Our unexpected, cheap, awesome honeymoon destination

cheap honeymoon

When we told people where we were going for our honeymoon, the response was – almost universally – “Hahahah! Wait. What?” Either that or a polite, strained, very Midwestern “Well. Isn’t that … interesting.”

To which I would (internally) reply “Yes! That’s right! I’m going to pay $114 a night for a beach house and kick around huge, white sand beaches devoid of people and eat my weight in internationally renowned cuisine and YOU CAN GO AHEAD AND MISS ALL THE FUN.”

If you’ve ever gotten married or gone on a honeymoon, you know that people have Ideas About How To Do It Correctly and Opinions About Where One Should Honeymoon. In case you were wondering, ‘acceptable’ honeymoon destinations are as follows:

1. Hawaii
2. Paris/London/anywhere in Europe, really
3. Tulum
4. Savannah
5. Charleston

All those places are so awesome! I have been to many of them and can heartily recommend them! But that’s not where we went.

Here are some photographic clues. Can you guess where we were?

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Our super cute beach house! You can rent it here

We spent most of our nine-day honeymoon in ….


Mississippi.

And I so, so highly recommend it.

Here’s why:

1. The Gulf Coast in the off-season is gorgeous, quiet, and super affordable.
You can fly into New Orleans, have a day or two of French Quarter/Garden District fun, then rent a car and 45 minutes later you’re on the beach …all by yourself.

During high season (July – October) it’s busier and hotter than most of us Yankees can handle – but still lovely!

2. The people are so nice YOU COULD DIE.
You thought you were a kind, thoughtful, conscientious person but you were wrong. Do you text your guests when the wind picks up to make sure they are okay? Do you drop off homemade goodies so they can experience local delicacies for themselves? No? Fellow Yankees, WE HAVE SO MUCH TO LEARN.

3. The food.
Dur. Let’s talk about fried green tomatoes, remoulade, hurricane cocktails,  banana pudding, grits, roasted okra, sweet tea, and everything else ever. If you’re a meat-eater, there are even more amazing things for you to eat!

4. The beaches are almost completely empty.
At least, in late January they are! Most mornings, I’d walk along the beach for a mile or two. The most people I ever encountered during my walk? 2.

Of course, you can honeymoon whenever and where ever you want. Do a big, three-week European tour immediately following your wedding if that’s what you want! Wait four years till you can afford that cruise to Antarctica! Skip the whole thing and use that money to pay off the rest of your student loans!

But if you want permission from someone on the internet to go somewhere slightly less traditional for your honeymoon, this is it. 😉

Did you take a honeymoon? Where did you go? What’s your favorite underappreciated travel destination? I seriously love Wisconsin!

P.S. How to be a happy, laid-back traveler and How to travel with a friend and not kill them.

photo credits: thornbill construction // habitat for humanity // bill rand

40 Comments

Mary

Just got back from our Southwest honeymoon roadtrip from Austin to the Grand Canyon and used your road trip guide. ^_^ Congratulations again! Hope you had a fabulous time.

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Jessica Dewhurst

My husband and I got married in September and in October we took a 2-week honeymoon to Japan. We traveled the country by train and saw 8 different cities. It was far from traditional (and definitely not cheap, though cheaper than I would have expected), but it was the most incredible adventure.

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Sarah Von Bargen

That’s awesome! Japan is one of the few Asian countries I haven’t visited – can’t wait to get there!

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Jen

Welcome to my corner of the world! We were actually in BSL/Waveland last night to have all-you-can-eat crab legs at the Silver Slipper…for $12.50. While we live in Gulfport, we love BSL – such a great little community with a ton of stuff going on. It’s hard to believe that 11 years ago it was the epicenter of Hurricane Katrina & almost everything was wiped away. It’s so exciting to see the communities come back with all the new businesses and restaurants.

We hope you’ll be back 😉

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Sarah Von Bargen

Oh that’s so funny! It would have been funny to run into each other down there!

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Yelle

I love this idea for a honeymoon! My husband and I had already been to Paris and Savannah, and lived in Florida so a beachy honeymoon wasn’t a top priority. Instead, we rented an AirBnB in Buenos Aires, Argentina, then flew to wine country in Brazil, and our last stop was my family’s farm in Brazil. It was a great combo of city exploring, winery relaxing, and complete solitude on a farm. Also, our dollar went far in South America. I totally recommend it!

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Brittany

My husband and I took a week in a half road trip from Oregon to Louisiana and stopped in Arches and Capitol Reef National Park. Had so much fun!

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Jess

You go, girl. Screw convention – kudos to you for being that voice of reason on the internet 🙂 Super glad your honeymoon was a dream!

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Amanda | Chasing My Sunshine

Sarah, I am so not surprised you found such an amazing honeymoon spot! Your pictures certainly sell me on it, but the fact that you can mix New Orleans and the beach is just PERFECTION. I’m glad you had such a wonderful time. I’d love to find little pockets where people are that nice. Make my Philadelphia heart melt a little bit. 😉

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Sarah Von Bargen

I spent a week in Philly a few years ago and loved it! I loved the penitentiary tour!

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ashley

My husband and I took a weird honeymoon, too–we combined our honeymoon and wedding by “eloping” in Asheville, NC. We got married on the Monday of Thanksgiving week with just our immediate families in attendance, rented a beautiful cabin in the mountains, and then cooked Thanksgiving dinner for everyone on Thursday. We definitely got some raised brows when we told people our parents would be visiting us on our honeymoon.

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Sarah Von Bargen

That sounds perfect! I love Asheville; every time I’m there I eat at Early Girl!

