Trying to make a baby should be one of the best, most fun undertakings in life. But for couples whose fertility window is quickly closing due to waiting for the right time, person or reason, it may seem more like a job. It's also sometimes a frustrating, even heartbreaking experience for some couples, when time has slipped by and every month that stick just won't turn pink. There are arguments on whether stress may cause infertility or infertility causes stress, but I believe it's both. And for that reason, one unexpected aid to babymaking is to reduce stress by taking a relaxing trip together. Also, informal surveys with over 1000 participants on baby websites have indicated that conception trips do work - up to 40% stated they got pregnant on their getaways.
Just unplugging, unwinding and enjoying the sights, sounds and sensuality of a vacation destination can help a couple truly relax and focus on the good stuff - each other. Some people refer to these trips as conceptionmoons, or procreation vacations. Whatever they're called, they definitely can't hurt! Some resorts are catering to the trying-to-conceive or TTC community, by offering special services for such couples, such as romance packages, on-site fertility experts, and menus with foods known to either increase fertility or sex drives. The destination can be a draw, but the real attraction is going away, being together and enjoying one another.
15 Paris, France
The City of Light is also known as a haven for lovers. How could it not be? The Eiffel Tower, the Louvre and romantic sidewalk cafes are just the beginning. There are numerous spots perfect for hand-holding walks, such as Canal St-Martin, in the Right Bank along the covered shopping area of 1800s era specialty stores, or find a park and picnic along a lake or stream with items found in local patisseries. One unusual activity popular in Paris is a trip to the cemetery. That's right; and one is especially notable, the 1804 Pere-Lachaise Cemetery. Among the 70,000 tombs are those of Chopin, Jim Morrison and Oscar Wilde, as well as Victor Noir. Victor Noir was a journalist murdered in a true "shoot the messenger" type death, with ramifications leading to a political upheaval in the late 1800s. The sculpture of Noir has become a fertility symbol, and the ritual of rubbing the crotch area of the statue has become such a deal that the statue has been discolored in that area. It's said to aid in getting pregnant, so if in Rome....er, Paris...
14 Orlando, Florida
If Orlando doesn't conjure up romantic images, look again. For the town's true headliner, check out couples-friendly destinations within Disney World, such as strolling through the World Showcase in Epcot in the evening, then catching the fireworks over Cinderella Castle while on a yacht in the Seven Seas Lagoon. Kayaking through natural beauty in Merritt Island, or popping into one of the countless spas can be as romantic as anything ruled by a mouse, or otherwise. However, for couples hoping for a romance trophy, how about heading over to the kitchy Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum, where some newly acquired fertility statues are on display and the museum is asking women to come, touch the statues and update the museum on their experience and whether or not they became pregnant. The previous world-famous fertility statues from West Africa were on display in Orlando for the past 5 years, have toured the country and now are on display in London. The newly acquired statues don't have a famous track record as of yet, so be among the first to find out if they work as well as the old ones.
13 Moab, Utah
Again, Utah doesn't pop into your mind when you think romance? Well, give it a chance by checking out Moab, home to Arches National Park, a sandstone arch mecca, and Canyonlands National Park, where the Island in the Sky towers over the area on a 1500 foot mesa. Every type and level of lodging are available, and the recreational opportunities are myriad, from whitewater rafting, to horseback riding, ATV adventure trips and biking. While in Moab, be on the lookout for shops and sites displaying the iconic kokopelli, meaning "humpbacked," in Hopi. The kokopelli is a fertility deity, often shown playing a flute and wearing feathers. Kokopelli is a prominent figure in the Southwestern US. The deity is said to reign over fertility, childbirth and agriculture. He is also the god of music and dance, and is known as a bit of a prankster. Bringing back a kokopelli figure might also bring some conception good luck!
12 European River Cruise
Water is often a symbol in story and myth representing the flow of life, or fertility. What better background to a baby's conception that a lovely river cruise down one of the many different European rivers of lore? Some rivers with cruises include Elbe, the Rhine, Rhone, Danube and Moselle. Most cruises are a few days to a week, and meander along their routes, stopping at various villages, cities and points of interest. Along the Danube, visitors may see Vienna, the small village of Melk with an 11th century abbey restored as 18th century baroque. One side trip could include stopping off at Willendorf to see a 30,000 year old fertility symbol, the Venus of Willendorf. European river cruising season is typically April to October. Rooms often offer lovely full river views, chef-prepared meals and entertainment options, but all in a much smaller and intimate setting than those ocean cruisers that seem like small cities. Too much money? You could check out river cruises right here in the US, along the Mississippi River.
