Maine: Moosehead Lake
For outdoor enthusiasts, the area surrounding Moosehead Lake, in Maine's Northwoods region, is fly-fishing nirvana. In addition to the 40-mile lake itself, there are more than 40 ponds and two major rivers (the Kennebec and the Penobscot), making the area ideal for the centuries-old sport. In the famously pristine waterways, where you cast an artificial fly by using a fly rod, a reel and a fishing line, you'll find several varieties of cold- and warm-water trout, salmon and smallmouth bass. On land, moose and deer sightings are common. Factor in luxury accommodations, and you've got yourself a fly-fishing fan's dream honeymoon. (Note: Fishing season is from May 1 to September 30.)
Stay Here: Built in 1917, the eight-room Lodge at Moosehead Lake is a rustic, country-style inn that's perfect for honeymooners. Five guest rooms in the main lodge are decorated with comfortable furnishings, like a hand-carved four-poster bed and designer fabrics. Each of the lodge's three carriage-house suites features a sunken living room, a Jacuzzi and fantastic lake views from a private deck. For more information call 800-825-6977 or visit lodgeatmooseheadlake.com.
By Day: Whether you're a fishing pro or a novice, consider hiring a guide from Maine Fly Fishing Adventures. You can cast from a drift boat, or if you opt for the "River Wade Trip," get right in the water to reel in a catch or two (maineflyfishingadventures.com).
At Night: Head to the beautiful beach area at Lily Bay State Park for a romantic moonlit picnic by the lake.
Good Eats: The Lodge at Moosehead Lake serves dinner in its intimate dining room from June to October. Highlights of the menu include herbs and produce from the inn's own gardens (800-825-6977; lodgeatmooseheadlake.com). Or go to Greenville, about an hour away, to enjoy fine dining at the Greenville Inn, where you'll find Maine lobster and venison (888-695-6000; greenvilleinn.com).
- Fran Wenograd Golden
Perfectly isolated, some 30 miles from the Massachusetts mainland, Nantucket has a slow, leisurely pace. There's no need for a car when you can stroll the cobblestone streets to gaze at the more than 800 buildings that are at least a century old. The historic setting is so remarkably preserved that you can imagine you've gone back to whaling days of yore (nantucketchamber.org).
Stay Here: Situated on the edge of Nantucket Harbor, the 53-room White Elephant Resort combines historic charm with the natural seascape of Moby Dick writer Herman Melville's favorite island. King-size canopied beds furnish the bright rooms. Open the French doors to your balcony and enjoy the view of the landscaped gardens (800-445-6574; whiteelephanthotel.com).
By Day: The Nantucket Whaling Museum is housed in a former spermaceti-candle factory built in 1846. Venture inside to view a whaleboat, a 46-foot sperm-whale skeleton and an impressive collection of scrimshaw. Outside, Nantucket Town is lined with intriguing boutiques. At the Peter Beaton Hat Studio, finely braided leghorn straw is used to create 75 styles of hats. "Nantucket Reds" red cotton pants or Bermuda shorts, traditionally favored by the locals, can be found at Murray's Toggery Shop.
At Night: Bike on a paved trail to the dunes of Madaket Beach, on the west point of the island. Sloping down to the sea, the beach has a wild, blustery feel. Salt, sand and sea all add up to romance at sunset.
Good Eats: The Nantucket restaurant scene thrives with many talented chefs, like Chris Freeman at the helm of Oran Mor. Popular dishes include poached halibut with tomato-pepper salsa or grilled Summerfield Farm lamb with ratatouille. Save room for the mint ice cream in a cream puff for dessert (508-228-8655; oranmorbistro.com).
- Steve Jermanok
New York City
As the saying goes, the show must go on. And does it ever in New York's Theater District, where you can catch a musical extravaganza, comedy or thought-provoking play every night of the week. But the real thrill is when the two of you are settled in your seats and the orchestra starts humming. You're in for a magical night on Broadway (nycvisit.com)!
Stay Here: You're just a playbill's toss from the theaters when you stay at the 550-room W New York-Times Square. Ask for a room facing Broadway, with its dazzling neon lights and massive billboards. Be sure to sip a martini or cosmo at the hotel's swanky Whiskey Bar and savor the sushi at the trendy bi-level Blue Fin (212-930-7400; whotels.com).
