others? A volunteer honeymoon, or a "honeyteer," offers couples the chance to work with a charitable organization or project during their post-wedding getaway. Aside from giving you the opportunity to start your married lives together on a benevolent note, a honeyteer will also allow you and your new spouse to experience a destination beyond the confines of a resort. Check out reputable sites Honeymoon Volunteers and Hands Up Holidays to view honeyteer packages.
Set out on a glamping adventure.
Love to camp, but don't necessarily want to rough it in a tent just days after saying "I do"? Glamping (glamorous camping) offers the perfect compromise. You and your better half will still be within nature's reach without having to sacrifice the creature comforts of a hotel. "Try glamping in Joshua Tree [National Park] or one of the Finger Lakes in New York," Cain says. Glamping.com lists a variety of lodging types (you'll find everything from treehouses to vintage airstream trailers) available in destinations around the globe.