Love is in the air—or is that just the faint waft of candy hearts and the sweat of nervous soon-to-be fiancés? In any case, Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and it’s not too late to book a romantic getaway. Maybe you’re in the doghouse for an epic Amazon Prime shopping spree, or maybe you just want to do something sweet (awww). No matter why or when you decide to sweep your honey off their feet, location is everything. It’s hard to whisper gentle messages to your pumpkin bear if the backdrop doesn’t scream “love.” We’ve collected romantic destinations (one in each province, to be exact) to help you decide just where to escape. Whether you are looking for a big city getaway or a private hideout in a small town, we’ve found a recommendation sure to inspire some snuggling. Without further ado, here are the top 10 places to escape for a romantic trip this Valentine’s Day and beyond (based on traveller reviews, word of mouth, and romantic offerings):
With mountain peaks in the background and what Bob Ross would surely call “happy trees” all around, how can you not be in the mood for love when you visit Banff? Spend a day together letting your worries melt away at the Banff Upper Hot Springs. You can take to the waters any time of year; they’re at least 37 degrees all the time. After a morning of relaxation together, get a table at Ticino Swiss-Italian Restaurant. Wear your comfy pants and get ready to feed your sweetie fondue. Other romantic things to do in Banff include: horse-drawn sleigh rides through the mountains, hikes to Johnston Canyon’s frozen waterfalls, and ice skating near Victoria Glacier on Lake Louise. Book a room at the Fairmont Banff Springs, nicknamed “Castle in the Rockies,” and you’ll feel like royalty. Treat your special someone to a mountain view and award-winning spa treatment during your stay. Call ahead, and they’ll even send a cold bottle of Champagne to your room before you arrive.
Moose Jaw, SK
Sometimes a simple adventure is the best kind. Turn off your smartphones (you can post your snapshots to Instagram later) and get ready to unwind with your boo. Begin your lovers-only weekend by taking to the waters at Temple Gardens mineral spa, and then soak up some fresh air with a stroll through the Wakamow Valley Park. In the winter months you can also ice skate at the Kiwanis Pavilion. If you can snag one of the 17 rooms at the Grant Hall Hotel, you’re in for elegant décor and a convenient walk to loads of lovely shops and eateries. Book your room in February, and the romance package means chocolate-covered strawberries, personalized etched glass flutes, and chilled Champagne await.
Victoria has been named the most romantic city in Canada more than once. Doesn’t just hearing that give you the warm fuzzies? Start the morning with a hand-in-hand stroll through the Butchart Gardens, then spend your afternoon at the Victoria Butterfly Gardens under vibrant flora, watching flamingos and bright blue frogs in their habitats. True to its name, the venue also has tons of butterflies fluttering about, just like your heart (too cheesy? We’ll see ourselves out). If you’ll be visiting from mid-June to mid- September, take your romantic getaway over the top with a Fly ‘n’ Dine experience. You’ll depart Victoria Harbour on a seaplane and land at the Butchart Gardens’ private dock and be treated to a 3-course meal at the restaurant. You can turn up the heat on your relationship any time of year by taking a French cooking class created by Dan Hayes, otherwise known as “The London Chef.” Book a room at the Magnolia Hotel and Spa; your in-room fireplace and chocolate-covered strawberries will definitely set the mood.
Sydney, Cape Breton Island, NS
If you want your romantic getaway to play out in perfect harmony, visit Sydney on Cape Breton Island. This charming waterfront destination is famous for a few things, chief among which is its love of music. Visit the world’s largest fiddle for an obligatory photograph, then picnic in Petersfield Provincial Park. Between your view of the Sydney Harbour and tree-lined paths, the park is the ultimate backdrop for wooing someone special. If it’s chilly outside, that’s just all the more reason to stay close. Finish your day with a stroll along the waterfront, where buskers will play the soundtrack to your date night, and an oyster dinner (we vaguely remember something about them being an aphrodisiac). Book a room at the Spanish Bay Inn and Suites, where each room has a kitchenette and vintage décor. That means you can make your partner breakfast in bed in the privacy of your own suite—a great way to end your romantic retreat.