By Day: Tour the Big Apple with CitySights, a double-decker hop on and hop off sightseeing bus. The Empire State Building, the Brooklyn Bridge, Wall Street and Rockefeller Center are just a few iconic attractions you'll see along the route. Afterward, take a walk in Central Park, unless, of course, it's a matinee day—Wednesday, Saturday or Sunday (212-812-2700; citysightsny.com).
At Night: So many shows, so little time! For last-minute, same-day tickets (which can be up to a 50 percent discount), line up at the TKTS Booth in Times Square or at the South Street Seaport (selections change daily; tdf.org).
Good Eats: For dinner, head to Restaurant Row on West 46th Street, lined with dozens of restaurants, including Joe Allen. The famous eatery has been serving seafood and steak since 1965. Don't be surprised if you spot Broadway stars—and regulars—Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick (212-581-6464; joeallenrestaurant.com).—Jill Fergus
Niagara Falls may have had its heyday as a honeymoon destination when your grandparents got married, but the splendor of this natural wonder hasn't faded. Choose from three spectacular falls to view: the Rainbow Falls and the Bridal Veil, both located on American soil, or the grand Horseshoe Falls, just across the border in Canada.
Stay Here: Make your way to the Canadian side to stay at the Prince of Wales Hotel, a 110-room hotel that retains its Victorian flavor inside and out, thanks to its prime location in the center of Niagara-on-the-Lake. The hotel features antique-style décor and a luxurious spa for unwinding (905-468-3246; vintage-hotels.com).
By Day: You can climb a deck that's 20 feet from the Bridal Veil Falls at the Cave of the Winds ($10 per person; niagarafallslive.com), cruise near the base of the Rainbow and Horseshoe falls on a steamboat (maidofthemist.com), or fly above it all in a helicopter (nationalhelicopters.com).
At Night: See the falls glow with the help of high-beam color spotlights, then test your lady luck on the blackjack tables at the Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel (877-873-6322; senecaniagaracasino.com).
Good Eats: Ice wines put the Niagara region's wineries on the map, but you'll find more than great vintages here. Head to the restaurant at the Hillebrand Estates Winery to savor the region's flavors while you look out over the Niagara Escarpment, the famous cliff that rises above the falls. Chef Frank Dodd combines the local bounty with the winery's vintages to create stellar dishes like wild Lake Huron trout with merlot-braised beef-and-mushroom pie. For more information call 800-582-8412 or visit hillebrand.com.—Lisa Milbrand
Louisiana: New Orleans
The Crescent City is back! The city's French Quarter is buzzing, restaurants are dishing up delicious Cajun and Creole fare and the shops along Magazine Street are open for business. Plus, the city's music scene is more vibrant than ever. Listen to the sweet sounds of Dixieland jazz, Delta blues or zydeco in one of its many cool jazz clubs—and fall in love with New Orleans all over again (neworleanscvb.com).
Stay Here: The luxe 526-room Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans, in the city's historic French Quarter, reopened in December 2005, giving the Big Easy a much needed boost. Rooms and restaurants have been upgraded and the spa has been revamped. Fortunately, fabulous treatments like the Voodoo Love Massage remain. For more information call 800-241-3333 or visit ritzcarlton.com.
By Day: You'll want to start off your day with delicious beignets and chicory coffee at Café du Monde (800-772-2927; cafedumonde.com), then stop into the 18th-century St. Louis Cathedral. Or take a streetcar to the Garden District and admire its antebellum mansions. If you're not easily spooked, tour Lafayette Cemetery No. 1, which was featured in the film Interview with the Vampire.
At Night: Head to Preservation Hall for some old-time jazz (504-522-2841; preservationhall.com). You can also join locals at Snug Harbor, where music legends Ellis Marsalis and Charmaine Neville often take the stage (snugjazz.com).
Good Eats: Craving creole? Arnaud's has been serving up seafood gumbo, shrimp and speckled trout meunière since 1918 (866-230-8895; arnauds.com). Or enjoy modern Cajun cuisine at Emeril Lagasse's Nola (504-522-6652; emerils.com). —JF
Your saddle creaks comfortably, a hawk wheels above and the air is scented with sage and mesquite. There's no better way to see the golden vistas of Central Texas than from astride a horse. Bandera, a city about 50 miles northwest of San Antonio, is deep in the heart of Texas Hill Country. It's called the Cowboy Capital of the World for its proliferation of guest ranches, many of them former working farms (banderacowboycapital.com).
