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Can't decide where to honeymoon - Hawaii, Alaska or Yellowstone

My fiance and I are from CA and we don't want to travel too far for our honeymoon for various reasons (not enough vacation time, budgeting, would like to spend our 7 days enjoying our time not traveling). We've limited it to Hawaii, Alaska and Yellowstone; we're looking to honeymoon mid/end of August. Does anyone have any recommendations?

We're outdoorsy types too, but kind of want to something all inclusive where we have nice breakfast/dinners available where we're staying, and day trips around.

Re: Can't decide where to honeymoon - Hawaii, Alaska or Yellowstone

  • CMGragainCMGragain member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    edited January 2014
    If Alaska is on your list, consider a cruise.  They do the driving while you are having dinner, dancing and sleeping the night away.  The next morning you will be at your new destination.  Most cruise ships do the inside passage, and visit Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, and a glacier area.  My daughter went on an Alaska cruise for her honeymoon, and they both loved it!  I recommend Princess cruises for the best itinerary and experience.  There was a 10 day cruise round trip out of San Francisco.
     last year.
    Yellowstone will be very crowded in August.  The lodges inside the park are rather old style, many with bathrooms down the hall.
  • ShesSoColdShesSoCold bend over and I'll show ya mod
    Moderator 5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its
    I'm going to Yellowstone this summer and we've done a lot of research - I don't think you'll be able to find a whole lot of all-inclusives there. And as CMGr said, the lodges in the park are old and VERY expensive. It's not easy to find a hotel near Yellowstone - most are in towns 50+ miles away and the hotels in the small towns right on the edge of Yellowstone are not luxury in the least and you'll be spending quite a bit of money. We got one of the last rooms at a regular old hotel (Holiday Inn Express or Comfort Inn type) for under $180 when we booked in early fall. I haven't been there yet so I can't say if it's worth the crowds and expensive crap hotel rooms, but I'm excited.
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  • SmileDamnitSmileDamnit Mile High City member
    500 Love Its 1000 Comments Second Anniversary Name Dropper
    I've not been to HI (but would love to) so I can't speak to that, but I have been on an Alaskan cruise and it was awesome!! I get terribly seasick (yes, even on a 6K passenger ship) and there were a disproportionate number of old folks, but other than that, it was great. Fantastic food & service, great stops at Skagway, Juneau & Katchikan (with lots of excursion opportunities), and plenty to do on the ship itself. I didn't love Yellowstone, simply b/c it was waaaaaay crowded and I honestly didn't think it was that pretty. Definitely worth seeing once, but not sure it's HM worthy? FWIW, I thought Grand Teton National Park was better.

    Good luck in your decision!
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  • OliveOilsMomOliveOilsMom South Jersey member
    Eighth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    August will be very busy and expensive in Hawaii.  They also do not have any all inclusives unless you do a Hawaiian cruise.  And on every island there are great hiking trails and outdoorsy activities.
  • You will not find all-inclusive type hotels in Yellowstone (atleast that I know of). I've been several times. My ex's family has a cabin in Island Park, ID, which is about 45 mins away from West Yellowstone. If you're open to not staying in the park (which is very expensive) look into renting a cabin (some are very nice) in Island Park, ID, it is a goregous place and if you go you must visit Mesa Falls that is near there.

    I have seen many vacation rentals in Island Park and West Yellowstone on vrbo.com

    Good Luck!

  • Thanks everyone for the responses! I guess all -inclusive was the wrong word to use. I guess I was thinking more like stay in one hotel and be able to eat there/very nearby, and be able to chill out at / around the hotel. From what you're all saying I'm thinking it's like 3 options now (more tailored).

    1) Yellowstone (2 hotels) 1 nice hotel to start the trip in one of the gateway towns, go on some day trips/enjoy the area/spa day! then move along to one of the historic hotels in the park for a night or 2... (neither of us has been to Yellowstone)

    2) Hawaii - complete stay at a reasonably priced but nice resort/hotel (I've been to Hawaii before, fiance has not)

    3) Alaska cruise - like that the trip is very dynamic, kind of worried about the boat, I've never been on a cruise (neither of us have been to Alaska). Does anyone know of any of the smaller cruise ships?

