10 Best Beach Minimoon Destinations in the U.S.
Perhaps the tropics are calling you and your soon-to-be-spouse, but your bank account or vacation schedule has other plans. If you’re looking for some sun, fun, and gorgeous water post-wedding, there are plenty of options here in the U.S. that will fit into any budget or schedule.
With a nickname like “the playground of the South,” you know that there’s some fun to be had in Galveston. Once you’ve settled on Galveston as your beach minimoon destination, you’ll have to then narrow down which of the area’s sandy shores is calling your name. If you’re looking for a party vibe, set up camp near East Beach; if you’d prefer a more relaxed, family environment, head over to Stewart Beach. If you rent in Porretto Beach or Pirate’s Beach, you’ll have a private beach to relax on (a major perk!). No matter where you stay, carve out some time to enjoy the rides and fair-like atmosphere of the Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier. Best of all? Most of the area’s beaches can be reached within an hour’s drive of the Houston airport.
Pfeiffer Beach, California
Located along the Big Sur National Scenic Highway (also known as California’s Highway 1), Pfeiffer Beach is dramatic and unforgettable. While you won’t find any palm trees here, you will be treated to gorgeous 3,000 foot ridges, granite cliffs, and waterfalls. There aren’t spots to sunbathe on the beach directly as the cliffs and tides are dangerous for visitors, but the lack of sunbathing is made up with beautiful hiking and stunning panoramas. Camp in the park, see if you can spot whales off the coast, and take a picture with one of the park’s awe-inspiring redwoods. Pfeiffer Beach is less than 40 miles south of Carmel, which makes it a great starting point for exploring this area of the Big Sur.
St. Pete Beach, Florida
Miles of wide, sandy beaches, gently lapping waves, and crystal blue-green water welcome you to St. Pete Beach. St. Pete Beach anchors the entire St. Petersburg/Clearwater area on Florida’s Gulf Coast, and its central location between Pass-a-Grille and Clearwater means that you can make the most of your time here. Most of the area’s hotels and condos are directly on the beach, which means you’re only steps from the powdery white sand between your toes. If you want even fewer crowds, head to the uninhabited Caladesi Island State Park to the north or Fort De Soto to the south.
The Hamptons, New York
An easy train or car ride from the heart of New York City, the Hamptons are a fantastic beach minimoon for those living near the Big Apple. There are plenty of beautiful beaches to spend your time on from Main Beach in East Hampton to Mecox Beach in Bridgehampton. If you’d like to see what else the area has to offer, head out to such iconic spots such as the Montauk Point Lighthouse, Gosman’s Dock, or the Mashomack Preserve. Visiting one of the area’s vineyards would be a fun way to spend a warm afternoon, and, if the weather is just too warm to lounge outdoors, take in some culture at the art galleries and museums scattered throughout the Hamptons.
Key West, Florida
Irreverent, flamboyant, and fun: if you’re looking for a beach destination that’s unlike anywhere else you’ve been, make plans to head to Key West, Florida. During the day, Duval Street invites you to linger in its quirky shops and restaurants. When the sun goes down, you’ll be able to find parties, clubs, and festivities all along this 1.25 mile stretch. Don’t miss the nightly sunset celebration that happens at Mallory Square, where you can shop for unique (often handmade) souvenirs, watch carnival performers, and enjoy the block party atmosphere as you wait for the sunset. If you’re lucky, you might catch a glimpse of the famed green burst that occurs on the horizon.
Cannon Beach, Oregon
Another incredible West Coast beach, Cannon Beach, Oregon, is best known for Haystack Rock and its otherworldly beauty. Wander along the flat beach and marvel at the towering rock structures that crop up along the shore; horseback rides are also a popular way to experience this area. The waves make for some great surfing, so bring your board and wetsuit if you’d like to conquer a few swells. Bird and whale watching also draw visitors in each year. The Cannon Beach area also makes for a great base if you’d like to explore Astoria, Camp 18, the Indian Beach Trail, and the Tillamook Cheese Factory.
St. Augustine Beach, Florida
Southern charm and over 600 years of history makes St. Augustine the perfect beach destination for any couple interested in mixing some culture into their coastal adventures. Make St. Augustine Beach your home away from home during your beach minimoon and you’ll only be steps away from the roar of the Atlantic Ocean. When you’re ready to experience the history and culture of St. Augustine, head over the famed Bridge of Lions and into the easily walkable historic district. Have lunch by the bay, learn about the Spanish occupation of the area at Castillo de San Marcos, and shop along the pedestrian-only St. George Street.
Santa Monica, California
Experience California living at its best in this seaside town, a favorite getaway for locals and visitors alike. Stretch out on the wide, white sand beach to catch some of that famed California sunshine, then head over to the iconic Santa Monica Pier to ride the Ferris wheel and rollercoaster, and indulge on the burgers, seafood and drinks available. The Third Street Promenade is a haven for shoppers while those looking for a fun and sporty way to see the area should check out part (or all!) of the bike path that runs from Will Rogers State Park to below Redondo Beach.
South Beach, Miami, Florida
With colorful Art Deco buildings, vintage cars, trendy nightclubs and a see-and-be-seen atmosphere, South Beach is the perfect beach minimoon destination for couples who want a tropical experience without the hassle of flying out of the country. Pack your favorite bathing suit and casual clothes, and get prepared for hot days and even more exciting nights. Sample some of the area’s restaurants for fresh seafood and unique takes on Cuban and Latin dishes. If you can pull yourself away from the beautiful beaches, there are plenty of wildlife sanctuaries, museums, theaters, and art galleries to explore as well.
Outer Banks, North Carolina
The Outer Banks consistently ranks at the top of Atlantic vacation destinations–and, once you’re there, it’s easy to see why. Located along a series of barrier islands (some accessible only by ferry), the Outer Banks combines larger-than-life sand dunes, iconic lighthouses, and a laid back, friendly atmosphere with a healthy dose of history. Delve into the mysteries at Roanoke, the first English settlement in the New World, then head over to the Wright Brothers monument at Kitty Hawk to see where the first flight took place. It’s quite a hike to the top of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, but the views from the top of the 208′ tall structure.