Sweep Your Sweetheart Off Their Feet: The 10 Most Romantic Weekend Getaways in the US
Sweep Your Sweetheart Off Their Feet: The 10 Most Romantic Weekend Getaways in the US - The Charming Streets of Charleston, South Carolina
With its antebellum architecture, colorful rainbow row houses, and oak-lined streets, Charleston exudes old-world charm. As you meander down the historic city streets past gorgeous Georgian and Greek Revival mansions, it's easy to be swept away to another era.
One of the best ways to experience Charleston's captivating ambience is by taking a horse-drawn carriage tour. As your leisurely ride clip-clops along the cobblestone roads, your knowledgeable guide will point out prominent landmarks and regale you with stories about the Holy City's rich history. Many tours stop off at Waterfront Park for panoramic views of Charleston Harbor before continuing through the French Quarter and South of Broad neighborhoods to ogle the stately homes.
For a taste of lowcountry culture, stroll along Charleston City Market, which has been in continuous operation since 1804. Today, the bustling open-air market features dozens of vendors selling sweetgrass baskets, benne wafers, and other local wares. Don't miss the iconic 1896 Market Hall with its distinctive copper-colored domes.
Hungry after exploring? Refuel by sampling some of Charleston's mouthwatering Southern cuisine. Husk Restaurant sources ingredients from local purveyors to create inventive dishes like shrimp and grits with country ham and redeye gravy. The Ordinary focuses on simple yet sublime seafood like oysters and boiled peanuts. And make sure to save room for dessert - hands down the best way to end a Charleston meal is with a slice of coconut cake.
When the sun sets, join in the revelry on King Street, where trendy boutiques and bars come alive after dark. Stop for a mint julep at historic watering hole Pavilion Bar or catch some live music at the rustic Americano restaurant. Or put on your dancing shoes and two-step along to bluegrass beats at the Charleston Pour House.
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- Sweep Your Sweetheart Off Their Feet: The 10 Most Romantic Weekend Getaways in the US - The Charming Streets of Charleston, South Carolina
- Sweep Your Sweetheart Off Their Feet: The 10 Most Romantic Weekend Getaways in the US - Savoring Sonoma's Wine Country Scenery
- Sweep Your Sweetheart Off Their Feet: The 10 Most Romantic Weekend Getaways in the US - Cozying Up in a Colorado Mountain Cabin
- Sweep Your Sweetheart Off Their Feet: The 10 Most Romantic Weekend Getaways in the US - Beachfront Bliss on Florida's Gulf Coast
- Sweep Your Sweetheart Off Their Feet: The 10 Most Romantic Weekend Getaways in the US - Taking in Niagara Falls' Majestic Views
- Sweep Your Sweetheart Off Their Feet: The 10 Most Romantic Weekend Getaways in the US - Retreating to a Vermont Country Inn
- Sweep Your Sweetheart Off Their Feet: The 10 Most Romantic Weekend Getaways in the US - Enjoying Urban Energy in New Orleans, Louisiana
- Sweep Your Sweetheart Off Their Feet: The 10 Most Romantic Weekend Getaways in the US - Sunsets and Seclusion on California's Central Coast
Sweep Your Sweetheart Off Their Feet: The 10 Most Romantic Weekend Getaways in the US - Savoring Sonoma's Wine Country Scenery
With its gently rolling hills blanketed in neatly lined vineyards, soaring redwoods, and charming towns, Sonoma County epitomizes the idyllic Northern California wine country experience. Beyond sampling acclaimed Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays, one of the best ways to savor Sonoma is by getting out and exploring its varied landscapes.
Start your Sonoma adventure in Healdsburg, located at the junction of three popular wine-growing regions: Alexander Valley, Russian River Valley, and Dry Creek Valley. Meander down Healdsburg Avenue to browse the stylish boutiques, art galleries, and tasting rooms housed in historic buildings. Stop into Single Thread Farm for a multicourse Japanese-inspired meal showcasing produce from their five-acre farm.
Head north through bucolic Alexander Valley, stopping at wineries like Silver Oak and Stryker Sonoma to sample full-bodied Cabernets and Merlots. Pause for lunch at Jimtown Store, a roadside eatery famous for BLTs, fried chicken sandwiches, and lemon ricotta pancakes. Afterwards, stretch your legs on the trails in Robert Louis Stevenson State Park, where you can climb to the summit of 2,463-foot Mt. St. Helena for panoramic vistas.
Continue west into the Russian River Valley, heartland of cool-climate Pinot Noir. Family-run wineries like Gary Farrell and Rochioli welcome guests for intimate tastings and vineyard tours. Or head to Kendall-Jackson's Wine Estate for aerial views of vines from a hot air balloon. Follow River Road through redwood forests to Guerneville, stopping for a bite at Boon Eat + Drink or checking into the retro-chic Applewood Inn.
