Who said you had to hop on a flight to Paris for a taste of love? In honor of Valentine’s Day on February 14, take a virtual tour of these gorgeous locations across the US that make up couples’ dreamy oases.
Jefferson Island Gardens by Rip Van Winkle in New Iberia, Louisiana
This Cajun Country locale is the perfect romantic getaway. While in the gardens, you can gaze upon colorful peacocks, marvel at the abundant flowers and visit a 19th-century Victorian home. Then have a delicious lunch at Café Jefferson, which features a glass-enclosed porch set within a grove of 350-year-old live oaks, overlooking the gardens and Lake Peigneur.
If you choose to extend your visit, book a cabin and enjoy sunset cocktails by the lake.
Before skipping town, check out nearby Avery Island, known as the home of Tabasco pepper sauce, where you can visit Tabasco 1868 Restaurant and the Jungle Gardens wildlife refuge.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Are you ready for romance in the hot air balloon capital of the world? One of the oldest cities in America, the Land of Enchantment really wows when it comes to a lovebirds getaway.
Although there are a range of things to choose from in town, try bike rides along with Routes Bicycle Tours and Rentals with stops at Los Poblanos Historic Inn & Organic Farm – a dreamland set on 25 acres of lavender fields and cottonwood trees. landscaping gardens. Stop by the Golden Crown Panaderia Neighborhood Bakery for a bite to eat along the way.
Albuquerque’s wine region also proves ripe for romance. Come evening, Casa Rondeña Winery is known for its impressive portfolio of handcrafted New Mexican wines, and Tablao Flamenco features a range of world-class offerings paired with wines inspired by the region and a four-course meal.
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The name might say it all. Stargaze is in the Merritt Reservoir State Recreation Area, which plans to apply for a dark-sky rating in 2022. That means it’s one of the darkest sites on Earth (only 15 sites have the rating).
This small town in Cherry County also has no shortage of great outdoor recreational activities like kayaking, hiking, bison tours, bird watching, and more.
Niagara County, New York
There is just something about Niagara Falls. The original “honeymoon capital of the world”, the picturesque waterfalls really capture the heart.
After you’ve been in awe of the waterfalls surrounding Niagara Falls State Park, venture to hiking trails with postcard-worthy views of the Niagara Gorge, the historic Thirty Mile Point Lighthouse along the quiet shores of Lake Ontario and welcoming great bistros.
The destination is also home to a vast wine region along the Niagara Escarpment, complete with the Niagara Wine Trail for visitors to experience.
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In the host city of the South, as it’s called, you can stroll along the cobbled streets as you play “What If We Lived Here?” Enjoy a romantic sunset riverboat cruise and go on a ghost tour.
Also, be sure to take the 15-minute drive from downtown Savannah to Tybee Island, where you can lay eyes on Georgia’s oldest and tallest lighthouse, sunsets plunging into the ocean and your loved one.
Newport, Rhode Island
Enjoy fresh crab cakes and slaw, and maybe enjoy a Pinot Grigio with your berth forever along this New England harbor.
Slip into vacation mode with a walk along the 3.5-mile Cliff Walk (one of the most popular places in town for popping the question). Of course, no trip to Newport is complete without visiting the architectural wonders that are the Gilded Age mansions, which America’s wealthiest families called home in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Additional ideas: Participate in wine tastings and lunch at farm-to-table Newport Vineyards or take a sunset cruise on the Adirondack II – an 80-foot schooner that travels along Narragansett Bay and the mansion-studded Newport Harbor beach (you’ll see up to Hammersmith Farm, JFK’s former summer White House and site where President Jackie Kennedy Onassis said “I do”.)
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Perhaps one of the classiest towns along the way for sweethearts is idyllic Carmel-by-the-Sea. After you’ve made your way through the village’s art galleries, shops, charming squares, and secret passages and passed around 10 heart-shaped statues in town, take a walk along the idyllic beach.
To live like a movie star from yesteryear, take a short drive down Highway 1 in a vintage classic. Don’t complete your trip without visiting Point Lobos State Nature Preserve, where the view is nothing short of amazing.
If you’re celebrating a special occasion, reserve a table at French and Italian restaurant Casanova, or Aubergine, a Michelin-starred restaurant that’s an edible tribute to the California coast.
Lovers Key State Park in Fort Myers Beach, Florida
Located two and a half miles from one of the most scenic white sand beaches along the Gulf of Mexico, this park was only accessible by boat until 1965 when a road was built to the island and gently swaying palm trees.
While spending time here with your partner, you can swim, bird watch, hike, seashell hunt, or enjoy a candlelit dinner on the beach as twilight approaches (this can be arranged through Lovers Key Adventure & Events). Or grab a bike rental for the day and explore around the park. Many weddings take place in this charming piece of Southwest Florida, so you can catch couples on their big day during your day trip, and the park is also the site of an annual gathering to renew vows on Valentine’s Day.
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Another pick for amateur astronomers, rejoice in the Dark Sky Act passed in the 1970s that strictly limits artificial light pollution in the city as you gaze out at the vast cap of stars above.
For those looking to delve deeper into their Sonoran Desert travels, book the Lemon Sky Center’s Astronomy Nights program, where you’ll spend the night at the observatory with professional astronomers and gain access to two of the largest public-use telescopes in the Southwest.
Other choices for lovers are private cask tastings or wine dinners at Tucson’s first wine-focused The Citizen hotel and sunset horseback riding at Tank Verde Ranch, followed by a six-course chef’s dining experience.
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This island truly sets all the stops for lovers. Cinematic vistas abound – Waimea Canyon (“the Grand Canyon of the Pacific”), jagged cliffs, waves gently lapping the Nā Pali coast, to name a few. Couples can also enjoy visiting the National Tropical Botanical Gardens, kayaking on the Wailua River, snorkeling at Poi’pū Beach, or hiking in Kōkee State Park.
When it’s time to unwind, book a room at Hokuala Kaua’i – A Timbers Resort or Royal Sonesta Kaua’i Resort and fondly relive all of the day’s adventures with your soulmate.
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