Planning romance any time, let alone for Valentine’s Day, is insanely stressful. The magic of celebrating what true love really means can quickly get overrun by cheesy candy hearts, wildly expensive roses, and scoring the perfect gift for your significant other.
The good news? We’ve got a solution for you. Double (or triple) down, and jet your sweetheart away for V-Day. In one fellow swoop, you can head to an amorous destination, and give your partner something you can’t put in wrapping paper — memories. An enchanting trip full of sightseeing, mouthwatering cuisine, and quality time doing couple’s-friendly activities is just the ticket. Make it a surprise, or plan it together… anything goes.
Here are the four best Valentine’s Day destinations on our list, plus, what to do while you’re there. (Hint: this playlist should get the creative juices flowing as you plan. Or, if you need more travel inspiration, pick a place based on your partner’s zodiac sign for a sure-thing win.)
1. Get Your Music and Food Fix in New Orleans
Dying to experience the best Creole and Cajun cuisine the U.S. has to offer? Head to New Orleans, Louisiana and you won’t be disappointed. From hole-in-the-wall cafes to hidden five-star restaurants in the French Quarter, you can venue hop to your heart’s delight — a magical place for any serious foodie. Plus, vibrant nightlife, the historical sights, and a rich, eclectic music culture ensures you have no shortage of things to do. (A bonus, if you’re the traveling couple who likes to play it by ear.) If you want to delay your V-Day celebrations just a few weeks, head there for Mardi Gras at the beginning of March. (Though, trust us, the Crescent City is always bumpin’.)
Where to stay: Hotel Fontenot
2. Strap On Your Skates in New York City
New York City is a charming place to visit during Valentine’s Day. Known for its iconic ice-skating atmosphere at Rockefeller Center, the Big Apple’s Midtown rink offers ample space to glide around with your lover to the backdrop of skyscrapers and festive decorations. Simply book tickets on its website. General admission starts at $11 and includes skate rentals. After you’re finished, grab a cup of hot cocoa and head to the Top of the Rock Observation Deck for epic, smooch-worthy views of the NYC skyline. The last elevator ascends at 10:10 p.m. and tickets start at $34.
Where to stay: Hotel Eventi
3. Chill Out Beachside in Miami
If you prefer warm-weather travel, head to Miami, Florida, for surfside sun and fun. Lounge around with a good book and a DIY beach picnic. (We love these savory-sweet champagne pairings to transform an average lunch from grocery-store grub into thoughtful, sultry fare.) Then, take it up a notch with scuba, swim, and surf lessons from local instructors. Learning something new together can be an excellent way to bust out of your comfort zone and strengthen your bond. Polish it off with the Valentine’s Bay Cruise, an ultra-romantic ride around Biscayne Bay on a 45-foot catamaran. Tickets start at $50.
Where to stay: EPIC Hotel
4. Taste Vino in Santa Barbara
The So-Cal lovers’ paradise, Santa Barbara, makes the perfect getaway for couples who consider themselves wine connoisseurs. The Urban Wine Trail winds through the city passing by 23 local wineries featuring different atmospheres, from funk-style outdoor patio seating to breathtaking rooms with 360-degree ocean-and-city views. First timers can snag a tasting card and sample for free along the way. (Plus, you get an additional 10% discount on a bottle of your choice.) The Urban Wine Trail is walkable or bikeable, and always within a few block’s range of the beach or downtown. After you’ve wrapped up, don’t miss stunning beachside sunset views for an extra romantic twist to the evening.
Where to stay: Kimpton Canary