No mater how many incredibly scenic drives I experience around the world, there's always one…
Kids change everything. That’s why I think a babymoon is important.
The months before your little bundle of joy arrives are jam-packed with to-dos. That said, don’t let the doctor’s appointments, picking out strollers and general holy crap we’re going to be parents! feelings keep you from having a little fun. It’s important to spend time connecting with your partner, relaxing, eating lots of delicious food and soaking up the tranquility.
I know everyone is different, but I do wish I would’ve reveled a little more in the things I used to take for granted—stuff like getting dressed up and putting on makeup, as well as enjoying sporty things like hiking and biking (I know not everyone feels up to that when pregnant, but if that’s what you love, make time for it now!).
A babymoon doesn’t need to be outrageously expensive. Heck, you could even do a staycation in your own town. However, if you want to get away, here are some fabulous domestic options.
The Florida Keys
You might immediately think “wasted away again in Margaritaville” doesn’t really sound like a good fit for a babymoon, but the Keys have a lot more to offer than rum runners. There’s the Hemingway House, Dry Tortugas National Park, and yes, Duval Street (just laugh at all the drunk tourists, knowing that you’re not going to wake up hungover tomorrow). The Porch, a craft cocktail joint just off Duval, will even mix you an NA cocktail that will knock your compression socks off.
There’s lots of great places to stay as well, complete with pools, ocean views and plenty of lounge chairs and hammocks to park your pregnant bod (provided you can get out of said hammock). My husband and I honeymooned here in 2006, spending four glorious days at the Sunset Key Guest Cottages, located on a private luxury Island just a 10-minute ferry ride from Key West. There’s also tons of beautiful, historic B&Bs located in Old Town—all within walking distance of the main attractions. Be sure to grab breakfast at Pepe’s Café, a 100-year-old greasy spoon with tons of character, excellent banana bread and pretty much anything a pregnant lady might want.
Palm Springs, California
There are a lot of reasons to choose Palm Springs for your babymoon. First, it’s one of the sunniest places on the planet, so your chance of getting rained out is next to nothing. I also adore their small, super manageable airport that’s close to the action. And keep in mind this town is full of amazing spas, great restaurants and totally flat—perfect for waddling…er walking… down Palm Spring’s charming main drag.
There’s tons of stylish hotels in town, but make sure to pick one with less of a party atmosphere (for example, the Ace Hotel is probably not a good choice for your babymoon). Two especially great options are Korakia Pensione, a stunning and serene Moroccan-inspired hotel and spa) and La Quinta Resort. La Quinta’s Oasis spa offers an epic maternity massage – 50 or 80 minutes of specialty massage utilizing light to medium pressure and relaxing lavender essential oil. You can add-on a belly balm treatment, which protects and hydrates your dry skin while diminishing the appearance of stretch marks. Yes, please!
Crave a quiet, blissful vacation? Look no further than Mii Amo Spa in Sedona. It’s one of those places where you pull up in your car and just say wow. Not only is the actual resort stunning, but the majestic beauty of the high desert that surrounds it instantly puts you at ease. Mii Amo is a place of physical and spiritual healing, and the staff, the services offered, even the architecture focus on making sure guests leave in far better shape than when they arrived. Indulge in a pre-natal massage, or a variety of other. On my last trip, I indulged in a Watsu treatment, where you float in a pool of warm water while getting massaged. One of the most relaxing moments of my life!
If you feel like a little adventure, there’s tons of fantastic and not-too-crazy hikes in the area. Try the Llama Trail hike, which offers 2-, 4- and 6-mile loops. This trail provides views of Bell Rock, Courthouse Butte and Cathedral Rock (all apparently buzzing with good energy—just ask the locals!), and will get you out into that fabulous Sedona air.
Mackinac Island, Michigan
Want to relax? I mean REALLY relax? There’s an island that I found more soothing than Jamaica, Hawaii or Greece. It’s Mackinac Island in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, and if you’re babymooning this summer, I can’t think of a better place to do it.
