You don't need a passport to enjoy these couple-friendly destinations. Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and lovebirds from all over are looking for last minute ways to celebrate. The USA celebrates Valentine’s Day like no other country in the world and finding a romantic getaway this year is a great way to experience the special day
Centuries-old mansions, Spanish moss-draped trees, spooky cemeteries, cobblestone walks: in a word, Charleston. As you walk the gas lamp-lit streets at night, past horse-drawn carriages and the antebellum architecture, you just might think you’ve traveled back in time. But just because this South Carolina city is proud to celebrate its heritage doesn’t mean it’s stuck in the past. Charleston boasts innovative restaurants, interesting shops, contemporary art galleries and the world-class Spoleto. History pervades almost every aspect of the Holy City, from the majestic homes-turned-museums to the landmarks that promote the city’s role in United States history. Civil War buffs should head to Fort Sumter, where the first shot of the War between the States was fired. Meanwhile, shopaholics looking for locally made goods should peruse the Charleston City Market.
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 local restaurants. 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.
Catalina Island is a perfect idea if you are looking for romantic getaways in the United States. It’s known as the “Island of Romance,” from the song “26 Miles Across the Sea”. The island is a quick one-hour boat ride from Long Beach, San Pedro, Dana Point or Newport Beach to the town of Avalon. Catalina has many romantic treasures for everyone to experience. One of the most popular things to do is to rent a golf cart and explore the island. Bring along a picnic lunch and visit the Wrigley Memorial & Botanic Garden. This spot is considered one of the most romantic spots on the island and has one of the best views of the island and Pacific Ocean.
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.
When you’re long overdue for a couple’s 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 many 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.
After a visit to Napa Valley in the 1880s, writer Robert Louis Stevenson pronounced, “Wine is bottled poetry.” You’ll see this quote as you pass the area’s landmark sign on Highway 29. Unfortunately, Stevenson was referring to French wine — what Napa vintners should aspire to. But as the film “Bottle Shock” documents, California wineries have since risen to the level of their European predecessors. Now, both connoisseurs and amateurs savor the respected vintages from Napa. With its rise in the wine industry, Napa Valley has also become a vacation hot spot for romantic getaways. A trip to California wine country is made unforgettable by not only the life-changing cabernet, but also the intoxicating natural setting.
Even if you’ve never been to Virginia, you know its slogan. In 2019, the tourism board celebrated 50 years of “Virginia is for Lovers” which was even inducted into the Madison Avenue Advertising Hall of Fame. 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 the list of most romantic inns in the country.
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 recently underwent a $25 million renovation 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” 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, an early year visit can be just as memorable. In August, Sullivan Catskills hosts the Woodstock Music Festival. 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.
“There once was a man from Nantucket…” please, finish the rest of the limerick in your head, and then get that giggle out of your system. Because despite being maligned with rhyming obscenities Nantucket is better known as a refined vacation destination. And it’s becoming posher by the year. Located about 30 miles south of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, this tiny island relishes its isolation, beckoning to the upper crust prepsters and Northeastern bluebloods looking for an escape. Nantucket welcomes other visitors as well, as long as they’re willing to splurge. Room rates and dinner plates are quite pricey, but some of the most popular island activities can be experienced on the cheap. After all, a proper Nantucket visit is about riding through the cobblestone streets on your rental bike or lazing about on the shore with a beach-time read.