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BY ALISSA MILLER
15 destinations for a romantic retreat.
If you and your love are overdue for some quality time together, a romantic couple’s getaway could be just the thing to help you relax and reconnect with one another as you disconnect from the stresses of everyday life. It’s a well-known fact that sharing new experiences can help couples grow closer, and a well-timed romantic retreat can bring you both to a place of peace — recharged and ready to take on life’s challenges together.
From beachy palm trees and scenic mountain vistas to glitzy urban nightlife, these 15 dreamy destinations all offer a significant touch of romance, perfect for a couple’s getaway, which may be just the thing you and your significant other need to fan the flames.
Known for its lush landscapes, cascading waterfalls, and peaceful atmosphere, Kauai is often thought of as the most romantic of all Hawaii’s islands. Watch one of Kauai’s beautiful sunsets while walking the sandy beach at Hanalei Bay, visit Waimea Canyon to see stunning waterfalls and colorful canyon walls, explore rugged sea caves and cliffs at the Na Pali Coast, or just simply sit side by side sipping mai tais or piña coladas on the pool deck, surrounded by swaying palm trees. You and your loved one will find no end of peace on the Garden Isle.
If you and your love are lovers of good wine, then a trip to California to the most densely concentrated winery region in the world might be a great spot for your next romantic retreat. From Napa to Sonoma, the grapes are abundant and the scenery is beautiful. Go on a winery tour for two and sip on your favorite red or white, spend a romantic afternoon on a delightful Napa Valley Wine Train, take a romantic stroll through one of the area’s many charming small towns, or even watch a gorgeous sunrise from the basket of a hot air balloon. Just don’t forget to toast to your love.
In the heart of Arizona’s Sonoran Desert lies Sedona, a stunning landscape of red rock formations and saguaro cacti well-known for its art galleries, spas, and year-round sunshine. Spend the day with your love hiking through the scenic red rock country, go for a leisurely stroll along picturesque Oak Creek and watch for wildlife, hold hands while browsing through one of Sedona’s countless art galleries, or enjoy a sunset picnic and then stick around to see the twinkling stars in one of the country’s top stargazing locations. Hello, romance.
As a top U.S. honeymoon destination, the U.S. Virgin Islands are as full of romantic hot spots as they are of white sandy beaches. Head to the world-famous beach at Magen’s Bay and spend a romantic afternoon relaxing in the shade of a coconut palm, snorkel the Caribbean’s turquoise waters and watch for sea turtles and stingrays, explore the artisan shops and vendors in Charlotte Amalie’s 17th-century historical district, or go side-by-side parasailing and enjoy the breathtaking views of the island from above. Your love will rise with the tide.
The San Juan Islands, located north of Seattle in the Pacific Northwest, are a small archipelago known for their rugged natural beauty and earthy vibes. There are several populated islands with romantic things to see and do, each one just a short ferry ride apart. Explore the quaint maritime village of Friday Harbor on San Juan Island, join a whale watching charter and look for orcas and humpbacks, share a scoop or two of Lopez Island Creamery’s famous flavors, or sample fresh-caught salmon or shellfish at one of many oceanfront restaurants. Romance, ahoy.
Set in the mountains of northern Massachusetts, the Berkshires are a collection of laid-back New England towns known for their spectacular scenery and seasonal activities. In spring and summer, you and your love can hike the backcountry looking for waterfalls or step back in time and visit the Hancock Shaker Village living-history museum. In fall, the Berkshires are a prime New England leaf-peeping locale, and it’s also a great time for apple picking or a cidery tour. In winter, the area is known for its first-rate skiing and snow sports. No matter the season, you’ll find romantic bliss in the Berkshires.
If sunshine is a must for your and your love, San Diego may be the perfect romantic retreat for the two of you. Put on your swimsuits and sunscreen and head to pristine La Jolla Beach for a couple’s stand-up paddleboarding lesson, take a water-taxi to Coronado Island and browse the quaint seaside shops, grab tickets to a live show at Balboa Park’s Old Globe Theatre, or hold each other tight on a spooky ghost tour through the historic Gaslamp Quarter. San Diego’s laid-back urban vibes will have the two of you relaxed and reconnected in no time.
