Summer is upon us, and if you’re expecting, it’s time to think babymoon! Traveling while pregnant comes with extra preparations and apprehensions, especially with the growing concerns about the Zika virus.
Don’t let fear of Zika or anything else stand in the way of your perfect babymoon. These destinations are sure to have you packing your bags and preparing your passports.
Slap the threat of Zika, Not the Mosquitos!
In 2003, my husband and I took our first babymoon to St. Thomas in the Caribbean. It was the perfect way to reconnect as a couple and spend time enjoying each other and some glorious Caribbean waters before the birth of our firstborn.
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Before our second son was born, we left our four-year-old with grandma and took a week away to California wine country. While the idea of a Caribbean island paradise may not be wise for your travel destination right now because of Zika warnings, traveling while pregnant with your spouse on a babymoon is paramount!
Expert Opinion on Babymooning
“My husband and I were invited to a wedding in Copenhagen when I was six months pregnant, so we decided to add a few days and go to Amsterdam. Amsterdam isn't the first place you'd think of for a babymoon, but we had so much fun strolling around town during the late nights of the summer solstice, eating great meals, museum hopping, and going on boat rides along the canals. And in fact, I also did a parent-moon! I tacked on a few more days and went and visited my parents, who were renting a house in the Cotswolds of England. I loved getting some alone time with them (and doing lots of shopping for baby clothes!) I can attest that Europe is a great choice for a babymoon. A friend of mine recently did a babymoon in Kauai. I loved seeing photos on Instagram of her rocking her baby bump on rainforest hikes.”
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Top 7 Summer Babymoon Destination Ideas
Here are seven stellar ideas for the best Zika-safe babymoon destinations, without the concern of those pesky mosquitos causing trouble for your health or your precious cargo in utero.
Babymoon in the United States:
While there are no shortage of giant mosquitos in Alaska and you’ll surely need natural bug repellant, there are nearly zero reported cases of Zika. Our incredible seven-day rail tour with the Alaska Railroad last summer took us just deep enough into the Last Frontier while still providing us with the luxuries a pregnant mama would need.
Try this: start in Fairbanks and take the relaxing and scenic ride for one-night stops through all of their summer stations including Denali, Talkeetna, and Anchorage. After a once-in-a-lifetime wilderness experience through the Gold Rush State, complete with lodging in luxury at the Grand Denali Lodge and Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge, set up base camp at the beautiful Lakefront Anchorage. A simple change of trains to the Coastal Classic will transport you further south on an unforgettable experience down into Seward through the glaciers. Take a day trip spotting orca, puffins and moving glaciers aboard Kenai Fjords tours. Warning: the glacier tour is not for the weak-stomached; the waves rocking our boat felt like a constant roller coaster on ice.
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You can enjoy plenty of activities on your train tour through Alaska, including an unforgettable day at Husky Homestead with puppies and a four-time Iditarod champion musher, a tour through Denali National Park, and a jet a boat ride and hike with Mahay’s. You may find, like we did, the joy of the train ride is the highlight of your journey, creating an unforgettable babymoon.
Photo: Jen Reyneri, shot while onboard the Coastal Classic Line, Alaska Railroad
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The Oregon Coast
A few summers ago, we had the privilege to road trip up the Pacific Northwest Coast from Portland to Seattle. This trip provides for a perfect mix of city and scenery. If you opt for a Pacific Northwest babymoon, spend a couple days exploring the arts and eclectic culinary scene in Portland. Make sure you visit the famous Rose Garden and enjoy some incredible ice cream at Salt & Straw.
Hint: if you purchase a pre-scooped pint, you don’t have to wait in the line of hundreds of people. Take your time heading to the coast on back roads through Tillamook State Forest. You can begin your sojourn of the quaint coastal towns of the Oregon Coast with a tour of the Tillamook creamery for samplings of cheese and yes, more ice cream! Explore the tide pools at Lincoln and Rockaway Beach, grab some world-famous Moe’s chowder and head north on the 101 toward notable Haystack Rock in Canon Beach, a charming town filled with eclectic boutiques and restaurants.
If the timing is right, you may be able to catch a conference at the Canon Beach Christian Conference Center, where you could stay as a guest in one of the many facilities or the Ecola Lodge. Attend all or parts of a summer conference for a Spirit-infused babymoon! Continuing up the coast through Ecola State Park and into Astoria, relive the 80’s visiting locations you’ll recognize from the Steven Spielberg pop-culture classic, The Goonies.
