3 of the Best Places to Babymoon


Few life events are as memorable and emotional as welcoming a baby. Your family’s focus will naturally shift to the baby after birth, but now is the time to plan for some quality time together, with just the two of you. Enter the babymoon.

What is a babymoon? It’s the ultimate mini-vacation for you and your partner to pamper each other before your bundle of joy arrives. Babymoon vacations come in all shapes and sizes and can be as active or relaxing as you’d like. Since this time is all about the two of you, the most important thing is to plan your itinerary around the activities you love — or the ones you’ll miss (for at least a while) after baby arrives.

Urban getaways, spa escapes or outdoorsy weekends —  it’s up to you. Need trip ideas? Phoenix, Nashville and New York are three of the best places to go on a babymoon.

Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix is all about good weather and good times (read: perfect for a babymoon destination). With five pools, a top-notch spa and two championship golf courses, the JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa has everything you need on-site. Treat your tired feet to a foot bath at the spa, and once you feel relaxed and rejuvenated, start exploring your surrounds.

Stretch out on a lawn chair beneath a brightly colored umbrellas and desert palms at any one of five enticing swimming pools that the JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa offers babymooners. Photo courtesy of JW Marriott.

What to See and Do

Enjoy a picnic or stroll at Tempe Town Lake, which stretches for 2 miles and is just 9 miles east of downtown. If you feel more agile in the water, try paddling around in a double kayak or atop a standup paddle board from Northshore WaterSport Rentals (depending on how far along you are, you may want to make it a sit-down paddleboard). It’s a 4-mile drive north from the lake to Phoenix’s stunning Desert Botanical Garden, home to many cactuses and desert blooms as well as ongoing events (from spring into early summer) including concerts and outdoor movie nights under the clear desert sky.

For gourmet Mexican fare, book a table at Barrio Cafe, where local chef Silvana Salcido Esparza does wonders with slow-roasted pork (cochinita pibil) and the fabulous tableside guac that’s peppered with pomegranate seeds. For sunset drinks complete with stunning Paradise Valley views, elements deck at Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort and Spa is a romantic choice. A favorite summery virgin cocktail is the Jaded Lemonade, a blend of muddled berries, fresh lemon juice and simple syrup, while the resort's signature Fiery Mandarin cocktail is a spicy twist on a Cosmopolitan, spiked with serrano peppers.

Take a Drive Out of Town

To escape Phoenix’s summer heat, make a break for Sedona, where — thanks to 3,200 feet of elevation — temperatures can be 10 to 20 degrees cooler than the capital in summer. Drive less than two hours north to admire Sedona’s famed red rock landscapes and cool off with a dip in the refreshing waters of Oak Creek at Slide Rock State Park. While you’re there take an easy hike around the quarter-mile Clifftop Nature Trail, which begins by the park’s apple barn and serves up scenic views of the water at Slide Rock.

Nashville, Tennessee

The legendary country music capital is so much more than honky-tonk. Nashville has emerged as one of the most sophisticated cities in the South with its food, boutique shopping and, of course, music scene. Conveniently located across from the Schermerhorn Symphony Center and the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Hilton Nashville Downtown can be your home base in the center of the city.

What to See and Do

As you begin exploring, keep an eye out for murals around town where you can pull over and pose for a bump shot. Among the most Instagram-ready are the “I Believe in Nashville” mural on 12th Avenue South and the “Make Music not War” mural, just a few blocks away.

Speaking of music, it pumps from venue to venue along busy Broadway Street, Nashville’s nightlife hub. But the nearby industrial-chic Gulch District might be more your speed with a baby on board, and the mellow and stylish local scene offers lots to love. Park your rental car in Gulch Parking Garage, where your first hour is free, and begin with a bite.  Biscuit Love, which traces its roots to humble beginnings as a food truck, dishes up the dream Southern breakfast experience with all manner of sweet and savory biscuit dishes washed down with sweet tea, hot chocolate, homemade chai lattes, virgin bloody marys, or craft beers and cocktails.