11 Fresno, California
Fresno is the 5th largest city in California, and home to and adjacent to some prime attractions such as the breathtaking Kings Canyon National Park, Sequoia National Park and Yosemite National Park. There are more destinations within those three options than any couple couple get to in one jam-packed trip. But there are more things to attract couples on a conceptionmoon in the Fresno area, such as the many wineries and farmer's markets. Couples can indulge in wine tasting, take scenic hikes and visiting local farms. One crop to pay special attention to when trying to conceive is figs. Figs are believed to be helpful in achieving fertility, something the ancient Greeks started. Figs are high in magnesium and iron, and it's a good idea for women to focus on boosting these in their diets when preparing for pregnancy. For a bit of serenity, a trip to the Shinzen Japanese Garden should do the trick.
10 Georgia Coast
There are all kinds of options along the coast of Georgia, from rustic, tranquil cabins to seafront cottages, to 5 star resorts - Georgia's coast has it all. There are even private islands available for rental. Imagine having an island to yourself, where the only visitors will be you and the only way in or out is by boat. Some resorts offer jacuzzi tubs, restaurants, golf and entertainment. Basically, if you want to indulge in some nightlife, it can be found, but if you'd rather leave the world completely behind, that's possible, too. While in Georgia, make certain to get some locally grown pecans. Pecans, like other nuts, are considered fertility-friendly foods. Georgia is the main producer of pecans in the US. Go antiquing, biking, horseback riding, fishing, crabbing or just chilling on the beach.
9 Isla Mujeres, Mexico
This island in the Caribbean is 8 miles from Cancun, and was discovered by Cordoba in 1517. He dubbed it Isla Mujeres, Island of Women, as it was said to be only inhabited by priestesses of the Mayan goddess, Ixchel. The island was essentially her temple, and she was goddess of fertility, moon, medicine and happiness. Today the island, which is a bit off the beaten path but not too far off, is an ideal getaway with its powdery-white sand beaches, dozens of hotels and inns, and recreational activities from diving and whale watching, to exploring Mayan archeological finds. And, of course, just plain, pure relaxation. Some hotels are now marketing their island as a perfect wedding and honeymoon spot, so romance packages are plentiful. The goddess' main digs is on the island of Cozumel, but it's a bit more touristy, so for a real getaway, Isla Mujeres seems to be top pick.
8 Hocking Hills, Ohio
Tucked in the hills of Southeastern Ohio is the small town of Logan, set smackdab in the middle of Hocking County, nicknamed the Gateway to Ohio's Scenic Wonderland. Within the county are 5 state parks, 2 nature preserves and several state forests. I grew up here and took its beauty for granted. Doesn't everyone grow up near waterfalls, caves and cliffs? Besides those attractions, there are lakes and rivers where canoeing, kayaking and raft trips are plentiful. You can stay in a grand old lodge, rustic cabins or scenic campgrounds. However, many people prefer to rent a cabin in the midst of the leafy hillsides. Some have private hot tubs, fireplaces and kitchens. Some are more elegant B&Bs with full, homecooked breakfasts. Check out roadside farm stands and farmer's markets while visiting for some of the freshest produce around, as eating plenty of fresh fruits and veggies is a great fertility boost.
7 Lake Powell, Arizona
For a truly unique couples' vacation, renting a houseboat on Lake Powell is a romantic idea. You can rent houseboats ranging from homey to absolute indulgent luxury. All feature a minimum of one bedroom, one bath and a full kitchen, with decks and waterslides. Anyone can operate a houseboat after a simple training session lasting a half hour or so on average. There are plenty of water recreation options such as jet skis, speed boats and fishing excursions. However, the best part is the incredible scenery of the red and orange sandstone canyons and the not-to-miss Rainbow Bridge, the largest known natural bridge in the world at 290 feet high. Again, water is a key fertility symbol so a water setting for a conception trip is a natural strategy. There are plenty of opportunities for visiting cultural centers featuring Native American history, golfing and shopping.
Bermuda has all the romance and relaxation any island could offer, plus the huge perk of no Zika virus! This is an important consideration for couples hoping to conceive while on a romantic holiday. A must for couples is visiting one of the island's many moongates, which are lovely semi-circular limestone gates adorning gardens, parks and homes. The moongates are said to bring luck to those who walk under them holding hands. What's better luck than returning home with the ultimate souvenir - a new baby on the way! Besides moongates, Bermuda has loads of beaches, including quieter, more private ones. There are hotels, resorts and inns to suit most pocketbooks, too, and there are plenty of romance packages to be found with jetted tubs, massages for two and all the perks from rose petals to horse drawn carriages. Another conception trip plus, Bermuda cuisine has loads of dishes containing yams, a known fertility boosting food.