For lovers of the big city’s hustle and bustle, there’s no better place to woo your boo than New York City. Cozy up and go for a romantic carriage ride through Central Park and look for its numerous must-see sites, hold hands while you take a sunset stroll across the Brooklyn Bridge, head to the iconic Lincoln Center for a live performance of the opera or symphony, or spend a cozy evening sipping cocktails at one of the city’s many trendy rooftop bars. When the apple of your eye meets the Big Apple, that’s amore.
New Orleans is the perfect setting for a love story, from its enchanting architecture and soulful music to its vibrant nightlife and unique history. Spend a leisurely morning with your loved one at one of the city’s iconic coffee shops (don’t forget the beignets!), climb aboard the St. Charles Avenue streetcar and cruise past historic monuments and oak-shaded antebellum mansions, jazz hop down Bourbon Street to hear some of the best live music in the country, or take an evening cruise down the Mississippi on an authentic steamboat. Romance comes easy in the Big Easy.
If country music and Southern charm rank high for you and your significant other, Nashville may be the perfect dreamy destination for the two of you. Start by hitting a Western-wear shop and getting outfitted for some matching cowboy/girl boots, then slip then on and hit the Honky Tonk Highway for a couple’s line-dancing class and some boot-scootin’ boogie. Spend the afternoon sipping mint juleps on a historic tour of the Belle Meade Plantation, and the evening seeing a live country music show at the Grand Ole Opry. Nashville will have you acting like newlyweds by noon.
Perched in Utah’s Wasatch Mountains, Park City is an outdoor adventurer’s paradise. Offering world-class skiing in the winter and hiking or mountain climbing in the summer, Park City can help you and your love get back to nature. Experience an old-fashioned horse-drawn sleigh ride for two, take a scenic gondola ride to the top of the mountain for a picnic lunch or hike, enjoy a relaxing couple’s spa package with a sensual side-by-side massage, or go for a guided moonlight snowshoe tour under the starry night sky. Your main squeeze will love the mountains.
The Golden City is sophisticated, cultured, and full of diversity — the perfect place for a romantic urban getaway on the Pacific Coast. Rent a tandem bike and pedal together across the Golden Gate Bridge, pose for a romantic photo in front of the city’s famous painted ladies, enjoy a fancy dinner at one of San Francisco’s many posh waterfront restaurants (here is a list of some of the best), or experience the fragrant aroma of more than 9,000 species of flowers at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Your love will bloom in San Francisco.
The natural beauty of the Sierra Nevada Mountains culminates in Lake Tahoe — the area’s scenic landscape and rugged elegance could inspire romance in even the hardest of hearts. Take your significant other for a relaxing dip in the sultry Sierra Hot Springs, ride the Heavenly Gondola up the mountain for breathtaking views of the lake from sky high, watch an epic sunset from the grassy knoll at Zephyr Cove, or indulge in a four-course dinner for two on an evening cruise around the lake. Lake Tahoe will fan your flame like no place else.
The nearly 400-mile stretch of coastline along Oregon’s western side known as the Oregon Coast is one of the top spots for a romantic getaway on the West Coast. Fly a kite or build a sand castle with your loved one on one of Seaside’s sandy beaches, explore the shops and cafes in one of the area’s many charming seaside towns, use your binoculars to spot puffins and pelicans at one of the prime bird-watching locations, or go lighthouse-hopping along the coast and see the nine original lighthouses. Don’t forget to make time for some coastal canoodling.
Sin City is so much more than just gambling and neon lights — it’s also one of the top wedding and honeymoon destinations in the U.S. If you and your love like a little glitz, consider Las Vegas for your next romantic retreat. Wander through the Bellagio’s Gallery of Fine Art and see famous impressionist paintings, climb to the top of the Eiffel Tower at Paris Las Vegas for panoramic views of the Strip, float down the Grand Canal on a gondola at the Venetian, or cruise the Strip in a luxury car or limousine (or even a pink jeep!). Love is always in style in Vegas.