Travel south along the Russian River into the Dry Creek Valley appellation. Marvel at the contrast between vineyards basking in the sunshine and shady forested areas along Dry Creek. Sample refined Zinfandels at Ridge Vineyards and Ferrari-Carano Vineyards and Winery. The latter boasts an epic vista of the valley from their Tuscan-inspired terrace.
Sweep Your Sweetheart Off Their Feet: The 10 Most Romantic Weekend Getaways in the US - Cozying Up in a Colorado Mountain Cabin
With its soaring peaks, crystalline lakes, and lush forests, Colorado boasts quintessential alpine scenery straight out of a postcard. While there are plenty of charming mountain towns to use as a basecamp, nothing beats staying right amid the wild Rockies in your own private log cabin. Tucked away from the hubbub, a cozy cabin rental allows you to immerse yourself in the tranquility of nature and experience that rustic mountain lifestyle.
One of the best regions for cabins is southwest Colorado, home to the historic mining towns of Telluride, Ouray, and Silverton. Surrounded by the breathtaking San Juan Mountains, this area delivers jagged mountain vistas, shimmering rivers, and boundless wilderness at every turn. Just a stone's throw from Telluride, Alta Lakes Cabins feature comfy 1-3 bedroom options with full kitchens and fireplaces or wood-burning stoves. The property sits alongside serene Alta Lakes with phenomenal views of Wilson Peak.
Further north near Ouray, nestled amongst the pines and aspens of the Uncompahgre National Forest, is Little Molas Lake Cabin. This charming retreat offers tranquility and seclusion along the shores of Little Molas Lake. Spend your days canoeing on the peaceful waters, hiking to alpine lakes, and stargazing on the deck. The recently renovated cabin has two bedrooms and all the comforts like a full kitchen.
For a remote mountain getaway, Owl Creek Cabin delivers. Accessible only by 4WD, this off-the-grid cabin sits at 10,000 feet elevation surrounded by the soaring peaks of the San Juan Mountains. A stay here is all about disconnecting from the hustle of everyday life. Pass the days fly-fishing, birdwatching, and exploring the alpine tundra. At night, gaze upward through the skylight at the phenomenal starry skies.
Farther north near Silverton, nestled at 9,300 feet amid Engelmann spruce is Little Molas Cabin. With two bedrooms and expansive windows framing the sensational mountain scenery, it's an idyllic homebase for adventures in the San Juans. Fill your days hiking, biking the alpine terrain, and panning for gold in the streams. End perfect days kicking back on the deck with a local Colorado craft beer in hand as you watch the glowing alpenglow descend on the surrounding peaks.
Sweep Your Sweetheart Off Their Feet: The 10 Most Romantic Weekend Getaways in the US - Beachfront Bliss on Florida's Gulf Coast
With its sugar-white sand beaches lapped by emerald green waters, Florida's Gulf Coast serves up a healthy dose of tropical paradise. From the funky island city of Key West up to Old Florida fishing villages dotting the Panhandle, this shoreline dishes out laidback beach towns, family-friendly resorts, and outdoor adventures galore.
One premier place to experience the Gulf's beachfront bliss is Clearwater Beach, repeatedly ranked one of America's best beaches. Its three-mile-long swath of powdery quartz sand skirts the crystal clear waters of the Gulf of Mexico, providing plenty of space to spread out a beach towel. When you need a break from the sun, pop into Frenchy's Rockaway Grill for grouper sandwiches or highly-rated seafood gumbo. Family-friendly amenities like beachside parks with playgrounds, nearby dolphin cruises, and Pier 60 where artisans and musicians gather at sunset add to the appeal.
Further south along the peninsula's west coast, Anna Maria Island serves up old-school Florida vibes with its cute beach cottages, mom-and-pop shops, and relaxed pace. This seven-mile-long barrier island remains blissfully void of high-rises, allowing its stunning beaches to take center stage. White sand and translucent turquoise waters beckon at beaches like Bean Point, a serene stretch perfect for shelling and sunbathing. Take a sunset stroll along the Anna Maria City Pier to marvel at the kaleidoscopic colors spreading across the evening sky.
The more lively but still family-friendly Sarasota offers cultural attractions like the Ringling Museum of Art along with thirty-five miles of alluring white sand shores. Take your pick between action-packed Siesta Beach with its Sunday drum circles or the peaceful bay side sands of Lido Beach. Enjoy dockside dining at Marina Jack’s Restaurant & Bar, a local favorite for fresh seafood and waterfront views.
