Congratulations, you’re engaged … now what? Before you dive into wedding planning, take some time to celebrate this incredible milestone with a short (but seriously sweet) engagement trip. Even though you probably want to save your money for the big day, there are numerous options that’ll give you memories that’ll last a lifetime without breaking the bank.
From laid back beach towns to bustling city centers, these are the best, budget-friendly destinations all newly-engaged couples should visit. (And if you weren’t considering an engagement trip before, now you will).
Key West, Florida
Celebrate the next chapter of your life together under the Florida sun in the state’s southernmost point. While you can easily spend your day biking around the island, touring the Audubon House and tropical gardens, or hitting up the beach (a must, obviously), the island city becomes a lover’s paradise during sunset. Every night two hours before sundown, tourists and locals alike gather on Mallory Square in the heart of the Key West waterfront for their Florida-famous sunset celebration. The event tends to draw larger crowds so if you want something a bit more personal —ahem, romantic — opt for one of the many sunset sailing cruises.
You’re about to embark on life’s greatest adventure — marriage — so it’s only fitting that you celebrate your engagement with a trip to a place known for its natural beauty and bounty of outdoor activities: Sedona, Arizona. While you should definitely spend your trip exploring the red-rock buttes (Devil’s Bridge Trail is a must for adventure seekers.), Sedona is also a great way to get your R&R before the wedding planning starts to take over. There are several top-rated spas in the area, varying from ultra-luxe to budget-friendly, that come with package deals for couples who want to spend their days getting massages (Rain Dance massages are a local specialty.), facials, and more treatments.
Asheville, North Carolina
With an engagement trip to Asheville, laid back couples can trade the bright lights of the city for the bright stars of the Blue Ridge Mountains. While there are plenty of hiking opportunities in Asheville, the city is also packed with charm, history, and craft beer. Before sampling local varieties at Wicked Weed Brewing Pub or Burial Beer Co., visit the Biltmore, America’s largest home built by George Vanderbilt, to get (a few more) engagement photos in the estate’s expansive gardens. If you’d rather wine and dine than drink a pint of beer, then extend your visit at the Biltmore with a trip to the winery or arrange a formal dinner at The Dining Room.
No matter what time of year you get engaged, make a visit to this northern Vermont town. Small yet mighty, Stowe is the perfect place for skiers, snowboarders, or even those who prefer to spend their days sipping a glass of mulled wine in the ski resort lounge. When ski season is over and the weather warms up, see Mount Mansfield from another angle on one of the many hiking trails, ranging in difficulty and length. But if you want that Hallmark-level romance during your engagement trip, book a stay at Stowe Mountain Resort for sweeping views of the Vermont mountainscape, spa treatments at Spruce Peak, elegant restaurants, and of course, a seriously romantic setting.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Typically, couples reserve Vegas for their bachelor and bachelorette parties — but clearly, you’re a cool couple. Head to Sin City to catch a show, gamble, shop, or simply lounge poolside. And hey, since you’re saving Paris or Rome for your honeymoon, you can get a taste of what’s to come by taking pictures in front of the Eiffel Tower at Paris Las Vegas or the famous Bellagio Fountains (You’ll trick your friends and family too.). If you’re going to splurge on one thing, reserve a dinner at Top of the World for the best views in Vegas. The one catch with this engagement trip? You might be tempted to just head to Elvis’ Chapel of Love to seal the deal.