The Most Romantic Destination in Every State
Although there are countless ways to spend Valentine’s Day together as a couple—dinner, drinks, spa, a night in—there are few that are as healthy for a relationship as taking a trip together.
It’s true—nothing brings couples closer together than traveling to new destinations and sharing experiences together.
But no two love affairs are the same, which is why we believe that no two romantic getaways should be the same, either.
For couples planning an epic trip from sea to shining sea or for those just hoping to book a weekend getaway close by, we went from coast to coast to find 51 of the most romantic spots our country has to offer. There's one in every state, and even the District of Columbia.
There are plenty of romantic wilderness retreats where couples can take advantage of epic cliffs, waterfalls and beaches. For more urban couples, we found waterfront streets and high-up cityscape views. And, of course, there are a few castles for couples swept up in a fairytale romance.
And hey, even if there isn’t a special someone to take on a trip this year, in the words of Oscar Wilde, “to love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.”
Alabama — Cheaha State Park
The highest point in all of Alabama is inside of this state park. The park is especially tranquil and has plenty of hidden nooks and crannies to hide out in. For the more adventurous, there are opportunities to fish, mine gems, rock climb, hike, swim or geocash.
Alaska — Mendenhall Ice Caves
For couples who thrive on a bit of danger, Alaska’s Mendenhall Ice Caves are a perfect epic romantic adventure. The caves glow a breathtaking blue that visitors often describe as “otherworldly.” Bear in mind that the caves are rapidly melting due to global warming, so your romance may outlive them.
Arizona — Emerald Cove
Black Canyon’s Emerald Cove is best explored from kayak. It’s a hidden cave where the water inside glows a brilliant green. It’s a magical and memorable photo opp and perfect for couples who split a tandem kayak. Keep paddling down the Colorado River and visitors will find a saunas, hot springs and narrow canyons.
Arkansas — Whitaker Point
This perilous rock deep in the Ozarks is one of Arkansas’s most-photographed site. The rock, which is also named Hawksbill Crag for its shape, lets visitors (quite literally) live on the edge. It’s certainly a fantastic backdrop for anybody planning a sweeping declaration of their love.
California — Griffith Observatory
Relive old Hollywood glamour in your romance by holing up at Griffith Observatory. Since playing host to that iconic scene from Rebel Without a Cause, the Los Angeles observatory has become a symbol for SoCal love. It was even featured in the city’s latest romantic film La La Land. For those that are more into the outdoors than the cinema, the hike up to the observatory provides fantastic views of Los Angeles.
Colorado — Bishop Castle
When you’re in love, it feels like there’s nothing you can’t do—even construct the country’s largest self-built castle. Jim Bishop has spent the past 60 years constructing his now-16-story-high fortress. He started the project when he and his wife needed a place to live. Today it’s become a unique tourist attraction and personal feat.
Connecticut — Saybrook Breakwater Light
Saybrook Breakwater is consistently named as one of the most charming and picturesque lighthouses on the Connecticut coast. It opened in 1886 and still operates, although it is now privately owned. The best way to see the lighthouse is by renting a boat for two and rowing out into the Connecticut River.
Delaware — Rehoboth Beach
Although many of the businesses along Rehoboth’s iconic boardwalk will be closed for the season come Valentine’s Day, there’s something very romantic about a deserted beach town. Spend the day enjoying the seashore without fighting crowds because, at the end of the day, you only need one other person to make a cherished memory. (Also, for those to whom it’s important: Note that Rehoboth has become a popular LGBTQ-friendly destination over the past few years.)
D.C. — Tidal Basin
Rent a paddle boat and row out along the Tidal Basin for some of the best views of the Jefferson Memorial. There are even themed swan paddleboats available for rent, for those who are interested. Those who will never get their sealegs can stay on dry land instead for some great views of the water.
Florida — Little Palm Island
Escape from the world and stay with only each other in one of the most secluded spots in the Florida Keys. The private escape (there isn’t a whole lot to explore unless you’re staying at the on-site resort) features plenty of diverse wildlife and the shore’s coral reef is one of the best in the country for snorkelers.
