All destinations are not created equal. Picking the right location for natural beauty, relaxation, superb dining and stunning sunsets can make a difference when you’re falling in love or recharging your relationship.
- Buy a rose, pull off the petals and sprinkle them across the bed.
- Pack a luxurious bubble bath and fill the tub with bubbles.
- Pack an artificial candle or download the app Flashlight by iHandy for the special light effect of a burning candle. All you’ll need is your cell phone to have dinner by candle light.
1. Santa Barbara, California
Watch the sun dip below the horizon on the sunny Pacific shores of Santa Barbara. Conveniently located approximately 90 minutes from Los Angeles, you can fly into town in the morning and be enjoying Santa Barbara’s beach or urban wine trail by night.
Treat yourself to a spa day with the eucalyptus steam rooms, Redwood saunas, fireside relaxation lounge and a muscle-melting massage available at the Bacara Resort and Spa.
Enjoy strolling through the charming downtown area of Santa Barbara with loads of cute shops, the historic Spanish Mission and the West Coast’s oldest operating wharf. At the Santa Barbara Harbor taste the salt of the sea; lunch at Chuck’s Waterfront Grill and then time on the water paddle boarding through the harbor of yachts and fishing boats and out into the open waters of the Pacific Ocean. Kayak and paddle board rentals and lessons are available as well as whale watching and sailing excursions, which depart from the Harbor’s SEA Landing. Also be sure to check out the haul of fresh fish at the market every Saturday morning.
A two-seater bicycle or surrey is the perfect way to discover the Funk Zone – a neighborhood with nooks and crannies bursting with arts venues.
Romantic Restaurant: Miro Restaurant at the Bacara Resort. Perched on the edge of California’s most spectacular stretch of Pacific paradise, eat your fill of oysters and fresh Pacific fish on the heated outdoor patio. Toast your love with one of the 12,000 bottles available in their wine cellar as you watch the shimmering sun slip into the ocean. You may even see whales surface and spout in the distance. When dessert is served and the stars are appearing, you may spot pod of dolphins dancing through the waves.
2. Alexandria, Virginia
Conveniently located outside of Washington, DC on the banks of the Potomac, charming Alexandria is home to historical federal and Georgian architecture, cobblestone streets and flickering glass lamps.
Spooky Tour. The one-hour Ghost and Graveyard Tour takes you back to 18th century Alexandria when your guide tells you stories about the good old haunted days.
Walk into 19th century Ireland in Daniel O’Connell’s on King Street. This dim, romantic Irish bar was constructed in County Wicklow in the 1800s. It was taken apart and shipped to the US, piece by piece, and reconstructed in Alexandria on King Street in 2004.
Romantic Restaurant: Bastille. Try the escargot, shrimp beignets and foie gras.
3. Chicago, Illinois
Take in stunning skyscrapers with a glass of champagne atop Chicago’s tallest building—the Sears Tower. Enjoy a stroll around Millennium Park and take a picture with the large silver statue, “the Bean.” Spend time wandering around any of Chicago’s infamous museums, such as the Art Museum at the end of Millennium Park with Andy Warhol’s “The Kiss,” nude lovers by Rodin, and romantic paintings by Monet. Or peruse the Field Museum of natural history or the Shedd aquarium.
For architecture enthusiasts, don’t miss the free walking tour of “the loop” around Hyde Park, featuring several of Frank Lloyd Wright’s houses.
Romantic Restaurant: Enjoy live Flamenco and classical guitar as you dip into cheese and chocolate fondu at Geja’s. The lighting is low. Ask for a small, intimate booth, adorned with Indian decor or mosaics on the walls and curtains on either side of the booth seats.
4. Quebec City, Canada
In many ways Historic Old Quebec reminds me of Paris: you can wander its narrow labyrinthine streets, come across squares with statues and old churches, and never really get lost. Enjoy quaint architecture and exceptional food in a friendly version of France in Quebec City. Skip the long flight and enjoy Paris in Canada. Thoroughfare rue Saint-Jean is lined with popular French and Canadian stores.
Up the street, Musee Choco pays homage to the art of chocolate with handmade truffles and gelato that will make your special someone swoon.
For a romantic day trip, visit Ile d’Orleans, a bucolic island situated in the middle of the St. Lawrence River. The island is reminiscent of days past for the Quebecois bourgeoisie, with vineyards, chocolatiers, historical homes, and stunning views of the city skyline.
Romantic Restaurant: Panache, with a European sense of intimacy, exposed wood beams, antique furniture, and French Country Ambiance.
5. Carmel, California
Sandy beaches and dramatic ocean surf attract romantics to Carmel. Between Pebble Beach and Big Sur, Carmel has an abundance of beaches, parks, restaurants, and the beautiful (and historical) Carmel Mission Basilica and Museum.
For a romantic stroll along the shore, check out Stillwater Cove Beach. For something more challenging, try the Bird Rock hike off of the picturesque 17-Mile Drive.
Romantic Restaurant: Casanova, nestled in the palm of downtown emphasizes French and Italian cooking from fresh mussels to veal to crème brulee.
