When it comes to relationships, we all know vacations are the key to keeping the romance alive. For couples, that can mean taking a romantic getaway to unplug and be present with each other, a cross-country vacation with luxury hotels and extravagant dining experiences to remember, or even a simple staycation in your own state to fill that craving for adventure.
Whatever it is you’re looking for, we’ve rounded up the 20 most romantic cities in the U.S. that have plenty of things to do, see, and eat for couples.
The current outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization. As the situation remains fluid, we’ll be sharing tips and stories from industry experts to give you of-the-moment advice and help you navigate wedding planning today. For the most up-to-date guidelines and latest on travel restrictions and requirements, check the CDC and U.S. Department of State websites.
Santa Barbara, California
The charming city of Santa Barbara captivates couples with its Spanish/Mediterranean architectural style, stunning views of beaches set against a backdrop of mountains, and a warm climate that makes it an ideal destination any time of year. Santa Barbara’s iconic El Encanto, a Belmond Hotel has been recently restored and screams glamor and romance. Also, the Rosewood Miramar Beach is one of the region's newest luxury beachfront properties and the only beachfront property in Montecito, right next to Butterfly Beach. Couples who want to be right on State Street, which is within walking distance to world-class restaurants and some of the city's top attractions, should look to stay at the Hotel Californian and treat themselves to a couples treatment at the Majorelle Spa in the couple's suite with its beautiful Moroccan designs, complete with bath butler service.
Nearby, couples can head to the Funk Zone to visit a few of the over a dozen wine tasting rooms found in this neighborhood such as Santa Barbara Winery, Kunin Wines, and Pali Wine Company. For dinner, check out The Lark, with a Mediterranean-inspired menu of locally-sourced, seasonal ingredients, or go to Loquita, which boasts traditional Spanish cuisine. Also, be sure to book a unique dining experience at Sushi | Bar Montecito where Chef Phillip Frankland Lee's omakase has been recognized with a Michelin Star.
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Whether it’s a horseback ride on Daufuskie Island or popping champagne while spotting dolphins on a sunset cruise, Hilton Head Island is a picture-perfect place to host an unforgettable romantic Lowcountry escape. Romantic activities include walking along the shores of the Atlantic Ocean; exploring Hilton Head Island’s 60 miles of biking trails; horseback riding on the beaches of Daufuskie Island; indulging in spa treatments; or enjoying dinner aboard a sunset dinner yacht cruise.
Couples can stay at Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island, which features Hilton Head Island’s stunning views and lush landscapes while offering guests beachfront accommodations where lovebirds are steps away from a sunset stroll along the beach.
New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans lends itself to romance with its idyllic architecture, smooth jazz music, and cozy candlelit corners. While your first thought about New Orleans might be the celebrations on Bourbon Street, the city has romance and charm through its European influences including a vibrant culinary scene, beautiful architecture, rich history, and incredible jazz. Some say it’s like Paris without the jetlag.
Located on the edge of the French Quarter, The Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans provides a luxury retreat in the heart of the Crescent City. This 1907 Beaux-Arts building provides newly renovated accommodations, a luxury spa, nightly jazz in the hotel’s famed Davenport Lounge, and much more. If you want to take your getaway to the next level, the hotel has just debuted a brand new suite, The Residence, which is a two-bedroom penthouse suite with 3,500+ square feet of outdoor event space offering panoramic views of the city. Also, Virgin Hotels New Orleans recently opened its doors. From intimate cocktails at the hotel’s Dreamboat cocktail bar overlooking the cityscape to colorful and spacious suites with floor-to-ceiling windows and soaker tubs, couples will find everything they need for a romantic retreat.
With its vibrant terrain, famed night sky, and spiritual atmosphere, Sedona is one of the most romantic destinations in the U.S. Stay at the Enchantment Resort, which has access to more than 300 miles of scenic hiking and biking trails. Guests at this property can choose from a variety of intimate experiences such as private stargazing with an expert astronomer, canyon bathing meditation, private wine tasting, and spa treatments in the stunning spa suites. Get outside and explore a handful of Sedona’s outdoor activities including off-roading jeep rides, helicopter tours, and kayaking.
Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Cape Cod makes a quaint and relaxing romantic trip in the U.S. and is the perfect weekend road trip destination for couples in the northeast. When there, try opting for a local bed & breakfast like The Inn at Yarmouth Port to truly take in the intimate setting. During the day, you can schedule various romantic activities like wine tastings, going whale watching, dining at the local seafood bistros, or a picnic by the lighthouse.
Sunny skies, lively restaurants, and shopping trips make for a perfect couple’s getaway to Miami. Couples can opt for a weekend in Brickell for more of an intimate trip. EAST Miami is the perfect home base with a sleek modern design and a tropical rooftop pool. The hotel’s bar, Sugar, has some of the best views of Miami and is known as one of the best rooftop bars in the city. While in Brickell, couples can try the new Sexy Fish restaurant and late-night bar that just opened, or stick around the hotel for wood-fired Uruguayan cuisine in Quinto La Huella’s dimly-lit romantic setting before stopping by the hotel’s hidden speakeasy, Tea Room, for a nightcap. If you’re staying in South Beach, the Kimpton Surfcomber is the perfect beachside stay that’s dog-friendly and has a gorgeous pool and beachside restaurant.
As the country-music capital, Nashville is home to a variety of activities that make it an ideal city of romance for visiting couples. Check out tons of music history at the Country Music Hall of Fame, a show at the historic Grand Ole Opry, or the famous Ryman Auditorium. Enjoy a private tour of the Botanical Garden and Museum of Art, where contemporary and historical artwork is housed in an artfully restored neo-Georgian mansion. For hotel accommodations, stay at the Graduate Hotel Nashville (home to the iconic Dolly Parton-inspired rooftop, White Limozeen, and animatronic karaoke bar Cross-Eyed Critters).
For food, enjoy an intimate dining experience at one of famed Chef Sean Brock’s restaurants including The Continental, where the traditional elegance of hotel dining meets a nouvelle approach to classic American cuisine, or at newly opened Audrey, Brock’s flagship restaurant influenced by his Appalachian roots. For BBQ-loving couples, check out Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint, a true Nashville staple by Pat Martin, which showcases the West Tennessee whole-hog BBQ traditions and techniques.
Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston is a city rich with history and lucky to be located on a peninsula, offering scenic views and close beach proximity. The city’s downtown Battery District is home to hundreds of historic, colorful houses that provide beautiful walking routes for couples. The blossoming restaurant scene in Charleston offers culinary-inclined couples with unique choices to choose from, from French-inspired Brasserie La Banque located in an old bank building to Delaney Oyster House in a historic Charleston home.
Lastly, couples can stay at Hotel Bennett, which overlooks Charleston’s iconic and historic Marion Square. Centrally located to all of the culture, cuisine, and charm Charleston has to offer, the hotel features the iconic Camellias Bar in striking shades of pink, French-style La Pâtisserie, and a rooftop pool and bar.
With no shortage of history, beauty, and charm, Williamsburg is truly a romantic escape. A stroll in Colonial Williamsburg is a must. Full of history and beautiful craftsmanship, dedicate an entire day to exploring the largest living history museum in the world. Another fun idea: take a horse-drawn carriage, sit back, and take in the sights of Colonial Williamsburg. Couples can unwind and pamper themselves to rejuvenating therapies inspired by five centuries of wellness practices at The Spa at Colonial Williamsburg.
Among the world's great hotels, the Williamsburg Inn is located in the heart of the city and represents the pinnacle of southern luxury. In fact, the Williamsburg Inn is the only hotel in the United States where Queen Elizabeth II has stayed twice. The hotel’s location is within walking distance of the Colonial Williamsburg Historic Area, Merchants Square shopping district, the world-renowned Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg, exceptional dining, horse-drawn carriage rides, highly-rated Spa of Colonial Williamsburg, and 45-holes of legendary golf.