Georgia — Savannah River Street
Couples looking for an urban escape can take a romantic stroll along Savannah’s River Street. The historic waterfront path is constructed from cobblestone that’s over 200 years old. The street is chock full of cute restaurants, bars, galleries and shops and offers spectacular views of docking cargo ships.
Hawaii — Sweetheart Rock
For star-crossed lovers, Hawaii’s Sweetheart Rock may be an appropriate romantic venue. According to local lore, there was once a man who was so taken with his new wife’s beauty that he was afraid to let other men see her. So he confined her to a sea cave near the rock. One day, a giant storm began to pound the island. The man raced back to where his wife was to save her but by the time he arrived, she had already drowned. He threw himself off a nearby rock in grief and despair. Pray that your own love story has a happier ending.
Idaho — Sun Valley
Idaho’s famed ski resort may have been made famous by Ernest Hemingway, but it was originally discovered in 1935 by an Austrian count. Today, it’s a perfect winter destination for glamorous couples looking for a spot to ski and and be seen.
Illinois — Nicholas Conservatory
Couples who appreciate nature but don’t necessarily want to venture outside when it’s cold out can find romance in a greenhouse. The Nicholas Conservatory in Rockford, Illinois is a perfect indoor escape with butterflies, orchids and contemporary art installations. It’s even possible to rent the entire space out after hours for an intimate evening underneath glass atrium.
Indiana — Kissing Bridge
Parke County is proud of its covered bridges—it hosts an annual festival and calls itself the “Covered Bridge Capital” of the United States. But the most romantic of the county’s dozens of covered bridges is the Kissing Bridge at Valparaiso University. The bridge is also called “Student Bridge” because, according to local legend, good luck will befall co-eds who kiss on the bridge at midnight while a late-night freight train passes below.
Iowa — Pikes Peak State Park
Stand on the end of the world at this bluff overlooking the Mississippi River with a 500-foot drop. For more adventurous couples, there’s a wooden boardwalk that leads down to the park’s Bridal Veil Falls (an appropriate venue for engaged couples). The park also features archaeological sites, bike trains and overnight camping spots.
Kansas — Monument Rocks
For those in awe of the power of love, compare your relationship to Kansas’s impressive Monument Rocks. The chalk monoliths—which are sometimes called “a natural Stonehenge”—seem to rise out of nowhere and are the only interesting natural features for as far as the eye can see. There’s definitely a metaphor for love somewhere in there.
Kentucky — Cumberland Falls
For those who can’t make it up north, visit “The Niagara Falls of the South” in Kentucky. Cumberland Falls is home to one very unique natural phenomenon, the moonbow. Couples who visit the park at night can spot a fantastic lunar rainbow spread across the falls, adding to the area’s natural romanticism.
Louisiana — New Orleans City Park
History-loving couples can step back in time in New Orleans. While in town, be sure to check out City Park. Step off the beaten path and get lost together—just be sure to eventually wander over to the rows of old oak trees and the park’s picturesque stone bridge.
Maine — Isle au Haut
For couples who want to spend time with each other and only each other, escape to one of Maine’s most secluded islands. Isle au Haut has a total population of 73 people and requires visitors to ferry over on a mailboat. About half the island is national park while the other half belongs to the community, complete with some quite charming bed-and-breakfasts.
Maryland — Ladew Topiary Gardens
Maryland’s Ladew Topiary Gardens has been named as one of the most “incredible topiary gardens in the world.” For couples who enjoy a dose of whimsy, check out the incredible greenery, trimmed to resemble giant sailboats, an English countryside hunt and even outdoor rooms.
Massachusetts — Mapparium
For jet-setting couples, the Mapparium in Boston’s Mary Eddy Baker Library may prove the perfect spot to begin planning adventures together. The three-story stained glass globe was opened in 1935 and was meant as a symbol of global reach. Today, it’s an impressive and immersive sound and light show.
