Couples are finding big love in these small town hotels

1655155954 Couples are finding big love in these small town hotels
1655155954 Couples are finding big love in these small town hotels

You don’t need to journey to Hawaii, Fiji or Paris for an unforgettable honeymoon. It’s just as easy to find romance on inviting Main Streets and the down-home allure of fly-speck towns. Here are six all-American honeymoon hamlets worth booking a suite in.

Peek romance

Wylder Tilghman Island — a town of just 1,000 residents on Tilghman Island, Md., and one of the last small fishing villages left on the Chesapeake Bay — is an oasis straight out of a Hallmark movie.

The summer splendors of Chesapeake Bay are numerous, but you can knock almost all of ’em out at this lovely 50-room boutique property (from $245 per night). Chief among them are eating blue crab along the waterfront at Tickler’s Crab Shack, savoring s’mores by evening bonfires, or reliving your childhood camp memories with your better half on canoes or kayaks.

Exterior of docked boats at Wylder.
Love floats at Wylder Tilghman Island in Maryland’s scenic slice of the Chesapeake Bay.
Michael Carnevale

Be sure to take a sunset cruise  ($65) or book a charter fishing trip (prices vary) via Wylder before your stay ends. Should you decide to venture farther off-site, the Assateague Island National Seashore and State Park are two hours away and offer lovebirds the chance to gape at wild horses frolicking on the sand.

Oenophiles will also find several stops along the Chesapeake Wine Trail, less than an hour away from Tilghman Island. Or, get your history and environmental science fix at Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum ($16), about 20 minutes away in St. Michaels. 

Merry go Round

Exterior of Rountree's grounds inAmagansett.
Jitney with your best shot! Shuttle yourself out to Roundtree in charming Amagansett.
The Roundtree, Amagansett

Amagansett is one of the tony Hamptons’ smallest hamlets with just year-round 510 inhabitants and its top hotel, Roundtree (from $895 per night), is big on luxury.

Located directly in front of the Hampton Jitney bus stop, this seaside village retreat boasts a selection of rooms, suites and cottages. Check in for neutral palettes, Frette linens, Grown Alchemist bath products as well as daily wine-and-cheese happy hours and freshly baked cookies and tea each afternoon.

Once you’ve taken a catnap, mosey on over to nearby art galleries, boutiques and restaurants (our votes are Il Buco al Mare and Wölffer Kitchen; both walkable). Or, head to the white-sand beach and enjoy the waves and people-watching.

For another toast to your new chapter, raise a glass for a sunset wine tasting at Wölffer Estates. If you can’t get enough of those Long Island vineyards, Channing Daughters and Duck Walk are great options, too. Be sure to consult with Roundtree’s concierge to ensure all your local experiences go off without a hitch, from private tours of the Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill to a relaxing beach bonfire.

Bliss-ville, USA

Exterior of Shady Villa.
Deep in the heart of Texas, Shady Villa will flutter yours.
Nick Simonite

Everything is bigger in Texas — except for idyllic Salado (population: 3,002), which sits halfway between Austin and Waco.

When you get there, head for Shady Villa Hotel (rooms from $155 per night), and grab a lavender daiquiri by the pool before dining at Stagecoach Restaurant, a Bell County stronghold since 1861.

Don your cowboy hats and saunter along Main Street — brimming with shops, art galleries, cafés and restaurants — and nearby drags, where favorite activities include scoping out Salado Sculpture Garden and watching glassblowers at work at Salado Glassworks.

After all that walking, quench your appetite back at Stagecoach with some pimento cheese and a hot-baked pretzel and quarreling over who should get the chicken-fried steak (you both should). Fun fact: The post-Civil War era, cattle-driving Chisholm Trail came right down Main Street, bringing through the stagecoach lines that served Central Texas, and Sam Houston, George Custer and Jesse James were all rumored to have visited the Shady Villa Hotel.  

Dream big

Exterior nature shot of Big Sky, Montana.
Find reel love by fly-fishing and hiking at Montage Big Sky.
Visit Big Sky

You might think of Big Sky, Mont., as ski central, but this mountainous nabe of some 3,591 locals is ripe for summer rendezvous, too. Opened in 2021, the Montage Big Sky (from $1,395 per night) will celebrate its first summer season with a whirlwind of activities, from golf on Spanish Peaks Mountain Club’s course and hiking to horseback riding and fly-fishing.

In town, if you’ve recovered from all that wedding cake, swing by Sweet Buns, a new bakery that will wow you with standouts like red wine cracked pepper macarons, Key lime pie and cupcakes. Or, embrace your hankering for ‘cue at the Riverhouse BBQ, which doles out Texas staples on the banks of the Gallatin River.

You’re also close to Yellowstone National Park (this year marks its 150th anniversary), should you decide a night in a tent is in order. Admittedly, we’re partial to setting up shop at Spa Montage for a couple’s massage and facial. But hey, an amorous evening camping under the stars doesn’t sound too bad either.  

Bless your hearts

Exterior of Dunleith.
It’s more like Kiss-issippi at romantic Dunleith.
Visit Natchez

Natchez, Miss., a historic steamboat stop on the state’s eponymous river is known as the “Little Easy,” making it the perfect spot to take it easy with your new spouse.

Dripping with Southern charm, Natchez is renowned for its magnificent historic homes, some 1,000 of which are on the National Register of Historic Places. One of its grandest is Dunleith, a sprawling 1855 home turned bed-and-breakfast with an outdoor pool and on-site restaurant and bar (from $143 per night).

If you’re not marveling at the Greek Revival architecture around Natchez, take a horse-drawn carriage with Southern Carriage Tours, ghost tour with Downtown Karla Brown or learn the art of biscuit-making in Chef Regina Charboneau’s cooking classes.

On another day, book a historic home tour of Longwood Mansion or Stanton Hall with Natchez Pilgrimage Tours, followed by a sunset picnic at the riverfront’s Bluff Park.

Edgy accommodations

A married couple at the Cliff House.
Maine squeeze: Honeymoon on the state’s craggy and oh-so-charming southern coast at the Cliff House.
Casey Durgin Photography

Welcome to Cape Neddick, a town of 2,563 people on Maine’s craggy southern coast that brings the quaint in spades. The Cliff House Maine (from $509 per night) is the town’s most chichi resort, perched atop Bald Head Cliff with dramatic views of the Atlantic (that are particularly mesmerizing when it’s stormy).

Choose from guest rooms, suites and a standalone cottage and an itinerary that consists mainly of spa days, pool-front chilling and lobster galore.

At the spa, book a signature suite with two treatment tables, drench experience shower for two and a built-in lounge nook with a fireplace. Then, head to the Tiller Restaurant or Nubb’s Lobster Shack to blow postnuptial calories on crab and chorizo mac and cheese, Maine mussels, duck fat poached swordfish, clam chowder and more lobster rolls than you can count.

Carve some time away from Cliff House in neighboring Ogunquit, with access to top-notch beaches, restaurants, two museums and the Ogunquit Playhouse, an acclaimed theater company founded in 1933. While in Ogunquit, the Marginal Way walking trail, which hugs the foamy coastline, is a must for letting that provincial magic soak into your soul.