Stay Here: A working ranch run by the same family since 1901, the 20-room Dixie Dude Ranch has been welcoming guests for 50 years. Deluxe cabins feature porches and come with a refrigerator, microwave and coffeemaker; some have fireplaces, as do several standard rooms. Meals, served family style, and daily trail rides are included; advanced rides are available upon request (dixieduderanch.com).
By Day: You can expect daily horseback excursions with any ranch stay, and you needn't be an expert rider. When you're making reservations, be sure to ask what the rides are like—some are more leisurely than others. On hot afternoons, rent an inner tube and float on the crisp, clear Medina River. You can contact the Bandera Beach Club for tube rentals; it has shuttle buses that make regular pickups and drop-offs to and from the river and/or guest ranches (830-796-7555; banderabeachclub.com).
At Night: Local cowboys compete in weekly Friday night ranch rodeos, from April through August, at the Twin Elm Ranch (888-567-3049; twinelmranch.com). Afterward, scoot your boots to the strumming of a fiddle and steel guitar from the house band at Arkey Blue's Silver Dollar Saloon (830-796-8826).
Good Eats: Take a scenic drive on Highway 16 to the town of Kerrville and stop at Café Riverstone, which overlooks the Guadalupe River, for some ranch cooking (830-895-9878; caferiverstone.com)—Sophia Dembling
Tennessee: Great Smoky Mountains, Gatlinburg
With 850 miles of hiking trails, rushing waterfalls at every turn and almost-guaranteed wildlife sightings, Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the Southern Appalachians beckons year-round. Wildflowers burst to life in the spring, the mountains are green and gorgeous in the summer and the area becomes a snowy wonderland in winter. In autumn, the mountains really strut their stuff, with a showy patchwork quilt of gold, green, red and yellow.
Stay Here: Head for the hills! Rent a log cabin in the woods from Mountain Rentals of Gatlinburg, where you can sip champagne in your outdoor hot tub, warm your toes by the fireplace and enjoy the views from your front porch. Cabins have kitchens equipped with dinnerware and cooking supplies, so you can enjoy a romantic evening "at home" (866-482-1044; mountainchalets.com).
By Day: Rent a bicycle and pedal along the paved 11-mile Cades Cove loop trail. You'll pass open fields and cross over creeks and rushing streams. Just keep your eyes on the road: It's common to encounter an elk crossing. Along the way, you'll also have the chance to stop at the many preserved pioneer log cabins, country churches and historic mills (865-448-9034, nps.gov/grsm).
At Night: Come nightfall, the town of Gatlinburg takes on a festive aura. The Sky Lift is a favorite attraction. Jump on the chairlift and you'll glide over Little Pigeon River, and then slowly climb 1,800 feet to the best views in town. Steal a smooch while you're in the air—and ask to have your photo taken with the picturesque Smoky Mountains as a backdrop (attractions-gatlinburg.com).
Good Eats: Gatlinburg's Hard Rock Café, filled with musical memorabilia from rock-star legends, serves up tasty comfort food like its Twisted Mac & Cheese—and even operates its own wedding chapel. It makes sense: Gatlinburg is actually the country's number-two wedding destination, second only to Las Vegas (865-430-7625; hardrock.com). —Maryann Hammers
Virginia: Colonial Williamsburg
Watching a marching fife and drum band perform, heckling traitor Benedict Arnold, playing Colonial-era dice games in an atmospheric tavern—who knew history could be this fun? At 301-acre Colonial Williamsburg (the country's largest living-history museum), you'll feel like you've stepped back to the 18th century. But don't worry—you'll be able to find all of the 21st-century comforts, like luxurious hotels, elegant restaurants and pampering spa treatments, here as well (history.org).
Stay Here: Sipping a banana daiquiri while sunning yourself by the outdoor pool at the 62-room Williamsburg Inn isn't exactly like living in George Washington's day, but, hey, it sure is relaxing. Other modern amenities at this posh hotel (just a block from the Historic Area) include rooms with French linens and marble baths, tennis courts, golf and the elegant Regency dining room (757-220-7978; history.org).
