Most days, the term “romantic weekend getaways” seems like a cruel oxymoron. And when both my kids were itty bitty, I thought I’d never hear those three words together in a sentence again. But somehow, in nearly six years, my husband and I have snuck in a few quick trips, some for just a day or even a few hours. Other vacations (thank the Godparents & Grandparents) have spanned a night or more. I’m here to tell you that it is possible!
So here are thirty ideas for quickie trips to get you started. While I haven’t been to all of these personally, I can attest that most of them are pretty great and man, oh, man, without kids these places are the bee’s knees.
Now, go forth and be romantic!
Sundara Spa in the Wisconsin Dells
image: Getty/Rebecca Nelson
More info: http://www.sundaraspa.com/
When to go: Late spring to early autumn
Where to stay: Hilton Garden Inn Wisconsin Dells
Why you’ll love it: Hot tubs and massages and champagne, oh my! Spend a day here recuperating and relaxing. Then explore the tall pine forests of the Dells.
International Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque, New Mexico
image: Getty/Hiroyuki Matsumoto
More info: http://www.balloonfiesta.com/
When to go:: October 3rd–11th
Where to stay: DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Albuquerque
Why you’ll love it: I swear you’ll feel like a kid (in a good way) with your honey when you watch those brightly colored balloons go up, up, and away. With them, your cares will float away too. Better yet, get in one all Wizard of Oz style and head skyward together!
Whiteside Mountain Hiking in Highlands, North Carolina (near Asheville)
image: Getty/Panoramic Images
More info: http://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprdb5396353.pdf
When to go: September or October, when the fall foliage is in full bloom
Where to stay: Hilton Asheville Biltmore Park
Why you’ll love it: A million-year-old rock face covered in wildflowers and visited regularly by peregrine falcons and other wildlife, this two-mile (totally doable!) romantic hike is wonderful. It’s also low key enough that I hiked it at two months pregnant with my second child. When I reached the top and could see multiple states (Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee), I felt pretty amazing.
The Chocolate Escape Package at the Chocolate Spa at Hershey Park in Hershey, PA
image: Getty/Dennis K Johnson
More info: http://www.chocolatespa.com/
When to go: Anytime. It only takes a day!
Where to stay: Hilton Garden Inn Hershey
Why you’ll love it: Whipped chocolate bath? Check! Chocolate fondue body wrap? Check! Cocoa massage? Check! Mom and Dad time away? Check, please!
Fairy Falls Waterfall at Yellowstone National Park (Wyoming)
image: Getty/Gareth Mccormack
More info: http://www.nps.gov/yell/index.htm
When to go: May through September (Go at midday for the best steam.)
Where to stay: Homewood Suites by Hilton Jackson
Why you’ll love it: You can really get lost at Yellowstone, so it’s more fun to go in—especially on a quick getaway—with a plan. Hiking to Fairy Falls is easy, and you can even make it so you pass Yellowstone highlights like the Old Faithful geyser along the way.
French Quarter in New Orleans, LA
image: Getty/Bruce Yuanyu Bi
More info: http://www.frenchquarter.com/index.php
When to go: Anytime
Where to stay: The Roosevelt New Orleans Waldorf Astoria Hotel
It’s the oldest neighborhood in New Orleans, a city that has inspired poets and artists (not to mention lovers!) for ages. My husband and I went during off-season so we could have the cobblestoned streets to ourselves. And of course we made sure to stop for many beignets.
The Brooklyn Heights Promenade (Brooklyn Heights, NY)
image: Getty/Bruce Yuanyu Bi
When to go: Anytime—but it’s better in warmer months when you can hang out
Where to stay: Hampton Inn Brooklyn/Downtown
Why you’ll love it: I’m lucky to live near this super cool, and pristinely cared for, thoroughfare, which enjoys an unobstructed view of the city lights of Manhattan and greater New York City. Even if you have a few hours, station yourself on a bench and watch the world go by. Look up to see if you can spot where Norman Mailer once lived and wrote.
Falling Water House in Mill Run, PA
image: Getty/Walter Bibkow
More info: http://www.fallingwater.org/
When to go:: June or July, when the rhododendrons have flowered from white to pink. Book tickets in advance.
Where to stay: Hampton Inn Somerset
Why you’ll love it: Ever wanted to play house, in one of the coolest houses ever constructed, but without the kids around? Touring Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterpiece is at the top of my list. And, bonus: Kids under six aren’t even allowed to enter! This means you’ll enjoy the grounds tantrum free.
Sonoma County Wine Country Tours (Sonoma Valley, CA)
image: Getty/Bob Berg
More info: http://www.sonomacounty.com/
When to go: Any time of year
Where to stay: Hilton Sonoma Wine Country
Why you’ll love it: This place has everything. No, really. If you can get here, you’re set for hours or days. Just think beaches, vineyards, and—mostly!—wine tours. It’s a real vacation.
Napa Valley in California (Okay, so sue me, but I like wine!)
More info: http://www.visitnapavalley.com/
When to go: Summer through autumn
Where to stay: Embassy Suites by Hilton Napa Valley
Why you’ll love it: This place is pretty unreal with its mix of spas, Michelin star restaurants, vineyards, and insane mountain views. I guarantee you’ll feel like you’ve gone on a tour of a gorgeous Mediterranean city without leaving the United States. Plus, did I mention the wine?
See the next 10 destinations on the next page…