From Charlottesville, Virginia, nestled along the Blue Ridge Mountains, to the music scene of Memphis, Tennessee, couples have many diverse choices when it comes to finding a romantic weekend destination. Coastal getaways offer diverse experiences from the "American Riviera" of Santa Barbara, California, to the dramatic granite coastline of Bar Harbor, Maine. These 25 swoon-worthy destinations offer the perfect match for any couple’s long weekend getaway wish list.
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Virginia Beach is a magnificent oceanfront destination along the eastern coast, where the Atlantic Ocean meets Chesapeake Bay. Stunning scenic hiking, pristine beaches, thrilling attractions, and an exquisite culinary scene can all be found here. Its most prominent attraction is the three-mile boardwalk that spans over several oceanfront beaches, ideal for sunbathing, surfing, and swimming. The First Landing State Park that sits bayside is another huge draw. Couples should also check out the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center, Cape Henry Lighthouse, the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art, and False Cape State Park.
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2. Athens, GA
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Athens, Georgia, is both a hip college town and the Classic City of the South. This dynamic haven has something for everyone. It's the place that gave R.E.M. and the B-52s their start, and home to many famous rock stars and Pulitzer Prize winners. It is eclectic and diverse, where stunning Victorian-style homes meet unique independent coffee shops, boutiques, and restaurants. Athens is also a well-known foodie and sports town with a historical edge, offering numerous tour opportunities. Among the top attractions in Athens are the State Botanical Garden of Georgia, Bear Hollow Zoo, the Sandy Creek Nature Center, and the Georgia Museum of Art.
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Fredericksburg is one part southern hospitality and one part German traditions, offering a wealth of activities, attractions, and accommodations ideal for long weekends away with a significant other. Their historic Main Street is a top draw, boasting an energetic atmosphere, alive with music, restaurants, galleries, and boutiques. The Enchanted Rock State Natural Area has over 8 miles of hiking trials, rock climbing, and interpretive exhibits. Wildseed Farms, one of the nation’s largest wildflower farms, and the Lyndon B. Johnson State Park and Historic Site, showcasing the influences of three major cultures, are must-see attractions. There are plenty of historic sites, museums, and artistic, cultural, and recreational activities in Fredericksburg.
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Ashland is a year-round culinary, cultural, and outdoor oasis offering an array of attractions and experiences for a long couple’s weekend. Foodies will especially love this area with its diverse and extensive collections of food artisans, farms, restaurants, and award-winning breweries and wineries. It’s also a naturalist’s ideal getaway featuring world-class recreation areas with hiking, cycling, and walking trails as well as winter and water adventures. Throughout the year, Ashland hosts several incredible performing arts, film, and music festivals. One hundred-acre Lithia Park, Varsity Theatre – an arthouse movie theater, ScienceWorks Museum, Ashland Creek, North Mountain Park, and Crater Lake Trust are among Ashland’s top attractions.
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5. Charlottesville, VA
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Charlottesville is situated along the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, offering visitors a one-of-a-kind experience in a scenic setting. It’s the hometown of the legendary Thomas Jefferson, which honors his memory with two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the University of Virginia and Monticello, the grounds of his former home. The area has over 30 orchards and vineyards, making it ideal for romantic days and nights tasting delectable fruits and fine wines. Charlottesville has an exciting restaurant scene, an array of extraordinary events, and their famous brick-lined Historic Downtown Mall. Shenandoah National Park, Ash-Lawn-Highland, and The Corner – a seven-block area with a collection of restaurants, bookstores, bars, and night-time spots – should also be on couples’ radars.
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6. St. Augustine, FL
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St. Augustine is the oldest city in the nation, offering visitors an eclectic array of activities and attractions, including living history museums such as the Castillo de San Marcos. It also provides a multitude of incredible adventures like specialized tours on land, in the air, and on the sea. The area is known for its small-town feel with brick-lined streets showcasing the area’s European flavor, hidden courtyards, centuries-old architecture, and horse-drawn carriages. Couples will enjoy exploring the city’s more than 450 years of history, excellent restaurants, theaters, live music venues, world-class art galleries, and boutique shops. St. Augustine also features 42 miles of magnificent beaches, parks, and free local events.
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7. St Petersburg, FL
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St. Petersburg is a waterfront getaway situated between Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico boasting award-winning beaches. It retains the title of “most consecutive days with sunshine,” and is known for its warm weather. It is home to the world-renowned Salvador Dali Museum and stunning Fort de Soto Park. The city is an excellent destination for foodie couples. It offers an eclectic array of premier restaurants, and Locale Market – a 20,000 square-foot curated marketplace featuring artisanal delights and the region’s freshest foods. Other places to explore on a long couple’s weekend include Egmont Key State Park, the Sunken Gardens, John’s Pass Village and Boardwalk, the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, and the Museum of Fine Arts.
