Dream (Drive-to) Destinations
One of the best perks of living in the Southeast is that you don’t need to worry about the ever-rising costs of airfare as you plan your honeymoon budget. Spectacular travel destinations abound between the Appalachian mountains and the Gulf Coast, and they’re a drivable distance away. Here are a few of our favorites.
Located on Northwest Florida’s Gulf Coast, Sandestin is a 2,400-acre destination resort for all seasons. A member of the Beaches of South Walton, the resort has more than seven miles of beaches and pristine bay front, four championship golf courses, 15 world-class tennis courts, 19 swimming pools, a 98-slip marina, a fitness center and spa, meeting space, and The Village of Baytowne Wharf, a popular pedestrian village featuring shopping, dining, nightlife and events. You can choose from a world of 30 neighborhoods with 1,400 condominiums, villas, town homes and a wide variety of hotel accommodations – so whether you prefer to stay in a beautiful condo with a beach view or a quiet, secluded villa, Sandestin has something to fit every your preferences. For additional information, visit www.sandestin.com or call 1-866-91-BEACH.
Charlotte Harbor and the Gulf Islands, Florida, is an off-the-beaten track, romantic getaway on the Southwest Gulf coast, halfway between Sarasota and Fort Myers. If your idea of the perfect beach is more “Castaway” than “Spring Break,” you’ll delight in 28 miles of uncrowded, shell-strewn beaches, where wildlife outnumbers humans. Eighty percent of Charlotte Harbor’s shoreline is protected from development – no high-rises allowed – so its open, scenic vistas are plentiful. If you’re looking to go beyond the beach, you can enjoy the area’s award-winning sailing, fishing, and golfing, as well as nearly 200 miles of Blueway trails for kayaking, miles of biking trails and protected wildlife preserves. The nearby town Englewood offers beachside dining and boutique shopping. In historic and hip Punta Gorda, with its cobblestone streets and gaslight-style streetlamps, art galleries and nearly 60 privately-owned restaurants await. Accommodations include romantic boutique hotels overlooking Charlotte Harbor, Palm Island Resort, a magical castaway beach resort accessible only by ferry, as well as vacation rentals on the beach and nestled in golf communities. For more information, visit www.CharlotteHarborTravel.com.
At 3,600 feet above sea level, tucked into the North Carolina Blue Ridge Mountains, High Hampton Inn & Country Club provides a breathtaking setting for a dream honeymoon. Surrounded by mountains, lush green landscapes, and towering forests, the Inn is the perfect destination for an unforgettable romantic mountain retreat. With a European spa, miles of hiking trails, golf and tennis, no couple will be bored! The resort even has a romantic Honeymoon Cottage, set away from the rest of the property to give a new husband and wife some privacy. As its name suggests, The Honeymoon Cottage is the ultimate escape. Situated on its own private lake away from the rest of the property, the rustic cottage features chic handmade mountain furnishings, inviting and plush down bedding, and a stone fireplace perfect for relaxing. Visit www.highhamptoninn.com for more information.
In 1895, the Vanderbilts completed their 250-room French château Biltmore Estate, one of the largest and most luxurious in the country, in the mountains near Ashevillle, North Carolina. Today, honeymooners can indulge in the experience of vacationing like a Vanderbilt with exquisite accommodations, relaxed elegance, luxurious spa services, and fine dining. Romantic made-for-two activities include private carriage rides, couples massages and spa treatments, and private horseback riding. Couples can wine and dine together with special Biltmore Winery tours such as the Red Wine & Chocolate Seminar or the Biltmore Bubbles tour and then linger over delicious meals at one of the various restaurants on property. Couples can customize their own vacation with a romantic package deal offered through the Inn on Biltmore Estate. For more information, visit www.biltmore.com.