No matter what you think of when you hear the word “romantic,” there’s undoubtedly a place in the US that fits the bill—from sandy beaches to volcano hikes to scenic vineyards to dance halls to remote cabins with zero WiFi, the US has it all.
Here’s a sampler platter of some of the most romantic places to go in the United States.
When romance means a leisurely pace, a trip to the southern United States is in order. Savannah, arguably Georgia’s most romantic city, is all about taking things slowly—think lazy afternoons with picnic lunches under shady trees and evening strolls or horse-drawn carriage rides through a picturesque historic district complete with pre-Civil War mansions and more than 20 public squares.
For even more romantic charm, stay in one of the city’s beautiful historic mansions that’s been converted into a B&B or an inn.
Big Sur, California
Scenic road trips can be lovely romantic getaways, especially when the views are as spectacular as they are around Big Sur on California’s Central Coast. This is part of the Pacific Coast Highway, one of the country’s best long road trips, and the section around Big Sur is one of the most beautiful.
The area is popular for hiking and camping, but romantics with a taste for the good things in life head straight for the incomparable Post Ranch Inn. Each room in the adults-only hotel is built into its surroundings, overlooks either the Pacific Ocean or the mountains, and some even have (very private) outdoor showers.
Sunrises and sunsets are often beautiful, no matter where you are, but they’re even more memorable when they turn an already gorgeous landscape into something spectacular. The city of Sedona in central Arizona’s high desert is noted for the red sandstone rock formations around it, which are lovely enough during the day with a bright blue sky in the background. But the real magic happens during sunrise and sunset, when the rocks almost look like they’re on fire.
Airport Mesa is a favorite place to watch the sunrise, while the short (though steep) trail up to Cathedral Rock is a popular sunset viewing spot. Between sunrise and sunset, you can indulge in one of Sedona’s many spas—the area is also known as a “spiritual vortex” and is home to holistic healers of all kinds.
Eureka Springs, Arkansas
The Ozarks mountain town of Eureka Springs is an unexpected romantic haven in northwest Arkansas. Combine the surrounding natural beauty with a historic district full of well-preserved Victorian buildings and Eureka Springs is already appealing—but when you add the natural hot springs that give the town its name (and feed the many local spas), that might seal the deal.
Book a stay in one of the seven luxury tree houses at Treehouse Cottages and you’ll be rewarded with sweeping mountain views, a cozy fireplace, and heart-shaped Jacuzzis built for two.
The Florida Keys boast pretty beaches and warm, sunny weather nearly year-round, making them a popular spot for romantic vacations. The “village” of Islamorada, which is made up of six of the Keys, is well-known for excellent sportfishing, as well as snorkeling and diving to see colorful fish, coral, and shipwrecks.
There are several boutique hotels and small resorts in Islamorada, including the 16-room Casa Morada property. The adults-only hotel has its own private beach and offers guests free use of gear like paddleboards, kayaks, and snorkeling equipment.
Perhaps Alaska isn’t the first place you’d think of when planning a romantic vacation, but it’s ideal when you’re truly in love with the magic of the great outdoors. Winter visits to Fairbanks mean plenty of chances to see one of Mother Nature’s finest displays, the Northern Lights, since it’s dark almost all day.
Book a stay at the aptly named Aurora Borealis Lodge just outside the city to get away from light pollution. To up the romantic ante even more, though, consider a stay at Chena Hot Springs Resort, where you can watch the light show dance across the sky while soaking in a natural hot spring.
Cannon Beach, Oregon
Beach trips in Oregon are more likely to involve sweaters than swimsuits (or both), but travelers who love ending a walk on the beach with a warm drink around a fireplace won’t mind. The adorable town of Cannon Beach is home to dozens of art galleries and shops to browse, as well as gourmet restaurants—many of which enjoy ocean views.
The Stephanie Inn is beloved by local romantics. Every room has a Jacuzzi and fireplace, most have ocean views, and guests enjoy complimentary nightcaps in the library each night. What’s more, every inch of Oregon’s coast is public, which means you’ll be able to beach comb to your heart’s content.
Finger Lakes, New York
The Finger Lakes region of Upstate New York has a few things going for it in the romance department, not least of which is the scenic beauty of the 11 narrow lakes that give the area its name. No matter where you choose as home base, your itinerary can include hiking to picturesque waterfalls, touring historic mansions, or strolling through charming lakeside towns.
