Honeymooners: Greg and Rachel
Type: Three-day road trip and hiking getaway
Budget: Budget ($500-$1000)
Where did you go? We took a road trip up to Yosemite National Park from where our wedding was held in Temecula (Southern California). I won a three-night stay at the Redwood Cabins in the southern tip of the park at an auction for one of my firm’s nonprofit clients, and it ended up being just what we needed.
Yosemite has always been one of my favorite places, where my family went regularly as I was growing up. Greg had been before, but not since he was very young. So, I got to share something special while experiencing it in a new way, and we had the chance to start new traditions for our new family. We got our own secluded little studio cabin with a kitchen and backyard patio (with a grill!), and it instantly felt like home.
What did you do? We tried to make good use of our limited time. October is not the park’s busy season, and the falls had mostly dried up for the year, but the weather was still perfect.
We drove down to the valley floor twice and did some wandering around, which included drinks at the beautiful Ahwahnee Hotel.
We also got in one good hike — nothing too strenuous, but it was important to me that we at least make it up to the top of Vernal Falls, which we did.
We also spent some quality time at the cabin. Greg grilled up a couple of steaks, we kept plenty of beer cold, and we played a rousing zombie-themed board game that a friend had bought for the wedding.
Our last morning was spent wandering through Mariposa Grove and posing with giant sequoias before getting back in the car for the long drive home.
What would you have done differently? We might have left earlier… I underestimated how long the drive would take, and we ended up getting to the cabin pretty late at night, after driving through twisty, foggy mountain roads in the dark — it was stressful and not much fun.
If we’d had the money I might also have wanted to stay another day. But really, everything was wonderful and I can’t imagine having done anything else.
What’s your best travel advice for other offbeat honeymooners? Yosemite is known for being gorgeous from any angle, and there’s really no wrong way to see the park. If you’ve never been before, the hike up Vernal and Nevada Falls (the second only if you’re up for some real work) can’t be missed. Every time I go I find something new to appreciate, and it’s always worth going again.