You finally did it. You married the girl of your dreams, and you’ve never felt better. After all the planning, dressing, and dancing, you’re ready to relax with your lady and kick the romance into high gear. Weddings mean big business, and when all the customizations are done, it can end up being not only the best day of your life but also one of the most expensive.
Deciding on a honeymoon dream destination can be more difficult than you think—but it doesn’t have to break the bank. Are you a couple that loves to hike and learn about the history of a place? Are you into wine tasting and foodie adventures? Maybe you’re ready to pack your bag with nothing but SPF and a book for the beach. Traveling to paradise can come at a cost, and that’s why we’ve rounded up some of the best spots around the world under $5K.
For the nature-loving couple
Nova Scotia is home to more than 160 historic lighthouses that are situated throughout the Canadian province. Peggy’s Point Lighthouse, built in 1915, is one of Nova Scotia’s best-known lighthouses and likely the most Instagrammed. Spend the day exploring the wave-washed rocks, and you’ll think you and your wife stepped right into Virginia Woolf’s novel, To the Lighthouse.
Head over to the Cabot Trail, and you’ll wonder why anyone makes a big deal about the Pacific Coast Highway. Considered one of the world’s most scenic destinations, you will find stunning ocean vistas, old-growth forests, and Cape Breton Highlands National Park. This area is filled with lush river canyons, rust-colored cliffs, and is popular for moose and bald eagle sightings. With outdoor adventures at your fingertips—including kayaking, swimming, and horseback riding—you are sure to be hungry. If you don’t like seafood, you’re pretty much out of luck because it’s essentially the cuisine du jour of Nova Scotia.
Why It Won’t Break The Bank: One of the best parts about Nova Scotia is that if you live on the East Coast, you don’t have to fly to get there.
Perfect for food and wine lovers
Full of old-world charm, ancient castles, and picturesque fishing villages, Portugal is home to some of the world’s best food and wine. Only in the past few years have some of its urban neighborhoods been revitalized and complemented with chic and queer-friendly spaces like coffee shops, cocktail bars, and cafes.
With two main cities, Lisbon and Porto, there are nearly 24 Michelin-rated restaurants making this country a gastronomic mecca. The star ingredient of this country’s cuisine is olive oil. Some of the country’s most famous dishes include salted cod, arroz de marisco, amarelo da Beira Baixa—an herby goat-and-sheep-milk mix—and suckling pig.
When it comes to wine country, Portugal has some of the world’s finest grapes and vineyards. Make sure you and your honey grab a glass of Port from the Duoro Valley, Vinho Verde from Minho, and Tinto Alentejo from Alentejo. In all reality, drink it all—you can’t go wrong with these fresh and value-driven varietals. If she’s really into wine, make the trip and drive two hours north of Lisbon to Alentejo, where you’ll discover the world’s largest cork oak forest. The cork oak is Portugal’s national tree and has been protected by law since the 13th century. Take a tour and learn about the growing awareness of the value of the ecosystem of the cork oak forest.
Why It Won’t Break The Bank: A week at one of Lisbon’s five-star hotels, runs the same as just one or two nights at a luxury hotel in other European capitals. Dining costs and rental car rates are low, too.
For the adventurous couple
Time to break out all your old Björk mixtapes and live your best life. Traveling to Iceland has become very popular in the past few years. Imagine a road trip through remote lunar landscapes, filled with exploring natural wonders, and romantic nights under the Northern Lights? Yeah, that’s right, Iceland is a super sapphic lesbian.
If you want to see all that Mother Nature has bestowed on this country, renting a car is the way to go. Check out Southern Iceland’s “Golden Circle,” an unreal area with breathtaking views, geysers, and waterfalls. Surprise her and keep things steamy with your next stop at the Haukadalur geothermal area, home to the great Strokkur Geyser, which erupts every eight minutes. After you’re finished exploring the area, take her for one of your most memorable meals in Iceland: a hot dog with the works. That’s right, the hot dog is Iceland’s lowkey national dish. Be sure to grab one from the world-famous stand, Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur.
Next, show her what you are made of when you scale a glacier and walk around moss-lined lava fields. Join a tour and explore the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, famous for its scene of floating icebergs. Once you’re freezing and mindblown, it’s finally time to head back toward Reykjavik for a day of relaxation and thirst trap pics in the Blue Lagoon. Be sure to make a reservation as dipping into Iceland’s famous geothermal spa, is in demand.
Why It Won’t Break The Bank: Flights can be cheap if you book ahead of time. Pro-tip: To save on costs, buy food and cook it at home. Restaurants tend to be pricey.
For the wellness couple
Sedona is a haven for spiritual seekers and wellness aficionados, offering stunning red rock vistas and healing centers. Thanks to its high elevation, Sedona escapes the desert heat as you’re surrounded by verdant green juniper and cottonwood trees. She will swoon over the top-notch spas, creative cuisine, and dozens of galleries and festivals. But mostly, she will lose it over Sedona’s infamous “energy vortexes.” These swirling energy centers are thought to create spiritual awakenings—and there’s nothing better than a honeymoon full of lesbian metaphysical magic.
Perhaps it’s the wide-open desert spaces or the contrast between the heat of the day and the chill of the night that help you feel rested. But whatever you do, a morning hike to Cathedral Rock or Devil’s Bridge is a great way to start your day. Imagine outdoor cedar showers, nighttime fire pits, and romantic dinners for two underneath a canopy of vines. Sedona is a place the two of you can go to restore your spirit.
There’s a pervasive feeling of calm, higher consciousness, and a sentiment that self-care is a way of life in Sedona. While you can pretty much have your aura read, fortune told, and past lives (and crazy exes) revealed all before lunch—be sure to learn the deep Indigenous history of the area, too, and enjoy yourselves in between crystal shopping and enchanted Canyon tours.
Why It Won’t Break The Bank: If you do your research ahead of time you will find great deals on couples massages and group tours.
St. Augustine, Florida
For the history buffs
If the two of you are interested in history but have already checked Paris, Rome, and Barcelona off your lists, how about exploring the site of the first European settlement in the United States: St. Augustine, Florida. A mix of warm beaches and historical importance, grab her hand and skip through the old cobblestone streets and hidden alleyways of St. Augustine. At sunset, check out the waterfront promenade from the Bridge of Lions to the Castillo de San Marcos, the centerpiece of St. Augustine’s historic district.
This area can have a significant touristy vibe. Tours of every kind are available—historic, food, wine, and even ghost tours—all uncover the layers of the city’s history. Plan to stay at a charming (and old) bed & breakfast, dating back to the 1700s. Many of the bed & breakfasts have bikes available, which is a great way to get around the city. If you work up a hunger, look for the area’s signature chocolate covered datil peppers, a local treat that is sure to please your palates.
St. Augustine is fun and doesn’t take itself too seriously. On the top of your list is a makeout session at the Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park, where you will find the infamous spring bringing good energy and vibes for a very long and happy marriage with your new wife.
Why It Won’t Break The Bank: If you time it right and visit during the off-season, May-August, your entire trip will be heavily discounted.
On a serious note, not all countries (including parts of our own) are safe for LGBTQ folks. Wherever you and your beautiful wife go, it’s important to have thoroughly done research on the area and be aware of its current events.