You may have heard of the term “mini moon,” but what, exactly, is it? Perfect for newlyweds or couples who want a low-key romantic escape, a mini moon is a short and sweet version of a traditional honeymoon.
Mini moons have recently increased in popularity due to pandemic travel restrictions, where couples are finding more flexibility and less stress compared to planning a more extensive honeymoon that usually requires a more stringent commitment of time and resources.
Instead of immediately jetting off to a far-flung destination after the wedding, a mini moon enables couples to take their time to enjoy a romantic post-wedding escape that’s often at a more accessible location over the course of a long weekend, instead of having to scramble to find enough time to take off from work or build a lofty budget that a conventional honeymoon usually entails.
Whether couples are looking for an intimate desert oasis or a breezy beach escape after the big day, here are some of the best mini moon destinations Stateside:
Outdoor Adventure in Tucson, AZ
With laid-back charm and gorgeous desert scenery backed by picturesque mountain ranges, Tucson is ideal for outdoor adventure. Active couples can hike through Saguaro National Park, known for its giant cactus, and Catalina State Park with 150+ species of birds and Hohokam pueblos dating back to 500 AD. For an adrenaline-filled experience, couples can rock climb at one of the world’s top climbing destinations, Mt. Lemmon, a 9,000-foot-tall formation that offers more than 2,700 climbing routes, and then marvel at the extra dark night sky from the Mt. Lemmon SkyCenter, which features two of the largest public telescopes in the Southwest.
Where to stay: Couples looking to embrace the western lifestyle can stay at White Stallion Ranch, offering horseback riding, shooting clays, a weekly rodeo, and the largest on-site rock climbing program in the U.S. For an unforgettable minimoon, book the Spanish-Style Hacienda, a private four-bedroom, three-bath retreat with a fully equipped kitchen, private backyard for stargazing, and a fireplace for cozying up after a long day of activities. Starting rates: $368. www.whitestallion.com.
Desert Wellness in Coachella Valley, CA
In the Coachella Valley, couples can take in the majestic red hues of the San Jacinto Mountains via a romantic hot air balloon ride, explore nearby Joshua Tree National Park, tee off at the famed Clive Clark’s Celebrity Course, and journey through the San Andreas Fault Zone with Desert Adventures Red Jeep Tours.
Where to stay: Miramonte Resort & Spa is relaunching in January 2022 after a $9 million renovation transforming the resort into a contemporary Mediterranean retreat. The intimate desert oasis boasts 215 guestrooms, three pools, a signature restaurant with Mediterranean-inspired dining, fire pits, and desert-inspired treatments at the award-winning WELL Spa like the “artistic healing under the desert sky,” where couples can “paint” each other with clays before basking in the sun in a private open-air patio. Rates start at $218. www.miramonteresort.com.
Wine Country Romance in Healdsburg, CA
Healdsburg offers a mix of Northern California ease and European charm, rolling hills lined with vineyards, and award-winning vintages centered around a charming town plaza. Couples can spend explore the destination’s 160 wineries, including the newly opened Bacchus Landing and Marine Layer Wines’ tasting room, take a wine country bike tour with Getaway Adventures, horseback ride through Lake Sonoma with The Ranch at Lake Sonoma, and dine at The Matheson from award-winning chef, Dustin Valette.
Where to stay: For luxury, it’s all about the new Montage Healdsburg, while h2 Hotel offers eco-chic vibes for sustainably-focused couples, the cozy Healdsburg Inn bed and breakfast, and the Cottages at Healdsburg featuring four charming cottages with private porches. Starting rates: $399 (depending on property).
Beach Escape in St. Pete Beach, FL
Rated America’s #1 beach by TripAdvisor for ‘21, St. Pete Beach/Clearwater is a sugary white sand Gulf destination with an artsy vibe, eclectic shops, world-famous museums, fishing charters, yacht tours, waterfront restaurants, and now its very own Amazon Prime television show, Life’s Rewards.
Where to stay: Florida’s iconic Pink Palace, The Don CeSar, recently unveiled multi-million-dollar renovations across the property’s 277 rooms and suites, six restaurants and bars, and rooftop sundecks to ring in “The Don of a New Era.” The two-story, three-bedroom Bayside Penthouse boasts a private furnished balcony, living areas, kitchenette, 3.5 bathrooms, and sweeping city views. The Penthouse offers access to resort amenities including the Spa Oceana with ocean-inspired treatments, The Don boutiques shopping experiences, new fitness center, two exterior pools and a private stretch of beach equipped with day beds, water sports, beach yoga and a new beach bar. Starting rates: $299. www.doncesar.com.