The perfect honeymoon combines the ideal balance of romance, fun, and relaxation. A great way to boost the "fun" factor -- and make your honeymoon more unique and memorable -- is to time your romantic getaway with a local festival or fair at your honeymoon destination. Throughout the United States, couples can find all kinds of festivals year-round at different towns and cities, giving you a whole universe of options to consider.
Whether you're looking for an urban art fest, a country carnival, a coastal clam bake, a taste of Mardis Gras, an adrenaline-fueled extreme sports fest, or something else entirely, festivals are a great way to soak up the local culture and make your honeymoon truly special.
And by the way, since Mardis Gras is a bit of an obvious one, we won't include it here...but we definitely recommend you check it out sometime! Burning Man is also completely epic, and undeniably a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but is a bit too wild for us to recommend for the average honeymooner. That said, below are ten ideas for some of the top festivals and fairs throughout the country.
Austin City Limits – Austin, Texas – Early to Mid October
What began as a public access television program to celebrate the music of Texas has become one of the most renkowned music festivals in the world. Featuring fresh indie acts and established mega-rockstars alike, many come to Austin to get their start in the music business. And Austin City Limits is a great place to see them as they hit it big, along with musicians as famous and diverse as Paul McCartney and Metallica. If you only have the chance to attend a single music festival in your entire life, Austin City Limits is it. Not to mention, the rest of Austin is a super fun city for honeymoons, and even more so with the party vibe ACL casts across the entire city.
Dominion River Rock – Richmond, Virginia – Mid May
Freestyle BMX biking, rock climbing, river kayaking, mud runs, even a dog long jump event for pooches -- if outdoor adventure and extreme sports are your forte, Dominion River Rock in Richmond, Virginia is an absolute blast. Throw plenty of food trucks, cold beer, and live music into the mix, and you have a festival that offesr up all kinds of fun. The best part is, you don't have to just watch -- you can participate in a lot of the activities and events -- some of which require a registration fee -- but others are completely free. This is the largest festival of its kind in the country, located in a city that's loaded with historical sights, killer nightlife, and a world-class restaurant scene.
Maine Lobster Festival – Rockland, Maine - Early August
For a festival that's quintissentially New England, check out the Maine Lobster Festival in Rockland, Maine. Sample one of the region's signature foods while you enjoy the chill vibe of Rockland, a charming historic town. While you're there check out the stunning coast, gaze at world-famous works at the local art museum, and stay at a sweet-as-pie New England inn that feels like a home away from home.
Tombstone Helldorado Days – Tombstone, Arizona – Mid October
Step into a time machine and transport yourselves to the Wild West at Helldorado Days in Tombstone, Arizona, the site of the original shootout at the OK Corral. This western town began the Helldorado tradition in 1929, to celebrate its 50th anniversary, and has continued ever since. Arrive and find live music, costumed locals, reenactments with wild shoot-outs, parades, carnivals, and drinks at an old west-style saloon. It's like Westworld in real life, but a lot less dangerous! In other words, it's is as close as you'll ever get (or would want to get) to living in the wild west live and in person, and is an absolutely unforgettable blast from the past.
Sweet & Somber:
Lantern Floating Festival Hawaii – O'ahu, Hawaii – Memorial Day
While this one has a somber tone, it's a beautiful, love-filled, and inspiring spectacle. Celebrating the lives lost of those close to them, tens of thousands of people gather on the Oahu beach with floating lanters, most with images or messages of love and remembrance scrawled on them. Once lit, they are placed in the water, resulting in a beautiful sight as the orange glowing lanterns float across the water, reduced to ember-colored dots as they make their way out to sea.
The tone is supportive and loving, and to ensure a celebratory event, the festival includes live Hawaiian music and dance performances. As for the lanterns, they are provided free of charge. As for litter, don't worry -- all the lanterns are retrieved by volunteers and re-used the next year, with fresh paper for the top sections so new remembrances can be written.
Delaware State Fair - Harrington, Delaware - Mid to Late July
The Delaware State Fair is a classic country-style fair. There's live music, carnival rides, circus performers, and a milking contest. While you're in town, check out the raceway and casino to watch some Nascar and try your luck at winning some extra honeymoon bucks. Oh, and make sure not to miss the fireworks! There's nothing like a state fair to make you feel like teenagers in love all over again.
Telluride Film Festival - Telluride, Colorado - Early September
While the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah is still better-know, the Telluride Film Festival in Colorado has quickly made a name for itself as being in a league all its own. Ultra-successful films like Juno have had their first screenings here, and the location, tucked under the San Juan Mountains, is both beautiful to look at as well as offering lots of options for great food, drink, and local activities outside the festival itself. While Sundance has been criticized for too much focus on the business side of film -- wheeling and dealing with producers for distribution and exposure -- Telluride is known for focusing on the art of cinema. And that's what it should all be about!
Festival of Art & Pageant of the Masters - Laguna Beach, California - July through September
Known as one of the country's best art festivals, Laguna Beach, California's Festival of Art & Pageant of the Masters features an array of California artists, creative workshops, live music, demonstrations, and a truly one-of-a-kind show wherein actors re-create famous works of art by history's great masters, creating "living" adapatations of some of the most iconic paintings known to history, all backed by a world-class orchestra. For art lovers, it's a must-see spectacular!