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8. Knoxville, TN
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Knoxville is commonly considered the hidden gem of Tennessee, shocking couples when they realize how much the area has to offer. This unique city has a vibrant downtown area, quality outdoor adventures, live music, endless cultural experiences, award-winning cuisine, and an eclectic shopping scene. The Knoxville Zoo features educational animal presentations as well as camel and carousel rides. The McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture showcases displays of ancient Egypt and local geological fossils. The Knoxville Museum of Art presents the work of local and contemporary artists. An iconic must-see is the Sunsphere, a tower from the 1982 World’s Fair that offers a 360-degree observation deck.
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9. The Poconos, PA
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The Poconos Mountains is an iconic region offering four seasons of endless fun. It’s long been known as a romantic destination for couples. This four-county area offers luxurious resorts, charming historical towns, and outdoor adventures in picturesque natural beauty. Couples can indulge in activities that match their mood, from private and tranquil to bold and exhilarating. There is a collection of spas that provide a peaceful ambiance, in contrast to high-energy attractions like adventure courses and waterparks. Discovering the outdoors is a main objective here, with several hiking, cycling, skiing, and snowboarding trails as well as zip lining, tubing, and rafting experiences. A visit to the Bushkill Falls, a park with its 100-foot waterfall, is a definite must.
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10. Memphis, TN
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Memphis is famously known as the birthplace of rock ‘n’ roll, and simultaneously home to the blues. It is notable for its bustling and energetic nightlife filled with live music, rich history, and a diverse restaurant scene. Couples making this their long weekend destination can’t miss the opportunity to visit Graceland, the famed Elvis Presley Estate, where they can tour the mansion and check out the car museum featuring two jets. Historians will love the National Civil Rights Museum, Beale Street Historic District, and the Memphis Rock ‘N’ Soul Museum. Memphis Botanic Garden and the Memphis Zoo are also worth a visit.
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11. Montauk, NY
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Montauk is an oceanfront oasis with more than 5,000 acres of pristine beaches and diverse parkland just 110 miles outside of New York City. Couples will enjoy hiking, horseback riding, camping, golfing, surfing, swimming, and boating. The Montauk Point Light, a historic 1796 lighthouse, offers both stunning views and a historic museum experience. Montauk Point State Park is ideal for surf fishing, and Camp Hero State Park provides incredible natural vistas with hiking and biking trails. Hither Hills State Park, Montauk Downs State Park, and Shadmoor State Park are additional hot spots in the area. Besides its natural beauty, Montauk also boasts a vibrant restaurant scene and a variety of cultural attractions.
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12. Jacksonville, FL
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Jacksonville, Florida, is an activity mecca with over 1,000 miles of shoreline, 80,000 acres of parks and trails, numerous sporting events, world-class art centers, and premier museums. It is the largest city in the nation, abundant with waterways and ecological preserves. Jacksonville is both a natural playground and a cosmopolitan city. It has an extraordinary restaurant and nightlife scene, exciting events, thrilling attractions, and one-of-a-kind historic districts. Amelia Island, featuring rich Spanish, British, French, and American history; Hanna Park, a fishing, swimming, boating, surfing, and hiking oasis; and Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens are among the top attractions that will keep couples busy on a long weekend.
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13. Kansas City, Missouri
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Kansas City is well-known for three things – history, culture, and barbecue. One way to explore this historic city is on a Kansas City walking tour like the River Market Tour, where visitors will stroll through the neighborhood that Jesse James and Wyatt Earp once walked. The World War I Museum and Memorial, the only one dedicated specifically to this war, is also a fascinating experience. Cultural aficionados will enjoy a visit to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, featuring over 34,000 pieces of diverse art, the American Jazz Museum, the Gem Theater, and the Negro League Baseball Museum. For insane BBQ it’s all about Hayward’s Pit, Brobeck’s, and Gates and Sons.
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Lancaster is a historic colonial town in Pennsylvania that was founded in 1730, eventually growing into a prosperous Victorian city. While the surrounding Lancaster County is known for its rural countryside and large Amish population, the city of Lancaster’s 250 years of history are reflected in its almost intact historic buildings and neighborhoods at the heart of a modern urban center. Learn more about the city by strolling through its beautiful downtown or visit the Museum of Lancaster, located in the former President Buchanan home. The Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum is a living history museum of Pennsylvania German immigrants, and the Lancaster Museum of Art showcases local, regional, and international artists. Learn about the Amish at the Amish Farm and House and join the locals at large and verdant Long's Park with 80 acres of outdoor activities, a lake, and an amphitheater.