Michigan — The Victorian Garden at Frederik Meijer Gardens
Meijer Gardens are a fantastic destination to appreciate both greenery and sculpture. The Victorian Garden is one of the most impressive parts of the property. It’s a greenhouse with a sparkling fountain, elegant sculptures and tropical hanging plants. The romantic space is available for rent to host private events, for couples looking for a venue for grand, sweeping gestures.
Minnesota — Split Rock Lighthouse
The coastline along Lake Superior was once called “the most dangerous piece of water in the world,” by novelist James Oliver Curwood. In 1905, one single storm along the rocky coast caused 29 shipwrecks. After that disastrous storm, Congress paid for a lighthouse and fog signal, which would come to be known as the Split Rock Lighthouse. Although the picturesque lighthouse has a rocky past, its state park now offers visitors cross-country skiing, beachside walks and impressive views of the lake.
Mississippi — Pierce Castle
Couples seeking a fairytale romance can nail down the setting at this medieval-style castle in Mississippi. A stroll around the grounds reveals plenty of greenery and even a mini-waterfall. Inside, the castle is lined with tapestries, armory and flags. Just be warned: Like any castle, it’s not always easy to get in. The space is available to rent for parties and weddings—although there’s also an onsite cabin where guests can stay overnight.
Missouri — Ha Ha Tonka State Park
Ha Ha Tonka is one of Missouri’s most fascinating state parks. It’s actually the stone ruins of a castle built on top of a bluff by a local businessman in 1904. He died two years later in one of the state’s first automobile crashes, but left behind an impressive spot of land, complete with natural bridges, caves and a scenic lake.
Montana — Lake McDonald
The romantic interest that adds color to your life deserves a trip to Glacier National Park’s Lake McDonald. Below the surface of the lake, the unique and vibrantly-colored pebbles create a walkable mosaic. The lake’s beautifully-colored rocks were formed by glaciers, as were many of the impressive cliffs and waterfalls nearby.
Nebraska — Valentine National Wildlife Refuge
Spend Valentine’s Day in Valentine, Nebraska—where town officials have taken their name to heart. Besides the plethora of heart-shaped memorabilia found around the town, there’s also a national wildlife refuge that spreads over 70,000 acres. The refuge is designated as an “Important Bird Area” by the Audubon Society and is a perfect destination for romantic, outdoorsy couples.
Nevada — Tonopah
Spend the night counting the stars together in one of the darkest spots in the country. Tonopah is halfway between Reno and Las Vegas and completely rooted in old timey Western tradition. And for couples that love a dose of fear, book a stay at the town’s Clown Motel where 700 different clowns help lull guests off to sleep.
New Hampshire — Lincoln Ice Castles
The Lincoln Ice Castles have become famous for the otherworldly glow they give off at night. The ice structures—which look like something straight out of a Disney movie—are maintained by hand and grown every winter. Lights installed inside of the ice sculpture will give off a magical, choreographed show every night—and there’s even an ice slide for kids at heart.
New Jersey — Passion Puddle
College sweethearts can spend their time at Rutgers’ Passion Puddle, the site of collegiate romance lore. According to Rutgers tradition, any woman who walks around the pond three times with her lover will end up marrying them. So just be sure that the pondside stroll is done with the right person.
New Mexico — Dwan Light Sanctuary
Much like a typical visit to Las Vegas, Nevada, the Dwan Light Sanctuary in Las Vegas, New Mexico will have guests seeing their partner in a whole new light. The space is equal parts art installation and scientific feat. The empty white space is a warm space filled with rainbows from sun shining through 12 large prisms in the building’s apses. The sanctuary was designed as “a refuge from the pace, conflicts, and anxieties of daily living” and is the perfect destination for couples looking to just chill out and spread good vibes.
New York — Niagara Falls
The honeymoon capital of the world is an iconic stop for travelers in love. Niagara Falls—which is actually comprised of three separate falls—is one of the most powerful water shows in the country. Unless you count all the emotional lovers moved to tears there.
North Carolina — Inn at Rodanthe
For couples that are suckers for tearjerker romance flicks, visit the inn from Nights in Rodanthe. The hotel on stilts (actually called “Serendipity”) inspired a Nicholas Sparks novel, which then inspired the movie, starring Richard Gere and Diane Lane. The inn is already booked for Valentine’s week, but it’s possible to spot it from afar—or book the space for a later date.
