Do you and your partner wheely like each other? Forget roses and chocolates — hit the road for a romantic road trip! These destinations will give you plenty of quality time in (and out) of the car.
For Long Walks on the Beach
These little pieces of paradise not only give you quality time on the ride there but lots of time to talk as you stroll along the seaside hand-in-hand. Ask in-depth questions to get to know each other better. Whether you’ve been dating six months or married twenty years, there’s always more to learn about a person. See what these cities have to offer:
Drive down Scenic Road and check off all the romantic things to do on a road trip. Stop for a picnic-with-a-view at Lovers Point Park or document your experience with a Bixby Bridge selfie. There are tasting rooms and local shops in town, plus art-loving lovers will be in heaven as they peruse the Carmel Art Association’s open-air art museum and 100 art galleries. Your best option for lodging is at a local inn or hotel (no chains), and you won’t be disappointed.
Live the simple life for a weekend in Islamorada, a village of six islands just south of Miami, away from the more common tourist destinations. Leave your worries behind and focus on your love as you sip piña coladas on the beach and dine on the catch of the day. For a little adventure, go swimming and snorkeling at the tropical island next door, Lignumvitae Key Botanical State Park, or paddle across to Indian Key Historic State Park to see the 1800s ruins.
Newport is home to two hotels on Travel + Leisure’s list of best hotels in the United States: The Chanler at Cliff Walk, an elegant luxury hotel that offers mornings of breakfast in bed, afternoons relaxing in the gardens with an ocean view, and nights under the stars by a glowing fire pit. Or try The Vanderbilt, a beautifully restored vintage mansion. There, you can enjoy candlelit dinners on the Garden Terrace, dips in the indoor pool, and drinks at the rooftop bar overlooking the harbor.
Other destinations: Cannon Beach, OR; Martha’s Vineyard, MA; Sea Island, GA
For a Steamy Romance (it’s getting hot in here)
Write your own romance novel with a steamy hot springs getaway — but make sure it has a happy ending by taking your car in for a check-up before you get on the road. (Changing a flat tire is not one of the most romantic things to do on a road trip.) Check out these destinations:
Head straight to Dunton Hot Springs in Dolores. Take a dip in the outdoor pool, enjoy couples’ treatments at the holistic spa, soak inside the bathhouse, or book a private hot springs experience. Be sure to go back for glamping in the summer: king beds, gas stoves, en-suite bathrooms, and soaking tubs await!
Hot Springs, VA.
Head straight to the Omni Homestead Resort, where natural springs flow from the Allegheny Mountains to the Jefferson pools. Enjoy the mineral-rich indoor pool or the naturally warm outdoor pool in the Serenity Garden (which is adults only and includes a pressurized deluge shower, river reflexology walk, and dining and drink service). Between the spa, on-site movie theater, seven dining options, and the Southern hospitality, you won’t want (or need) to leave the resort.
Ojo Caliente, NM.
Ojo Caliente is an unincorporated community in Taos County, about 50 miles north of Santa Fe. It’s known for its hot springs that Ojo Santa Fe Spa & Resort harnesses to make romantic moments. Take a dip in one of the thermal or saltwater pools, soak in a private outdoor pool beside a wood-burning fireplace, immerse yourself in a private open-air soaking tub, or relax in a sensory deprivation float tank. Afterward, dine on farm-to-table fare, then snuggle up by the fire in your private casita.
Other destinations: Calistoga, CA; Hot Springs, AR; Phoenix, AZ
For that Movie-Like Romance
Whether you share a meal at a table for two or have a romantic picnic on the grass, you’ll find some of the best (and most romantic) spots to dine in the cities listed below.
Ann Arbor, MI.
This up-and-coming Midwestern city is one of the best romantic road trips from Chicago. Go for a speakeasy vibe at The Last Word, grab some sandwiches or charcuterie from Zingerman’s Delicatessen for a lovely picnic, or try one of the many Korean-inspired restaurants. If you’re there on a Saturday, you can visit the year-round farmer’s market. Have a lively time in the city, or slip away to the Barton Nature Area to hike along the Huron River. You can also spend the better part of a day finding all of the city’s murals (perfect photo ops).
The charming Southern city of Charleston will make any list of getaways. Eater Carolinas lists Maison (seasonal French fare with a $5 champagne happy hour), Le Farfalle (comforting pasta and pretty blue booths), Gaulart & Maliclet ($10 per plate and you can pretend you’re in a little European village), and The Ordinary as a few of the best. Take a walk down King Street and Rainbow Row, meander through Charleston City Market for a regional souvenir, and take a picnic to the Battery, where you can look out at the water as you eat under the mossy Live Oaks.
The city of Portland is well-known for its restaurant and bar scene. Give her flowers — on her pizza! — at Lovely’s Fifty Fifty or share tapas at Xica Cantina. Spend happy hour at Scotch Lodge, known for its craft cocktails and bar snacks. Share an ice cream cone from Salt & Straw or get dessert for two at Maurice. Slip out in the morning for Stumptown coffee and Voodoo Doughnuts (conveniently right down the street from each other) and win your partner’s heart all over again.
There is no shortage of romantic spots in Portland, either. Enjoy the beauty of the Portland Japanese Garden or Washington Park. Hike Mt. Tabor or take a leisurely stroll along the Willamette River (extra romantic at night).