Down south along the Gulf, Fort Myers Beach exudes cheery retro vibes with its ’50s-era motels and diners lining Estero Boulevard. This budget-friendly beach town allows visitors to enjoy those coveted Gulf Coast views without breaking the bank. Set up your beach chair at bustling Lynn Hall Park or meander south to the less crowded Bowditch Point Preserve. After a day of wave frolicking and shell seeking, wander over to Smokin’ Oyster Brewery for live music and Apalachicola oysters.
At the southern end of the peninsula, Key West offers a captivating blend of tropical leisure and lively nightlife. That chilled out "Margaritaville" ambience prevails during the day at palm-shaded beaches like Smathers Beach, where you can try paddleboarding or sailing along aquamarine waters. As the sunset paints the sky in dazzling hues, get your groove on during the nightly street party on Duval Street. Nothing beats sipping a mojito while listening to live music at a bar like Sloppy Joe's - Hemingway's legendary hangout.
Sweep Your Sweetheart Off Their Feet: The 10 Most Romantic Weekend Getaways in the US - Taking in Niagara Falls' Majestic Views
With its thundering roar and breathtaking power, few natural wonders capture the imagination quite like Niagara Falls. Straddling the US-Canada border, this colossal cascade attracts millions of visitors each year eager to behold its majestic splendor.
There are a few prime spots on the American side to take in the full scope of the Falls’ grandeur. Journey out onto the Hurricane Deck, just feet from the cascading torrents of the Bridal Veil Falls. As the waterfall's mist gently kisses your face, you'll gain a new appreciation for the sheer force and volume of water spilling over the precipice. The deck’s apt name reminds visitors that storms upstream can surge the water flow to up to 750,000 gallons per second!
For a wider panorama, head to the Prospect Point Observation Tower near the brink of the American Falls. Ascend the tower's steps to gain an elevated perspective looking out over the tree-lined river as it plunges dramatically over the precipice. Gaze upward in awe at the billowing clouds of spray rising from the turbulent plunge pools below.
The best frontal views are from Goat Island, situated right at the edge of the thundering Horseshoe Falls, aptly named for its distinctive U-shape. Follow the paved path to Terrapin Point, peering down into the churning whitewater in the basin far below you. The deafening roar is sure to quicken your pulse. For the most immersive experience, don raincoats and journey deep into the heart of the falls aboard the Maid of the Mist boat tour.
Meandering upstream leads to some of the most idyllic scenery, where the river glides smoothly toward the falls. Pause for a moment of serenity at the Cave of the Winds platform, admiring the river's deceptive calmness just before the cascade. The view looking upstream from the footbridge to Goat Island is equally peaceful.
No trip to Niagara Falls is complete without visiting after dark when a colorful light show illuminates the misty cascades. The ambient lighting expertly highlights the water’s movement and power. On Friday and Sunday nights, synchronized fireworks explode around the falls in a spectacular display. Stay for the illumination followed by the fireworks for an unforgettable evening.
Sweep Your Sweetheart Off Their Feet: The 10 Most Romantic Weekend Getaways in the US - Retreating to a Vermont Country Inn
Nestled in the rolling Green Mountains of Vermont, the state's iconic country inns exude cozy warmth and small-town hospitality. After exploring Vermont's natural beauty, there's nothing better than relaxing fireside at a charming inn and connecting with fellow guests. Insiders know that the real New England experience is found at these intimate inns offering a wonderful blend of historic character, culinary delights, and attentive service.
The quintessential Vermont inn experience awaits in Woodstock at the Colonial House Inn and Motel. This National Register Historic Place dating to 1796 epitomizes New England charm with its antique-filled parlors and tavern paneled inOriginal pine. After a luxurious breakfast, borrow a bike or snowshoes from the inn to explore the scenic countryside. At day’s end, unwind by the firepit on the patio with a craft beer in hand.
Foodies frequent The Pitcher Inn nestled in the Mad River Valley. Relish innovative farm-to-table cuisine at The Tavern Restaurant or cozy up in the Wine Cellar Room for a private tasting of Vermont varietals. This culinary-focused Relais & Châteaux property also offers cooking classes with renowned chefs and brewery tours showcasing Vermont’s prized craft beers.
Stowe’s Topnotch Resort beckons active travelers with amenities like a full-service spa, heated outdoor pool, and tennis courts. Following a day spent skiing or hiking, refuel at one of the onsite eateries like The Roost Pub & Restaurant. Many accommodations feature fireplaces and whirlpool soaking tubs perfect for relaxing après-adventure. Complimentary BMW bikes allow further exploration of bucolic Stowe and Smuggler's Notch.
For a relaxing rural escape, the family-owned Rabbit Hill Inn outside of Lower Waterford spoils guests with its hospitality, elegant accommodations, and acclaimed multicourse breakfasts. Savor the tranquility while rocking on the front porch, playing croquet on the lawn, or curled up with a book from their expansive library. Cap a day of exploring with a Vermont cheeseboard delivered to your room.
