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1 Hotel Hanalei Bay
Photograph: Courtesy 1 Hotel Hanalei Bay1 Hotel Hanalei Bay in Kauai

The best romantic getaways in the U.S. for couples

Relax with your love on a romantic getaway in the U.S., from desert escapes to beach retreats

Clara Hogan
Written by
Shoshi Parks
Clara Hogan

Couples who travel together are happier together. That claim may be an oversimplification, but it's safe to say that exploring the world, getting out of the daily routines and trying new things together are all effective at spurring romance and connection. 

From your first romantic weekend trip away to your honeymoon or babymoon and the many anniversary vacations to come, taking trips as a couple is a surefire way to keep the spark alive and form a deeper bond. And while a European voyage to Paris or Rome tops many people's bucket lists, you don't have to travel far to find romance. Across the U.S., charming destinations await that will sweep your one and only off their feet.

Head to California to enjoy some of the country's best food and wine amid coastal scenery, embrace nature in the Colorado mountains or Arizona desert, or visit a charming East Coast town like Martha's Vineyard or Nantucket, where you can stroll the historic streets and stay in a cozy inn. Whatever you choose, our list of the most romantic getaways in the USA boasts stunning landscapes, plenty of ways to be pampered, and some of the most romantic hotels in America.

Best romantic getaways in the U.S.

1. Sonoma County, CA

It’s easy to swoon over Sonoma. While wine tasting is the main attraction, there's so much more to this sprawling California county. Get pampered at world-class spas (head to Dawn Ranch for an oasis set among the redwoods); dine your heart out at restaurants rooted in seasonal California fare (snag a seat at Healdbsurg's buzziest new opening, Goodnight’s Prime Steak + Spirits); or head to the coast to take in stunning ocean views at boutique hotels like Nick's Cove or Timber Cove (grab a bite at their waterfront restaurants or stay the night). 

2. Scottsdale, AZ

Set amid the stunning Sonoran desert, the backdrop to a vacation in Scottsdale easily checks the romantic box. This Arizona town has long been a destination for those looking to be pampered and relax—and in recent years, has experienced a renewed sense of interest from travelers thanks to buzzy restaurants (check out FnB Restaurant and Fat Ox), a myriad of wellness experiences, and even an up-and-coming wine scene (don't skip Aridus Winery's tasting room in Old Town). Couples looking for an urban retreat will enjoy a stay at the midcentury marvel that is the Hotel Valley Ho, and for those looking to escape reality in a more remote setting, don't miss the luxurious Sanctuary Camelback Mountain (Jay Z and Beyoncé honeymooned here, if that tells you anything.)


3. Kauai, HI

If your version of paradise includes rugged cliffs and sunny sand, emerald hills and epic hikes, fire up your laptop and book a trip to Kauai. The 'Garden Isle' is a verdant wonderland where you can take a helicopter ride past the Jurassic Park waterfall, kayak Hawaii's only navigable river or walk the wild Na Pali Coast—though no one will blame you for kicking back with a cocktail on the beach. For an indulgent stay, book a room at the brand-new sustainable luxury resort, 1 Hotel Hanalei Bay.

4. Savannah, GA

Savannah wears its charm in the open: classic homes, historic squares and impossibly photogenic moss-covered trees. But there's more to this Southern belle than gawking at her sights. Go for a stroll on Tybee Island, then dig into expertly crafted Cajun and low-country cooking at Alligator Soul (where, yes, there's gator on the menu). Finish things off at Lulu's Chocolate Bar and share a slice of the rum-brushed strawberry suspension cake.


5. San Juan Islands, WA

This Puget Sound escape—where the most populated town is just one square mile—is about escaping it all. Life on the San Juan Islands means lighthouse strolls, coastal kayaking, visits to alpaca or lavender farms, and fresh seafood. Book a summer whale watch session and spot one of three local orca pods before bed at the Bird Rock Hotel, where loaner bikes let you explore at the right pace.

6. The Berkshires, MA

The Berkshires aren't just one town but a collection of several that are quaint and charming in their way. Start with Lenox, a scenic and lush town once the home of writer Edith Wharton, and Stockbridge, a town bursting with Norman Rockwell-inspired streets. There’s also North Adams, replete with picturesque churches, and Williamstown, surrounded by mountains and farmland. Stroll together hand-in-hand along the historic downtown streets, hit a hiking trail, and relax together in a B&B: there's romance here no matter where your days (and nights) take you.


7. Sun Valley, ID

No matter the time of year, the Sun Valley, Idaho region, is a perfect choice for a little romance. In the winter, ski during the day and get cozy at night; in the spring and summer, take in wildflower and waterful hikes; and when autumn rolls in, take in some of the most stunning foliage views in the country. Stay at the historic Sun Valley Resort or the neighboring town, Ketchum, at the LimeLight Ketchum, which features a year-round heated pool and mountain views that set the mood. 

  • Hotels

Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, NY, is a gorgeous retreat two hours from NYC that dates back to 1869. Since then, Mohonk has grown enormously, evident in the varying styles of the main building as well as through the scattered wooden “summer houses” that dot the landscape. Head here for romantic Victorian rooms with wood-burning fireplaces, outstanding views from surrounding trails, live music, and events. The resort hosts occasional "Romantic Couples' Weekends" with love-themed activities for you and your beau.


9. New Orleans

There's something magical about New Orleans—the cobblestone streets of the French Quarter, the 100+-year-old candlelit restaurants, the live music wafting through the air. Look past the rowdiness of Bourbon Street, and you'll find a city ripe for romance: stroll past historic mansions in the Garden District, get a cocktail at the Carousel Bar, and unwind at a luxurious hotel like the Eliza Jane.

