Big Sur (credit: Randy Yagi)
As spring arrives, so does the the prospects of much warmer weather and much brighter days. For many Americans who have endured one of the most challenging winter seasons in recent memory, it’s also an opportunity to get away for some well-deserved rest and relaxation. What’s more, the appearance of radiantly colored flowers and sun-kissed trees will greatly add to the allure of visiting a romantic springtime destination. Here is a look at just five of the best in America.
One of the best times to visit South Carolina’s oldest city is in springtime. The weather is seasonably warm with a cavalcade of breathtaking colors abloom from plant life such as azaleas, camellias, wisterias, magnolias and honeysuckle. Often mentioned as the best city in America, Charleston features a number of romantic activities and intimate restaurants and lodging. Couples can enjoy leisurely strolls through the oldest section of town first established in 1670 or admire the spectacular views from Waterfront Park. Among the best romantic hotels is the Planters Inn, recently voted the Best Small City Hotel in the continental U.S. and also home to one of the best restaurants in Charleston – the Peninsula Grill.
Honolulu – Waikiki, Hawaii
One of the busiest times to visit Waikiki is from mid-December to late March or mid-April. But after the crowds return home from their spring break vacation, there are better hotel rates and less traffic to see the best sites on the island. What’s more, brilliant tropical flowers are in full bloom and it’s hard to find something more romantic than a walk along the beaches of Waikiki. A spa treatment for two before an exceptional dinner at restaurants like Azure and Duke’s or a catamaran dinner cruise with breathtaking views of Diamond Head can make for a truly unforgettable evening.
Monterey – Carmel – Big Sur, California
Recently named the world’s third most romantic destination, Carmel is just one destination to visit along the Central California Coast. From a walk along the gorgeous Carmel Beach and visiting the many area galleries in Carmel Village to a drive to Pebble Beach and the world famous Lone Cyprus, there are many exciting things to see and do for a romantic getaway. Many intimate restaurants can be found throughout the Monterey Peninsula, including Aubergine in Carmel, the Inn at Spanish Bay at Pebble Beach and the Sardine Factory near Cannery Row in Monterey. For visitors who want to drive the additional 22 miles to Big Sur, they’ll be greeted with some of the world’s most spectacular views and one of the world’s most romantic hotels – the Post Ranch Inn.
Napa Valley – Sonoma Valley, California
A springtime trip to one of the world’s most celebrated wine-producing regions can make for a truly unforgettable experience. Bud break typically begins in early spring throughout the California Wine Country, signaling the start of the season, which culminates in the harvesting and crushing of grapes in the fall. Visiting couples hoping to invigorate some romance on their trip will have no difficulty enjoying one or more of the more than 400 wineries, as well as outstanding restaurants to suit most anyone’s budget. Recommended wineries include Castello di Amorosa and Chateau Montelana in the Napa Valley and DeLorimer Winery and St. Francis Winery in the Sonoma Valley. Suggested restaurants in the California Wine Country include The French Laundry, Solage Calistoga, ZaZu Kitchen and the Farmhouse Inn and Restaurant.
New Orleans, Louisiana
The best time to visit New Orleans is typically from February to May, before the blistering summer heat takes hold. And there is always something happening in the Crescent City, including the French Market FoodFest in March and the massive New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, held this year in late April to early May. New Orleans also has a incredible wealth of great jazz clubs and renowned restaurants to keep couples busy before retreating to their comforts of their room at legendary hotels like the Windsor Court, Hotel Monteleone and Royal Sonesta. Top choices for fine dining include Commander’s Palace, Restaurant August, Antoine’s and Bayona.