By Day: Stroll through Duke of Gloucester, the Historic Area's main street, and visit the apothecary, the blacksmith, the post office and Chowning's tavern, which serves casual pub fare. Try the pulled-pork sandwich and a mug of the local ale. You also shouldn't miss Revolutionary City, a two-day interactive program that lets you eavesdrop on heated "debates" between loyalists and patriots and even join the colonists in protests (800-361-5261; history.org).
At Night: Snuggle together during a romantic carriage ride around the Historic Area's peaceful Palace Green, then catch a witch or pirate trial (based on actual events) in a torchlit courtroom. After hearing testimony from costumed "witnesses" and "defendants," you'll get to vote on the ruling (800-361-5261; history.org).
Good Eats: To savor a range of Colonial-era dishes like peanut soup, prime rib of beef and maple-glazed pork loin chops, stop into the King's Arms Tavern, a bustling multiroom restaurant outfitted with wood floors and pewter candlesticks (800-828-3767; history.org). —JF
Walt Disney World
If it's a fairy-tale honeymoon you're after, you've come to the right place. With so many attractions to choose from (including Magic Kingdom, Disney's flagship theme park) this fanciful resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, just minutes from Orlando, will bring out the kid in anyone. And rest assured there are plenty of opportunities for romance and adults-only entertainment (disneyworld.disney.go.com).
Stay Here: You'll feel like you've been transported back to the Victorian Era when you check into the 867-room Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, an elegant property that overlooks the Seven Seas Lagoon. Guests entering its majestic Main Building are greeted by the sight of two 15-foot-tall, grand chandeliers, which sparkle over the expansive lobby's multilevel verandas. Meanwhile, bellmen in period uniforms promptly attend to your luggage. The inviting guest rooms feature "turn-of-the-century" furnishings; many of them also include a private balcony with garden or water views (407-824-2421).
By Day: Take the monorail from your hotel (there's a station on the second floor of the Main Building) to either Magic Kingdom, home of the Cinderella Castle and beloved attractions like the newly revamped Pirates of the Caribbean, or Epcot, where you can experience culture and cuisine from around the world. Nature lovers should make a beeline to Animal Kingdom (a bus will take you there), where you can go on safari to see lions, tigers, elephants, giraffes and other African animals. You might also want to see the Broadway-esque production of Finding Nemo: The Musical.
At Night: Make your way to Downtown Disney. Here, Pleasure Island, where every night is New Year's Eve, offers a variety of dance clubs. On the area's West Side, you can head to the House of Blues restaurant and lounge for some live music, or catch a performance of Cirque du Soleil's La Nouba.
Good Eats: At the Grand Floridian, splurge and reserve a table at Victoria & Albert's, a posh dining room that offers a six-course prix fixe menu (407-939-3463). Another excellent option is the California Grill, on the 15th floor of Disney's Contemporary Resort. It offers unbeatable views of Magic Kingdom, and serves sushi and main courses such as grilled pork tenderloin with creamy goat-cheese polenta and cremini mushrooms. Nothing could be more romantic than watching the park's nightly fireworks show from the restaurant's massive windows (407-939-3463). —Valerie Berrios
North Carolina: The Outer Banks
The Outer Banks consists of a long stretch of islands and scenic beach towns along the Atlantic, a welcome respite for quiet-seeking couples. You won't find many bustling boardwalks here—just endless beaches where you can while away the hours. You may also want to explore the area's claim to fame: the site of the Wright Brothers' first powered flight in Kitty Hawk.
Stay Here: In an area filled with beach houses and chain hotels, the 12-room Inn On Pamlico Sound is a breath of fresh air. Located on laid-back Hatteras Island, almost an hour south of the northernmost Banks towns, this off-the-beaten-path retreat is completely worth the drive. Choose a room in the newer east building, and you'll enjoy a whirlpool bath and a private porch overlooking the Sound—perfect for sunset watching and star gazing. And be sure to wake up in time for the chef's famous three-course gourmet breakfast, which features delicious baked good (866-726-5426; innonpamlicosound.com).
By Day: Adventure seekers can head to Jockey's Ridge State Park and learn to hang glide. After a quick course with an instructor from Kitty Hawk Kites, you'll take off from a sand dune and soar anywhere from 30 to more than 100 yards up. No worries: The sand below makes for a soft landing. Other airborne activities include parasailing, kite boarding and aerial tours of the area (877-359-8447; kittyhawk.com).