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15. Milwaukee, WI
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Milwaukee, the largest city in Wisconsin, is situated on Lake Michigan’s coast. It offers a wealth of bustling, big city activities and attractions for couples, while also providing the charm and splendor of a small town. Naturalists will find their mecca here, thanks to Lake Michigan, where swimming, sailing, and fishing are commonplace, as well as pick-up sand volleyball on Bradford Beach. In addition to the lake, there are over 140 parks with more than 150 miles of trails for walking, cycling, and hiking. Some of the area’s cultural highlights include the Milwaukee Art Museum, the Harley Davidson Museum, Bay Beach Amusement Park, and Milwaukee County Zoo.
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16. Cleveland, OH
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Cleveland is one part grit and one part sophistication, where open-minded couples can catch a live orchestra performance in a local hot dog joint or peruse contemporary art in a 1,000-year-old transformer station. It’s a city where luxurious experiences can be enjoyed in an unpretentious environment. Cultural and historic attractions include the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Cleveland Museum of Art, A Christmas Story House, and the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and Greater Cleveland Aquarium are great places to visit for animal lovers. Outdoorsy couples should be sure to check out Cleveland Metroparks, Rocky River Reservation, and Cleveland Botanical Garden.
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17. Santa Barbara, CA
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Santa Barbara is most affectionately known as “The American Riviera.” It is where beautiful golden hillsides connect with the glittering seas. A place where red-tiled roofs, lush gardens, and an abundant wine country create a relaxed coastal city. Here, couples will find various festivals, music-filled streets, and verandas overlooking charming downtown enclaves. A few of the city’s top sights include Mission Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, Santa Barbara Zoo, and Lotusland – a 37-acre estate and botanical garden featuring more than 3,000 plants. The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center and the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History are also worth a visit on a couple’s long weekend agenda.
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18. Salt Lake City, UT
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Salt Lake City is a bustling metropolis with the charm of a picturesque mountain town. This vibrant city offers unparalleled natural recreation activities, a remarkable history, dynamic nightlife, and an array of exquisite restaurants. Temple Square is one of the city’s most prominent attractions; a massive plaza owned by the Mormon Church, it features stunning landscaped grounds and tours of the building are offered daily. Antelope Island State Park, an island park with numerous hiking and horse-back riding trails, is also home to free-roaming bison, an exquisite site. The Red Butte Garden and Arboretum, Hogle Zoo, Clark Planetarium, and the Natural History Museum of Utah are additional prominent attractions.
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19. Indianapolis, IN
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Indianapolis is known for blockbuster events and fast cars, but this city is so much more, making it the ideal destination for a long weekend getaway. This Midwest metropolis features a boisterous brewing and culinary scene, interesting neighborhoods, and a collection of diverse cultural and historical institutions. Standouts include the Indiana State Museum, the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument, and the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art. The Indianapolis Zoo with its aquarium, shows, and rides makes for a magical couple’s day. White River Gardens, a botanical garden with an atrium, sculptures, and reflecting pools, is the perfect spot to daydream together.
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20. Charleston, SC
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Charleston, South Carolina, is consistently at the top of national and international “best of” lists for travel destinations. Their almost constant 76°F weather, cobblestone streets, sporting events, and outdoor recreation activities contribute to their overwhelming allure. They also have numerous cultural, historical, and natural attractions, such as the Ravenel Bridge, Cooper River, Sullivan’s Island, King Street, Rainbow Row, and Fort Sumter. Among the top attractions are Patriots Point – a military museum, Waterfront Park, the USS Yorktown, a WWII aircraft and carrier, and Boone Hall. Magnolia Plantation and Gardens is another noteworthy attraction. Couples who appreciate American history will want to make this their long weekend destination.
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21. Tucson, AZ
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Tucson is a place for free thinkers who want to discover and explore with no boundaries, a place that has an off-the-beaten-path feel with a majestic natural landscape. Visitors will find numerous unique attractions with a focus on the arts, culture, exquisite cuisine, and vibrant nightlife. Tucson is an unpretentious place that offers an authentic and comfortable ambiance. The Saguaro National Park, with saguaro cacti and ancient petroglyphs, as well as the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, an interactive outdoor museum, garden, and zoo, are two top attractions worth a visit. San Xavier del Bac, Pima Air & Space Museum, Tohono Chul Park, Kitt Peak National Observatory, and the Old Tucson Studios also shouldn’t be missed.
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22. Gatlinburg, TN
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Gatlinburg is a tranquil and relaxing retreat-style town in the heart of the magical Great Smoky Mountains. There are several one-of-a-kind boutiques, attractions, and restaurants here. The biggest highlight, of course, is nature. Great Smoky Mountains National Park features prominent natural landscapes like Clingmans Dome and miles of hiking trails, pioneer homes, fishing streams, and abundant flora and fauna. The Gatlinburg Space Needle, a 407-foot-tall observation tower, is a must-see. Hollywood Star Cars Museum, with its automobile archive of famous film and TV cars such as the Batmobile, is a fascinating attraction. The Gatlinburg Sky Lift, an open-air chairlift to the 1,800-foot-high viewing area of the Smoky Mountains is among the top attractions.
