Are you planning to travel this holiday season? If you’re going away for Christmas, New Year’s Eve, Valentine’s Day, or to celebrate a winter anniversary or birthday, the colder months can be a wonderful time to take a trip with someone you love.
Whether you’re dreaming of the city, the country, the mountains, the beach, or simply the open road, we hope you get some travel inspiration from this list of romantic holiday destinations located across the U.S.
Sometimes there’s nothing as romantic as exploring a city. With the energy, history, and cultural amenities an urban getaway provides, you’ll find plenty to love.
With its pastel facades, cobblestone streets, upscale shops, and acclaimed restaurants, there’s a lot for couples to love here. Winter is this Southern city’s least busy time, so you can get more for your money while avoiding the crowds that can diminish Charleston’s charm in other seasons.
Santa Fe, NM
You could spend days exploring the hidden corners of Santa Fe Plaza, where Native American, Mexican, and Spanish history and culture blend with shops, hotels, restaurants, and art galleries. In the Plaza and beyond, the air is scented with pinon, snowfall only makes everything look more magical, and even the souvenirs—think turquoise jewelry and colorful blankets made by local artists—are romantic. Winter isn’t Santa Fe’s peak tourist season, but this city’s many seasonal events (and proximity to ski resorts) keep it lively even in the coldest months.
Philadelphia combines the pace and diversity of a modern metropolis with the charm of small-scale historic neighborhoods—such as Elfreth’s Alley, America’s oldest residential street, and the charming neighborhood of Fitler Square—that provide the perfect backdrop for romantic walks and photos. As a major Northeast city, Philadelphia doesn’t exactly slow down for winter. But because this isn’t a particularly touristy time, couples who love museums (history, art, and science are all represented) and urban exploring can take advantage of lower prices and fewer crowds at this time.
Consider getting out of town and sharing some quieter time. The right country locale can provide outdoor activities to enjoy as a couple, as well as fine dining and spa options.
Chetek, WI: Canoe Bay
This secluded lakefront resort is one of the most romantic getaways in the Midwest, and its northern location makes it ideal for a winter vacation. Canoe Bay is couples-only, and guests can take advantage of outdoor activities—like snowshoeing on the hotel property and sleigh rides in the surrounding countryside—as well as cozier options like in-room massages. Accommodations range from lodge rooms to luxury cabins to tiny houses, and amenities include a library and fitness center.
Rutherford, CA: Auberge du Soleil
Maybe it’s a cliché, but there’s a reason the Napa Valley is such a popular romantic holiday destination. And, of all the hotels there, Food & Wine calls the Auberge du Soleil resort the best spot for a wedding. If it’s romantic enough for that—and with a Michelin-starred restaurant and Valley views, it certainly appears to be—then it’s probably a good pick for a different sort of occasion, like a winter getaway to California’s famed wine region.
Morris, CT: Winvian Farm
Connecticut’s Litchfield Hills, full of cozy cafes and stunning snowy scenery, is a lovely place to explore in the winter. And Winvian Farm is a lovely place for those moments when you don’t feel like exploring, but simply staying in one of 18 uniquely themed luxury cottages (one is built around a 1968 Coast Guard helicopter; another is a grown-up tree house high in the forest) and occasionally slipping out to the private dining room or the spa.
Many couples’ ideas of a romantic winter holiday destination away involves mountains and snow. Go for the picturesque scenery and skiing, or choose something more temperate.
Snowy peaks, a walkable main street with a hint of the old wild west, and stately historic hotels give this southwestern Colorado town an air of romance and adventure. Aside from being ruggedly picturesque, it’s also home to the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. From a vintage depot, the steam train climbs high into the San Juan mountains. The winter route doesn’t extend all the way to Silverton (a very pretty mountain town in its own right) but it still affords plenty of dramatic views before stopping in Cascade Canyon beside the Animas River.
Warren, VT: The Pitcher Inn
At the Pitcher Inn in Vermont, couples can relax in luxury between days of skiing at nearby Sugarbush Resort and Mad River Glen. (Like Winvian Farm, its sister property, the Pitcher’s classy and unique rooms are based on local themes.) Whether you’re on a honeymoon or just a getaway for two, the village of Warren, with its covered bridge and general store, is a cozy base for a wintery New England vacation.
Love the mountain atmosphere, but not so fond of snow and cold? Consider this quirky former mining village in the Mule Mountains of southern Arizona. Bisbee’s steep, narrow streets and Victorian architecture give it a look all its own, and numerous small shops, music venues, restaurants, and bars give you plenty of places to stop as you explore. Just beyond the town center, couples who love unusual travel experiences can find abandoned mines and a town frozen in 1950s movie set perfection.
