Wedding season 2009 is just around the corner, and anyone getting married in the coming months knows that the best part of planning is picking the honeymoon destination. It's a good idea to secure a locale a good four to five months in advance, so for all you late summer brides- and grooms-to-be, this list is for you.
1. Hawaii -- There's good reason Hawaii almost always ends up at the top of these lists year after year: it's in ideal getaway, whether you're looking for serene relaxation or exotic adventure. Its many islands give you way more to do and see than is probably possible, so a cruise is a way to visit them all. Maui has great weather and an active nightlife while Kaua'i is much less commercial with its scenic valleys, clear waterfalls and dramatic coastline. Kohala offers a tropical extravaganza, with lush landscapes, alpine meadows, a huge sea mountain and rich rain forests.
2. Los Cabos, Mexico -- How can you go wrong with a place that averages 70 degrees all year-round? And, it rarely rains. Almost everything in Los Cabos involves natural beauty. There are isolated beaches, desert landscapes, unique rock formations, and scenic bluffs. Sporting opportunities include deep-sea fishing and fascinating dive sites. If you are on a budget the best time to travel is between May and September.
3. Costa Rica -- If reading this recent recount of a Milwaukee couple's Costa Rican adventure isn't enough to convince you of the country's allure, do a bit more research to discover why it's called Central America's "special jewel." Points of interest include the Poas Volcano National Park, La Paz Waterfall Gardens, the Rio Sarapiqui for rafting and the Tilaran Highlands in the rainforest. Just want to relax? The beaches are second to none for sunning, swimming or surfing.
4. Rome, Italy -- This ancient city of ruins is one of those trips of a lifetime. The Sistine Chapel, The Vatican, the Colosseum, the Forum, outdoor cafes and wine -- need we go on? Don't forget to wish for years of blissful marriage at the Trevi Fountain. Then, there's also Venice, Florence and the Riviera within reach.
5. Dominican Republic -- The Dominican Republic has become a beautiful, affordable island destination. Being a larger island, that doesn't just focus on tourism, you can get some great deals. There are many all-inclusives that will meet the needs of most couples.
6. St. Lucia -- A breathtaking hike up a volcano, crystal clear warm ocean waters, snorkeling and delicious food await you on the island of St. Lucia. Sip a cool tropical drink in your hammock. Walk through a rain forest while viewing the ocean. Truly a newlywed's paradise.
7. Bahamas -- These islands are a great place to kick start your married life together. They're not that far from mainland U.S. and you'll have a blast planning your soft sandy beach getaway among the hundreds of small islands that make up the Bahamas. It could hardly get more romantic for your fist vacation as husband and wife.
8. Tahiti -- If you really want to feel like you're in a lovers' paradise, head to "The Island of Love." The natural beauty is astounding, from the awe-inspiring high mountain peaks reaching into the clouds, deep green valleys and lush rainforests, waterfalls cascading into cool rivers and streams, to the soft beaches.
9. Fiji -- Fiji has it all: private beaches, amazing snorkeling, tropical waterfalls and friendly people. If you are looking to fill that image of white powder beaches with beautiful palm trees, green mountains sweeping to the sea and warm tropical breezes, this is your spot.
10. Antigua -- Antigua is an ideal tropical destination, surrounded by beaches. There is plenty for couples to do: go on catamaran cruises, frolic with the stingrays at Stingray City, take a land tour in a 4x4, shop in St. John's or climb through the Barbuda Caves. And that's just the beginning.