Valentine’s Day Travel: 7 Spots for a Weekend Getaway
Valentine’s Day is almost here, but instead of splurging on flowers that will wilt and chocolates that will disappear, why not create a more lasting impression of the day with a trip? February 14 falls on a Friday this year, which seems like the perfect excuse for a three-day weekend. Since restaurants, shops, and hotels are all rolling out promotions and packages to entice Valentine’s Day travelers, you might even be able to snag a deal. To see where the winds might take you, check out these seven destinations.
1. Vail, Colorado
To spend Valentine’s Day weekend in a snowy retreat, head to Vail. With beginner slopes and lessons, even the most amateur skier or snowboarder can enjoy the winter weather and scenic beauty of the mountains. After a day spent skiing down slopes, you can use the area’s free public transportation system to get to one of the town’s three regions. In these centers, you’ll find options for shopping, dining, and drinking.
Visitors who overdo it on the slopes can unwind with a massage or ease muscles back at their lodging in the hot tub. The Vail Resorts Management Co. lets you browse for a place to stay by location, amenity, and/or proximity to the lift.
Vail was incorporated in 1966 and has become one of North America’s leading mountain resort communities. The usual daytime temperature in the winter is 45 degrees Fahrenheit, and there are, on average, of 300 days of sunshine each year. Attractions in the town have grown with the resort’s success. An arts and culture program has been implemented, and recreational activities beyond the slopes — like tennis, golf, and botanical gardens — have popped up over the years.
Vail isn’t the only ski game in town. Vermont features dozens of resorts in an idyllic New England setting. Having trouble deciding where to go? You can look up events happening across Vermont’s many resorts online. At Grafton Ponds between February 15 and 17, there will be horse-drawn sleigh rides. There is also a wine and cheese snowshoe tour that takes place every Saturday throughout the winter.
The Mountain Top Inn and Resort is offering a Valentine’s Day package complete with a four-course, wine-paired dinner and Vermont-made truffles delivered to your room. Visitors can choose between a sleigh ride or guided snowmobile tour to take in the surroundings.
Killington has a variety of places to stay while you ski. At the high end of the price range is the Killington Grand. This hotel and resort has ski-bridge access to the slopes, an outdoor pool, fire pit, and spa facilities. But if the resort is beyond your budget, there are a number of other places that are just as accommodating. In addition to hotels and inns, condos are available. This is a great option for anyone looking for more space or for couples who really enjoy cooking, since they feature a kitchen, as well.
3. Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston has taken the top spot on Condé Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice awards for three years in a row, and it’s easy to see why. The attractions and accommodations in this Southern city will leave you charmed. Visitors are drawn in yearly for the shopping, history, architecture, golf, beaches, and hospitality.
Couples seeking rest and relaxation can seek out a spa like at the Wild Dunes Resort, which is offering a Valentine’s Day package. Located about 25 minutes outside of Charleston, Wild Dunes has a boutique salon, spa amenities, golfing, and views of the ocean.
Travelers preferring to be in the heart of the city can stay at one of its many bed and breakfasts or at a historic inn. The Charleston Visitor’s Bureau has a list of options sorted by list or on a map. The website has information about packages being offered, some of which include carriage rides, dinners, or other activities for couples.
Didn’t get a carriage ride included in your accommodations? You can book a narrated carriage tour through Palmetto Carriage Works. Two other options are Old South Carriage Co. and Classic Carriage Works. Tours aren’t limited to horse-drawn carriages: Foodies can savor a culinary tour of Charleston, and there are multiple themed walking tours.
4. Sedona, Arizona
The naturally beautiful setting of Sedona makes it a picture perfect Valentine’s Day weekend vacation. There are endless trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding, while wine tours and art galleries prove that there is more to offer in Sedona than the great outdoors.
You could stay at the Poco Diablo Resort, taking advantage of its spa services, outdoor heated swimming pool, whirlpool spa, tennis courts, and golf course. A Valentine’s Day special features rooms with a fireplace and jetted tub. Similar perks are available at Enchantment Resort. In addition to relaxing spa services, visitors could opt for the “Grand Canyon by Air” special, which takes passengers by Cessna plane to the ridge of the canyon and then on a helicopter tour that includes a quick stop for a pontoon boat ride on the Colorado River.
