Outer Banks, N.C. instead of Kauai, Hawaii
Outer Banks, N.C. instead of Kauai, Hawaii

There may be no substitute for Hawaii's breathtaking scenery, active volcanoes, rushing waterfalls and black sand beaches, but there are much less expensive and attractive options for couples looking for a romantic beach destination in the U.S., according to the Knot's Kristin Koch.

For newlyweds on the East coast, North Carolina's Outer Banks is a quick (and cheap) flight with beautiful beaches and plenty of outdoor activities like windsurfing and horseback riding.

Hotels here cost less than $100 a night, on average, in the off-season. Although summer is the best time to go. Rates at popular spots like the Inn on Pamlico Sound jump to over $300 a night in August but even then, prices are still far less than the sky-high rates at beach resorts on the islands, where a stay in an ocean view at the Marriott in Kauai starts at $450 a night (not including champagne and rose petals).

By Jessica Dickler @CNNMoney - Last updated February 23 2012: 4:55 PM ET
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