Type "honeymoon" into Google and you'll be met with thousands of images of idyllic powder-white beaches and turquoise water. This traditional image of a luxurious, laid-back, beachfront trip of a lifetime might have dominated honeymoon dreams for years, but research suggests the trend is shifting.
Enter so-called "adventure-moons," the next generation of honeymoons that is nothing like its pool-lazing predecessor. "Millennials are looking for meaningful, authentic experiences, which honeymooners can now obtain with their combined incomes," says Thomas Spagnola, senior vice president of supplier relations for CheapOair. "Without question, far-to-reach destinations and not your typical honeymoon locations are now [their] first choice."
Are you and your S.O. up to the challenge? These nine off-the-beaten-path honeymoon destinations will be huge in 2017. Choose your own adventure…
Hike in Patagonia
The idea of a hiking trip revolving around backpacking and cooking over a campfire is quickly changing, thanks to an influx of high-end travel companies throughout Argentina and Chile. Catering to adventure seekers who still want a few creature comforts, providers like Kensington Tours and Southwind Adventures offer five-star itineraries that explore the rugged mountains and majestic glaciers of Patagonia and end each day at a luxe lodge with a glass of wine in hand.
Sleep in a Whitepod in Switzerland
Switzerland's famous Whitepod resort is enough to make any bride-to-be forget her dream of an oceanfront honeymoon. The luxury eco hotel is perched at the foot of the Dents-du-Midi mountain range, which marks the beginning of the Swiss Alps. Spend the day gliding down the private ski slopes and exploring the silent forest; then come home to your very own jewel-like pod and spend the night cozied up as snow falls outside your window.
Cycle Through Italy
The Italian countryside might not look like the setting for an adventure-packed honeymoon, but don't be deceived. The undulating hills and winding country roads provide the perfect course for cyclists. Weave from town to town sampling local cheese and wine and staying in quaint villas, or organize your getaway through a travel provider to have your luggage, meals, and accommodations taken care of.
Swim With Sharks in South Africa
"South Africa is now on honeymooners' radars, with safaris and Cape Town as the two most popular destinations," says Spagnola. If you're feeling game, cage-dive with great whites in Cape Town; then explore the nearby Overberg wine region. "South Africa really needs about a two-to-three-week honeymoon due to the land mass and the hundreds of destinations that can be visited," he recommends, so plan your itinerary accordingly.
Heli-Ski in Colorado
Searching for a real adventure? Experienced skiers can test their limits in Colorado with a heli-ski trip in the heart of the San Juan Mountains. A helicopter will give you a stunning birds'-eye view of the untouched, powdery slopes and take you to some of the highest elevations in North America, where you'll be left to carve the pristine slopes at your own pace. This once-in-a-lifetime experience calls for true thrill seekers.
Explore Sacred Ground in Australia
If you'd rather dial down the adrenaline a bit, a trip to Longitude 131 is the perfect mix of natural scenery and five-star comfort. The modern Australian resort consists of private marquee-like suites dotted on the rust-red soil of Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park. Wake up to views of one of the world's most majestic natural wonders, Uluṟu, and explore the sacred desert grounds via a camel trek or a guided walk to the base of the epic rock.
Bike Down a Volcano in Hawaii
Hawaii has long reigned as a picturesque, short-haul honeymoon destination, but adventure seekers are flooding to the island for more than the cocktails and resorts. The volcanic landscape and beaches provide the perfect setting for a host of activities, from biking down a volcano to surfing the break. Start your day by watching the sun rise over the rim of a volcanic crater in Haleakalā National Park; then begin your descent down the mountain by bike.
Snowmobile in Iceland
Iceland has seen a spike in popularity over the last few years, and for good reason. The breathtakingly beautiful country is a five-and-a-half hour flight from East Coast hot spots like New York, and it boasts an array of attractions for luxury travelers and thrill seekers alike.
Add Ion Luxury Adventure Hotel to the top of your dream honeymoon list. The designer retreat boasts epic views of the Northern Lights, achingly cool Nordic suits, and a host of adventures to keep you busy for weeks. Take your pick from helicopter rides, snowmobile adventures, glacier hikes, river jetting, and more.
Stargaze in Morocco
Camping might give you childhood flashbacks, but the five-star glamping retreats nestled in a Moroccan oasis in the Sahara bear no resemblance to a school field trips. Merzouga Luxury Desert Camps offers billowing private tents outfitted with textured Moroccan rugs, plush king-size beds, and mosaic bathrooms. Explore the burnt-orange surroundings via camel, quad bike, or foot, and be sure to venture into the desert with a local guide at night to see the dazzling starry expanse.