At Night: You can take a moonlit cruise on Roanoke Sound aboard the Crystal Dawn, a 65-foot head boat. You'll sail past historic sights like the Wright Memorial and a reproduction of the Queen Elizabeth 2. To up the romance factor, ask about private charter cruises (252-473-5577).
Good Eats: For an upscale feast, try Elizabeth's Café and Winery in the town of Duck. Indulge in the six-course prix fixe menu, complete with a vintage for each dish; try the seared salmon and crab cakes with a citrus-zest butter and Romano polenta, paired with a Sonoma chardonnay (252-261-6145; elizabethscafe.com) —Elena Donovan Mauer
Montana: Big Sky
Home to Glacier and Yellowstone National parks, Montana is the perfect respite for nature enthusiasts. In the region of Big Sky, in the southwestern part of the state, you'll see some of the most beautiful scenery the United States has to offer. Think Wild West meeting the Rocky Mountains. You can fill your days with activities like biking, hiking, rock climbing or playing cowboy and cowgirl. And at night, relax in front of a roaring fire beneath a star-studded sky.
Stay Here: Camping in luxury? It's possible at The Resort at Paws Up. This 25-room, high-end ranch, which sits on 37,000 acres of untamed wilderness, offers honeymooners the chance to revel both in the great outdoors and in the lap of luxury. You can stay in a teepee-style tent with cushy beds and receive a complimentary bottle of the resort's own branded vino. A camping butler, on call just for you, will be ready to serve anything from mixed cocktails to s'mores. Prefer a bit more privacy? Choose from a variety of cabins, complete with fireplaces. To experience deep-relaxation treatments, head for the resort's spa, which is nestled at the edge of a meadow (800-473-0601; pawsup.com).
By Day: Go kayaking or whitewater rafting along the Blackfoot River (of A River Runs Through It fame) or try your hand at fly fishing. Horseback riding trails in the expansive Bob Marshall Wilderness are unbeatable; you're more likely to run into sheep and moose than people. Contact Paws Up Outfitters for various adventure programs (888-462-9710; pawsupoutfitters.com). The Montana Outfitters and Guides Association can also team you with the perfect activity and licensed professional (406-449-3578; montanaoutfitters.org).
At Night: To see locals decked out in cowboy hats, boots and Wrangler jeans, go for drinks at the historic Montana Bar. Built in 1893, this watering hole was once a gathering place for stockmen. It was renovated in 1914, but it's known as one of the most authentic Western bars in the state (406-234-5809).
Good Eats: For a real taste of Montana, dine at the restaurant at Buck's T-4 Lodge. This Big Sky establishment offers huge portions of a wide variety of game and beef. But don't forget to leave room for the scrumptious desserts, including the decadent white-chocolate cheesecake (800-822-4484).
California: Highway 1
One minute you're driving at sea level and within less than a mile, your eardrums will be popping as the road spirals up to 1,000 feet. Welcome to one of the most famous roadways in the world—California's Highway 1, often called the Pacific Coast Highway. Although this route covers about 700 miles, the most spectacular scenery runs from the Monterey Peninsula to Santa Barbara. Here, you'll find all those panoramas you see in car commercials: wave-lashed headlands, solemn groves of redwoods and deserted beaches (visitcalifornia.com).
Stay Here: Poised 1,200 feet above the Pacific on 243 acres, where deer and wild turkeys roam, the Ventana Inn & Spa is the perfect hideaway for honeymooners. Its 60 rooms, many with private hot tubs, face the mountains, redwoods or the ocean (831-667-2331; ventanainn.com).
By Day: Rather than just ogling the scenery, get into the picture yourself by driving to a beautiful coastal hiking trail. You can watch starfish and anemones in the tide pools at Point Lobos State Reserve (just south of Carmel), or follow the Big Sur trail through a rock tunnel to electric-blue Partington Cove—once a hideaway for bootleggers. Pull in at Piedras Blancas (north of Hearst Castle) to observe elephant seals by the thousands (we mean it!) as they congregate along the shore to bear their pups.
