For true nature lovers, an outdoorsy honeymoon isn’t a weeklong lounge session at a beachside resort. No, these honeymooners want to be IN nature. They want to traverse mountain trails, bounce from national park to national park in a rented RV, raft down rivers with three-foot whitecaps.
You get the picture. Nature lovers tend to find each other. And when they unite on that forever quest, they need to kick it off with some serious outdoor adventures.
What follows is a slew of badass outdoor honeymoon ideas that are sure to get the blood flowing. So grab your gear, your gal — or your guy — and snatch up your field notes journal as you hit the door because we’re going adventuring and don’t want to forget a moment of the action.
Immerse Yourselves in the Great Smoky Mountains
For some strange reason, the Great Smoky Mountains don’t inhabit as prominent a spot as they deserve on the list of American adventure destinations. Of course, the Great Smokies are a popular destination, but when we are thinking of “National Parks,” the mind tends to roam West. The Great Smokies, which extend between Tennessee and North Carolina, blow visitors away with their rolling majesty.
The vistas alone are enough to knock your socks off, but there’s ample opportunity to set off into the forest and get rustic with it. The famed Appalachian Trail is among the 150 official hiking trails in the range. That’ll be enough to keep you adventuring — but if you need a break from the rigor of the hikes, kick it a spell at Dollywood.
Go Rustic in Hawaii
Couples looking to kick up and bask in luxury often head out to Hawaii for the ultimate, pampered getaway in paradise. This often involves considerable poolside lounging and bottomless daiquiris.
But couples looking for outdoor adventure can get a taste of the boundless beauty of Hawaiian paradise without spending their days throwing back daiquiris and gorging at the buffet table.
Consider locking down a spot at one of Hawaii’s most secluded resorts and spending your days heading off into the wild. Opportunities for real action are endless. Explore the Kalalau Trail on Kauai, check out active volcanoes from the vantage of a helicopter or spend a day chilling with some of the largest creatures in the world. (We’re talking whales. Peak whale watching season is from November to May.)
Slither from the Desert to the Grand Canyon in Arizona
Arizona provides a wide palate of adventure for the true nature lover. You can kick it like cowboys and cowgirls amid the sparse (and scorching hot) grandeur of the Sonoran or Mojave deserts and then pack up for a trip to the Grand Canyon for a look at the miraculous piece of art the Colorado River has been working on for eons.
A note on the Grand Canyon: It’s such a popular destination and has been for so long that it’s become an almost trite destination. That triteness may dissuade some adventurers who are on the hunt for a unique destination. But know this — the beauty is truly unparalleled. It astounds in ways few other natural wonders can. If you have a chance to view the Grand Canyon, get there.
Camp Amid the Jaw-Dropping Vistas of California’s Yosemite National Park
Like the Grand Canyon, Yosemite feels a little too common to some looking for an off-the-radar adventure. Don’t make the mistake of being too-cool-for-school and steering clear of this 1,200-square-mile true American gem.
From hiking to rocking climbing to horseback riding to simply lying on your back at night and looking up at a crystal clear night sky, Yosemite is the kind of place that can make you feel simultaneously infinitesimal and perfectly aligned with the mysteries of the universe.
Not a bad place to honeymoon at all.
Get Down with the Wild Horses of the Outer Banks
The Outer Banks of North Carolina provide the opportunity to combine beach-side relaxation with American adventure. Perhaps the most perfect encapsulation of that irresistible combo can be found roaming the northernmost beaches of the OB. We’re talking about the Corolla Wild Horses. Yes, that’s right, we said wild horses. As OuterBanks.com notes, the horses are “feral Spanish mustangs…believed to be descendants of shipwrecked horses from hundreds of years ago.”
Does it get any sexier than that? When you aren’t watching the stallions, you can take to the skies for some parasailing, frolic on sand dunes or check out what the dolphins are up to offshore. The OB offers plenty of opportunities to get rustic or get pampered because maybe even the most rugged nature lovers deserve a little pampering on their honeymoon.
This is just a smattering of ideas to get the creative juices flowing. No list could ever be complete since there are endless opportunities for outdoor honeymoon adventures. But don’t get overwhelmed with the options. Trust your gut. After all, you’ve done everything right so far, from locking down the perfect spouse to looking past the banal on the hunt for truly classic men’s wedding bands.
So as you consider your options, keep your budget in mind, know what kind of action would best suit you and your spouse and then set forth into the wilds.