Let’s face it. Of all times in your life when YOU (or your partner, bestie, sister, daughter) deserves a vacation, it is when she is carrying around another human life in her belly. Babymoons are necessary and relieve a lot of pressure, put mom-to-be in a great mood and can be a unique way to see a destination in a different way.
For me, it meant slowing down. Not the action-packed itineraries, with lots of outdoor pursuits, physical adventures and the evening wine or cocktail hour. Babymoon meant relaxation, early bedtimes, delicious foods and a more nurturing approach to travel. Honestly this change of pace was great! I feel like I experienced each location in a whole new way.
Whom do you take on a Babymoon?
So, who is coming? The most common person to escort you on this babymoon is obviously your partner. (They got you in this mess in the first place right!? KIDDING) It is an important time away from the routine of normal life to really focus on the two of you. If you are first time mom-to-be like me, it’s especially important to take to appreciate your remaining weeks together as a couple before you become a family. Your partner also knows you best and will pamper you, which is what you need now more than ever.
I also recommend babymoons with close friends. You won’t be able to take time like that away from your newborn to hang out with friends the way you used to so it can be very rewarding to spend that extra QT with those close friends that are important in your life.
I also LOVED going on a babymoon with my Mom. What better person to help me transition into motherhood than my own mother! Plus, I knew it was one of the last times that I’d get to travel just with her, even though bringing my daughter on our yearly adventures will be just as fun too. Consider bringing a supportive family member that you want to spend time with and whom will enjoy the slower pace that babymoon offers.
And as much as I love company, solo babymoons can be very personally fulfilling. Sometimes you need time to yourself, to read, get a pedicure, talk to the new life growing in your belly and appreciate the remaining quiet moments before your bundle of joy arrives.
Where should you go?
Babymoons also tend to be closer to home. Most pregnant ladies don’t want to sit on an extended plane journey so keeping it under 5-6 hours by plane is usually the most comfortable. Ideally, the closer the better! (I didn’t follow that advice entirely and did fly to Europe for a 3 week trip while 20 weeks pregnant as well as Japan for a 2 week film shoot at 16 weeks, but you can read about those two trips here.)
Driving distance or short flights are best in the earlier stages of pregnancy. When you get to the third trimester, I’d suggest limiting your babymoon destinations to those within an hour or two home.
If you only have time for one babymoon, make sure it is the type of trip that you are craving now. Those pregnancy cravings can even apply to travel, ladies! I outline 5 types of babymoons in this post and where you can go to get your FIX!
If you are craving…something TROPICAL?
Go to KAUAI!
Lush, quiet, healthy and untouched: Kauai might be the most perfect of the Hawaiian islands for an expecting mother. The rhythm of nature dictated our stay here, with early mornings spent snorkeling Poipu Beach, leisurely days shopping in Kailua, picking shells on a secluded beach on the North Shore and grabbing fresh açai bowls topped with pineapple and passion fruit. By evening, the islanders stop to hold their breath as the sun sets in a dramatic fashion, sending up a fiery finale before nightfall.
My mom and I traveled to Kauai when I was at 23 weeks and I felt great. It was the right pace and I had a lot of energy in that second trimester to handle full days at a leisurely pace. The 6 hour flight didn’t bother me at all and I made sure to stay hydrated and walk the aisles frequently. There’s a lot of “mother energy” on this island too so it felt like the right place to be!
Where to Stay: Ko’a Kea Resort
This intimate, boutique hotel is classy but cool. You won’t feel pressure to grab a pool seat and staying on the property to eat will result in some of your favorite island meals. Poipu’s famed calm waters are perfect for floating with sea turtles and catching those all-star sunsets.
Tip: Get a prenatal massage in their waterside cabana!
Where to Eat
Java Kai, Kailua: Healthy salads, delicious coffees & teas and Instagram-worthy breakfasts
Little Fish Coffee, Poipu: Fresh smoothies, pitaya bowls and bagel sandwiches bring in the customers but linger with the chickens at this rustic, local favorite.
Fresh Bite Kauai, Hanalei: Seek out this Hanalei food truck to grab a to-go organic salads, hearty sandwich and side of sweet potato fries.
Plantation Gardens, Poipu: Set inside a resort without feeling commercial, this restaurant is laidback but top quality, serving up local fish dishes like banana leaf snapper and coconut shrimp.
Postcards Cafe, Hanalei: A charming Hawaiian bistro feel with pastas, fresh catch and great salads. Grab one of the outdoor tables for an intimate feel.
What to Do
If you are craving…something NATURAL?
Go to OJAI, CA
As a Santa Monica local with a serious travel addiction, I cannot believe it took me 4 years to get to Ojai. It is only an hour and a half drive away into the valley of the Topatopa Mountains but if felt like a whole different world. My husband surprised me with a midweek Mother’s Day getaway and even though this babymoon was only one night, it was exactly what we needed!
The quaint village has delightful bookstores, ice cream shops, hippie boutiques and mom & pop restaurants. There are easy walks, creekside (paved) bike paths and just so much lavendar scented fresh air, mom and baby bump will feel the benefits of all this healthy energy.
Where to Stay: Ojai Valley Inn & Spa
Not the most affordable option, but if you want to splurge, I highly suggest this resort. Their adults-only pool is where I posted up for the majority of the day, alternating between a pool floatie and a mountain facing lounge chair, with my cucumber spa water in hand. The expansive grounds are lovely for strolling or biking and their spa is like a mini village wiht a juice bar, free yoga classes and all the treatments. While our room didn’t stand out, it was the location that really made this place special.
Tip: Grab picnic supplies in town and pull up an adirondack chair by the fireplace to watch the “pink moment,” Ojai’s famously hued sunset magic hour.
