If you want to spend your honeymoon in the southern U.S., you have plenty of options to choose from. Whether you want a city break or a beach honeymoon, southern states like Louisiana, Alabama, and Florida offer something for every kind of couple.
In this article we’ll give our picks for some of the best honeymoon destinations in the South.
New Orleans, Louisiana
Perhaps one of the most unique places to honeymoon in the US is this historic city. With a mix of Spanish, French, Italian, and Caribbean influences, there’s a laidback and magical vibe here. New Orleans is an intoxicating mix of culture, fun, history, architecture, natural beauty, and—of course—incredible food.
In fact, New Orleans is one of the best honeymoon destinations in the South for foodie couples who love fine dining. Full of elegant restaurants that pride themselves on romantic ambience and top-notch service, New Orleans is known around the world for its diverse and delicious cuisine. Top restaurants include Galatoire’s, Commander’s Palace, Antoine’s, Restaurant August, La Petit Grocery, and Herbsaint.
Stay at a historic grande dame hotel in the Warehouse District/French Quarter area like the luxurious The Roosevelt or Hotel Monteleone. Or, try one of the stylish and hip new 5-star hotels downtown like the Four Seasons New Orleans with its amazing river views and top-rated restaurants. For a chic Uptown hotel with a stunning rooftop bar and fabulous restaurant, check out The Pontchartrain Hotel.
Of course, you’ll want to wander the French Quarter, but there’s so much more to do here.
Just 3 miles away from the Quarter is City Park, an oasis in Mid-City offering peaceful grounds with lagoons, walking and bike paths, and giant old oak trees dripping with Spanish moss. Stroll or bike through it; get out on the lagoons in a paddleboat; or head to Café du Monde for café au lait and beignets in a scenic setting. You can also tour the gorgeous Botanical Garden. You can even book a Venetian gondola ride on the lagoon, for a truly unique and romantic thing to do in New Orleans for couples!
Explore the Garden District and ride the streetcar down St. Charles Avenue, marveling at the gorgeous homes and gardens; go shopping on Magazine Street; tour the National World War II Museum; take a riverboat ride; go golfing in Audubon Park or City Park; and check out the art galleries, cafés, and shops in the Warehouse District.
At night, feast on mouthwatering meals, then head to a classic bar like the Carousel Bar (it rotates!) or Sazerac, then go listen to some live music. You’ll find a huge assortment of jazz, blues, funk, rock, Cajun, and more available every night of the week.
Gulf Shores, Alabama
This under-the-radar Gulf Coast town is one of the best Southern honeymoon spots for couples who enjoy laidback beach vacations. An easy drive from major cities like Atlanta, Nashville, New Orleans, Houston, and more, you can also fly in to the Mobile airport and be here within an hour.
Stay at The Lodge at Gulf State Park, a Hilton Hotel for the best beach honeymoon experience here, especially for couples who support eco-conscious travel. Nestled on the coast in the middle of a 6,000-acre state park in Gulf Shores, Alabama, this unique Hilton resort is an oasis with a serene and soothing vibe.
The resort features several low-rise buildings that blend into the landscape, part of the thoughtful and eco-friendly design. There are peaceful spots to relax and gaze at the Gulf all over the resort, including a long front porch with rockers on the main building, two floors of outdoor seating at the restaurants, loungers and hammocks around the pool, and public covered balcony areas on each floor of the accommodations buildings.
A raised walkway leads over the sand dunes to the pristine beach. With no other hotels nearby, you have plenty of space to stretch out and enjoy the natural beauty. The Lodge at Gulf State Park truly feels like your own private beach retreat.
Enjoy an infinity pool overlooking the Gulf, as well as the opportunity to explore nearby trails and lake activities. Rooms are spacious and contemporary, and come with furnished balconies and either Gulf or lake views.
Two restaurants serve locally sourced, inventive, and delicious dishes plus craft cocktails, wine, and beer, all with incredible beach views. There is plenty of outdoor seating on two levels so you can enjoy the sea breezes. Either restaurant is the perfect spot for romantic dinners with sunset views.
Or, start your day in the most relaxing way with breakfast al fresco by the ocean. You can also enjoy room service, as well as the Roasted Oak Coffee and Wine Bar and the open-air Dragonfly Pool Bar & Grill.
When you feel like venturing off the resort, the town of Gulf Shores offers a variety of great restaurants and fun things to do. Go fishing, snorkeling, scuba diving, parasailing, boating, jetskiing, kayaking, or paddleboarding if you want to be on or in the water.
Shop in Gulf Shores or nearby Orange Beach or Foley; head to a waterpark; or check out one of the great local golf courses. Top restaurants here are Lulu’s, Lauria’s by the Beach, Sea N Suds, Bahama Bob’s, Sunset Cork Room, Cobalt, and Fish River Grill.
One of the best beach honeymoon destinations in the U.S., Destin is known for its soft white sands and vividly colored blue, turquoise, and aqua water. It’s also one of the top spots for fishing of all kinds.
