Dan and I have been fortunate to not only travel a lot with kids, but also to have had opportunities to take some of the best couples trips. In honor of our 13th wedding anniversary yesterday, here are 13 couples trips in the US and abroad that we’ve loved over 13 years of marriage!
13. Rio de Janeiro
Rio gets a bad rap for being unsafe and dirty, but we found it to be absolutely delightful! The people were incredibly warm and welcoming. In fact, on our way to the airport, we had run out of Brazilian Reais and didn’t have quite enough for our bus fare. A kind local immediately jumped up to pay our fare, and wouldn’t accept any recompense. It was so thoughtful.
We loved visiting the statues and monuments and seeing the stunning beaches. Of course, as in any place, take precautions such as not waving money around, securing money to you, not leaving items unattended, etc. But we truly had zero issues with safety while there. Rio is truly one of the most stunning cities in the world and perfect for a relaxing or adventurous couples vacation!
12. San Diego
San Diego was our very first babymoon, while I was pregnant with our oldest child. It was lovely! Neither of us had spent much time there before, and it was delightful to wander parks and public spaces, walk around Coronado, explore beaches, and hike in Torrey Pines. We enjoyed live music and good food and it was perfect.
San Diego is great because it’s also a bit less expensive than some of its California siblings like Los Angeles and San Francisco, but with plenty of natural beauty and culture (not to mention near-perfect weather year round). It’s also close to Disneyland if you’d like to add that in – we did for a day and it’s surprisingly a blast to visit without kids!
11. New Delhi, India
There’s nothing quite like the sights and sounds and smells of India. For first-time visitors, it can be a bit overwhelming at times, but it’s also such an awakening of the senses. While I also highly recommend India as an incredible family vacation destination, we loved visiting as a couple, too. In many ways, it was nice that Dan got to experience India first without kids to get a sense for how intense it sometimes is before bringing kids along.
It’s also fantastic because it tends to be relatively inexpensive once you get there. Though flights can be pricey coming from the US, accommodations, food, and sights don’t tend to be expensive once in country. New Delhi is a nice starting point to explore the Golden Triangle for first-time visitors. It’s a great place to help your money stretch further to experience a very luxurious couples vacation without an enormous budget.
10. Park City
Park City is a not-so-hidden gem in the mountains of Utah. About an hour from Salt Lake City, Park City is close to where Dan grew up and where he and I met in high school. Still, it’s not just hometown love that draws us to it – it’s truly delightful wherever you’re from as a couples mountain escape.
It’s nice because there’s really something for everyone in Park City. Of course, in the wintertime, there are plenty of snow sports if that’s your thing, or you can take advantage of the beautiful and cozy lodge atmosphere. In the winter, hiking and outdoor activities abound, and it’s fun to just stroll the downtown area. There is terrific food, and several other cities in the nearby vicinity to explore (Deer Valley and Kamas both are fun stops). Plus, you can find anything from standard hotels to 5-star resorts, so there’s a good variety for different budgets.
Ah, London – one of my favorite cities in the world! There’s something so fun about just strolling through the streets of London for hours and hours, which makes it perfect for a couples trip where you don’t have a set schedule. There are zillions of museums, it seems, so it’s fun to pop from one to the next without a set timeline, and to just grab different small foods along the way.
Live theater also hardly gets better than in London, and it’s so fun to choose from an array of musicals to live music to comedy and more. I adore London with kids, and it’s a very different experience and equally incredible to take a London couples trip.
8. New York, NY
New York is amazing for a number of the same reasons as London – tons of wandering, museums, shows, food, and more. I absolutely adore visiting New York with kids (we loved this New York Christmastime itinerary) but there’s something really special about visiting footloose and fancy free to do all the adult activities you want. We’ve visited on several day and weekend adult trips, and it truly never gets old.
Some of our favorite museums are the Cloisters, the Whitney, and the Frick. We’ve loved seeing over a dozen shows, but some stand outs have been Wicked, Les Mis, and Fiddler on the Roof – all popular for a reason!
7. Machu Picchu, Peru
I imagine Machu PIcchu would be incredible with little ones, as well, but it was really special going there as a couple. Doing so allowed us to wake up at 3:30 am to leave Aguas Calientes and hike to the Machu Picchu entrance to be the first ones in line to climb to the top of Huayna Picchu. Only 400 people are allowed to climb to the top each day, and the spots fill up FAST.
While it may be doable with little kids, I imagine it would be fairly exhausting to wake up in the middle of the night, or to take the bus to the top a bit later and run over to try to get a spot. I REALLY hope we attempt it someday as I think our kids would love it and learn so much. I’m also really grateful we had that experience of doing it as a couple first.
Our very first trip after getting married (after our honeymoon) was on a camping trip in Vermont. I’d never been camping before in my life, and truly had zero clue what it entailed. So we packed up our new (inexpensive, not rainproof) tent and trekked up from Philadelphia. Of course, we got caught in horrific traffic near New York City (as almost always happens) and I got violently carsick. Fortunately, it subsided soon after we left the NYC vicinity and it was smooth sailing from there.
Our campsite was surrounded by the greenest, fullest trees, and we couldn’t even catch a glimpse of the next site for all the greenery. There was a perfect patch of stars in the clearing just above us and it was absolutely dreamy to watch. We slept with the (again, not waterproof) rainfly open – thankfully it did not rain – and enjoyed the cool breezes, the chirping insects, and delightful night all snuggled in our double sleeping bag (here’s a similar one) our friend had gifted us for our wedding.. It’s still possibly my favorite camping memory ever!