Where to Eat
The Nest: We almost went back the second day, it was THAT good. Whether you want fish tacos or a fried chicken sandwich or a salad, this outdoor hotspot is the place for lunch. Order the meaty Tireman if you are ravenous.
Osteria Monte Grappa: Talk about locally sourced! The menu here features salads from local farmers, handmade pastas and wood fired pizzas, plus excellent friendly service.
Ojai Deer Lodge: Fun for a beer (for your travel partner) and live music, this is a kitschy, cowboy stop with some wild decor located a little bit outside of town.
What to Do
If you are craving… something ALPINE?
Go to Northstar at TAHOE
My husband and I took our LAST flight together before the baby to have a wintry weekend. Just an hour flight from LAX or Long Beach and you are in the heart of the snowcapped peaks of Tahoe.We landed in Reno and took a 40 drive over to Northstar Resort, one of the most luxurious of the Tahoe resorts. The village is completely self contained, making it a one stop destination and easy for a weekend escape. We spent time exploring the village, doing yoga and even taking the gondola up to the slopeside Ritz Carlton Tahoe to indulge in some complimentary s’mores at their outdoor fire pit.
Note: Our babymoon fell during the winter but Tahoe is amazing in the summer, spring or fall as well!
Tip: Plan your weekend escape for a Mountain Table Dinner to enjoy an incredible, multi-course meal at the peak of Zephyr Lodge.
Where to Stay: Northstar Lodging
I loved our mountain chalet which we reserved through Northstar Lodging. It had a balcony, fireplace, kitchen and cosy living room. It was exactly what we wanted for a babymoon weekend!
Where to Eat
Inxpot Cafe: Grab a breakfast burrito at this village hotspot next to the gondola. It is best enjoyed outside by the firepit!
Rubicon Pizza Co.: An easy lunch in the village right next to the ice skating rink. It might not be the best pizza you’ve ever had but it is a solid choice and moderately priced.
Tavern 6330′: We loved dinner here with its live music and classic menu choices like iceberg wedge salad and steaks. Definitely split that lobster mac n cheese!
What to Do
Take a guided snowshoe tour, grab a stick and roast marshmallows at the Ritz’s “Marshmology,” curl up by the fireplace with a good book, do yoga in town at Tahoe Yoga.
If you are craving… something Mediterranean?
Go to Catalina Island, CA
I enjoyed this babymoon with a group of friends in early March. It was so nice to go on a group trip like this so everyone could do exactly what they wanted to do. Since I was the only one pregnant, my activities were more mild compared to the parasailing, ziplining and jeep tour options.
However, I still had a blast exploring this incredibly unique island that is just about an hour off of the coast of Southern California. The main town of Avalon is the ideal hub with seafood restaurants, shops and lovely walking streets. I am so happy that I rented a golf cart, the main mode of transportation, to cruise around the rolling hills that surround Avalon Harbor.
I also spent time at the Descanso Beach Club, a secluded, sandy area of beach which also offers kayaking and SUP.
Tip: Definitely do the Frog Rock Kayaking tour if you have time!
Where to Stay: Pavilion Hotel
Located on the main street, across from the water, this gem of a hotel offers an ample daily breakfast and evening wine & cheese hour, both complimentary. The rooms are clean, nautical and cute, plus the courtyard area has quiet lounge spaces and firepits.
Where to Eat
The Lobster Trap: A local favorite with no-frills fish dishes and a lively atmosphere. We all loved the ambiance here.
Bluewater Grill: Great for a light lunch and lemonade out on the water, this is the most waterside restaurant you will find in Avalon!
Avalon Grille: Excellent dining with a fun bar scene, this is definitely THE place for dinner on the island.
What to Do
Cruise around in a golf cart, book a prenatal massage at the Island Spa Catalina, rent a kayak at the Descanso Beach Club
If you are craving… EASY.
Go to Santa Barbara, CA
It’s not just because it is easy, Santa Barbara is a beautiful coastal California city with a stunning beachfront. But it also is easily accessible by train, meaning NO CARS NEEDED! That is what sold my husband and I on this one night, weekend trip. We hopped on a train in the morining from LA and enjoyed the ocean views before we disembarked just a couple hours later in the heart of SB.
We stayed near the water, kayaking with sea lions, eating at a beach bar, hanging by the pool and exploring the Funk Zone. Great food, great sunshine and just an easy, breezy, stress-free getaway. Isn’t that what you want for a babymoon?
The swanky Hotel Californian is brand new and just steps from the water. The service, the style and the location make it hard to beat.
But if you want something more affordable, just next door is where we stay: the Haborview Inn. We loved the pool and water views and how convenient it was to the beach!
Where to Eat
Lucky Penny: Sister to The Lark, Lucky Penny is an order at the counter/sit outside at communal table pizza joint. Spoiler: this is some of the best pizza in California!
Shoreline Beach Cafe: Located RIGHT on the beach, the classic California food and sand-in-your-toes location made this an A+++ for me.
Sambo’s: A perfect spot for huge pancakes, egg burritos and even more. The menu is huge, the coffee is flowing and the atmosphere is what you want from a popular diner.
What to Do
Rent a Surrey Bike and cruise along the beach path, take out kayaks in the marina and see sea lions, go to Figueroa Brewery* for live music, explore the eats and wineries* of the Funk Zone, pack a picnic for the Amtrak train back!
*(your partner can enjoy the booze for you but it is still fun sober, trust me!)
Most of my babymoons favor the West Coast since that is where I am based, but I have other recommendations for East Coasters! Here is my short list:
- Charleston, North Carolina
- Chatham, Cape Cod (MA)
- Vero Beach, Florida
- Woodstock, Vermont (my hometown!)
- Greenport, Long Island (NY)
- Skaneatles, NY