Other destinations: Indianapolis, IN; Nashville, TN; New Orleans, LA
For Getting Cozy by the Fire
What’s more romantic than a beautiful view and getting cozy by the fire? One of these spots is sure to stoke the flames of love:
Nothing beats Aspen’s ski scene — except maybe its apres-ski scene! Hit the slopes first, or head straight for hot cocoa by the fire at your luxury hotel of choice. Here are a few of our top picks:
- The Little Nell: This lovely location has fireplaces in the bedrooms and heated floors in the bathrooms. There is also a 20,000-bottle wine collection at the hotel restaurant, Element 47. Don’t worry. There’s a sommelier on staff to help you out.
- Hotel Jerome: Here, Old West meets the Victorian Era with floor-to-ceiling windows in all the rooms for spectacular mountain views.
- Hyatt Residence Club Grand: These residence-style rooms come with spa tubs, steam showers, and a lounge area with comfy, overstuffed sofas by the fireplace.
Nestle by the fire in the Smoky Mountains in Gatlinburg, where you can choose your own escape. Close to the city or off the beaten path. Find cozy cabins for two, charming bed and breakfasts, posh condos, or luxury chalets.
With everything from skiing to sleigh rides, it’s no surprise Stowe is such a popular destination. Book your stay at any of the mountainside havens for an amorous recharge between you and your partner.
- Timberholm Inn: This is a cozy bed-and-breakfast with homemade meals and fieldstone fireplaces.
- Field Guide Lodge: an intimate boutique hotel where you’re greeted by a crackling fire in the lobby.
- The Lodge at Spruce Peak: A skin-in, ski-out resort with a spa and private dining pergolas for your après ski enjoyment.
Other destinations: Boone, NC; Lewisburg, WV; Sun Valley, ID
For Spending More Alone Time
Escape the hustle and bustle of daily life, and reconnect with your Valentine in the great outdoors. Try one of the secluded spots below for an intimate getaway. And while you’re sitting under the stars or breathing in the crisp mountain air, take some time to reflect on what you love about your relationship. Just be sure you stop for a Complete Vehicle Inspection at your local Firestone Complete Auto Care before you head into the great unknown — nothing puts a damper on a date like a flat tire in the middle of nowhere.
Head north from Philadelphia, where you’ll find Hawley nestled in the majestic Pocono Mountains — the drive makes for one of the most romantic road trips. Book a cozy private cottage atop a peak or a quiet lakeside cabin. Hunker down for the weekend or venture out for a hike, train tour, or day at the spa. Stay in and cook or try a local brewpub or farm-to-table restaurant. You get to decide how unplugged you want to be.
Little Raccoon Key, GA.
Glamping on your private island… need we say more? Waking up to the sound of the water and the sun rising over the ocean is truly romantic. Little Raccoon Key is part of the Golden Isles of Georgia, about 10 minutes from Jekyll Island. Your luxury canvas tent will include a memory foam mattress, wood-burning stove, fresh linens, and plenty of other amenities to make island life comfortable. Keep an eye out for dolphins!
Look no further than Enchantment Resort, a jewel of Sedona. This former private ranch is now a 70-acre resort made up of Southwest-style casitas nestled in Boynton Canyon. With the many pristine pools, kiva fireplaces, and luxury spa, you may not care to venture outside of these adobe walls. But make sure you do. There are plenty of beautiful hiking trails through lush pine trees and the red canyon cliffs surrounding the property.
Other destinations: Assateague Island, Big Water, UT; MD; Suncadia, WA
For a Lovely Toast
Cheers to you two! Bring out the bubbly, beer, or spirits and toast to your happiness in one of these romantically boozy destinations. However, if you do decide to partake in some libations, make sure to hang up your car keys for the night!
Raise a glass in the Blue Ridge Mountains! Asheville is not only a charming mountain town — it is also home to a considerable medley of bars, brewpubs, craft breweries, and cideries. Consider visiting town favorites like Highland Brewing Co., Urban Orchard, Biltmore Winery, and Cultivated Cocktail Distillery.
And, there’s much more to experience, like hiking to Lover’s Leap, exploring Looking Glass Falls, or visiting Biltmore. You’re going to love your time in Asheville, but take your time getting there. Cruise down the Blue Ridge Parkway and stop to document your trip at a few of the overlooks or trails along the way. This amazing destination is even in close proximity to major cities like Nashville, TN., and Charlotte, NC.
This Texas wine country is home to more than 50 wineries and is one of the best romantic road trips from Houston, Austin, San Antonio, or Dallas. You’ll fall in love with the charming influence of its German heritage, which is present in the food (like Otto’s) and architecture (like 19th century-built St. Mary’s Catholic Church). In addition to all the wine you’ll be drinking (responsibly, of course), you can also enjoy a number of Texas-owned beers, whiskeys, and vodkas served at the local restaurants. Prost!
Willamette Valley, OR.
Oregon’s Willamette Valley is home to more than 500 wineries! A few beloved ones include Cristom Vineyards, Elk Cove Vineyards, Eyrie Vineyards, and Adelsheim Vineyard. Stay at any number of luxurious hotels in the heart of wine country or make Portland or Salem your home base. And when you’re not sipping Pinot Noir, go on a hike and chase some waterfalls together in the PNW wonderland.
Other destinations: Harbor Country, MI; Portland, ME; Yountville, CA
Get There With Help from Firestone
Grab the keys to your car and hand over the keys to your heart! These destinations have something for every couple! But don’t let your date end on the side of the road. Make sure your vehicle is in tip-top shape with a vehicle inspection at your local Firestone Complete Auto Care before you hit the road.