Rather than celebrating Valentine’s Day with the same tired roses and chocolates, why not splurge for a romantic escape to sweep your sweetie off his or her feet? We’ve rounded up seven destinations jam-packed with romantic activities sure to turn even the most unromantic partner into a mushy mess.
A Mountaintop Picnic Lunch [Gateway, CO]
Nestled in the heart of the majestic Unaweep Canyon, The Stables at Canyon Ranch offer the opportunity to spend a few hours with your sweetheart under the vast open sky. Saddle up for a three-hour guided horseback ride that will take you through the gorgeous, rugged canyon terrain before climbing to the top of South Lobe Creek and the Cougar Loop. A picnic lunch overlooking the sweeping vistas and striking landscape of the Uncompahgre Plateau are sure to make for a spectacularly romantic escape.
A Norman Rockwell Romantic Escape to the Berkshires [Stockbridge, MA]
The quaint small towns, rolling hills, and country barns of Western Massachusetts make for a cozy and romantic escape. A blanket of snow is usually covering the ground, but don’t let that limit your romantic activities. There’s snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, and ice-skating, as well as sleigh rides and winter picnics complete with a thermos of piping hot chocolate. Finish it all with a meal of classic pub fare by the fireplace at the town’s coziest restaurant, the Lion’s Den Pub.
An Afternoon of Snow, Silliness, and Noodle Slurping [Seattle, WA]
Rather than hole up and avoid going out in the winter, make the most of it by enjoying each other’s sweet, silly side for an afternoon. Start out by whizzing down the slopes of The Summit at Snoqualmie, just 50 minutes east of Seattle, on a tube (you get bonus points for making it down the hill holding hands). After your two-hour block of tubing, head back into the city to warm up over an intimate dinner at Little Sheep Hot Pot. A shared pot of gourmet aromatic broth comes with an à la carte selection of meats, vegetables, and noodles. Create your own stew and devour.
Live Jazz by Night; Beignets and Café Au Lait by Morning [New Orleans, LA]
A few blocks away from the bacchanalian excess of Bourbon Street, you’ll find the greatest concentration of live music venues in the French Quarter. Forgo the neon lights and blaring canned music to venture into one of the two dozen music clubs that feature everything from jazz to blues to reggae. Grab a table for two, and listen to some of the best live jazz music on Frenchmen Street until the wee hours. Since you’re on a romantic escape, sleep in late and then venture out for a quintessentially New Orleans breakfast of café au lait and beignets at Morning Call.
A Private Beachside Dinner on an Island Escape [Florida Keys, FL]
Easily the most romantic resort in the Florida Keys, Little Palm Island Resort & Spa is the epitome of a romantic island escape. But if a secret getaway to a thatched roof bungalow on the ultra-luxurious and exclusive Little Palm Island isn’t quite romantic enough, a private candlelight dinner on the beach can be arranged. Choose from one of three secluded spots on the island – Sandy Point, Palapa Point, or Harbor Point – for a breathtaking gourmet dinner at a table set for two on a white sand beach beneath a twinkling star-filled sky, tiki torches casting a soft glow, and a dedicated waitstaff attending to your every need.
Florida’s Romantic Gondola Canal Tours [Fort Lauderdale, FL]
Known as the “Venice of America,” Fort Lauderdale has a labyrinth of canals to explore in the low-slung gondolas helmed by experienced gondoliers, who can point out which waterfront mansions belong to Hollywood stars, where the original Tarzan movies were filmed and the house that served as the setting for Cape Fear. Choose from a cozy gondola for two, a private gondola with dinner delivered from a nearby restaurant, or a private sunset gondola tour through some of the tranquil waters of the 165 miles of canals that wind through Fort Lauderdale’s city limits.
Buried in Snow, Surrounded by Barking Dogs, and Loving It [Stowe, VT]
Stowe might be best known for its world-class skiing, but just a short drive away in Eden Mills, you’ll find one of the most unique ways a couple can see the rugged winter wilderness – by dogsled. Eden Dogsledding, located on 140 acres of Vermont Land Trust wilderness, is home to Jim Blair, an International Dog Sledding Champion, and his “Un-Chained Gang” of Alaskan huskies. These powerful pups (which are home-raised and never chained) pull you while you’re tucked snuggly beneath warm blankets through the quiet snowy woods and open fields. The experience ends with a snack and hot chocolate by the woodstove.