At Night: The 1930s publishing tycoon William Randolph Hearst once declared, "Pleasure is worth what you can afford to pay for it." Get a sense of what he meant by visiting the 161-room Hearst Castle, a state historical monument located in the village of San Simeon, during an evening tour. Dressed in period clothing, guides recreate the life of polished guests during the estate's heyday—you'll observe them lounging by the Neptune Pool or playing poker in the Assembly Room (800-444-4445; hearstcastle.com).
Good Eats: Floor-to-ceiling windows and glass railings enhance the open-air feel at the oceanfront Sierra Mar Restaurant at the Post Ranch Inn. Highlighting seasonal, organic ingredients, the four-course, prix fixe dinner menu changes daily, but may include dishes like grilled squab with peaches, cassis and foie gras; the wine list uncorks some of the finest vintages found in Monterey County (reservations are required; 831-667-2800; postranchinn.com).
Alaska: Lake Clark National Park
Wildlife-loving honeymooners will be able to safely enter the realm of the world's largest carnivore, the grizzly bear, at the Great Alaska Bear Camp at Lake Clark National Park, about 75 miles southwest of Anchorage. Full of succulent berries and salmon-churned streams, this coastal plain provides a prime breeding ground and nursery for grizzlies in the spring and summer. Guests can fly in via a bush plane that soars past glaciers and Mount Iliamna, an active volcano.
Stay Here: At the Great Alaska Adventure Lodge, which offers bear-watching adventure packages, camping goes cushy. Opt to stay either in the main lodge or in tented cabins set on raised platforms with wood floors, solid doors, propane heaters and twin beds, which can easily be pushed together for optimum snuggling. You'll fall asleep to the sounds of cascading rapids and gulls calling over the bay (800-544-2261; greatalaska.com).
By Day: Bears, bears everywhere—splashing in rivulets, fishing for salmon, devouring berries and munching on wild grass. The region attracts powerful boars (males) as well as doting mothers with roly-poly cubs. Guests who've booked the lodge's bear camp package can observe grizzly antics from a camouflaged viewing platform and on hikes with naturalist guides. (Although guides carry shotguns for protection, rest assured that they've never had to use them.) On your excursions, you might also spot bald eagles flying overhead and moose sipping from the streams (800-544-2261; greatalaska.com).
At Night: What night? In the summer, the sun doesn't slip behind the snow-crested Alaska Range until midnight, so bear viewing can continue into the wee hours. You can also join fellow guests around the campfire for sing-alongs and marshmallow roasting.
Good Eats: Although the bears forage, you don't have to. Dinners at the camp might include barbecued chicken, salmon or pasta specialties.
They call it Red Rock Country—where mountains and rock pinnacles blaze with colors that range from ochers to ruddy cinnabars. Crystal-clear streams run along smooth boulders, and rust-red earth counterpoints the extravagant green of juniper, manzanita and ponderosa pine. Sedona lies at the heart of this region. The town combines epic scenery with splurge-worthy shopping and sumptuous resorts (visitsedona.com).
Stay Here: Tucked into Boynton Canyon (regarded by the Yavapai-Apache tribe as the Garden of Eden), the 220-room Enchantment Resort lives up to its name. Luxurious adobe-style casitas feature Southwestern accents, such as kiva fireplaces and Native American baskets. Its Mii Amo Spa soothes body and spirit with treatments, including blue-corn scrubs (800-826-4180; enchantmentresort.com).
By Day: Try 4x4 play—and rent a Jeep for some adventurous off-roading. One route will lead you to the Palatki ruins, rock houses built by the Sinagua Indians who dwelled in the region from 1100 A.D. to 1300 A.D., then vanished mysteriously. While you're there, take a look for the pictograph of the ubiquitous flute-playing fertility god, Kokopelli. The rental-car company Farrabee's offers comfortable Jeep Wranglers equipped with automatic transmission, air conditioning and soft tops; staffers provide free mapping services and driving tips (928-282-8700; sedonajeeprentals.com).
At Night: Make your honeymoon truly heavenly by trying out an astronomy program available from Evening Sky Tours. Astronomers guide stargazing sessions with powerful telescopes to help you catch glimpses of the constellations, comets, the rings of Saturn and Jupiter and its moons (866-701-0398; eveningskytours.com).