Like all islands, it has the allure of a separate world cut off from the rest–and yet it’s what it doesn’t have that becomes the real draw. Automobiles. There are no cars on Mackinac Island as they’ve been banned since 1896. Talk about forward thinking–Ford’s Model T wasn’t introduced until 1908. If bed and breakfasts are your thing, there’s no shortage of charming options on the island. For a more resort-like experience, try the iconic Grand Hotel or Mission Point Resort, where a brand-new spa will open later this year!
The island is home to 600 Clydesdales, Morgans and Percherons, and getting around is mainly done by horse and buggy, bicycle, as well as your own two feet. It’s a good thing you’re forced to move your body here—the island is also known for it’s fudge, and with seven (!) shops specializing in the confection, there’s really no excuse to not indulge. Especially if you’re pregnant!
Santa Fe, New Mexico
People always ask me: “If your job is to travel, where do you go on vacation?” Two words: Santa Fe. It’s a place that I’ve returned to six times and have brought my mom and my sister on separate girl trips. I love Santa Fe not only for it’s desert beauty, but its vibrant Native American culture and world-class, attitude-free art scene.
For an epic hotel experience, indulge in the Four Seasons Ranch Encantado’s babymoon package. It’s a little fancy-dancy, but you’ll probably be traveling a lot less in the next few years. You’ll get a 50-minute prenatal massage, 60-minute prenatal yoga session, snacks from a personalized cravings menu, plus a luxurious baby blanket, not to mention stunning accommodations.
If you’re feeling up to it, check out my favorite walk in the woods along the Aspen Vista Trail. It’s a gorgeous hike (moderate) thru a forest of luminescent aspen that make you feel like you’re walking through a Klimt painting. The sweeping view of the Sangre de Cristo’s is so beautiful I always get slightly emotional when I begin the hike. In fact, I’ve nicknamed the trail “The Tear Jerker.” Find it on Artist Rd. past mile marker 13.
Perched on the slope of a seaside mountain, Carmel offers stunning views of the ocean and pristine beaches. It reminds me a lot of Lake Cuomo, except this Cali destination is easily reached by car and is only a few hours drive from San Francisco along the well-traveled Pacific Coast Highway.
From luxurious to budget-friendly, there’s lots of accommodations available. Check out La Playa Hotel, which puts your within walking distance of both the beach and Ocean Avenue—the city’s economic hub, with lots of shops, salons and restaurants. The area is concentrated in about a square mile, but can easily fill a whole day.
For a more outdoorsy adventure, visit Coastal Forest Point Lobos State Reserve. This area is known for being one of the remaining few Monterey Cypress groves in the world. Be intoxicated by their woody scent perfuming the air with a hike along the North Shore Trail that wanders through the pine and cypress forests and allows for spectacular views while hiking from ocean vista to ocean vista.
Of course, what babymoon could possibly be complete without great food. End the day celebrating “la dolce vita” with a meal inspired by the food of Northern Italy. Peppoli’s, perched on a bluff, offers mouth-watering dishes like wild boar ragu and house-made hot Italian sausage. You might want to tuck your napkin in your collar; the view is so distractingly beautiful it may be a challenging getting the fork in your mouth every time.
If you’re lucky enough to have the time and budget to head to Europe, here are three lovely babymoon options:
Lake Cuomo, Italy
While pregnant with the twins, I was fortunate enough to be filming in Italy. So, my husband and I did our babymoon at Lake Cuomo. Breathtaking natural beauty, amazing food, and the leisurely pace of the day was definitely in sync with my pregnant body. As an aside—Italy without wine wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be!
The babymoon is all about relaxation, connecting with your partner, and soaking up the tranquility in the calm before the storm. Lisbon completely fits the bill. Located on both the Tagus River and Atlantic Ocean, this seaside city might not be top of mind, but it’s totally romantic with great food, stunning ocean views, and trolleys to get you up the big hills!
One of my favorite destinations on the planet is Mykonos, Greece. You absolutely cannot beat the beaches, food, people and culture. At every turn you find mind-blowing views and unforgettable Greek architecture. I constantly find myself daydreaming of Agios Sostis Beach, a very quiet beach due to its location in the north or away from the very popular see-and-be-seen beaches of the south. There’s also no bus service so it’s only accessible by car or motorbike. I double-dare you to wear a bikini there while pregnant… trust me, no one will even take notice.
Did you take a trip before your kids were born? Where’d you go? Share in the comments.