It’s no secret that weddings are expensive. In fact, the average wedding in the U.S. in 2022 cost $28,000 (and that’s not including an engagement ring). By the time you’re ready to pick a honeymoon spot, you may be looking at domestic destinations that are more affordable than a trip overseas. Luckily, there’s plenty of romance to be found from coast to coast, and at a much lower price point than many international getaways. Check out these affordable honeymoon destinations in the U.S.
Cheap honeymoon destinations in the U.S.
1. San Diego, California
San Diego can be an expensive place to visit, but if you plan it right, the city can actually be a cheap honeymoon idea in California. Once you’re there, take advantage of San Diego’s array of free activities, like nuzzling up next to each other for an epic sunset at Sunset Cliffs, walking through picturesque gardens at Balboa Park and unwinding from the stress of wedding planning at one of San Diego’s many public beaches. Plus, year-round temperate weather makes the city an ideal destination for travel any time.
2. Washington, D.C.
With three airports and tons of flights serving the nation’s capital, low airfare already bumps Washington, D.C., to the top of the list for best honeymoon destinations on a budget in the U.S. Once you arrive, there are many free activities to enjoy around the city together. History buffs can’t miss the National Mall, which is where you’ll find monuments, historic sites, free Smithsonian museums and, oftentimes, free public events in the Mall’s green spaces. If you want to get into nature, there are plenty of accessible options, like 1,754-acre Rock Creek Park, the Capital Crescent Trail along the Potomac River and Roosevelt Island, which can only be accessed via a pedestrian bridge in Northern Virginia. For affordable eats, head away from downtown and into the city’s diverse neighborhoods, where you’ll find everything from authentic Ethiopian to Salvadoran restaurants.
3. Chicago, Illinois
Chicago is a great choice for adventurous couples who love to hit the streets and explore. Rent bikes and get your bearings on a self-guided cycling tour of the city, making stops along the Chicago Riverwalk, Lake Michigan and at Navy Pier. Set up a romantic picnic in one of Chicago’s great parks, like Millennium Park, Grant Park, or Lincoln Park. You’ll also find free events in these parks throughout the year, such as concerts, art exhibitions and movie screenings. Even if neither of you are self-described foodies, a DIY food tour is a must in this multicultural city. And importantly, given Chicago’s Midwest location, airfare from any corner of the continental US is typically reasonable.
4. Finger Lakes, New York
Base your Finger Lakes honeymoon around Syracuse or Rochester so you have the widest range of options for accommodations and restaurants. Save money by exploring the area’s 11 lakes with budget-friendly hikes. Then you may feel a little better when you decide to splurge on luxe activities like wine tastings at some of the area’s top vineyards. There are festivals in the Finger Lakes region that you can enjoy on the cheap year-round, like Bristol Mountain’s Spring Carnival Weekend or the Christkindl Market at Granger’s Homestead in November.
5. Taos, New Mexico
Taos is a fantastic honeymoon destination on a budget, particularly for couples who love both nature and the arts. At the edge of town is Taos Pueblo, a UNESCO world heritage site that features a Native American community preserved for more than 1,000 years. You can also check out the Rio Grande Gorge and then head to the town’s plaza to explore art galleries and restaurants. Taos is also home to excellent skiing.
6. Asheville, North Carolina
Nestled in the Appalachian Mountains, Asheville serves as a great home base for hiking the Appalachian Trail. The downtown area also offers incredible dining and shopping experiences, but at a much lower cost than larger cities. And if you want to take a romantic historical tour, check out the Biltmore Estate on the outskirts of Asheville.
7. Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
Outdoorsy couples will love to explore Rocky Mountain National Park on a budget-friendly honeymoon. Sign up for a full moon hike under the stars, or watch the sunrise over Sprague Lake. If the weather turns bad or you’re simply too tired to hike, pack a picnic and take a scenic drive through Trail Ridge Road, which is the country’s highest-elevation paved road. You’ll continually be surprised everywhere you turn in this stunning national park.
8. St. Augustine, Florida
Simply taking a walk through St. Augustine and its Colonial Spanish Quarter is enough to deserve a spot on the list of romantic honeymoon destinations. And couples who love watching scary movies together will love the abundance of ghost tours in this historic city. During the day, you can soak in the sun at the public beaches along the Atlantic Ocean.
9. New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans is another historic city that exudes romance. The Creole culture is a blend of French, Spanish and Caribbean influences and is evident in everything from the food to the architecture. Explore the city on foot or hop on an inexpensive trolley ride to get around. For a cheap and authentic breakfast, grab some beignets and coffee at Cafe du Monde.
10. San Antonio, Texas
One of the most romantic spots in San Antonio is also completely free: the historic River Walk in the King William District. Head out there in the evening to watch strings of lights reflect off the water for a truly memorable night. San Antonio is also home to the Alamo, which is the perfect destination for history lovers. When you’re tuckered out from exploring the city, check out a show at the beautifully preserved Majestic Theatre. You’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time to the gilded age.
11. Denver, Colorado
Couples who want a mix of solitude and adventure should put Denver high on their list. You can get out of town and spend quality time together hiking in Estes Park or walking alongside hundreds of dinosaur tracks at Dinosaur Ridge. Bring a picnic lunch and spread out at a scenic spot. Come nightfall, head to a park away from the city lights — Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison and Golden Gate Canyon Park in Golden are top choices — for a romantic evening stargazing together. Back in town, Denver plays host to free events throughout the year, like concerts, cultural festivals and art walks. And there’s also free farmer’s markets, inexpensive brewery tours and no-admission days to some museums to take advantage of.
Getting around on your honeymoon
Planning a honeymoon on a budget isn’t impossible, especially when you think outside the box with destinations like Denver and Chicago. Finding a reasonably priced car rental is an important part of keeping trip costs under control. With Avail car sharing, your trip is protected by Allstate insurance and 24/7 roadside assistance, with no extra fees for a second driver so you can both take turns behind the wheel.