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.
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.