Wine-loving travelers know the Finger Lakes area is particularly notable as a wine region—especially if you love Riesling. There are more than 120 wineries in Finger Lakes Wine Country, and a few wine trails you can follow for tastings.
If there’s a list of honeymoon vacation spots that doesn’t include Hawaii, we haven’t seen it. And, as is the case with many other popular tourist destinations, there are good reasons Hawaii is always on those lists. Maui is a particular romantic favorite, not least because of its colorful scenery.
In addition to the white sand beaches you might be expecting, there are also striking black sand beaches and even a couple of rare red sand beaches (Onelui Beach and Kaihulu Beach). Maui also has one of the most memorable places in Hawaii to watch the sunrise—from the top of Mount Haleakala.
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming/Montana
The country’s first national park is at its most crowded during the summer months, which is why visiting Yellowstone National Park in winter is especially romantic. Many of the park’s roads are closed, but hardy travelers can explore the snow-covered landscape on snowshoes or cross-country skis or book a snowmobile coach tour to see the sights. There are even nighttime snowcoach tours during the winter to take advantage of the incredible stargazing.
Snuggle with your sweetie during a horse-drawn sleigh ride to see the local wildlife at the nearby National Elk Refuge or go ice skating the park’s ice skating rinks (guests of the Old Faithful Snow Lodge and Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel “rent” skates for free).
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Santa Fe is simultaneously an impossibly charming mountain town and the New Mexico state capital. The city’s historic architecture features both Spanish Colonial and adobe buildings, including the San Miguel Chapel (built in 1610, the oldest church in the United States). Art lovers should spend some time in the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum as well as browse the 100+ unique art galleries along Canyon Road for a souvenir or two.
Santa Fe is also an excellent place for foodies to sample traditional New Mexican dishes and learn whether they prefer red or green chiles. And if you’re looking for a day trip detour, look no further than the scenic High Road to Taos—one of the country’s great road trips.
Whether the last time you danced with your sweetheart was at your wedding or you’re frequent visitors to local dance floors, Austin’s music scene will help you fall in love. The Texas capital is home to countless musical genres, but bring your dancing shoes (and your partner) to any of the Honky Tonk bars around town for a lively evening of live country music.
The Broken Spoke is a longtime local favorite, and there are even dance lessons twice a week if you need a refresher. If you’re up for a day trip, head to nearby Gruene to kick up your heels at the oldest dance hall in the state, Gruene Hall.
When getting as far away from it all as you can in just a few days is what you’re craving, the growing list of Getaway cabin locations may be just the ticket. The tiny house-style cabins include only what you’ll need for a relaxing few days in nature: A bed (near a window for perfect views upon waking up), a small kitchen with a few cooking essentials and campfire snacks, a bathroom, an outdoor fire pit and picnic area, and even a lockbox into which you can place your cell phones for the duration of your stay.
What there is not at Getaway cabins is WiFi. There are currently nine states with a Getaway “Outpost” (Georgia, Texas, Massachusetts, North Carolina, California, Oregon, Pennsylvania, New York, and Washington D.C.).
Mackinac Island, Michigan
Little Mackinac Island sits between Michigan’s Lower and Upper Peninsulas, and it’s been a favorite summer resort destination since the late 1800s. Most of the land is part of Mackinac Island State Park, and the island is blissfully car-free, but the romantic centerpiece of the island is the award-winning Grand Hotel. The resort hotel opened in 1887 (it’s a registered historic landmark) and it claims to have the longest porch in the world. Every luxurious room is unique in its decor and furnishings, and famous past guests include Mark Twain, Thomas Edison, and JFK.
Romance film buffs will recognize the hotel as the setting of the 1980 movie Somewhere in Time, and the hotel hosts a convention every October during which fans of the movie dress in period costumes.
The little town of Barnard in southern Vermont is only a few hours’ drive from busy Boston, but it’s a world away. It was once the home of Nobel Prize-winning writer Sinclair Lewis and his pioneering journalist wife, Dorothy Thompson. In fact, the gorgeous farm property they once owned is now one of the most romantic resorts in New England.
Today, Twin Farms is a 300-acre all-inclusive adults-only property with an on-site spa and gourmet restaurant. In winter, couples can go ice skating on the pond, followed by hot toddies, and then tuck into a special tasting menu guided by the chef (complete with wine pairings) that includes dishes that aren’t on the regular menu.