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23. Leavenworth, WA
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Leavenworth is a quaint Bavarian-style village well known for its cozy accommodations, specialty shops, charming restaurants, and overflowing calendar of music shows, live theater, and festivals. It’s also prominently known for its stunning backdrop – majestic Cascade Mountains that soar thousands of feet above sea level. Visitors will enjoy the several Alpine-style buildings and the charming German-style restaurants that line the city’s popular Front Street. An iconic fixture of the area is the Leavenworth Nutcracker Museum, which showcases thousands of nutcrackers dating back centuries. Waterfront Park, a habitat for eagles and ospreys; Enchantment Park; and the Wenatchee River are among the top natural attractions.
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24. Carlsbad, CA
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Carlsbad is a coastal getaway nestled between charismatic Orange County and laidback San Diego County. This long weekend couple’s destination offers a wealth of world-class resort hotels, quaint boutique hotels, extraordinary restaurants, and unique independent shops. Miles of pristine beaches allow visitors to enjoy days sitting by the ocean with their toes in the sand. Watersports include swimming, surfing, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding. Carlsbad’s main attractions are Legoland theme park, the Flower Fields of Carlsbad, Batiquitos Lagoon, and Agua Hedionda Lagoon wetlands and nature center. The Craftsmanship Museum, SEA LIFE Aquarium, and Leo Carrillo Ranch Historic Park are also attractions couples can enjoy.
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25. Bar Harbor, ME
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Bar Harbor is a stunning rock-bound coastal town with soaring granite cliffs. It is surrounded by Acadia National Park and is situated at the edge of the sea. A special kind of mystique blankets the town, where romance and adventure meet, making it one of the most prominent towns in all of Maine and New England. Acadia National Park covers more than 50 square miles of mountains and lakes, giving couples numerous places to hike, bike, and view the dramatic coastline. Cadillac Mountain, Park Loop Road, the Wild Gardens of Acadia, the Sieur de Monts Nature Center, and the Asticou Azalea Garden are additional natural attractions couples will love on a long weekend.
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25 Best Romantic Getaways for Couples
- Virginia Beach, Photo: Courtesy of jayyuan - Fotolia.com
- Athens, GA, Photo: Courtesy of SeanPavonePhoto - Fotolia.com
- Fredericksburg, TX, Photo: Courtesy of jedphoto - Fotolia.com
- Ashland, OR, Photo: Courtesy of jakartatravel - Fotolia.com
- Charlottesville, VA, Photo: Courtesy of Melinda Fawver - Fotolia.com
- St. Augustine, FL, Photo: Courtesy of SeanPavonePhoto - Fotolia.com
- St Petersburg, FL, Photo: Courtesy of jovannig - Fotolia.com
- Knoxville, TN, Photo: Courtesy of SeanPavonePhoto - Fotolia.com
- The Poconos, PA, Photo: Courtesy of Christian Hinkle - Fotolia.com
- Memphis, TN, Photo: Courtesy of Natalia Bratslavsky - Fotolia.com
- Montauk, NY, Photo: Courtesy of MISHELA - Fotolia.com
- Jacksonville, FL, Photo: Courtesy of itsallgood - Fotolia.com
- Kansas City, Missouri, Photo: Courtesy of Tupungato - Fotolia.com
- Lancaster, PA, Photo: Courtesy of Christian Hinkle - Fotolia.com
- Milwaukee, WI, Photo: Courtesy of maksymowicz - Fotolia.com
- Cleveland, OH, Photo: Courtesy of pabrady63 - Fotolia.com
- Santa Barbara, CA, Photo: Courtesy of sborisov - Fotolia.com
- Salt Lake City, UT, Photo: Courtesy of gnagel - Fotolia.com
- Indianapolis, IN, Photo: Courtesy of carroteater - Fotolia.com
- Charleston, SC, Photo: Courtesy of f11photo - Fotolia.com
- Tucson, AZ, Photo: Courtesy of jayyuan - Fotolia.com
- Gatlinburg, TN, Photo: Courtesy of Anne Kitzman - Fotolia.com
- Leavenworth, WA, Photo: Courtesy of Bill Perry - Fotolia.com
- Carlsbad, CA, Photo: Courtesy of Kit Leong - Fotolia.com
- Bar Harbor, ME, Photo: Courtesy of f11photo - Fotolia.com
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of Dmytro Sukharevskyi - Fotolia.com