At the reimagined Stone Hill Inn in Stowe, contemporary design elements blend seamlessly with historic architectural details for a modern yet cozy ambiance. Curl up by the river rock fireplace in your slope-view suite before indulging in an in-room couples’ massage. Then savor northern Italian cuisine at the onsite Grazie Grill restaurant and vista wine bar.
Sweep Your Sweetheart Off Their Feet: The 10 Most Romantic Weekend Getaways in the US - Enjoying Urban Energy in New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans is a city that truly comes alive after dark. From soulful jazz pouring onto the streets to the laughter and chatter of late night revelers, the Big Easy exudes an intoxicating energy unlike anywhere else. This intoxicating spirit permeates New Orleans’ famed nightlife, drawing visitors eager to soak up the city’s singular ambience.
Wandering down Frenchmen Street after the sun goes down provides a quintessential New Orleans night out. As you meander past vibrantly painted colonial buildings, the drifting sounds of Dixieland jazz, blues, and funk pull you from one packed venue to the next. Cafe Negril features live reggae and world beats, while the Spotted Cat is famous for its lively jazz jams until the wee hours. Grab a Sazerac cocktail and find a cozy balcony perch at Maison to listen to the crowds below belt out “When the Saints Go Marching In.”
Just off Bourbon Street, Preservation Hall provides an intimate setting to experience New Orleans' jazz heritage. Though rustic in appearance, this hallowed venue has showcased legends like Louis Armstrong. Today, local musicians carry on the tradition performing everything from soulful blues to uptempo Dixieland in the cramped room. Arrive early to snag a seat on a wooden bench up front and behold the magic.
For those craving a lively bar scene, measander down Frenchmen Street through the Marigny neighborhood. Friendly chatter spills from theopen doors of neighborhood bars like Mimi’s and The AllWays Lounge & Cabaret. Catch the next up-and-coming band at d.b.a. or sip potent rum cocktails inside tiki haven Café Lafitte in Exile. The lively street party rages on into the wee hours.
Come Mardi Gras each spring, the city's late-night energy reaches a fever pitch. Watching rowdy revelers swarm Bourbon Street clad in flashy costumes never gets old. Partake in time-honored traditions like screaming “throw me something mister” at float riders who oblige with shiny beads and festive doubloons. Catch the Krewe du Vieuxparade for its colorful floats skewering current events before joining in the uptown parades with the masses.
For a more laidback nighttime celebration, grab a Lucky Dog hot dog and meander down to the bank of the Mississippi. Watching the moonlight shimmer on the dark waters provides a peaceful contrast to the bacchanalia unfolding in the French Quarter. In Jackson Square, pause to hear a local brass band serenading the crowd before catching a jazz ensemble heating up in the Quarters.
Sweep Your Sweetheart Off Their Feet: The 10 Most Romantic Weekend Getaways in the US - Sunsets and Seclusion on California's Central Coast
With its rugged shoreline dotted with quintessential California beach towns, the Central Coast delivers the ultimate blend of oceanfront allure and laidback vibes. From Santa Barbara’s Mediterranean charm down to the Hearst Castle's opulent grandeur, this idyllic stretch of coastline seduces visitors with its mix of nature, culture, and California cool attitude.
One of the highlights of an escape to the Central Coast is experiencing the spectacular sunsets over the Pacific. In Pismo Beach, make your way down to the 1,200 foot fishing pier at Pismo Beach Pier at sunset. Stand out on the wooden pier jutting out over the surging waves and prepare for a phenomenal lightshow. As the sun sinks below the horizon, brilliant hues of tangerine, hot pink, and vibrant violet dance across the evening sky and reflect off the shimmering sea.
Further south, Arroyo Burro Beach in Santa Barbara, better known as Hendry’s Beach, offers equally mesmerizing sunset watching. Arrive about an hour before sunset to secure a prime spot. As the golden light illuminates the beach’s iconic palm trees, you’ll understand why locals refer to it as the South Coast’s most beautiful beach. Gaze out as the glowing orange orb sinks below the Pacific, swirled cotton-candy clouds framing a masterpiece.
For a more secluded coastal experience, make your way down the winding road to secluded Cove Beach in Carmel. Situated at the base of windswept Point Lobos, this hidden gem feels worlds away yet is only minutes from downtown Carmel. Have your camera ready as you stroll across the sand to capture the sun's waning rays setting the jutting headlands and swirling sea stacks aglow in brilliant shades of vermillion and tangerine.
Further down the coast, Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park conceals another Central Coast gem - McWay Falls. The only coastal waterfall in California, these dramatic 80-foot falls plunge gracefully right onto a pristine beach. Watch in awe as the fading light ignites the waterfall and surrounding cliffs in stunning hues. With access only via a steep trail, you'll likely have this spectacular vista all to yourself.