Good Eats: You almost expect to see John Wayne himself, jangling his spurs at the Cowboy Club Grille & Spirits, where the décor incorporates chaps and longhorn horns. Menu choices include local favorites like steak, ribs and rattlesnake brochette—it's up to you to decide whether it tastes like chicken (928-282-4200; cowboyclub.com). —Risa Wyatt
Situated between Kauai (to the north) and Maui (to the south), the Hawaiian island of Oahu offers visitors everything from gorgeous vistas to prime surfing opportunities. In Honolulu, the capital of Hawaii, the Waikiki region boasts a stunning shore amid the backdrop of the beautiful, rugged Diamond Head volcano. Today, Honolulu has the state's best restaurants and nightlife, but go 10 miles outside the city and you've got the same lush jungles, sheer cliffs and near empty beaches you'll find on some of the less populated islands. It's also the best place in the state to learn to surf.
Stay Here: As honeymoon retreats go, it's hard to beat the Vera Wang Suite at the 455-room Halekulani Resort & Spa, which blends Wang's stylish home designs with furnishings from Hawaii, the South Pacific and Asia. Set on Waikiki Beach, Halekulani offers award-winning restaurants, a waterfront pool and a state-of-the-art spa (halekulani.com).
By Day: Get up early to catch some waves. In Waikiki, stroll over to the Aloha Beach Service, where surfing instructors promise to get you standing on your board during the first lesson (808-922-3111). On Oahu's North Shore, go to Turtle Bay Resort and take one-on-one or group lessons at the Hans Hedemann Surf School (808-293-6000; for other area resorts partnering with the premiere surf school, go to hhsurf.com).
At Night: Enjoy one of the island's best views—watch the sun set over Waikiki while sipping a maitai at the Sunset Lanai cocktail lounge at The New Otani Kaimana Beach Hotel (808-923-1555; kaimana.com), and then take a moonlit stroll down the length of San Souci beach.
Good Eats: Halekulani's La Mer is as good as it gets—an elegant open-air dining room with views of Diamond Head and a menu that melds local ingredients with French cuisine (808-923-2311). L'Uraku offers tasty fusion entrées (808-955-0552; luraku.com). For a light meal, try Kakaako Kitchen in the Ward Centre for seared ahi sandwiches and gourmet plate lunches (808-596-7488).
Michigan: Drummond Island
Even in Michigan, few people have heard of Drummond Island. Located in the eastern Upper Peninsula on Lake Huron, this secret hideaway is the quiet, elegant sister of better-known Mackinac Island. Its 150 miles of rugged coastline provide beautiful empty beaches and fantastic kayaking, while the forests throughout the island offer quiet walks and pleasant hikes. The clear blue Lake Huron contains dozens of tiny islands waiting to be explored. On nearby Mackinac, no cars are allowed; visitors wander on foot, ride bikes or travel by horse-drawn carriage around the Victorian-inspired town, which is filled with fields of wild lavender.
Stay Here: The Drummond Island Resort and Conference Center is nestled in the woods along the shores of Lake Huron. It features a lovely 40-room lodge that's more Aspen than Upper Peninsula as well as several cottages, including the romantic Hermitage, a private one-bedroom cabin in a corner of the wooded property. There's also the Boathouse, the second story of a working boathouse built in the 1950s. The resort has a pool, a 12-person sauna, tennis courts, a golf course, a bowling alley, free bike and kayak rentals, dozens of biking and hiking trails and a fine-dining restaurant (906-493-1000; drummondisland.com).
By Day: Loll on the beach or pack a lunch and rent a kayak to explore any one of 58 tiny neighboring islands.
At Night: Watch the sun set over Lake Huron from the Cupola Bar atop the historic Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island (800-334-7263; grandhotel.com), then rent a boat from the Drummond Island Yacht Club and take a romantic moonlit cruise back to the resort (diyachthaven.com).
Good Eats: Located at the Drummond Resort and set in the woods overlooking the lake, Bayside Dining features an organic, seafood-dominated menu with inventive preparations of local fare, paired with a well-selected and reasonably priced wine list (906-493-1014, drummondisland.com). During the day, stop for a deli-style sandwich at the Gourmet Galley (906-493-5507). For a casual meal, The Northwoods Restaurant & Bar serves up an all-you-can-eat whitefish dinner in a charming log cabin (906-493-5282).
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