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Looking for love—and a getaway—this Valentine’s Day? TPG Contributor Lane Nieset has gathered a list of some of the most charming places in the U.S. that are sure to appeal to you and your partner’s romantic side, whether you prefer nesting in a ski resort or strolling sandy island beaches.
Key West, Florida
Romance surrounds this small 2-by-4 mile island, where couples can do as much or as little as they want. Catch the sunset from Mallory Square or the more low-key oceanfront Southernmost Beach Café, and after night falls, bike or walk over to one of the many cozy restaurants housed in Victorian-era homes (such as Sarabeth’s) and linger over dinner on the inevitable patio.
Stay: The 311-room Casa Marina, A Waldorf Astoria Resort is a romantic throwback to the 1920s, complete with private beachfront (a rarity in Key West) and one of the island’s top spas, Spa al Mare (nightly rates start at $469 [plus a $25-per-night resort fee] or 131,319 HHonors Points). Since opening in 1926 on Duval Street, the 160-room Crowne Plaza Key West-La Concha has welcomed writers from Tennessee Williams to Ernest Hemingway; while it can be slightly noisy, the location is perfect for couples indulging in Key West’s nonstop nightlife (nightly rates start at $459 or 45,000 IHG Reward Nights points). Set next to Mallory Square, the 100-room Ocean Key Resort & Spa offers one of the best views in town of the nightly Sunset Celebration from Sunset Pier (rates from $612 per night).
Do: Pack a picnic and hop on the high-speed catamaran Dry Tortugas National Park Ferry for a day trip to the Dry Tortugas National Park. Just 70 miles off of Key West, these islands are surrounded by large, colorful coral reefs and home to a number of shipwrecks dating back to the 1600s, which means top-notch snorkeling right off the shore. Later in the evening, heat things up at celebrated dessert spot Better Than Sex, a 15-table dining room with a cheeky list of desserts and cocktails sporting names like Between My Red Velvet Sheets Cheesecake and Fork-You Fondue. For more activities in Key West, check out our post, Destination of the Week: Key West.
Getting Here: Fly direct to Key West International Airport (EYW) on Delta Air Lines, US Airways and American Eagle Airlines, or fly into the larger Miami International Airport (MIA), just three hours north. For relaxing, romantic sea views, we recommend flying into Miami and driving south along the 125-mile island chain the ends in Key West.
Napa Valley, California
With over 400 wineries, the highlights here are vineyards and vintages, and you and you other half can explore more off-the-beaten-path wineries on bicycles or on an intimate tour via 1947 convertible limousine. Indulge in a slew of Michelin-starred restaurants, or try to learn the tricks of the trade yourself with a couples’ cooking class or farmer’s market tour.
Stay: The 180-room The Westin Verasa Napa is set on the Napa River with balcony rooms overlooking the water, all within walking distance of 15 wine tasting rooms (rates for the SPG Category 5 property start at $229 or 12,000 Starpoints). The boutique, 141-room Andaz Napa is located in the heart of downtown and has its own outdoor terrace with porch swings, a romantic place for couples to post up with a glass of wine by the fire pit (rates start at $429 or require 20,000 Hyatt Gold Passport points). For the ultimate luxury escape, book a room at the French Riviera-inspired, Auberge du Soleil, a Relais & Château property, featuring 50 suites set on the hillside overlooking Napa Valley, as well as a Michelin-starred restaurant (rates start at $650).
Do: Take a three-hour lunch or dinner tour on the vintage Napa Valley Wine Train or set off on a hot air balloon ride viewing Napa Valley from the skies. For wine-focused itinerary ideas, visit our post, Wine Wednesday: Napa Valley.
Getting Here: Access Napa Valley by flying into San Francisco International Airport (SFO), Oakland International Airport (OAK) or Sacramento International Airport (SMF), each located about an hour-and-a-half drive away.
New Orleans, Louisiana
Horse-drawn carriages, delicious Cajun cuisine, quaint cobblestone streets—what’s not to love about New Orleans? A culture-rich mix of French and Caribbean influences, the city’s unofficial motto is laissez les bons temps rouler, or let the good times roll, and that’s not hard to do, whether couples seek the party atmosphere of Bourbon Street or the intimate eateries of the Garden District.
