Almost roughing it on your honeymoon

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of December 4-10, 1997
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Almost roughing it on your honeymoon
Question: I am a mountain freak (hiking/backpacking). My fiancé likes to hike too, but where can we go on our honeymoon (mid-April) that would give us the option between "roughing it" and a stay in a nice lodge or hotel? I don't think I want to camp my entire honeymoon.

Lisa-Anne Ferrari
Boston, MA

Maho Bay in the U.S. Virgin Islands
offers natural living with a few extras

Adventure Adviser: What are the possibilities of moving your wedding to mid-June, or at least your honeymoon?

If you want to stay in the continental United States, I'm afraid you won't find any mountains in mid-April that aren't knee-deep in snow or mud. April, in most ski areas around the country, is affectionately known as mud season — the time to bail from the high country and go to the beach.

If you're not opposed to broadening your horizons and backpacking in terrain other than mountains — and you have a somewhat flexible budget — here are a few ideas:

Maho Bay, U.S. Virgin Islands: This eco-friendly development is the closest you'll come to camping, but it'll also make you realize you don't need much more in the balmy Caribbean.

Tucked away on a ridge between Maho Bay and Francis Bay on the island's northwest coast are 114 no-frills screened canvas huts overlooking a white-sand beach. Each hut has sun-powered appliances, water-collecting cisterns, elevated boardwalks to keep you from trampling the wildlife on your way to the beach, a cooking stove, and even solar ovens.

The best part is the spectacular hiking right outside your door. The camp is surrounded by Virgin Islands National Park, which has 22 trails — plenty to keep you busy for a week.

When your feet get tired you can head to the beach and rent snorkels, sailboards, or sea kayaks and go exploring. The tents cost approximately $100 per night. Call 800-392-9004 for more details.

Kauai, Hawaii: Although you'll have to request a permit far in advance, it's worth the effort to be allowed to camp along trails on Kauai. Famous for the jagged emerald-green cliffs of the Napali Coast, Kauai has miles and miles of undiscovered terrain, largely because it is almost impossible to hike some of it.

I suggest you buy the book Kauai Trails, by Kathy Morey (Wilderness Press) to find trails that sound particularly interesting, or call the Department of Land and Natural Resources (808-245-3433).

On days when you don't want to sleep in a tent, a pretty reasonable option is the Waimea Plantation Cottages: one-bedroom cottages on a very pretty beach with a pool and tennis court. They cost approximately $100 to $160 per night. Call 808-338-1625 for more details.

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