The South’s Most Romantic Cities
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, you may be scrambling to find the best place close to home for a romantic escape. We’ve combed through all our favorite places and come up with a few ideas for a romantic getaway. Whether you find retreat in the mountains tucked away among the trees, or get a twinkle in your eye counting the stars in the night sky of a wide open space or are charmed by the architecture of the antebellum South, we’ve narrowed down the most spectacularly romantic places to visit down South for every interest and personality. Grab your sweetheart, pack your bags, and get on the road towards romance.
With horse-drawn carriages cruising brick streets, centuries-old live oaks dripping in Spanish moss everywhere you turn, old-world architecture, and 22 verdant square parks filled with grand fountains and statues, the scenery just doesn’t more picturesque—or romantic—than historic Savannah. There is also plenty to keep a happy couple busy on a romantic getaway. If you’re looking for a quaint lodging experience, book one of the four polished-yet-cozy rooms at Mirabella Suites and Cafe and be sure to get their liege waffles (the fancier sister of Belgian waffles) delivered to you in bed from the cafe down stairs. Make a day-time date out of the art scene around town by visiting SCAD Museum of Art, and the Jepson Center for the Arts. For a romantic dinner complete with oysters on the half shell, make reservations at The Grey, then stop in at Artillery for a night cap, but be warned—they have wine on tap. And for an excuse to cuddle up close to your honey, take a creepy ghost tour with a guide such as Blue Orb Tours. Also, be sure that you and your sweetie take home a little bit of the romance with hand-crafted confections at Chocolat by Adam Turoni.
Few places have as much inherent charm as the South Carolina Lowcountry, and Beaufort on Port Royal Island, is right in the heart of it. It’s one of our favorite spots down South with antebellum architecture, oversized live oaks, miles of shoreline, and a perfectly small town feel. Make the most of the town’s Southern hospitality by opting to stay at a b’n’b like The Beaufort Inn, whose porches just beg for you to sit for a glass of sweet tea. Rent beach cruisers from Low Country Bicycles and take a leisurely waterfront ride. Or spend the day at sea fishing or sun bathing with your significant other on a boat charting service like Cast Away Fishing Charters. You can’t miss Saltus River Grill for an evening meal—its Sonoma-style patio adorned with cafe lights makes for the perfect date spot. And we love that’s it’s only an easy 1.5 hour drive to Charleston should you get a wild hair.
Amelia Island, FL
Visit unspoiled Amelia Island, Florida and let yourself enjoy the landscape as nature intended. A walk down the beaches of the island's’ national parks is likely to result in the spotting of a wide variety of wildlife—including everything from coastal birds like egrets and herons to whitetail deer and even sea turtles. If you happen to be there in the months of either December or January, keep your eyes open for the rare Atlantic right whales which can be seen during their migration off the coast. And if you still haven’t had your fill of animals, try horseback riding on the beach with services like Happy Trails Walking Horses. The Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort has everything you need to relax in nature from kayak and bike rentals to ocean-front villas to a gorgeous deck over the marsh—the perfect place to enjoy the sunset with a glass of wine.
Cape Charles, VA
This small east coast town does its state’s tagline, "Virginia Is For Lovers," full justice with an abundance of quaint ocean-side oyster shacks, a preppy vibe, and a gorgeous waterfront landscape. Situated at the northern entrance of the Chesapeake Bay, it comes as no surprise that this town features a historic lighthouse that also happens to be the tallest in the state. Try the Fig Street Inn, Sea Gate Bed and Breakfast, or Bay Haven Inn for an intimate stay. And indulge in the local seafood offering at restaurants like the Oyster Farm that sits on a marina, or The Shanty for ocean views and live music. With the perfect mix of Southern and East Coast charm, can’t help but inspire romance.
Black Mountain, NC — Village at Cheshire
For a cozy escape, we’ll let you in a our favorite little Smoky Mountain secret—quaint Black Mountain, North Carolina. This gem is a mere 20 minutes outside of Asheville and offers the best of both secluded cabin stays amidst mountain landscapes and nearby entertainment. We recommend booking your stay at The Village of Cheshire, a planned community that features luxury—but reasonably priced—cabins that each offer more-than-adequate privacy and great views. Make brunch or dinner reservations at the community’s intimate restaurant, The Black Bird, and be sure to try the spot’s namesake cocktail, classic blackbird. Grab a few pints at the nearby Pisgah Brewing Company, or wander the adorable downtown area that’s home to Dripolator Coffeehouse and The Seven Sisters Gallery.
Step back in time to the Antebellum South and visit this little Louisiana town that’s packed with charm and history and has been the site for many a modern day film, television show, and music video. It’s home to not only the well-known Oak Alley Plantation (pictured above) that has rooms available for stay, but it also has several other gorgeous plantations to visit in the area, including Laura, and St. Joseph—which together can keep you occupied for days. At Oak Alley, enjoy creole cuisine for breakfast lunch and dinner. Head over to the other two for lessons in Southern history and plantations for tours.
Round Top, TX — Rancho Pillow
With a population of a mere 90 people, this itsy bitsy town—and it’s best-known lodging option, The Rancho Pillow Motel—is a quirky and fun getaway for an artsy couple. The barn-like building is outfitted with colorful and quirky decor—pink velvet couches to teal planked accent walls to a wide variety of art with local flair. Choose among four building for your stay (one of which is a teepee), and sit on the lawn under the clear night sky to count the stars, with the only other glow coming from the neon sign on the motel’s barn-like front entrance.
This city that sits on the Mississippi River is a great place to visit if you’re craving small town Southern charm. Many of town’s antebellum homes have been transformed into charming bed and breakfasts with our favorites being The Devereaux Shields House and Monmouth Historic Inn and Gardens, which is part of the Southern Living Hotel collection. At Monmouth, walk the beautiful—and extensive—grounds that feature a wisteria draped pergola and a pond-front gazebo, along with pristine lawns, tulips, crepe myrtles, azaleas, and magnolia trees perfectly placed in every direction. Dine on Southern classics like fried green tomatoes, and pecan pie at the Inn’s Restaurant 1818 or check out the Carriage House Restaurant at Stanton Hall.