7 Romantic Getaways Under $200 to Gift for Valentine's Day
A trip for two sounds perfect right about now. Take advantage of the long weekend and treat your person to a stay in any of these romantic and under-the-radar destinations.
ICYMI: Valentine's Day falls on the Friday before a long weekend this year, and I think that's an excellent excuse to take a mini-vacation. Instead of gifting a blink-and-you'll-miss-it box of chocolates or bouquet of red roses, you can switch things up and surprise your S.O. with an impromptu trip to the nearest beach, mountain range or foodie destination.
And if February 14 is just too short notice to fit your busy schedules? You can always gift them a weekend getaway to be enjoyed after the holiday. Here are seven romantic and affordable destinations found by yours truly that will give you some ideas and help you start planning.
For an affordable alternative to Sonoma or Napa Valley, wine lovers will want to visit Fredericksburg, Texas. This city, located about an hour and a half outside of Austin, is home to more than 50 wineries; you can tour local-favorites like Grape Creek Vineyards and then follow it up with a tasting-for-two. And when you need a break from the sweet sips? Head to the historic main strip for shopping or drive to Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, where a massive pink granite dome will give you both all the heart eyes.
Where else can you leave the city behind and cozy up in a cottage (or treehouse!) you ask? Try Eureka Springs. Nestled in the heart of the Ozark Mountains, this small town is big on charm, with a Historic District lined with Victorian-era buildings. After you've browsed the boutiques, you can go hiking or visit Thorncrown Chapel, where soaring glass walls showcase the Ozarks. And since you're so close to Bentonville (only an hour by car), you should definitely vist Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, which boasts works by Warhol, Yayoi Kusama, etc.
If you want to go a little more off the grid, plan a trip to Bozeman, Montana. This city is surrounded by national forests and only a one-and-a-half-hour drive from Yellowstone National Park, which means that you and your adventure buddy will have plenty of outdoor activities from which to choose. You can start with a leisurely hike up to Palisade Falls, then head back down to Main Street for lunch. Later in the day, you can visit the Museum of the Rockies, see its impressive paleontological collections and promise to love each other until the end of time.
Make their dreams of living in a rom-com come true by booking a trip to New York City. If you plan your stay for the tail end of February through the middle of March, you'll reap the benefits of "shoulder season" and find four-star hotels in Manhattan for as low as $82 a night. You and your sweetheart can recreate scenes from The Sun Is Also a Star at Grand Central Station and When Harry Met Sally at Washington Square Arch, then take a horse-drawn carriage through Central Park, where Maid in Manhattan, 27 Dresses, Friends With Benefits and more were filmed. You can also walk hand-in-hand across The High Line, check out The Top of The Rock and catch a show on Broadway — all with sparkling big city lights for your backdrop.
If your love likes an equal mix of art and adventure, whisk them away to Chattanooga. Here in the southeastern corner of Tennesee, you'll enjoy balmy, 50-60 degree weather while you explore the galleries and murals around Bluff View Art District, Southside and Northshore. After that, you can head to Lula Lake Hike Trust for a private, guide-led hike and photoshoot in front of a waterfall. If you have time to spare, book a couple-friendly Coffee Crawl the following morning to get a lay of the land and taste local brews from the city's best shops and bakeries.
You know what they say — "Virginia is for Lovers," but especially food-lovers. See for yourself by following the foodie trail to Richmond, the state capitol and one of the oldest major cities in the nation. Here, you two cuties can take an official Arts District Food Tour and eat your way across town while getting a feel for the city's history and architecture. You can also visit Blue Bee, Richmond's first urban cidery, for a tour and tasting. And if your belt's threatening to burst afterward, walk off dinner with a stroll along the canal or through the Colonial-era neighborhoods.
Carmel-by-the-Sea is a little more of a splurge, but worth the price tag if you're trying to please a sun worshipper. This coastal community sits just 20 minutes south of Monterey and boasts close proximity to white sandy beaches, bird sanctuaries, hidden coves and so much more. If you're not sure where to start, visit Point Lobos to see sea lions swim in the brilliant blue waters of the Pacific. Then, grab your partner's hand and pull them along to Monterey Bay Whale Watch so you two can see some of the earth's most majestic animals in their natural habitat.