In addition to fishing, you can parasail, paddleboard, snorkel, windsurf, and more. You can also go boating and jetskiing. A unique thing to do in Destin is to go to Crab Island, a sandbar in the pass where boaters like to hang out and enjoy the gorgeous weather. There’s even a floating bar. The water is shallow here, so you can get out and walk around.
For couples who love to golf, there are several nice golf courses in the area. There’s also excellent shopping (both high-end and discount) as well as soothing day spas.
You’ll have your choice of delicious seafood restaurants, most offering gorgeous Gulf views. Top restaurants include Cap’n Dave’s, The Back Porch, Dewey Destin’s, and Harbor Docks.
Enjoy privacy and luxury at the Henderson Park Inn, a gorgeous adults-only beach honeymoon resort nestled next to pristine Henderson Beach State Park on the stunning sugar-white sands of the Gulf of Mexico.
This uber-romantic, sophisticated sanctuary is the only all-inclusive resort in Destin and is only open to guests 25 and older, making it perfect for romantic honeymoons. Charming rooms and suites in the intimate inn feature ocean views, balconies, whirlpool tubs, and plush furnishings.
The award-winning fine dining restaurant has Gulf views from tables inside or on the veranda—or reserve the VIP Toes in the Sand candlelight dinner on the beach. There’s also a beachfront grill that serves lunch and cocktails.
Your stay at Henderson Park Inn includes breakfast and lunch, snacks and nonalcoholic beverages, daily happy hour, beach cruiser bicycles, beach chairs and umbrella, and access to the amenities at neighboring Henderson Beach Resort including an adults-only pool, a fitness center, and a spa. You can also add extras with the Romance or Celebrate by the Sea Package.
St. Augustine, Florida
This is one of the best honeymoon spots in the south east U.S. for couples who like history and food. Founded in 1565, St. Augustine is the oldest continuously settled city in the U.S., and it has a very European feel. Easily walkable with beautiful architecture and fascinating historic sites, St. Augustine also has a waterfront and is close to beaches.
Stay at a charming bed and breakfast like the St. Francis Inn or the Bayfront Marin House, or book a room in the elegant Casa Monica Hotel. No matter which one you choose, you’ll be centrally located. The St. Francis Inn and Bayfront Marin House also offer options on the beach, if you prefer a waterfront retreat.
Explore the town on foot or by bike. St. George Street is one of the main streets, and it’s full of shops, historic sites, restaurants, and art galleries. You can also take a trolley tour or a themed walking tour.
Stroll along the waterfront, visit the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, tour the Lightner Museum and Flagler College, go for a sail or paddleboard excursion in the bay, or head to the beach for some sun and sand.
After all that exploring, take a break with a magical spa experience. One of the most unique things to do in St. Augustine is also one of the most restorative and romantic things to do in St. Augustine. Salt Spa St. Augustine offers a wide range of services for couples, including massages and facials for two, but its most distinctive offerings are the Himalayan salt cave and float tank salt therapy. Inhaling ionized salt air in the salt cave boosts the respiratory and immune systems, reduces stress, improves mood, and increases energy. Wonderfully, all you have to do to enjoy these benefits is just relax and breathe deeply.
The Salt Therapy Float Tank allows you to experience weightlessness and let all tension go, relaxing muscles, decreasing pain and inflammation, reducing stress, increasing energy, and gently exfoliating and hydrating skin.
In the evening, take a romantic horse-drawn carriage ride as the sun sets, then head to one of the many fantastic restaurants in St. Augustine. A few of the most romantic restaurants in St. Augustine are the award-winning Collage, a gourmet global fine dining restaurant with a great wine list; the casually elegant Michael’s (whose chef has been named the best in St. Augustine), which serves inventive dishes featuring steak and seafood with a Spanish influence in a charming historic home with outdoor seating; and Sainte-George Restaurant, a tiny bistro. For authentic Spanish cuisine in a gorgeous setting, don’t miss Columbia Restaurant.
If you’re in the mood for drinks, locals love the craft cocktails, delicious food, and romantic ambiance at the hip lounge Forgotten Tonic, tucked away on Aviles Street, as well as the wide selection of wines, cheeses, and charcuteries at Casa de Vino 57.
Choose this lovely stretch of islands off the southern coast of Florida for your Southern US honeymoon destination if you want to feel like you’re in the tropics without leaving the country.
The Florida Keys offer plenty of undeveloped sandy stretches lined with palm trees and crystal clear waters. You’ll also find great snorkeling and scuba diving opportunities as well as plenty of watersports. Some of the best Florida Keys honeymoon spots are Key Largo, Marathon Key, and Key West.
Key Largo is the closest key to Miami. If you like to snorkel, make sure to bring your gear and stop at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, which was the first undersea park in the country and has the world’s largest artificial reef plus a Spanish shipwreck. If you don’t want to snorkel, you can take a glass-bottom boat tour of the reefs, or kayak through the mangroves.
Top spots to eat here are Alabama Jack’s for conch fritters or Mrs. Mac’s Kitchen for some coconut shrimp and a slice of the tart and sweet Key Lime Pie.