Ice skating, sleigh rides, paragliding, hot air balloon rides, and of course, skiing and snowboarding are romantic activities available in the Aspen area. Here you can take in one of Colorado’s most iconic views at the Maroon Bells. The five-star luxury mountain manor, The St. Regis Aspen Resort, is the perfect romantic destination for couples. From the hotel's enviable vantage point, couples can enjoy world-class skiing or stroll over to historic Aspen, where luxury boutiques and charming restaurants beckon.
The team behind iconic Montauk destination, The Surf Lodge, debuted a new restaurant and entertainment concept, The Snow Lodge Supper Club, offering a fresh and seasonally focused culinary experience, innovative cocktails, live music series, and much more.
Montauk, New York
That brings us to one of Long Island, New York’s most laid-back destinations for couples, Montauk. Montauk is filled with surfing, white-sand beaches, and close proximity to vineyards. There are plenty of hotels to choose from like Gurney’s Montauk Resort & Seawater Spa, Marram, and the Montauk Beach House. While you’re there, take a walk to the Montauk Point Lighthouse, go to Navy Beach for the day, and end the night dancing at one of the many bars in the area.
Head to this quaint town and spectacular wine country setting for the perfect romantic getaway. Connect over dreamy vineyards and wine tastings, stroll the charming downtown filled with art galleries, and take scenic drives as the sun sets over lush gardens and vineyards.
What was once a 19th century Victorian home nestled on a 300-acre working ranch is now Sonoma’s iconic MacArthur Place Hotel & Spa. As one of the few remaining examples of Victorian architecture in Sonoma, the hotel lends itself to a romantic getaway with lush foliage, rose gardens, mature trees, a pool and spa sanctuary, and close proximity to Sonoma’s attractions. Couples are invited to take an intimate soak in their private cottage’s outdoor tub surrounded by lush greenery, rinse off in the outdoor shower or expansive European walk-in shower, cozy up by the wood-burning fireplace, and relax together on the private patio.
Highlands, North Carolina
Just a few hours outside of Atlanta, Highlands offers couples a romantic experience surrounded by natural landscapes and mountain vistas. Old Edwards Inn and Spa is the perfect romantic mountain getaway for any couple seeking some "us" time. Couples can book the Romantic Mountain Escape package, which perfectly combines the property’s most romantic offerings into an unforgettable two-night package of luxury and indulgence. The package includes two nights for two in Old Edwards Inn and Spa accommodations, a three-course dinner for two in any Old Edwards dining outlet one evening, two $100 Spa credits, a rose petal turndown, and of course, champagne and strawberries.
Amelia Island, Florida
Situated on a remote barrier island in northeast Florida, Amelia Island is a beach-front escape perfect for couples to enjoy a romantic getaway. At The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, guests can enjoy 13 miles of pristine Atlantic coastline, sip specialty cocktails beach-side, spend the day golfing, paddle boarding, biking along the beach, bonfires in the dunes at sunset, and more. Slip away to the spa and relax with unique spa rituals and leave the resort feeling fully refreshed and in love. You can even take advantage of the hotel’s Romance Package and receive champagne and chocolates, rose petal turndown and complimentary breakfast, or a couple’s chocolate wrap treatment at the spa.
Nestled on the west coast of Hawaii’s Big Island sits the historic Kailua-Kona where couples can explore the town’s shops, restaurants, and accommodations, among its serene white-sand beaches perfect for sunbathing, snorkeling and swimming. Revel in warm temperatures all year round and explore this side of the island, home to world-famous golf courses and lush forests.
Set on Kamakahonu Bay, King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel offers couples a romantic escape among 13 acres adjacent to the Kailua Pier. Offering a private, expansive sandy beach right in front of the property and shielded from winds by the nearby Maunaloa volcano, the beach’s calm and clear waters are perfect for snorkeling, diving, riding manta rays, sailing, and spotting dolphins and honu (Hawaiian green sea turtles). Enjoy oceanfront relaxation and rejuvenation with tranquil sunrises and private yoga classes set amid the natural landscapes of the Big Island or utilize the energy of the land and the natural elements during a unique Hawaiian spa experience.
