We asked well-traveled friends around the office where they’ve been and where they want to go. From camping to all-out luxury, specks of tropical paradise to tucked-away ski chalets – we pared the list down to 15. Happy travels!
Royal Malewane Safari Lodge, South Africa
Let’s see: the wildlife drives; the open air suites with tubs by the window and private pools that elephants walk up to; flame-grilled dinners under the night sky with traditional music and local wine. This place almost seems too luxurious! But, it’s probably worth it. Definitely.
Fire Lookout Hut, Oregon
Super cool idea we’ve only heard about. Apparently you can rent out fire lookout towers during the summer/fall season for very reasonable prices! What could be more romantic than a private mountaintop?
A Castle in Tuscany
So we haven’t been to this one (yet), but it certainly seems worth a few Italian phrase book-aided emails with the owners to learn more. You could have your whole wedding here and put up your family, too! Look at those rooms, the terrace, la piscina…
Little Corn Island, Nicaragua
One surprisingly-inexpensive-for-how-far-away-you-feel plane ticket (plus a puddle jumper once you’re in Nicaragua) and a tiny thatched hut atop the most magical-looking green grass is yours. Wake up with the birds. Stop by welcoming locals’ kitchens for home-cooked fish stew. There are no roads; you’re free to roam and laze and dip into the bright blue water surrounding the island when you get hot. Stay here or here.
One of the gals on our team has family here. She says there are over 300 chapels (the charming white-washed kind)— one for each day of the year. Incredible. This island was made for weddings!
Sleeping Bear Dunes, Michigan
Massive sandy dunes that stretch for what feels like a mile until they reach clear blue water might not be the first image that comes to mind when someone mentions Michigan. But that’s what’s cool about Sleeping Bear Dunes: it’s still kind of a secret. If the idea of exploring lesser-known pockets of America with your sweetheart appeals to you, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula could be your cup of tea.
Houseboat on the Seine River, Paris
Another airbnb gem. (Looks like it was written up in up Louis Vuitton’s Paris City Guide — so a pretty safe bet!) Plus, she seems delightful.
Cozy up with your person in this picturesque mountain town located in the Kitzbühel Alps. Split your time between skiing and exploring the town’s center (where you won’t find a single car!). Stay central at a local-owned inn, or an in an “Alm” – the small, traditional wood huts that shepherds would use when they were up in the mountains to herd and graze their flocks.
Beach Camping at Dry Tortugas National Park
Pack your tent (make sure you buy one from a range of tents for the beach because they differ from normal tents in a number of ways) and take the fast ferry 70 miles west of Key West to Fort Jefferson, an old fort-turned-National Park. Before you choose a tent take a look at this beach tent buyer’s guide at Seaside Planet, as each tent is built for a different purpose.
Explore the overgrown, coliseum-like fort and snorkel turquoise waters by day; then wind down in one of the few beachside campsites by night. We hear the stars down there are nuts.
Floating Farmhouse in the Catskills
Wouldn’t this be the most serene, idyllic spot for a small wedding?! It’s so dreamy…
Wander beautiful, chaotic Hanoi; take in a water puppet show. Stay here. Head to Ha Long Bay. Rent a private boat + crew for a two night cruise around the spectacular caves and rock formations – for cheap! Then head to the beach in Hoi An. Stay in your own private bungalow on the China Sea and stop by this custom clothing shop Mick Jagger used to go to for a summer dress or winter coat made to fit.
Waipio Valley, Hawaii
They say this place is “Old Hawaii”. We also hear it’s the type of place where you can just, you know, rent your own little cottage at the edge of your own private cliff. Overlooking the ocean. And rainbows.
An independent island country off the southeastern tip of India, Sri Lanka offers a little bit of everything: lush countryside, golden-sand beaches, exotic wildlife, architectural wonders, and vibrant culture. Our source also tells us that everyone is super-friendly and warm. And that elephant orphanages are open to gentle visitors. Stay here.
Remember that scene in The Talented Mr. Ripley where everyone is hanging out on an Italian beach in smart, 50s-style bathing suits? That was filmed on this island! Less touristy than some of the more popular Amalfi Coast destinations but with the same vistas, Ischia offers a fishing village-like vibe with beautiful beaches and thermal pools that have healing waters.
Marrakech is such a beautiful place that some people plan to have a Marrakech wedding when they thought they were only going to go for their honeymoon! Between the souks and Berber markets, the spas (Hammam + Gommage are the typical treatments), the El Badi Palace, and the gorgeous hotels with terraces overlooking storks on the roofs of Marrakech, you’ll feel energized and relaxed all at once. Stay here if you want to do it up; here for something a little quieter.