Stay at the adults-only all-inclusive Bungalows Key Largo, nestled in a tropical garden along 1000 feet of shoreline. This opulent but casual oasis has a lovely white sand beach, two pools and jacuzzis, two open-air waterfront restaurants, a gourmet fine dining restaurant, several bars, and a full-service spa with a Zen garden. Elegant bungalows are spacious and feature private verandas, loungers, outdoor soaking tubs, and outdoor showers. Choose from waterfront or garden settings.
Marathon Key features white sand beaches like Sombrero Beach as well as the Turtle Hospital, which rehabilitates injured sea turtles and then returns them to the ocean. Don’t miss Key Fisheries, a casual open-air spot in a marina that serves fresh seafood (be sure to try the lobster mac’n’cheese!), or the waterfront Square Grouper (popular with foodies).
Tranquility Bay Beachfront Hotel and Resort in Marathon lives up to its name with a stunning setting on the water. Stay in a beautifully decorated room or private beach house and enjoy the white sand beach, watersports, 3 pools, beachfront tiki bar, and award-winning restaurant.
Duval Street is always packed with tourists hanging out at the various bars or shopping for souvenirs, but there’s a lot more to vibrant Key West. Have a drink at Sloppy Joe’s, the bar that Ernest Hemingway frequented, then head away from Duval Street to wander through more peaceful areas and enjoy the brightly colored architecture, tropical foliage, and funky vibe.
Other Key West must-dos include visiting the Southernmost Point in the United States for a picture next to the giant buoy, touring the Ernest Hemingway House (look for the 6-toed cats, descendants of his cat), and exploring President Truman’s Little White House, as well as climbing to the top of the Key West Lighthouse.
After all the walking around, you’ll need a break. Head toward the waterfront and have a refreshing cocktail as you gaze south toward Cuba, just a few hundred miles away, or lounge on the sand at Smathers Beach.
Be sure to feast on some Cuban food while you’re in Key West. Some of the best Cuban restaurants are El Siboney, El Meson de Pepe’s, and Frita’s Cuban Burgers.
Schooner Wharf serves a huge selection of delicious fresh seafood plus all sorts of specialty cocktails in its casual open-air, waterfront setting at the foot of William Street.
Blue Heaven is a whimsical restaurant that offers al fresco breakfast, lunch and dinner in a courtyard filled with tropical foliage, as well as indoor dining. There’s live entertainment on the weekends, and while the setting is casual, the food is sophisticated and top notch.
For a romantic and elegant dinner, go to Latitudes. Take a short boat ride from the Opal Key Resort & Marina to get to this fine dining restaurant, set on the water on the island of Sunset Key. Be sure to make a reservation and dress up a bit.
Be sure not to miss the Sunset Celebration at Mallory Square, which features all sorts of activities and performers entertaining the crowds who gather to watch the glorious sunsets and watch for the elusive green flash as the sun sinks into the sea. After sunset, there are plenty of nightlife options in Key West. You can bar hop along Duval Street, or see live music at laidback places like the Green Parrot.
The romantic waterfront Pier House Resort & Spa is centrally located at the foot of Duval Street and features a private white sand beach, luxurious accommodations, and a swanky spa, as well as a pool overlooking the water and a fitness center. Choose from elegant or casual dining options offering mouthwatering dishes with fabulous water views, or hang out at the laidback beach bar or iconic Chart Room Bar.
Oceanview Suites have separate living rooms with sofabeds plus excellent water views from private furnished balconies. The unique Dockside Suite is located on the edge of the building for incredible sunset views from the expanded infinity balcony.
For an ultra-luxe Southern honeymoon resort in the USA, check out Little Palm Island.
The only private island resort in the United States, Little Palm Island delivers barefoot luxury in a breathtaking setting. Just off the coast of the Florida Keys, Little Palm Island features thatched roof bungalows, lush tropical landscaping, and an indoor-outdoor Balinese-inspired spa.
Your island beach vacation begins at the Shore Station, where you enjoy a cocktail, then board the classic speedboat for a short ride over sparkling water. Each romantic bungalow is furnished in British West Indies décor and features ocean views, private furnished deck, separate living area, soaking tub, and indoor and outdoor showers. Island Romance Suites also offer outdoor soaking tubs and an exclusive sand beach with fire pit, for the ultimate privacy.
Savor water views along with delicious fresh cuisine at the beautiful restaurant, then head to one of the waterfront lounge areas to enjoy a peaceful evening by a fire and under the stars. You won’t be surprised that Little Palm Island was named one of the best new hotels in the world and one of the top ten resort hotels in Florida.
Now that you’ve read all about our picks for the 5 best honeymoon destinations in the southern USA, what do you think? Would you choose one of these for your honeymoon? Let us know in the comments!
Ashley has always loved to explore new places and indulges her passion for travel whenever she can. She has been to 12 countries and 32 states so far.
Ashley has worked as a freelance writer for more than 20 years, specializing in the areas of travel, marketing, personal development, and the pursuit of happiness.
Favorite destinations include Sorrento and Capri, Italy; Haarlem, Netherlands; Paris; Sydney and K’gari, Australia; Rotorua and Waiheke Island, New Zealand; the American West; Palm Beach; the Florida Keys; and her hometown of New Orleans. Ashley has a goal of visiting every state plus many more international destinations.