It’s been a few weeks since our wedding and honeymoon adventures but we are definitely still soaking up all the honeymoon bliss! Our story is a little bit crazy because our original Puerto Rican honeymoon that we had planned for over a year was suddenly threatened by Hurricane Irma. So we cancelled our trip the night before and flew down to Key West, FL. Little did we know, Irma would make its way towards us and keep us moving north with the rest of the Florida state until we finally made it safely to North Carolina by the end of our honeymoon.
If you know anything about me you would know that I am an obsessive planner and organizer. If things don’t go the way I planned (especially my honeymoon) then it really throws me off. So you can imagine the stress I was feeling the night before our honeymoon as well as the whole trip. I had strategically planned out every day of our Puerto Rico honeymoon and the destination change 6 hours before our flight was set to depart left me with no time to plan out a new itinerary. I’m sure my brand new husband was wondering what he got himself into during this whole fiasco.
Anyways, we ended up seeing a good chunk of the east coast on our mission to avoid Hurricane Irma. We spent one day in Key West, Orlando, Savannah, Myrtle Beach, and Wilmington before flying out from Charlotte, North Carolina. This actually ended up being a great story to tell and we had a lot of fun exploring a new city every day!
Key Wes, FL: First of all, the drive to Key West was an adventure in itself. The entire drive from the Florida mainland down to the Keys is filled with beautiful ocean views and quaint little towns (check out all of the overly creative and adorable mailboxes on your way down!). If it’s your first time visiting the Florida Keys (it was our first time) I would recommend stopping by the very first Visitors Center you come across once you enter Key Largo (on the right hand side). The workers were some of the friendliest people I’ve ever met and one of the workers was even kind enough to give us his cell phone number in case we had trouble navigating the island or were looking for more things to do. They gave us insight on all there is to do. Trust me, I did all my research about what there is to do in the Keys but they were able to get us discounts and recommendations you couldn’t find online. They ended up giving us a great deal on a local hotel (which we ended up not staying at due to the hurricane evacuation) and also booked us a snorkeling excursion through Fury Key West. We did the Rum and Reggae Sunset Snorkel package, which was one of the most incredible experiences I’ve ever had. If you’re a bit hesitant to get in the waters that’s perfectly fine! On this trip, snorkeling is optional. You can get in and out of the water whenever you please. If you prefer to stay on the boat, they have an open bar and music to keep you entertained. HIGHLY recommend this company and this specific excursion. Plus, sailing during the sunset was the perfect way to begin a romantic honeymoon. And if you’ve never been to Key West, be ready to encounter wild chickens and cats that seem to take over the entire island!
Orlando, FL: Of course, when we made it to Orlando we decided to spend the day at the happiest place on Earth, Disneyworld! Ever since I was a little girl I always thought the Disney parks were such a magical place and I dreamed of sharing the experience with my significant other one day. We got the 1-day park hopper pass that allowed us admission into Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Epcot, and Hollywood Studios. We were able to hit three of those parks. One of the things we really wanted to do was visit the brand new Pandora (for all my Avatar fans out there) theme park located in Animal Kingdom. It was amazing and better than anything I could’ve imagined. However, since it was so new the wait time for the rides were over an hour and half long. So we opted to just do one. We ended the day with our inner kid-selves completely satisfied.
Savannah, GA: I was really excited to visit Savannah, GA (mainly because I’ve been connecting it with my name my entire life). Arriving in Savannah feels like something out of a fairytale. The trees and historical buildings make you feel like you’re in a movie. First, we started our exploration by attempting to find food. By this point in our honeymoon, the hurricane had caused some pretty intense commotion among these southern states and most businesses had closed down for the weekend. However, we came across a fun and festive tex mex restaurant called Tijuana Flats. The food was average (although Nathan claims it was the best burrito he’s had), but the best part was the outgoing staff and raunchy yet lighthearted decor (see photo below). We also had dinner at Savannah Seafood Shack, where we tried the low country boil. It was AMAZING! We don’t have anything like it up in the Midwest so this is going to be added to the list of must-try restaurants. Since we got to Savannah so late in the day many of the historical museums and tours that I so badly wanted to visit were just closing down for the night. So we decided to just take a walk through Forsyth Park, which is just breathtaking. Every single local we talked to recommended we stop at Leopold’s ice cream and if we didn’t then we’d be losing out on the whole Savannah, GA experience. Of course, Leopold’s was closed down for the weekend as well so we will be saving that for our next adventure there.
Myrtle Beach: I’ve always wanted to visit Myrtle Beach so of course we made it a must-stay destination on our impromptu honeymoon. We opted for the beachfront DoubleTree hotel which turned out to be one of our better ideas on this trip. We had dinner at Simply Southern, an authentic southern buffet full of fried chicken, grits, mashed potatoes, and any comfort food you can imagine. While the food was good, we ended up enjoying the staff and atmosphere of the restaurant more than anything. One of our favorite memories of the trip was getting to hear a local church choir belting worship songs while we enjoyed our meal. We spent the rest of the day lounging on the beach, playing mini golf at one of the hundreds of mini golf courses in the city, and then sipping on drinks while watching the stars and listening to the crashing waves from the comfort of the hotel patio. It really was a perfect and romantic way to spend the last night of our honeymoon.
Wilmington, NC: When I realized that we would have to eventually end up driving all the way north to North Carolina to avoid the evacuations I automatically penned Wilmington into our itinerary. I am a HUGE One Tree Hill fan and much to Nathan’s dismay we decided to make Wilmington our last stop before our flight out of Charlotte. Of course, the first stop I wanted to make was to the River Walk (downtown Wilmington) where my favorite TV couple, Nathan and Haley, had their first iconic scene together. I really do have to applaud Nathan for being such a trooper and happily posing and taking pictures wherever I asked him to. It was surreal being able to tour the very town that I grew up watching on TV. We also made some stops to different homes featured in the show, and if you’re as big of a fan as I am you’ll be able to recognize which houses belonged to which characters. On our tour of homes we did encounter some of the people that actually lived in the homes, who reassured us that it was ok if we wanted to get a photo in front of their home because ‘it happens all the time’. We also stopped into Poodle’s Island Wear gift shop that houses tons of OTH apparel and I just needed to own my very own ‘Clothes Over Bros’ baseball cap! Even if you’re not big into One Tree Hill, Wilmington is such a gorgeous town to spend time in. Nathan loved the atmosphere and even wished we would’ve spent a night there just to explore what the rest of the city has to offer.
So that was our crazy honeymoon adventure! Although nothing turned out as planned, we ended up getting the vacation of a lifetime and got to see a whole lot more than we were planning. It was memorable and we now have a fun story to tell everyone! It really didn’t matter where we were or what we were doing. I was just happy to be able to spend some time alone with my brand new husband and cherish this beautiful marriage that we’d just established.
I also recommend this exact same itinerary for anyone looking for a fun, on-the-go vacation. If you start in Key West and head north to North Carolina you’re bound to make some amazing memories meeting the locals, visiting historic sites, and crossing off bucket list items. If you’ve visited any of these spots and have any recommendations let me know! We are hoping to revisit these places and be able to spend more time enjoying things that we’ve missed.