I knew somewhere in Italy had to be on this list, because Italy is magical both with and without kids. While I adore so many cities in Italy (Rome is my favorite with kids), there’s just nothing quite like a Florence couples vacation. The entire city just exudes romance and beauty. If you’re a history or art buff, especially, it’s fascinating to stroll around gazing at treasures on every corner and stopping to soak everything in.
There are also amazing stops for food, and dozens of quaint and perfect little apartments overlooking pristine piazzas. It’s a dreamy city for strolling markets of every kind, slowly taking everything in. I love that Florence is a city with many city cultural gems and excitement, but it’s also a small and slow-paced city. The best of all worlds for an Italy couples trip!
We’ve visited The Windy City a number of times, but one of my favorites was on a babymoon trip when I was pregnant with our 4th baby. We visited over St. Patrick’s Day and it was FREEZING – the high temperature was at least 10 degrees below freezing every day we were there, and the wind made it feel even colder. Still, our hotel was lovely and right on the river, and we had an incredible view of it died brilliantly green.
We loved this restaurant, along with our favorite standbys (Pequod’s, Yolk, Wildberry, Big Star), and of course we loved visiting a few museums (we visited the Art Institute and Chicago History Museum that visit). And of course attended the St. Patty’s Day parade! We also enjoyed stopping at this Polish church and visiting the Chicago LDS temple. There are truly hundreds of things we love in Chicago and it’s such a great outdoors city when the weather is a bit warmer. So this should tell you just how great it is that we still loved our Chicago couples vacation even when it was frigid out!
We don’t typically choose resort-style vacations – there’s absolutely nothing wrong with them, but we tend to stay fairly busy on our vacations so it doesn’t typically make sense. But we loved our stay at one in Cancun! We couldn’t just stay there, though, and mixed in a good bit of history and exploration.
We loved going out to not just Chitchen Itza, Coba, and Tulum – the ruins that are closer to Cancun and fairly popular – but also driving to Uxmal. This site is incredibly well-preserved and MUCH less crowded than the others. It was a delight.
We also enjoyed plenty of snorkeling and animal encounters, and simply enjoying the stunning waters and beaches. I was a little concerned it would be way too touristy and lacking culture, but it turns out there was plenty as we got just a bit off the beaten path. Here’s our favorite place to find great car rental deals for couples trips, which was super helpful in getting around.
2. Paris or Lyon
How could I possibly put together a list of amazing couples vacations without including Paris? It’s one of our favorite cities in the world and a magical place with or without kids. Both Dan and I had visited independently a couple times before going together not long after we got married.
This visit was back in our newly married days when we loved both hosting and staying on Couchsurfing, and we ended up with a lovely family with a darling daughter who the parents wanted to expose to English speaking. The dad was a firefighter who knew the streets of Paris like the back of his hand, and gave us an incredible nighttime tour of the city through the tiniest streets, ending up at the Eiffel Tower just moments before it began to sparkle. We also spent my birthday there and the family was unbelievably kind to make me a birthday cake and prepare a lovely dinner. It was magical!
We also visited just a couple months after having our 4th baby. Dan had a business trip and I and our newborn A tagged along, while the other 3 kids stayed home with grandparents. Though we did have a baby with us, just one tiny newborn without our other 3 kids definitely felt like a couples vacation!
If you’d prefer to deviate just a bit from the standard, Lyon, just a couple hours south of Paris by high-speed train, is equally magical. It’s a much smaller and more easily navigable city, and just unbelievably charming. It’s also the food capital of France!
The Maldives were our most recent couples getaway that we just took a few weeks ago. The last time we were away from our kids was in May of 2017 (to Cancun!) about 3 years before, and of course we hadn’t flown at all with the coronavirus pandemic. So this was quite the change for us!
We looked into a lot of places, and waited until the CDC approved travel for vaccinated passengers. We found that the Maldives (and also Doha, our layover) required PCR testing to even board the flight, which helped us feel more safe. We also knew that the Maldives were anxious to re-welcome visitors to support their economy, which was struggling, and that they’d done a LOT to ensure visitor health and safety. We had some environmental concerns with traveling so far for a short visit, which is something we almost always avoid. But with the limited time to see their glory, and for a once-in-a-lifetime anniversary trip, we decided it was worth it this one time, while also purchasing carbon offsets and supporting environmental stability in the country in other forms.
Overall, it was an absolutely incredible couples trip that so far exceeded every expectation we had. This is the resort where we stayed and I can’t say enough good things about it. It was absolutely stunning. As I mentioned in the Cancun section, we’re not typically resort-vacation aficionados. But this was exactly what we needed. After well over a year of being with our children almost 24/7 and doing so much, the mental and physical break healed us in ways we didn’t even realize, including with each other. It was the most incredible couples vacation destination yet.
Honorable Mentions: Thailand, Iceland, Kruger, Charleston, Maui
These there get honorable mentions because while we only loved visiting with kids, I think they would make incredible couples vacation destinations, as well.
- Thailand is just a paradise for water activities and also more adventure in some parts of the country.
- Snorkeling in Silfra in Iceland was one of the most incredible experiences of our lives.
- Going on safari in Kruger National Park was truly a sacred experience.
- Charleston is amazing to explore with its beautiful homes, friendly people, and terrific food.
- Maui. Another dreamy paradise!
Though we’ve only visited those places with kids, I’m confident they’d make incredible couples travel destinations. highly recommend any and all of them!
Have you ever taken a couples vacation before? Where did you go, or where is on your list for the future?