Photo: Jen Reyneri, Portland’s Rose Garden
Hawaii’s Big Island
Aloha! It’s a word that encompasses the spirit one of my favorite destinations on Earth- the Big Island of Hawai’i. Truly a tropical paradise, with rainforests, volcanoes, and stunning coastline for lounging and taking a drive, Hawaii exceeds expectations with natural beauty and warm welcome. Spend some time as a couple at the Hilton Waikoloa Village, and you’ll be inspired to write lullabies while you lounge in the hammocks. Definitely don’t miss the luau! You can even take a swim with the dolphins and snorkel with sea turtles right on property.
Asheville, North Carolina
When my husband and I want to get away and dream together without going too far from home, we head to the rolling hills and mountainside majesty of Asheville. The culinary and arts culture is vibrant, and the comfort food for a pregnant mama is unbelievable. I still dream of biscuits at Tupelo Honey Café. You’ll enjoy strolling downtown for its coffee shops, art and antique galleries and eclectic boutiques. Tour the famed Biltmore Estate and stroll among the botanical gardens. For a spiritual way to begin your journey as a family, consider visiting the Cove, the Billy Graham training center.
Photo: Jen Reyneri, A Quiet Stream in Asheville
Babymoon Outside the United States:
The Corinthian Riviera, Greece
One of the most incredible travel experiences I’ve ever enjoyed was a trip around the Corinthian Gulf. History, heart and hospitality. Yes, this is the same Corinth where Paul preached, and you’ll be able to walk in his shoes for a surreal moment in your faith. Corith surrounds you in amazing views, unbelievable hospitality and seafood so fresh it’s still drying on racks in front of your eyes while you dine on the beach.
Stay right on the Gulf in modern luxury at the Elia Suites in Eratini or the poetic Sikyon Coast Hotel. Take a good map along and head up the mountains for a stay at the Skamnos Boutique Hotel, just outside the picturesque clocktower town of Arachova. You’ll have the best of both worlds, ocean and mountains, all within a couple hours travel from the history of Athens. The flights to Greece were extremely affordable when I went, just $600 roundtrip from Miami.
The amazing Greek village of #Arachova, the view from the clock tower. You may recognize it from a recent episode of The Amazing Race. We've had the most incredible local cheese, chocolates and lunch with the best lamb chops ever! Arachova is the only place in the world where you can ski while you see the sea, the Corinthian Gulf and gorgeous village of Galaxidia.
“Did you go with a Dr. Seuss, 'Oh the Places You'll Go' theme for your nursery? Since wanderlust and a thirst for exploring new lands has always been in your genes, you hope to pass on that same lustful curiosity to your babe. Because of this spirit, you'll want to get another stamp on your passport before you settle into a year of newborn parenting, so why not consider Portugal? Renting a car and driving from Lisbon to Lagos might be one of the most stunning experiences you've ever photographed.”
I can speak first hand. The scenery along the coast of Portugal is breathtaking and the beaches are safe, Zika free and only a six-hour flight from New York.
Chitra Stern, the owner of Martinhal Family Hotels and Resorts shares,
“It’s fabulous because the climate is temperate as Portugal is like the ‘California of Europe.’ It doesn't get too hot or too cold. Couples can have a perfect babymoon, relaxing and enjoying couple-time having massages and meals together while enjoying some beautiful Portuguese landscapes, culture and history."
Photo: Algarve, courtesy Lola Akerstrom for Martinhal Family Hotels and Resorts
Love the idea of France but not of flying to Europe? One of my favorite romantic destinations, Quebec City, known as the most European city outside of Europe, is sure to charm you, your spouse, your bank account with the favorable exchange rate, and the baby in your belly.
From the allure of old cobblestone streets (bring walking shoes) to the history at the Basilica de Notre–Dame and the incredible cuisine, the Unesco World Heritage site of Old Quebec City will delight your senses. For a babymoon encompassing health in mind, body and spirit, try a stay and a massage package at the wellness spa in a restored monastery, Le Monastére des Augustines. Don’t miss a ride on the Funicular down to the Petit-Champlain.
Just outside the town, excite your spirit at the Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré Shrine, the oldest pilgrimage site north of Mexico. On the way, nature lovers will marvel at Montmorency Falls, 30 meters higher than Niagara Falls! While in Quebec City, visit the tourism offices for the free savings passport and download the free walking tour app.
I pray these ideas have sparked your interest in your own babymoon and have you packing your travel bags and preparing passports. While having children is the biggest blessing and won’t stop you from traveling, you’ll have to travel differently. Take full advantage of your time as a couple and babymoon as far and wide as your heart can dream and your budget will allow.
Have you taken an amazing babymoon or are planning one? Share your memories and tips with our Babywise readers below.See what the Center for Disease Control has to say about Zika and Pregnancy