6. Las Vegas, Nevada
Flamboyant and glitzy, Las Vegas is an adult playground with singing gondoliers, rooftop roller coasters and all-night entertainment. Couples can take their chances at the slot machines, tie the knot in one of the city’s wedding chapels, or just relax in a luxurious spa or resort. For a unique Vegas experience, get tickets to a show, like Cirque du Soleil’s “O.”
Start the evening with a romantic ride in a gondola in the Venetian, or enjoy the faux-Venetian canals from your perch in a candle-lit Italian restaurant.
Romantic Restaurant: Try Top of the World, with a view overlooking all of glittering Las Vegas. While you eat, the entire restaurant slowly rotates, taking about an hour to make a full rotation. You’ll be sure to see the skydivers jumping from the roof right past your window at some point of the tour.
7. Maui, Hawaii
The second largest Hawaiian Island, Maui is a tropical paradise. Explore the volcanic zenith of Haleakala, drive the curvy road to Hana or just cool off at the black-sand beaches of Wai’anapanapa State Park. Stunning sunsets lure you into romantic evenings of beach strolls and candlelit dinners.
The scent of plumeria flowers will drift past your nose as you enjoy a massage on the beach or late-night stargazing from a hot tub.
Adventure memories: Maui offers the longest downhill bike tour experience anywhere in the world! You can hop on a bike and head downhill from the 10,000 foot evaluation summit of Haleakala National Park. From views into the crater to views of the Pacific Ocean and the beach, you’ll get a thrill from the entire 26 miles all the way to the ocean
Romantic Restaurant: Mama’s Fish House, on a palm-lined beach near Pa’ia, is the perfect setting for a romantic sunset, as well as the freshest fish around. The fish is delivered daily, and each fisherman’s name is listed on the menu. The chef mixes Polyneisan and Hawaiian cuisine and attracts many locals as well as tourists.
8. Charleston, South Carolina
Romantic restaurants, elegant inns and a pervading ambiance of old glamour entice those with romance on their minds to visit charming, historic Charleston. Cobblestone streets and stately squares make for enchanting ambles and carriage tours can carry the two of you through the city’s atmospheric alleys.
Try something new together with a small cooking class at Charleston Cooks, taught by some of the finest chefs in the South.
Slow down and cuddle up in a horse-drawn carriage and clippity-clop your way back to Colonial times as you pass antebellum mansions, churches, and gardens. A licensed guide in a Confederate uniform will educate and entertain you with historical facts, lore, and humor. The one-hour narrated carriage tour covers more than 2.5 miles and 30 blocks of historic Charleston.
Romantic Restaurant: Slightly North of Broad offers an impressive dining room, Southern charm, friendliness, open kitchen and superb cuisine. Try the shrimp and grits and rib eye steak.
9. Napa, California
Indulge your senses and your taste for romance in California’s Napa Valley. You can experience the scenic beauty of the grape-growing region by car, train or bicycle; tour a few vineyards; pamper yourself at one of the numerous spas and then top it off with a gourmet meal. Oh, and don’t forget the wine!
Extraordinary experience: Hot air ballooning over Napa Valley. Start your adventure with bottomless mimosas or strong coffee and soar to new romantic heights.
Romantic Restaurant: Celadon. A cozy, intimidate place where you will be looked after with attentiveness and care, while enjoying a phenomenal meal.
10. Sarasota, Florida
If Florida is known for its beaches, Sarasota County tops the list in terms of beauty and the ingredients for sweet romance. Memories are made of two sets of footprints in the sand, a stolen kiss as the sun sinks below the horizon and a luxurious breakfast in bed. From the quiet beaches of Longboat Key to the quaint cottages off the coast of Englewood, the beaches are a haven for lovers.
Siesta Beach was awarded # 1 beach in North America in 2012 by Mr. Beach. It’s the sand that makes the beach so extraordinary; as fine as confectioners’ sugar and as white as fresh snow. Walking on the beach, the sand squeaks under foot. The Lido and Siesta Beaches are popular with locals for flip -flop weddings and barefoot sunsets.
Start a shell collection on Caspersen Beach, snorkel off Siesta Key’s Point of Rocks, kayak among the mangroves or enjoy a sunset cruise aboard a catamaran. Bike along the 10-mile Legacy Trail or take in the scenery from a cart driven across the links of any one of Sarasota’s 100 golf courses. Hold hands in the top of the trees on the Canopy Walk at Myaka River State Park.
Relish an evening at the Sarasota Opera House, or a riveting play from one of the professional theater companies. Circus lovers have several opportunities to revisit their childhoods in “America’s Circus City.” Visit the Ringling Estate, renowned for its architecture and more than 600 Baroque masterpieces including a Peter Paul Rubens collections that is considered the finest in the world. Don’t miss the Circus Museum with a long miniature of the circus with over 1,000 pieces and moving acrobats and wild animals. Try your balance on a model tight rope course.
The Baltimore Orioles’ Florida spring training begins in late February of each year and you can catch home games three to four times each week throughout the month-long scrimmage training.
Romantic Restaurant: Bijou Cafe. Zagat Survey named The Bijou Café as Sarasota’s highest-rated restaurant and one of the top three restaurant on the whole of Florida’s West Coast. The winning attributes of this restaurant besides the shrimp and lobster bisque is the service and outdoor tables.