Chicago is easily one of the most romantic cities in the U.S. with its top-tier dining scene, endless attractions, and luxury accommodations. Sofitel Chicago, Fairmont Chicago, Swissôtel Chicago, and Hotel Zachary have all the romantic offerings that make for an unforgettable couples retreat. From extravagant four-course wine dinners and cozy firepits to relaxing romance packages, couples can escape the hustle of everyday life and enjoy an intimate weekend together in Chicago. Skydeck Chicago is also a must-visit attraction for adventurous couples in search of the best views of the city—it is even offering lucky couples the chance to win a private wedding ceremony or vow renewal on The Ledge glass floor balcony.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Albuquerque is the perfect place to celebrate your love. As one of the oldest cities in the United States, Albuquerque boasts a unique multicultural history and heritage, as well as a high-desert climate, which means 310 sunny days and cool, crisp evenings. The destination affords many options for couples to be active together, learn new things, or simply dine on unique regional specialties. Couples can take a beautiful tandem bike ride in the sunshine with Routes Bicycle Tours and Rentals and make a stop at some of ABQ’s most picturesque locales including Los Poblanos Historic Inn & Organic Farm or Golden Crown Panaderia Neighborhood Bakery.
After a romantic dinner, couples can watch artists from Tablao Flamenco take the stage and perform their heartfelt and passionate craft. A tapas platter and a bottle of wine or pitcher of sangria to share rounds out the evening. Albuquerque’s Los Poblanos’ Up, Up and Away Package is the best way to cross off a bucket list item in the hot air balloon capital of the world. The package, which is available year-round, also includes a luxurious two-night stay at the historic inn and brunch for two daily at Campo, where delicious food is accompanied by stunning views.
Asbury Park, New Jersey
Located about 70 minutes from NYC, Asbury Park is a romantic destination that offers a gorgeous beachfront location, world-class culinary experiences, and non-stop events and entertainment. Staying at The Asbury, the town's hippest hotel option, allows travelers to experience some of Asbury Park’s most iconic attractions including Asbury Lanes and Asbury Lanes Diner, which are attached to the back of the hotel and offer a fun date night. The hotel is also a mere block from the beach and the city’s iconic and recently restored boardwalk for romantic sunset strolls or early morning runs. For the most luxurious and upscale stay in Asbury Park, try Asbury Ocean Club located across the street from The Asbury. The five-star hotel is perfect for couples looking to take in the beachfront views and incredible cocktails from The Gallery. From a last-minute romantic getaway of music and entertainment to a relaxing escape, Asbury Park offers all that is needed to get out of the city with your loved one.
Big Sur, California
Home to coastal redwoods and expansive views of the Pacific Ocean, Big Sur may be just the ultimate romantic destination. Enjoy a getaway for two filled with iconic awe-inspiring viewpoints; local restaurants that source ingredients from nearby farms and bucket list hotels that have a deep sense of connection and preservation for the natural beauty they call home.
A breathtaking resort with inclusive offerings in the heart of California’s rugged Central Coast, Alila Ventana Big Sur is perched at the edge of the continent overlooking the majestic Pacific coastline. This getaway is complete with private meals to enjoy in-room or decadent dining at The Sur House; access to the resort’s experiences for two such as yoga, meditation, Tai Chi, daily hikes, and much more.
Kennebunkport is a coastal town filled with fresh-caught lobster, live music, resorts, and museums. There you can spend your days kayaking, sailing, ziplining, or museum-going. Even better, the all-new AWOL Kennebunkport opened last year, which is just a short walk from Kennebunkport’s village green and vibrant Dock Square. The retreat will immerse you in nature with eleven newly-built cabin suites and grounds featuring centuries-old pine, elm, balsam fir, and birch trees, along with wild Maine blueberry bushes.
Also, the luxury White Barn Inn has been a beloved local landmark for over 150 years, synonymous with warm New England hospitality, rustic charm, and uncompromising attention to detail. The property launches fun experiences seasonally. For example, lobster excursions, maple syrup demonstrations, snowshoeing, barn sound baths, dog sledding, and more.