Our most romantic getaways: In honor of Valentine’s Day we’d like to share our most romantic trips, and what we think makes a great couples’ getaway
I’ll try to keep the cheese-factor to a minimum on this post. But Valentine’s Day is this week, and I thought I’d share our most romantic vacations and what made them romantic. Every couple needs getaways. A chance to leave your day-to-day life, have a new adventure together, and focus on quality time with each other without the stress and distractions of home and work. Here are our best romantic getaways to give you some ideas to plan yours:
So, this is our number one most romantic getaway because we got engaged on this trip. However, it was a really perfect romantic weekend in general and I couldn’t have asked for a better engagement.
Sol Duc is deep within Olympic National Park, many miles from any civilization of any kind. We got kind of a late start getting the ferry over there in the afternoon, and lucked out with one of the last open camp sites (the campground is first come, first served). We were originally there to celebrate our 7 year dating anniversary.
It was July, and the weather was perfect. We built a campfire, had hot dogs and baked beans and champagne for dinner.
The next day we hiked Sol Duc Falls and the appropriately titled “Lover’s Lane” trail through the rainforest. There were a lot of people at the falls, but we only saw one other couple the entire time we were on the 6 mile Lover’s Lane trail that looped back to the campground. It was a gorgeous hike, and so peaceful in the rainforest. We pretty much had the forest all to ourselves.
When we got back to the campground, we relaxed in the tent awhile after the long hike and then made dinner again and sat around the campfire watching the stars. Paddy got down on one knee by the campfire and proposed with an Irish claddagh ring that he had spontaneously purchased at the Sol Duc gift shop the day before. It was a total surprise and one of the best days of my life.
Aside from our engagement, what made this trip romantic was the peacefulness of the forest and campground, being so far from civilization (aside from the nearby campground store and Sol Duc Hot Springs cabin resort), and spending some alone time hiking in the rainforest with barely anyone else around. We are considering going back for our 5 year wedding anniversary this summer.
**Note: Sol Duc is first come-first served and very popular in the summer. On weekends in July and August arriving Thursday night or early Friday morning is recommended to get a camp spot. The ranger at the entrance station at the beginning of the road to Sol Duc can give you an idea of how many spots are left before you drive all the way down there. Rain gear highly recommended at any time of the year.
Obviously, our honeymoon is going to be on this list. I have a couple more detailed posts about this trip if you are considering visiting French Polynesia, so I will keep this short.
Our honeymoon was full of adventure on the islands of Tahiti, Taha’a, and Bora Bora. Of all the adventures we had, the most romantic were definitely the little beach bungalow on the tiny motu island off of Taha’a, and the overwater bungalow at the Intercontinental Resort in Bora Bora.
While the overwater bungalow in Bora Bora was phenomenal and what we looked forward to the most while planning our honeymoon, I think that the romance factor was actually a bit higher in the tiny beach bungalow on the Taha’a motu. It was very secluded, with only (9?) bungalows, gourmet meals every night cooked by the French couple who owned the place, and a lovely European continental breakfast each morning. We read books, kayaked around the lagoon, swam in the lagoon right in front of our bungalow, took a tour to the main island of Taha’a for the day, and spent a good amount of time just sitting and watching the sea from our porch.
It was an amazing honeymoon, and we couldn’t have asked for anything better.
We spent a week in the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico shortly after we got engaged in 2009. It was September, and scorching hot. We wouldn’t go back in September again. However, because it was the low season there were no crowds in Isla Mujeres (the island we spent three nights on), or in Tulum.
Tulum was the most romantic, for sure. We stayed in a tiny rustic bungalow that had no electricity in the day time, right on the best beach we’ve ever been to. The sand was like powdered sugar and the water was electric blue. No coral in the water made for soft sand and perfect swimming. The best part: most of the time we had this beach entirely to ourselves.
We ate dinner most nights at the little on-site restaurant, where the Argentinian owner cooked us whatever he got fresh that day. It was fantastic. We’ve been aching to go back, but it appears that this place is no longer in business. There are many other little places like it on Tulum Beach though, so I’m sure we’ll find somewhere else great. Someday, but not again in September.
Cannon Beach is one of our all-time favorite winter romantic getaways. We’ve never gone in the summer–high prices and kids and crowds keep us at bay. We’re a bit more into the woods and mountains and rainforest in the summer.
Aside from the stunningly beautiful beach, there are quite a few good restaurants and little shops all within walking distance of most hotels. Seaside is just a short drive away, as are other locations on the coast for day tripping.
Our favorite hotel is the Hallmark Inn, and our favorite room type is the Southwest View King with a fireplace and deck with a direct view of Haystack Rock. You can hear the ocean at night even with the deck door closed, staying cozy warm by the fireplace. There are other rooms available as well with views, some with jacuzzi tubs.
Our favorite restaurant there for a nice, romantic gourmet meal is Newmans at 988. The food and service are phenomenal, and the restaurant is located in an old house. We’ve had a couple romantic getaways at Cannon Beach, it’s one of our all-time favorite spots.
I think that all of our getaways and adventures include “romance” but the above four are the top four romantic adventures in our memories. I think the ingredients to great romantic getaways are solitude/alone time, a beautiful natural setting, and an element of adventure. After 13 years together, we both believe that adventure and learning and growing together is one of the cornerstones of a great relationship. You don’t have to go to Morocco or spend a fortune to have an adventure together. Adventures could include a dance class, a great hike, or trying Ethiopian food for the first time. Take time away from daily life, make time for each other, and have some fun.
Happy Valentine’s Day!