Around the corner, the Station Inn —  a Gulch mainstay long before the historic district turned hipster — is the spot for you and your other half to hear live bluegrass. (Come early to claim a seat or table.) If you prefer a groovier music scene, Rudy’s Jazz Club offers dinner reservations as well as first-come, first-served seating.

Dedicate another day of your babymoon vacation to relaxation by booking a couple’s massage at Mokara Spa in the SoBro district (South Broadway), or let your bodies and minds rest and rejuvenate during a flotation therapy session at Pure Sweat + Float Studio, west of downtown in Belle Meade. Flotation therapy is associated with relieving back aches, joint pains and swelling that women in their second and third trimesters frequently experience, and at the Float Studio, expecting mothers and fathers can customize the light and music played within their float pods (sensory attenuation tanks) to help create an ideal relaxation environment.

Take a Drive Out of Town

Program your car's GPS 10 miles southwest to visit the Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art — it’s worth the drive to see exploding displays of seasonal wildflowers and tulips and art exhibits inside a neo-Georgian mansion. And from there, drive about 14 miles farther south to the adorable town of Franklin, home to an antique mall with more than 60 vendors and art galleries galore.

At Cheekwood Gardens, stroll casually through the temporary and permanent exhibits featuring a wide range of craftsmanship — from handblown glass displays to the contemporary sculptures like those found on the Carell Woodland Sculpture Trail. Photo by Michael Hicks, Flickr.

New York, New York

There’s New York City, and there’s New York City with kids —  two vastly different experiences. Enjoy the former, just the two of you, and stay at Parker New York in the theater district. Inside the hotel, treat yourselves to a makeover, blowout or shave before catching an evening show on Broadway, or take a dip in the hotel’s high-rise pool featuring floor-to-ceiling window views of Central Park.

What to See and Do

Begin one day of your babymoon trip with a relaxed stroll at the High Line, an elevated greenway and rail trail with city and river views, plus great people-watching. Snag one of the many benches along the trail to relax and soak up the scenery.

Then head south to Hudson River Park for an urban meal dished up with escapism at Grand Banks. Pose for a photo in front of the Sherman Zwicker, a historic fishing schooner that once fished the Grand Banks of the North Atlantic and is now docked in the Hudson River. Today the ship-turned-shoreside restaurant (open seasonally, from April through early fall) lures locals and vacationers for seasonal seafood, salads and brunch served up with views of the Freedom Tower and New York Harbor. Grab an appetizer or beverage on deck before taking a short walk inland for lunch at Locanda Verde, where you'll find mouthwatering Italian dishes including rustic breads, classic spaghetti and frozen tiramisu.

Stop and enjoy the view from Hudson River Park, the longest waterfront park in the U.S.

Take a Drive Out of Town

With city time checked off, pick up your rental car right in Manhattan. Then, head out of town, setting your sights on the historic seaport burg of Greenport, about 100 miles northeast of the city on Long Island. Stay at a waterfront hotel like the Harborfront Inn at Greenport or one of the many affordable B&Bs, like the boho-Victorian Ruby’s Cove. And spend your time feasting on local littleneck clams (ask for them steamed) while soaking up harbor views at Claudio’s Clam Bar and browsing Greenport’s many specialty food markets and independent boutiques, such as Basso Cicchetti e Specialita (for cured meats and crusty bread) and Blue Ruth (for handmade jewelry).

Upstate New York is spectacular during the warmer months, so consider driving about 100 miles north of the city to Saratoga Springs. The landmark Adelphi Hotel here harks back to Saratoga’s golden age. Following extensive renovations, it reopened in 2017 as a luxury boutique hotel and is a perfect base for experiencing the area’s naturally carbonated mineral waters and spa offerings. At the historic Roosevelt Baths & Spa, a Saratoga wellness fixture since 1935, you can enjoy a mineral bath together and wash all those expecting-parent woes away.


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AUTHOR BIO
Based in Tampa, Florida, Terry Ward has worked as a freelance travel writer since 2001. Her work has been published in The Washington Post, Endless Vacation Magazine, Scuba Diving Magazine and many other outlets. Her favorite U.S. road trip destinations are anyplace along both coasts.