You don’t need a national holiday about love to justify taking a vacation with the one you love. All you need is a destination conducive to romance.
Just like there are beaches that are great for families and national parks, theme parks and more which you’ll want to experience while the kids are still young, certain places are ideal for reigniting any lost sparks. From rural wine regions to subtropical islands and even the City of Brotherly Love, here are 10 unforgettable romantic getaways that don’t require passports.
Greenville is the more pastoral, less posh version of Charleston. It has southern charm, but it also has the Blue Ridge Mountains. With Falls Park on the Reedy, Downtown Greenville also boasts its own outdoor oasis. Falls Park consists of 32 acres of river, waterfalls, gardens and public art. Pack a picnic or grab a bite at nearby Passerelle Bistro, one of only two U.S. restaurants included on CNN’s list of most romantic restaurants in the world. In the summer, the park hosts Moonlight Movies at dusk. On Main Street, you can enjoy free salsa dancing and free concerts every Thursday and Friday. Finally, if you dream of a staying in a luxurious French Chateau without the transatlantic flight, stay at Hotel Domestique in Travelers Rest. The inspiration behind this one-of-a-kind boutique hotel comes from one of its owners, 17-time Tour de France racer George Hincapie.
Grand Junction is to Colorado what Napa is to California. This underrated region where two impressive rivers collide (the Colorado River and the Gunnison River) is home to more than 20 wineries and vineyards. The scenery is also unrivaled. Grand Junction is bordered by Colorado National Monument — a national park with more than 20,000 acres of canyons and rock formations — and Grand Mesa — the largest flat top mountain in the world. In the winter, you can snowshoe and even downhill ski on Grand Mesa. If you’re lucky, your visit will coincide with the Colorado Lavender Festival or Palisade Peach Festival. (If grapes can grow here, why not peaches?) Perhaps the most romantic accommodations in the region are at Two Rivers Winery and Chateau. At the very least you won’t have to worry about finding a ride home after tasting too many Chardonnays.
This former frontier town, famous for its historic stockyards, is where you’ll find Lockheart Gables, a B&B with heart-shaped jacuzzis in every suite. Now, one of the fastest growing cities in the country, Fort Worth is perfect for the couple who likes to feel young. For starters, there’s Six Flags Over Texas, the first Six Flags and the inspiration behind today’s theme park chain. Then there’s the Fort Worth Zoo. Not only is it the only zoo in the country to have all four great ape species, it also specializes in weddings. Martha Stewart Weddings even featured a Fort Worth wedding reception including appearances by the zoo’s more amicable reptilian and avian residents.
More than 100 years ago, Niagara Falls claimed to be the “honeymoon capital of the world.” Today, that designation probably belongs to a place like Maui. It is to couples what Oahu is to families. In fact, in its list of the best honeymoon destinations in the world, The Knot calls Hawaii’s second-largest island a “no-brainer” when it comes to romantic vacations. Not only is the tropical weather welcoming, but Maui offers some of the world’s most epic, yet accessible, date ideas. Wake up early to catch a crater-top sunrise at nearly 10,000 feet in Haleakala National Park. End the day at sea level while toasting to the sunset after spending the day snorkeling along a world-class beach. Thanks to Hotel Wailea, Maui also now boasts Hawaii’s No. 1 resort, according to Conde Nast Traveler readers in 2018. An adults-only property, it has a spectacular five-day “Romance Under the Stars” package.
When you’re long overdue for a couples massage, head here. This enchanting Sonoran Desert oasis has more destination spas per capita than any other American city. With nearly 70 resort and day spas, wellness is available at most price points. For example, at Scottsdale’s No. 1 spa, according to TripAdvisor reviews, a classic one-hour couples massage costs less than $100 per person. Of course Scottsdale is also a great base for experiencing nature together. Take a day trip to Grand Canyon National Park or make a wish on a shooting star while stargazing on an after-hours desert tour. To be within walking distance of Old Town’s lively scene, stay at Bespoke Inn Scottsdale. It’s the city’s highest-rated B&B, or better put, B&B&B — guests can take advantage of complimentary bicycles for exploring the area during their stay.