Staying in Sedona is more than just spas and golf. Travelers may want to retreat to an area bed and breakfast, cabin, camp ground, or hotel instead. To help narrow down options, the Sedona Chamber of Commerce has sample itineraries to guide visitors based on their interests, and packages are available depending on what a couple wants to do in Sedona.
One aspect that makes a trip to Sedona unique are the vortexes. The Chamber of Commerce’s website says “a vortex site in Sedona is a place where one can feel Sedona’s spiritual energy most strongly.” Although there is no definitive list of where to head to feel this concentration of energy, it reports that Airport Mesa, Bell Rock, Boynton Canyon, and Cathedral Rock are among commonly identified vortex regions.
5. San Antonio, Texas
Reds and pinks may dominate the national Valentine’s Day color scheme, but San Antonio will have you seeing yellow. Every year during the week around Valentine’s Day, San Antonio becomes the city of yellow roses. Area businesses, including hotels, offer specials to capitalize on the festival, which often involving giving customers a yellow rose of their own.
Stone arches dot the cypress-lined paths along the River Walk, a major cultural attraction. You can dine under one of the ubiquitous colorful umbrellas or tour the city’s historic downtown area. Art galleries and restaurants in La Villita date back to the 1800s, and several museums are nearby.
Slightly outside of the city, you’ll find the scenic Texas Hill Country. Driving through Hill Country, you’ll discover towns and their local flavors. Many have markets, selling handmade crafts, antiques, and more. Additionally, Texas Hill Country is home to a 9-million-acre wine region, starting just north of San Antonio. More than 30 wineries participate in Texas Wine Trail events, and you can purchase tickets for self-guided tours.
6. San Diego, California
Situated on the West Coast, San Diego is using the water to its fullest advantage this Valentine’s Day. While visiting this California city, take a cruise, on which you can eat dinner or brunch while taking in the beauty of the bay. Even if you skip the boat, you can still enjoy 70 miles of beaches in a region of the country where the temperatures are always moderate.
Looking for high-stakes entertainment during your weekend away? San Diego has several casinos open for gambling. An adrenaline rush of a different kind can be found by partaking in hang gliding, mountain biking, surfing, or taking a water-powered jet-pack flight over the bay.
Diverse sections of the city create opportunities to explore no matter what your ideal vacation is. Get spooked at one of California’s two designated haunted houses at the Whaley House Museum SOHO. And Spanish and Mexican cultural influences abound, from dining to architecture.
The Prado walkway showcases Spanish colonial-revival style structures, and historic missions reveal more of the region’s heritage. Shopping exists around the city, but each neighborhood puts its own stamp on the experience. Lovers of high fashion won’t want to miss Fashion Valley, and those looking for unique souvenirs should head to Gaslamp District.
7. Seattle, Washington
Coastal and cultural, Seattle is a great city for a quick getaway. With a reputation for rain, a number of bars found a way to profit from the clouds. Fireplace bars are a cozy alternative to a regular bar when it is damp or for an occasion like Valentine’s Day. Specific events for the holiday include cruises, concerts, and cocktails.
Less conventional, preplanned ideas can be found at your fingertips, too, by exploring what the city always has on offer. A booming arts district means there are a multitude of museums to visit. Wandering around Pike Place Market needs to be on everyone’s do-to list, especially for lovers of food and coffee. An abundance of fresh flowers and jewelry is always on sale, as well. Paying a visit to the observation deck of the Space Needle will make the trip one to remember, and if any further ideas are needed, Seattle has published the ultimate one-day guide to the city.
Cabins, cottages, hotels, and inns are just a few of the lodging options you have in Seattle. One bed and breakfast worth noting is Pensione Nichols, the only B&B in downtown Seattle. A stone’s throw from Pike Place Market, it takes up the second and third stories of a building that is more than 100 years old. Furnished with antiques, some of which came from Sussex, England, it’s hard to imagine a more charming place to stay.