Stay: Located in the French Quarter, the 97-room boutique W New Orleans-French Quarter embraces the area’s vibrant spirit with modern décor and motifs of jazz and tarot. Get the ultimate romantic hideaway by booking one of the four studio suites, set in their own building complete with private balcony, a hot tub, and chandelier. The SPG Category 5 hotel requires 16,000 SPG Starpoints or rates start at $407. Named in honor of President Theodore Roosevelt, one of nine presidents who have stayed at The Roosevelt New Orleans, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel, the opulent 504–room property is located just a block from the French Quarter. While the rooftop pool and gardens are great for relaxing during the sweltering summer months, the legendary Sazerac Bar is a must-visit year-round. Rates from $299 or 50,000 HHonors Points.
Do: Street music reigns supreme in the jazz-centered city. Visit Frenchman Street in the French Quarter for a two-block stretch of jazz bars and eateries. Start with wine and tapas at Three Muses before catching more music at the much-loved Spotted Cat Music Club. For other attractions in New Orleans, check out Destination of the Week: New Orleans.
Getting Here: Most major national and budget airlines fly into the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY), named after the jazz legend himself, including American Airlines, JetBlue, Southwest Airlines and United.
Beaver Creek, Colorado
Ski season is in full force in the prime Rockies, and while smaller than Vail (which is a mere 11 miles away), and lacking the nightlife and fanfare of Aspen, Beaver Creek’s 1,832 ski acres, 149 trails and intimate downtown make it perfect for a romantic ski retreat. Spend après-ski at a concert or ballet in the village before a candlelit meal at a mountaintop restaurant.
Stay: The 190-room Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort in the village is an ideal spot for skiers, thanks to the ski-in, ski-out access in the hotel lobby. Couples can also spend a relaxing weekend in the hotel’s al fresco hot tubs, or try Colorado craft brews and local cuisine by the fire pits at the onsite restaurant, 8100 Mountainside Bar & Grill (nightly rates from $799 or 30,000 Hyatt Gold Passport points). At the mountain-lodge-inspired The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch, there are plenty of luxury perks from the four-star Forbes spa to guest rooms sporting fireplaces and balconies overlooking Beaver Creek Mountain and Eagle River Valley (nightly rates from $899 [plus $50 nightly resort fee] or 70,000 Ritz-Carlton Rewards points).
Do: For those interested in skiing or snowboarding, Beaver Creek’s new high-speed combination lift debuted this season, making it easier to more quickly ascend the slopes, and with the help of the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek’s ski valet service, getting prepped for the snow is a breeze.When night falls, go for a couples’ sleigh ride on a horse-drawn sleigh through snow-plains rimmed by the Rockies. Check out Destination of the Week: Vail/Beaver Creek, Colorado for more activities in the area.
Getting Here: Eagle County Airport (EGE) is just 30 minutes from Beaver Creek and offers service from Air Canada, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United. Major carriers also fly direct into Denver International Airport (DEN), located about two hours’ drive away. Travelers flying into Denver can reach Beaver Creek by car or shuttle service, such as Colorado Mountain Express.
Charleston, South Carolina
A favorite spot in the South thanks to its graceful 18th-century architecture and the gas-lit alleys in the French Quarter, this city exudes charm at every turn. Experience a sense of colonial days while riding through downtown’s cobblestone streets in a horse-drawn carriage, or strolling the waterfront Battery Park lined with antebellum homes.
Stay: Downtown near King Street you’ll find the historic Mills House Wyndham Grand Hotel, a 216-room property dating back to 1853 (nightly rates start at $289 or require 30,000 Wyndham Rewards points). The 162-room boutique Renaissance Charleston Historic District Hotel is also located downtown, offering an outdoor rooftop pool and private guestroom balconies so you can start the day al fresco with room service breakfast (the Marriott Category 8 hotel requires 40,000 points or $169 per night). For other hotel options, check out the Charleston section in 12 Christmas Getaways For Every Type of Traveler.
Do: While it may be tempting to stay in your cozy hotel room all weekend, you might want to go explore the city on two wheels, biking across Ravenel Bridge for stunning views of Charleston, or over to the beaches and wild dunes on Isle of Palms. The city also has one of the best food scenes in the country, so be sure to try Southern cuisine at popular spots like Husk.
Where will you be heading for Valentine’s Day? And what are your favorite U.S. spots for romance?
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