10. Aspen, CO

There’s no wrong time to book a trip to Aspen, a Rocky Mountain town where romantic enticements beckon all year long. From luxury hotels and sophisticated dining to hot air ballooning and legendary slopes, there’s a reason Aspen has a reputation for over-the-top thrills. Whether you’re here to ski with your partner, take on some rapids, or settle into a couple’s massage at the extravagant St. Regis (don’t miss the hotel's nightly champagne sabering, either), you’ll leave Aspen more in love than ever.


11. Glacier National Park, MT

With mountain lakes surrounded by rocky peaks, 600ft waterfalls and glaciers (expected to melt in the next 30 years), Glacier National Park deserves a place on your to-do list. Hike, horseback ride, hop a boat, spot a grizzly bear or mountain goat, and then cozy up over a fire or hearty meal. Given the range of accommodations offered—from lodges to campsites to backcountry chalets well worth the walk—this is the ideal destination to combine adventure and affection.

12. New York, NY

With its relentless bustle, New York romance is about connecting with your partner amid the chaos. Go classic: Rent a rowboat in Central Park and get gussied up for dinner at La Grenouille, serving time-honored French delicacies in a flower-arrangement-filled space. Or throw tradition to the wind: Get into frisky business at the Museum of Sex or take the tram to Roosevelt Island for lofty, 360-degree city views.


13. Nantucket, MA

Nantucket is the perfect setting for a romance novel—or real-life romance. With white-sand beaches, cobblestone streets and New England charm everywhere you look, this tiny island (which is only 14 miles in length) is the perfect place to get away if you're looking for seaside splendor. Splurge on luxury accommodations (there are plenty to choose from, but we recommend the Wauwinet), have a picnic on the beach or slide into a booth at a historic restaurant, or bike around the island. The high season is Memorial Day through Labor Day, but the shoulder months can be just as lovely without the crowds. 

14. Big Sur, CA

With rolling redwood forests and cliffs jutting over turquoise water, Big Sur is idyllic in the extreme. Splurge at the Post Ranch Inn, where your luxury bungalow is TV- and telephone-free, or snuggle up inside a yurt at Treebones. Come during the summer when you can kayak with sea otters, take a moonlit tour of the Point Sur lighthouse or stay up late for a dip in the Esalen Hot Springs.


15. Harpers Ferry, WV

Although Harpers Ferry played a role in igniting the Civil War, today's vibe is far more romantic than revolutionary. The core of Harpers Ferry—which sits at the edge of the Shenandoah River, the Potomac River, and the Blue Ridge Mountains—is a national historic park with forts, museums, cobbled streets, and charm aplenty. You’ll also find 22 miles of hiking trails outside the city center, and in the warmer months, the town is an ideal launch point for kayaking, whitewater rafting, and tubing. It won't take long to understand why locals call West Virginia 'almost heaven.'

16. Martha’s Vineyard, MA

The Obamas' go-to summer getaway, Martha's Vineyard has always charmed visitors with its windswept beaches and sweet towns. Rent a home or base yourself at Hob Knob in Edgartown, the island’s picture-perfect, oldest settlement with narrow streets, red-brick pavements and white clapboard homes. Hit the beach, browse local shops, marvel over the sunset and stuff yourself with fresh seafood—it’s not a Vineyard visit without lobster from Larsen’s Fish Market.


17. Mackinac Island, MI

Nothing beats Michigan in the summer—the crystal blue water, perfect weather, and friendly people. One of the most quaint spots in the state is Mackinac Island, situated on Lake Huron between Michigan's upper and lower peninsulas. With stunning national parks, car-free streets, charming B&Bs, and plenty of outdoor activities, this is a place where you can lazily enjoy the island life or be active from sunrise to sunset. 

18. Charleston, SC

This picturesque Southern city doesn’t just feel like a romantic movie set; Nicholas Sparks’ The Notebook was actually filmed around Charleston. Turn it into the background of your love story as you roam the historic district, explore the vibrant dining scene and wander through the gardens at Boone Hall.


19. Block Island, RI

Dubbed 'Island of the Little God' by the Narragansett tribe, this petite isle 12 miles off the coast of Rhode Island is a world apart from the mainland. Rent a bike or moped, grab a sandwich from Three Sisters and start discovering your favorite beach or scenic trail.

20. Sedona, AZ

Free your spiritual side in Sedona, a desert enclave where natural vortexes emit mystical energy. Even if communing with the Earth isn't your thing, visiting for the spectacular slot-canyon hiking and world-class accommodations is worth it. Spoil yourself in a L'Auberge de Sedona cottage complete with an outdoor shower or stay at Enchantment Resort and book a couple’s treatment at the acclaimed Mii Amo spa.


21. San Diego, CA

With 322 days of annual sunshine, San Diego begs you to get outside and explore. Hit the waves at Pacific Beach, ride bikes along the boardwalk, charter a boat or grab a patch of sand and snuggle up with your partner. The zoo is rightfully renowned and, when you've worked up an appetite, head to the Marine Room for dinner at high tide when the Pacific crashes against the windows.

22. Amelia Island, FL

Barely inside the Florida border, this Atlantic Coast barrier island hits the spot for a luxury weekend or low-key retreat. Book a room at a historic B&B or bed down overlooking the beach at the Ritz-Carlton. Then, spend your days soaking up the sun, riding horses along the shoreline or on the water on a fishing charter or sightseeing tour. Keep the camera ready for sea turtles, manatees and dolphins.

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