  • CMGragainCMGragain member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    edited January 2014
    I have been on 17 cruises, and I have cruised Alaska 3 times.  Cruises are a very cost effective way to take a vacation.  You need a good travel agent to explain it to you, and to book your cruise if that is what you decide to do.  NEVER book directly with the cruise line!  If you PM me, I can share my own on line travel agent.  We talk on the telephone.
    Your cruise fare pays for your room  and meals in the main dining room, Lido buffet, and pizza and burgers by the pool.  You won't spend much time in the pool on an Alaska cruise unless your ship has a covered, inside pool.  I like the Princess Island and Coral.  They are mid-sized ships.
    Small cruise ships (about 100 passengers or so) are very expensive!  Most of the larger ships are designed so that you never see all the passengers at one time.  There are plenty of quiet places to read a book.
    What is NOT covered by your cruise fare is your transportation to and from the ship.  Most people stay the night before sailing in a nearby hotel so that there is no chance of missing the ship, or lost luggage.  There will be about a $24 per day charge for your tips to waiters and room stewards.  This appears on your bill at the end of the cruise, and is usually charged to a credit card.  Alcohol is extra, expect at least $6.50 per drink.  Most cruise lines will let you bring in a bottle of wine or champagne each to drink in your cabin.  No hard liquor or beer can be brought on board with you.  Shore excursions are pricey, but worth it.  Do go whale watching!  There is a famous train ride into the Yukon Territory in Skagway.
    How to save money on a cruise:
    1.  Don't eat in the restaurants that charge extra fees.  The food in the dining room is fine, and it's already paid for.
    2.  Don't buy anything on the ship!!!
    3.  Stay out of the casino.
    4.  Watch your liquor bill!  It adds up fast!  Sodas are extra, too.
    5.  Take your own photos - lots of them!  Alaska is a photographer's dream!  The ship photographers charge outrageous prices.
    6.  Do go on some memorable excursions.
    7.  Be aware that the "recommended" stores touted in the shopping talks are either owned by the cruise line, or give them a huge kickback. Buy a souvenir sweatshirt - not overpriced, low quality diamond earrings.  Beware Diamonds International.  None of these stores are locally owned.
    8.  There are many different prices for cabins.  In Alaska I do think you should get a balcony cabin if you can possibly afford it.  There is non-stop scenery all the way north.
    9.  Take advantage of all the free activities while you are sailing.  Big screen movies, live musical revues, dancing, trivia, there is a gym area with workout equipment, nature lectures.
    10.  For heaven's sake, BUY TRIP INSURANCE!!!
    I hope this gives you an idea of what to expect.  PM me anytime.
  • Alaska is really nice around August, or so I heard, especially since a lot of the cruise ships leave the port in Seattle then.

  • CMGragainCMGragain member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    edited January 2014
    Most ships leave the port of Vancouver, Canada.  You are right about August in Alaska.  The purple fireweed will be in bloom!  You will need passports.
  • lovesclimbinglovesclimbing Alaska member
    Seventh Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    edited April 2014
    I live in Alaska and have worked in tourism two different summers.

    One warning - there will not be very many young/honeymooning people.  The vast majority of tourists are retiree-age.  So basically, all the included excursions that come as part of the package will be older-people accessible.  There are other excursions available such as hiking and four-wheeling and kayaking and such, but usually those ones are not included as part of your deal, you'll probably have to pay extra.

    Alaska is very beautiful any time of the year, but in summer, the colors can be really gorgeous.  Most tour packages will include at least a stint on a train - most commonly from Anchorage to Fairbanks (350 miles or so).  I have never been but I know lots of people who have and I hear it's a great ride!  I really want to go on the train sometime.

    If you go to Alaska, be very aware of this logo:

    This means the product was actually made in Alaska.  It usually looks like this, but occasionally can be in different colors, and sometimes is really tiny. A lot, I would even say most, Made in Alaska products will have this logo, but there are some that don't.  Products made in Alaska that don't use this logo will usually say Made in Alaska somewhere because it's a pride thing and tourists usually want stuff actually made in the state they're visiting.

    There is another logo that looks very similar.  It is usually blue, not black and white.  The bears are skinnier and the big bear's head is up, rather than down. It will not say Made in Alaska and if you look close, you'll find Made in China somewhere.  I can't find a picture or I'd post it.

    The similarity of those two logos have confused people. I remember a few tourists mentioning that to me the summer I worked in a gift shop.

    If you have any specific questions about Alaska, PM me or post here and tag me.  I can probably help. 

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  • We did our honeymoon in Hawaii, and loved it. We thought it was a great blend of relaxing and being able to do active hikes / day trips. We actually alternated, one day relaxing at the pool and beach at the hotel and the next going exploring and hiking around. If you stay in one of the resort areas on Maui or Kauai (and probably on the other islands) there tend to be plenty of restaurants at different price points / formality levels in walking distance. Our hotel had a shuttle that would take you from the hotel to the nearby restaurants / hotels as well so you could have some variety (and have a drink or two without being worried about driving back). 
  • I've been on a Caribbean cruise (loved it, and second everything @CMGragain said about cruising in general) and inland Alaska (drove around in a motor home for 3 weeks - Anchorage, Homer, Fairbanks, Valdez) and now I'm DYING to do an Alaskan cruise. Alaska is seriously an incredible experience like none other. You don't get many opportunities to have a snowball fight on a glacier while wearing short sleeves, or see a dozen bald eagles at once! Best seafood you'll ever eat, too.

  • I did alaska in July/Aug a few years ago & had a blast. Here is something to ask yourself, would you like a honeymoon to be more bath suiting & shorts, hiking boots & bug spray or cooler weather?

    Just to warn you, I don't know how common it is, but when I to Denali national park in August there was snow on the ground (not just in the mountains) due to a snow storm that had white out conditions on the road ways just the day before). Even though it's August, their average temp was 60-70 degrees and we needed our raincoats too.

  • I've been on two cruises to Alaska and I absolutely love it - there's nothing that can be said about the breathtaking beauty up there.  

    I think our honeymoon is going to be in Hawaii.  FI is Army, so we can stay at the military hotel the Hale Koa.  I've never been to Hawaii, but the pictures of it also look gorgeous!

  • I lived in Idaho for a couple years and had the luxury of being able to take day trips to Yellowstone when ever. It is soooo beautiful and it was amazing to see all the wildlife and different scenery. I think it would make for a great honeymoon destination. The only downfalls would be 1. It is a ton of driving, I was always surprised by this. and 2. The end of August is the BUSIEST time of year. The park is packed and for that reason you do not get to see much of the wildlife. Just a couple things to consider. Personally, Id go Hawaii :)  




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  • What's on your bucket list?  And go there.  If all three are, what excites you the most.  Personally I am all over Hawaii.  
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