The City of Brotherly Love celebrates all kinds of love. With its iconic LOVE statues, and even an AMOR statue, throughout the city, Philadelphia has plenty of unforgettable places to pop the question. Or at the very least, they make for great photo opps. It’s also home to LOVE Park which hosts a charming, German-themed Christmas village during the holidays. Another reason Philadelphia is so great for romance? It’s the country’s 5th most walkable city, according to Walkscore.com, so there are plenty of opportunities to stroll hand in hand. And where else can mouths meet while sharing a world famous cheesesteak? Book a room at The Independent Hotel, a boutique property with rates starting at $139/night. The property’s Out and About Package includes a donation to a local LGBT organization and a 1-hour walking tour of Philly’s “Gayborhood.”
Even if you’ve never been to Virginia, you know its slogan. In 2019, the tourism board is celebrating 50 years of “Virginia is for Lovers” which was even inducted into the Madison Avenue Advertising Hall of Fame. Starting in June, take advantage of 50 consecutive days of promotions and special events statewide. Visiting the historic, riverfront city of Alexandria is a must. (It’s consistently at the top of Amazon’s list of most romantic cities based on sales data for romance novels, relationship books and movies.) Book a room in an oceanfront resort in Virginia Beach, the third-largest beach in the U.S. Or, stay in a quaint inn in the heart of Virginia’s wine country. Goodstone Inn & Restaurant in Middleburg made USA Today’s 2015 list of most romantic inns in the country. The property’s award-winning French restaurant offers a selection of more than 820 wines.
The Florida Keys may be the southernmost point of the continental U.S. but they’re also one of the most romantic. Nearly 20% of visitors participate in a wedding or vow renewal while visiting this remote archipelago comprised of more than 1,000 islands. With so much demand, prices aren’t outrageous either. Conch Concierge’s “Key West Barefoot” wedding package on the beach is only $195 and includes officiant and photos. Of course, you can also just come here for a regular weekend escape. A two-night package at Parrot Key Hotel & Villas — which just underwent a $25 million renovation and made Travel + Leisure’s 2019 list of Best New Hotels in the World — includes a “sip and sail sunset cruise” or tropical reef snorkel excursion.
One of film’s greatest love stories — power couple Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez are fans — takes place in this idyllic region just 100 miles north of New York City. While the resort that inspired “Dirty Dancing” (and where Elizabeth Taylor got married) is now closed, this is the perfect place to hole up in a historic inn. The renovated and well-appointed inn, The Arnold House, originally built in 1851, includes rooms in the town’s former library and post office. It even has a vintage two-lane bowling alley. While autumn is when the Catskills come alive with color, a summer visit can be just as memorable. In August, Sullivan Catskills hosts the Woodstock Music Festival, celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Another perk of escaping here? Cell service in the Catskills can be limited. There’s no better place to be forced to disconnect and enjoy each other’s company.
With its racetrack and mineral baths, Saratoga Springs, New York makes for an exciting and relaxing time. But if your idea of getting away together involves more open space and less people, consider Saratoga, Wyoming. Saratoga, pop. 1,605, also has natural hot springs, but theirs are open 24/7. And they’re free. After a relaxing soak, catch a sunset from your cabin while glamping at The Lodge & Spa at Brush Creek Ranch. For years this 30,000-acre ranch refuge has been the top-ranked resort, according to Conde Nast Traveler. And although you’re in the least populated state — which is featured on The New York Times list of 52 places to visit in 2019 — your chance of running into a celebrity is quite high. This is where Reba McIntyre celebrated her wedding anniversary, and more recently, Allison WIlliams got married in front of her famous friends including Katy Perry.
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