Montauk Lighthouse & Beach (Montauk, Long Island)
More info: http://www.montauklighthouse.com
When to go: August or September to see the nearby sunflower fields in full bloom
Where to stay: Hilton Garden Inn Riverhead
Why you’ll love it: Montauk, perched at the edge of Long Island’s South Fork, is such a beautiful place, and the lighthouse is its crown jewel. Tour the house and “second house” to get a glimpse of the seafaring history of Long Island. Then bask on the beach or enjoy a romantic walk. If you’re a fan of the recent Showtime hit The Affair, you’ll spot several set locations.
National Cherry Festival in Traverse City, Michigan
More info: http://www.cherryfestival.org/
When to go: Around July 4th
Where to stay: Hampton Inn Traverse City
Why you’ll love it: If we gave out awards to the most romantic fruits, cherries would win out. (Okay, strawberries too.) While you’re here for the fest, check out Sleeping Bear Dunes, slide down with your partner, and then eat a bunch of cherry pie to celebrate.
National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C.
image: Getty/Kevin Voelker
More info: http://www.nationalcherryblossomfestival.org/
When to go: Late March to mid April
Where to stay: DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Washington DC
Why you’ll love it: Even if you just go for the opening parade and to see a few trees in full bloom, the cherry blossom festival will leave you feeling all “rose-colored glasses” about life.
Top of the Space Needle in Seattle, Washington
image: Getty/Edmund Lowe
More info: http://www.spaceneedle.com/home/
When to go: Any time of the year
Where to stay: Hilton Seattle
Why you’ll love it: From 520 feet above ground, it’s easy to appreciate a rockin’ 360 degree view and time alone with your other half. Luckily, the view of Seattle and parts beyond is pretty spectacular too. (Don’t forget to snap a photo and sneak in a kiss at the summit.) If you have a few more hours, make a reservation at SkyCity, the restaurant just below the observation deck.
Waikiki neighborhood in Honolulu, Oahu (Hawaiian Islands)
image: Getty/Michele Falzone
More info: http://www.gohawaii.com/en
When to go: Anytime
Where to stay: Embassy Suites by Hilton Waikiki Beach Walk
Why you’ll love it: This is one place I have always wanted to go. (Let’s hope Pete Meyers is reading this and remembers I have a birthday coming up.) There’s Diamond Head Mountain, gorgeous beaches, restaurants where you dine under canopies of palm trees, traditional Hawaiian music, and shopping. What else does a mom on a vacay need?
Key West, Florida
image: Getty/Michael Phillips
More info: http://keywest.com/
When to go: Anytime
Where to stay: DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Hotel Grand Key – Key West
Why you’ll love it: If you’re a literary romantic like me, you’ll love the fact that Ernest Hemingway called this place home and writers and artists like Ann Beattie still have homes here. The island city’s hippie vibe makes it easy to linger over umbrella cocktails until the wee hours.
Whale watching in Gloucester, Massachusetts
image: Getty/Gary Black
More info: http://www.gloucesterma.com/
When to go: Late May to early September
Where to stay: Homewood Suites by Hilton Boston-Peabody
Why you’ll love it: This is the town where scenes from The Perfect Storm (starring swoon-worthy George Clooney) took place. Snuggle up in America’s original seaport. You will be amazed (I know I was!) as you watch whales swimming and flipping just for you. When I went, we even saw a new baby whale with her mom. Squeal.
Sapelo Island, Georgia
image: Getty/Gary Arruza
More info: http://www.sapelonerr.org/
When to go: Spring or early autumn
Where to stay: Embassy Suites by Hilton Brunswick
Why you’ll love it: Island hopping from Georgia is a really unique experience. Sapelo is great because it’s home to an estuary and is part of the University of Georgia Marine Institute and the Reynolds Mansion State Park. You can take a boat tour out to the island and try to spot dolphins.
Grand Canyon, Arizona
More info: http://grandcanyon.com/
When to go: Any time of year
Where to stay: Hilton Sedona Resort at Bell Rock
Why you’ll love it: It’s one of the wonders of the world. And your love feels like that sometimes (especially when the kids aren’t around, amiright?), so this is a definite go-to. Stand and marvel at the canyon and the fact that someone else is changing diapers for a few hours.
image: Getty/Jordan Sieman
More info: http://www.travelportland.com/
When to go: Spring, summer, and autumn are great. It rains a lot in the winter.
Where to stay: DoubleTree by Hilton Portland
Why you’ll love it: Okay, so Portlandia made it seem weird, but there is lots of romantic stuff to love about this city. Bookstores are great, beer is good, and the town has loads of quaint bakeries, romantic restaurants, and a movie theater made to feel like your living room. While you’re at it, don’t forget the awesome hiking and biking.
See the next 10 destinations on the next page…