5 New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans is one of the most historic and unique cultural spots in all of the US, and a prime romance destination. Some must do's include a horsedrawn carriage in the French Quarter, savoring the world-famous New Orleans cuisine and of course, checking out a jazz club. Not far from the French Quarter, stroll along the Mississippi in Fauborg Marigny and Bywater, where waterfront terraces and cafes beckon. Enjoy a picnic in Crescent Park. Within the city experience the Sculpture Garden, a gondola ride in City Park, or try urban bayou kayaking at Bayou St. John. In the Garden District you can ride the streetcar, tour the scenic neighborhood and settle in for a romantic dinner at one of the many upscale restaurants. While in New Orleans, you can stop in one of the many voodoo shops where a potion, cure or trinket can be found to enhance fertility.
4 Estes Park, Colorado
Set at 7523 feet in Northern Colorado, Estes Park is anchored at the edge of Rocky Mountain National Park. Estes Park offers year-round natural beauty, with mountain landscapes, cool blue lakes and artsy shops. Lodging ranges from the grand, such as the historic (and reportedly haunted) Stanley Hotel, to kitschy family hotels and cabins both homey and luxe. Winter in Estes can include snowshoeing, snowtubing and the best part, hot-tubbing afterwards. Summers include hiking, fly-fishing and riding on the aerial tram. A big draw is the opportunity to wildlife watch, from bears, to elk (check out the Elk Festival in fall) and bighorn sheep, as well as eagles and coyotes. If you opt for a private cabin, for romance it's worthwhile to spring for one with a private Jacuzzi or hot tub, as well as a view of the mountains and a patio to take it all in. Relaxing mountain air and incredible vistas are conducive to tranquility and fertility.
3 Montreal, Canada
Montreal, Quebec in Canada makes for a lovely couples' retreat whether you visit in winter or in warmer months. The majority-French city has a truly international vibe that offers cobblestone historic city neighborhoods, as well as chic, modern sections of town. For winter, there's snowshoeing treks up Mount Royal. For the more daring, there's an ice hotel with igloo style rooms. Less brave? Enjoy the ice bar and head for a romantic resort with pampered spa services, and in-room jacuzzi tubs. In season, visiting a farmer's market and enjoying a picnic in a scenic park makes for romantic settings. One restaurant in Quebec, Atame Restaurant, has made a name for itself by dialing up the romance and the sizzle with entertainment, palatial decor and music, and a menu that boasts many dishes considered aphrodisiacs. A wonderful way to wrap up a romance-filled trip to Montreal would be aboard one of the glass-covered bateau-mouche for a day or evening cruise along the St. Lawrence River.
2 Acadia National Park, Maine
Camping may not be your ideal conception trip, but for some nothing is better than sleeping under the stars and cooking over a campfire. Set on Mount Desert Island, Acadia National Park is highlighted by rocky coastline beaches, granite mountain peaks and thick pine forests. Within the park boundaries is Cadillac Mountain, the highest peak in the Eastern US. There are 3 campgrounds in the park including Black Woods which is near Bar Harbor, Schoodic Woods which is on a peninsula, and the most woodsy and least busy, Seawall. Besides the beautiful geographic features, Acadia is home to a good deal of wildlife including whales, bear and moose. Recreational opportunities abound from sea kayaking, hiking and biking. Known for the pristine stargazing possibilities, Acadia hosts an annual Acadia Night Sky Festival that would be for a most romantic evening with unforgettable celestial views.
1 Hot Springs Of Gila Wilderness Area, New Mexico
Designated the world's first wilderness area in 1924, Gila has 3.3 million acres including mountains, canyons and the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument where dwellings built into the cliffs were constructed and inhabited in about 1275 to 1300 AD by the Mogollon people. There are rugged and less demanding trails to explore, pristine waterways, and a generous collection of more than a half dozen different hot springs. Ever heard the saying about "Maybe there's something in the water?" when women in the same area are suddenly pregnant around the same time? Well, maybe there is something in the water when discussing mineral hot springs. These natural hot tubs have been visited since the earliest civilizations who were convinced of the water's curative powers. Some people have touted hot springs as a fertility aid. In Gila, you can pick from many different types of springs including some clothing optional ones, so be sure to check ahead to avoid any surprises. Some hot springs are remote and require a hike, while others have resorts built around them, and provide more commercially maintained springs and pools, along with more plush amenities.