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.
1. Greenville, South Carolina
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.
2. Grand Junction, Colorado
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.
3. Fort Worth, Texas
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.
4. Maui, Hawaii
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.
5. Scottsdale, Arizona
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.