If romance were a postcard, it probably would include an ocean view. From Hawaii to Rhode Island to Florida, there’s plenty of variety to be found at the beach in the winter.
Kauai, HI: Poipu Plantation
You don’t need to be on a honeymoon to appreciate the romantic aspects of Poipu Plantation Bed and Breakfast and Vacation Rentals. This property offers
private rental units or adults-only suites in a historic house, and is located close to beaches, restaurants, and shopping. Keep in mind that most of the winter falls into high tourist season on Kauai, and plan accordingly.
Block Island, RI
Winter is very much the off-season on this island about 20 miles off the Rhode Island coast. Many businesses close, and few tourists board the ferry from the mainland. But Block Island isn’t completely shuttered in winter; a small year-round population keeps the island running, and a limited number of hotels, restaurants, and stores are open. Not everyone would consider this a romantic holiday destination. But if you relish the idea of checking into a quiet historic inn and sharing miles of wind-swept beaches, lighthouse views, and bluff-top nature trails only with the one you love, you might deem it ideal.
Dry Tortugas, FL
For many, Florida is synonymous with beach vacations. The most romantic beaches in Florida can be found in the collection of seven islands known as the Dry Tortugas. The location is remote (it’s also a national park ) but couples who make the trek can relax, swim, or snorkel at pristine beaches; explore the 19th century Fort Jefferson; or camp under the stars. (You also can visit the Dry Tortugas as a day trip from Key West.) Wind and rough seas can be a concern in the winter, but visit now and you’ll be able to experience this destination—which never gets packed at the busiest of times—during an even calmer season.
Perhaps a road trip calls to mind driving with the top down and the wind in your hair. When it’s just the two of you and the open road, adventures await you across the U.S.
If you’ll be driving—whether your own car or a rental—make sure both you and your vehicle are ready for the journey.
Pacific Coast Highway: CA
One of the most romantic road trips is , Highway 1, aka California’s Pacific Coast Highway. An itinerary may involve a truncated north-to-south journey from Monterey to Morrow Bay and includes dramatic coastal views and stops at a romantic restaurant and inn. But you can create your own personalized experience along this famous West Coast road, which stretches for nearly 700 miles—from north of San Francisco almost to San Diego—and passes through cities, small towns, and stunning natural areas. Like the vast and varied state of California itself, the PCH has something for every type of road tripper.
U.S. Route 66: IL, MO, KS, OK, TX, NM, AZ, CA
If your idea of fun is vintage motels, old-school neon signs, and retro restaurants, then this classic road trip is for you. These days, Route 66 is not so much a convenient highway as it is an excuse to get out on the road, so feel free to pick a stretch of the route based on location, weather, and personal taste. There’s kitschy history in every state traversed by the so-called Mother Road, but the Midwest has multiple photo-worthy roadside attractions, Oklahoma offers the longest drivable stretch of the route, and the Southwest has breathtaking natural landscapes. Of course, if you have the time, you could always drive Route 66 all the way from Chicago to L.A..
Natchez Trace Parkway: TN, AL, MS
The Natchez Trace is part country drive, part nature walk, part history museum, and part cultural immersion, all along a 444-mile winding road managed by the National Park Service. From busy Nashville to sleepy Natchez, the Trace guides you past historic homesteads, quiet forests, cypress swamps, cemeteries, and small Southern towns. Along the way are tempting detours and plenty of places to stop for a meal or an overnight stay. Most road-trippers choose summer or fall to travel the Trace, but if you don’t mind cooler temperatures and fewer leaves on the trees, making the trip in winter means you’re more likely to have this lovely road and its history all to yourself.
Whatever You Choose, Plan Ahead
Every couple has their own ideas about what makes the perfect romantic holiday destination. And, no matter when or where you travel, your trip will go more smoothly if you take the time to do your research and plan first.
Before you travel, make sure your insurance policies provide the coverage you need while traveling. Also, depending on the type of medical insurance you have, you may want to investigate travel medical insurance.
And finally, whether you’ll be leaving valuables at home while you travel, or if you plan on exchanging a special gift at your destination, you may want to look into insuring your valuables—such as fine jewelry—against theft or damage, both while you are away and when you return home.
What makes a destination romantic and where is your favorite place to rekindle romance with your loved one? Please share with us in the comments below.