North Dakota — Theodore Roosevelt National Park
Couples who love wildlife can head to Theodore Roosevelt National Park, where the Great Plains meet the Badlands. Come nightfall, the park has a well-respected view of the nighttime sky. It’s possible to spot the Milky Way and even the Andromeda Galaxy. Sometimes, it’s even possible to catch a glimpse of the aurora borealis from the park. During the daytime, be sure to make a stop to see the naturally-colorful Painted Canyon.
Ohio — Crystal Cave
Those planning on popping the question can do so with a larger-than-life stone. The cave is actually the world’s largest geode, discovered in 1897 by workers building a well. Today it’s owned by a local winery and open to visitors as part of a boozy tour of the property.
Oklahoma — Center of the Universe
The Center of the Universe in Tulsa is an audio oddity. Those who stand inside the center of the swirling circle on the ground will hear their own voices echoed back several times louder than how they were spoken—although nobody outside of the circle will hear a thing. So go ahead and loudly proclaim your love instead of whispering sweet nothings. No one else will hear.
Oregon — Thor’s Well
Proclaim your love at one of the most epic landscapes on the west coast. Thor’s Well appears to be an impressive and powerful sinkhole in the ocean—it’s sometimes referred to as “the drainpipe of the Pacific.” In actuality, the landmark is just an optical illusion. It’s really just a hole in a rock that creates the appearance of a bottomless pit. We’re sure there’s a beautiful way to tie the phrase “bottomless pit” into a marriage proposal.
Pennsylvania — Fallingwater
The couple that appreciates 20th-century American architecture together stays together. Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterpiece, Fallingwater, was designed for the Kaufmann family in 1935. The elegant weekend home appears to float over a rushing waterfall while the interiors are simultaneously cosy and spacious. For couples especially impressed by the views, it’s even possible to book the space for future weddings.
Rhode Island — Mohegan Bluffs
A stroll along Mohegan Bluffs one of the most dramatic walks available in the Ocean State. The bluffs stand 150 feet above the beach below and, on a clear day, provide views straight to Montauk on the other side of Block Island Sound. After a walk across the bluffs, check out the picturesque (and less dangerous) lighthouses that dot Block Island.
South Carolina — Boone Hall Plantation
The Boone Hall Plantation is one of the country’s oldest working farms. The plantation was founded in 1681 and has been in the middle of American history for over 300 years. It’s a perfect combination for history and nature lovers. The tour includes a presentation of Gullah culture and a black history exhibit, in addition to entrance to the butterfly pavilion and garden walk. There are also U-Pick produce options available for couples looking for edible souvenirs.
South Dakota — Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary
If you love something, set it free. The Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary is a beautiful display of Americana at its finest—rocky canyons, grassy plains and hundreds of wild mustangs charging through. The sanctuary offers tours of the land, in addition to overnight stays in cabins where guests wake up to the sounds of charging hooves in the morning.
Tennessee — Clingman’s Dome
If love is raising you higher, head to the highest point in all of Tennessee. At 6,643 feet, Clingman’s Dome is one of the most spectacular viewpoints in the Great Smoky Mountains. On clear days, it’s possible to see up to 100 miles from a full 360° from the structure.
Texas — Lovers’ Leap in Cameron Park
Star-crossed lovers can find solace at this beautiful—and allegedly tragic—point in Cameron Park. According to local legend, two lovers who could not be together (some say they were from rival Native American tribes) chose this dramatic cliffs’ edge as the location for their suicide. The morbid ending has the lovers wrapped in each other’s embrace at the bottom of the fall. Today there’s a fence around the edge of the cliff, so lovers can safely enjoy the scenic views.
Utah — Delicate Arch
Although love is powerful, it can sometimes be a delicate thing. Marvel at another natural delicacy in Arches National Park. Although the geologic feature is now widely known as “Delicate Arch,” it has many more colorful names like “Cowboy's Chaps" and "Old Maid's Bloomers.” Pick your own reasons why.