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steph

I wholeheartedly agree and it looks like your honeymoon was lovely! But, this Charleston girl has a soft spot for my hometown 😉

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Brittany Taylor

Ha! I saw your header photo and started laughing. My vacation planning guide is a two-prong approach. Cool city? Great. Or, beach? Done. Could very much not care less where that beach might be (well, OK, within reason. Probably not going to Rio for the beach anytime soon). Glad your honeymoon location was a gem.

– From a girl who lives in Charleston <3

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Liz

I’m over here looking up flights to Mississippi! This looks absolutely dreamy , happy you had such a good time! My husband and I spent a few days on Fire Island, because we have no car and could take a train there (NYC life!) and then splashed out on a trip to Vietnam after a few months. The whole point of a ‘moon is just to hang out with each other, who cares where you go! (As long as there is also delicious food, duh.)

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Sarah Von Bargen

Right? I think if we went to Paris or London or NYC I’d feel a lot of pressure to ‘see the sights’ when I really just want to sleep in and read and smooch!

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Mary

I think the greatest thing is to take a few days just for you two immediately after the wedding. Official honeymoon or not, big trip or staycation, I would recommend it to everyone. It can be about mental health, enjoying the wedding glow, taking a deep breath before heading back to work … But if you’re at all able, take a few days for yourselves right after the wedding. You won’t regret it!

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katie d.

Even though I’m a Hawaii-goer, I never doubted your research for a second. it looks LOVELY and I’d consider it for our next vacation for sure. 🙂

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Noelle

Yes!! I visited the Gulf Coast in Alabama a few years ago with a good friend, and it was awesome! I’d go back in a heartbeat.

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Komal Gujarathi

I have been following you for YEARS! I had a baby 6 months ago and fell behind on reading my blogs and just saw that you got married! CONGRATS!!! The honeymoon looks like it was perfect!

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Sarah Von Bargen

Oh, thanks so much! So fun to hear that people have been reading this whole time!

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erinsuzanne

I moved to the Gulf for a job/boy (live in Alabama, work in Mississippi) from Wisconsin in June, and I’ve been amazed at how much we love it and love exploring from Florida’s panhandle to New Orleans. I guessed from your hints that you might be down here: great food, empty yet gorgeous beaches, inexpensive and gorgeous lodging, wonderfully kind people! Glad it was great!

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Kristen

This sounds perfect – off season travel destinations are the best. My MIL lives in Florida and we’d always go down and visit in May before it got too busy. The weather is perfect and the beach is empty. And you’re right- the people in the South could not be nicer. That alone would make me want to go live there.

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LaMesha

My husband and I really like Portland, OR. It’s beautiful, there are yummy food trucks, a big bookstore and bikes to rent. I’m going to tell him about Mississippi later today when I get home. It sounds awesome. Glad you had a good honeymoon.

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Kate

Wholeheartedly agree with Mary on the honeymoon or mini moon immediately after the wedding. We went to a tiny coastal town in Maine right after our wedding and even stayed at an inn that allowed dogs so our pup could accompany us. We did the big Europe trip 6 months later so we could save and go where we really wanted to go. Highly recommend flying into London (or Paris or Reykjavik…there are deals to be had) then using budget airlines to go smaller cities like Ljubljana in Slovenia.

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Sarah Von Bargen

Such a good idea! I love the Iceland air deals where you get a 23-hour layover in Reykjavik!

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Abbigail

When we got married back in 2006, it was kind of before the internet was really a thing. We found a nice cabin in Iron River, Wisconsin and spent a week hiking, Geocaching, and just enjoying life. We had a printed map and a gazetteer and no clue what we were doing. After a year of living in separate states, both in school full-time and working 25+ hours a week, it was the perfect “let’s start life together” week. It was also less than $1,000. Bonus when you just paid for your own (small) wedding.

Congrats to you and your new-ish husband for finding a place to relax that made YOU happy – and your accountant, too, I’m sure. 🙂

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Lauren

We took a short honeymoon over a long weekend as a road trip to Montreal. It’s about a 12 hour drive from where we live in the US, so we stopped along the way in the Thousand Islands and explored that beautiful park, so we got nature and city both in the trip. In the city, we had amazing food and fantastic walks, and so many hilarious stories about us failing to speak French. There were all kinds of nice bonding moments for a newly married couple, and Montreal is a fantastic city!

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Sarah Von Bargen

Ahhhhh! I loooove Thousand Islands! I stopped there on my road trip this summer and made a mental note to go back … especially while the exchange rate is in our favor!

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Ali

Congratulations and your honeymoon sounds fabulous! My husband and I got married in Singapore (we were living there at the time) and took a short flight to Siem Reap Cambodia for our honeymoon. The temples and food were amazing of course, but learning about the history of the people made the most lasting impression.

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Jenn

AAAAH YES! I lived on the Gulf Coast for awhile growing up, and I loved it! But I’ll talk to people and say, “Yeah, I lived in Biloxi for awhile,” and they get THAT FACE. The “I’m so sorry” face.

Don’t be sorry, dudes! I spent nearly two glorious years in warm wetlands surrounded by fresh seafood, friendly folks, and gorgeous barrier islands. With DOLPHINS. And the prettiest sunsets ever. The Mississippi Gulf Coast is AWESOME.

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Brittany Deal

I had no idea the gulf of Mississippi was so nice! We went to Gatlinburg for our Honeymoon. Most people looked at us like we were crazy but we love the mountains, it was a 4 hour drive away, and so affordable! Add that Pigeon Forge is right next door (DOLLY PARTON’S HOMETOWN) we just couldn’t resist!

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Mary Rose

Great pictures!!!! We honeymooned in Williamsburg, VA and LOVED it. As history buffs we of course did all of the colonial stuff, but there were also great hiking/bike trails and an amazing winery. And its not far from VA beach if you’d like to hit that as well.

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