Charlottetown’s nickname, “Birthplace of Confederation,” might not be very sexy. But that doesn’t mean the town isn’t built for romance. On the contrary, your escape to the capital of Prince Edward Island can easily ignite feelings of l-o-v-e. Stroll through Victoria Park drinking hot cocoa, then go ice skating at Cody Banks Arena or one of the city’s seven outdoor rinks. Looking to spend your Saturday in lazy mode? Meander through the farmers market picking out artisan cheeses and fresh fruit and flowers. Then get cozy in your hotel room for a private picnic. Finish your day at the Confederation Centre of the Arts, where you snag tickets for two to a Valentine’s Cabaret or theatre production. Stay at the Great George, where all guests are treated to an open wine and beer bar in the evening, and accommodations have luxury amenities like claw-foot tubs and fireplaces. The hotel’s romance package includes red roses, chocolate, and (of course) some good old-fashioned bubbly.
Wakefield is a calm place, ideal for taking your relationship to the next level amid a scenic backdrop and a small-town vibe. It’s also bilingual, so feel free to learn some melodic French phrases and whisper them to your honey. In Wakefield you can get away from the bustle of daily life by walking hand-in-hand along the Gatineau Park hiking trails, or going horseback riding together. If you go around Valentine’s Day, consider some cross-country skiing. Grab dinner at Kaffe 1870, a local favourite known for its café food and gorgeous view of the water, then see a show at Theatre Wakefield. Make sure to reserve a room at Moulin Wakefield Mill Inn & Spa, a rustic property where you can take a dip in an outdoor hot tub with a nearby neighbouring river and a small waterfall. Back inside, some rooms have deep soaking tubs and stunning natural wood walls. Get a romance package: These special deals include an 8-course dinner with wine pairings.
Saint Andrews by-the-Sea, NB
St. Andrews By-the-Sea is a National Historic District, and a fantastic place to celebrate the history of your own relationship. Whether you’re marking an anniversary or making Valentine’s Day extra special, a romantic trip to St. Andrews is sure to win you brownie points. Go dolphin and whale watching, linger at the coast and see the Bay of Fundy tides coming in, and treat yourselves to a fireside dinner. When the landscape is blanketed in powder, go on a leisurely snow-shoeing adventure. Don’t worry, you can warm up over a meal at Rossmount Inn. This spectacular St. Andrews restaurant and bar is known for fresh fish and handpicked produce. Spend your nights at the Algonquin Resort—where you’ll get the honeymoon treatment all the time. Romance packages include Champagne and sweets, plus a complimentary car service.
If you want to enjoy city life during your romantic escapade, Winnipeg makes the perfect destination. Who says you can’t get sentimental beneath skyscrapers instead of majestic mountains? Not us, that’s for sure. The Thermëa by Nordik Spa-Nature has Valentine’s Day specials, but any day is a good day to dip into the thermal baths and get a couples massage. Now that you’re perfectly relaxed, head to the Exchange District for a food tour and show at the Manitoba Opera. Assiniboine Park also delivers a romantic experience, especially at the Conservatory. These colourful gardens include a palm house and vibrant tropical flora all year round. Book a room at Mariaggi’s Theme Suite Hotel and Spa, where each suite has an exotic destination theme and everything from faux palm trees to neon showers. Ask the hotel to hook you up with extras, and they’re more than happy. This includes full bottles of perfume and wine bottles personalized with your names. Of course, you could also shack up at the Fort Gary Hotel, which has a stunning Victorian Gothic motif and luxurious bath amenities.
This Ontario town is no stranger to being labeled “quaint” or “charming,” making it the perfect spot to steal away for a few days of snuggling, etc. (wink, wink). Take a stroll, hand-in-hand of course, along tree-lined streets and into manicured parks. Stop for tea for two at the Prince of Wales Hotel tea room, or sip on something stronger at the Vintages Wine Bar. Your evening hours are best spent at dinner and a show – a combo that Niagara-on-the-Lake has perfected. Grab crispy rainbow trout or wild mushroom risotto at Zees Grill, then head across the street for a production at the intimate Shaw Festival Theatre. While you’re at it, book a room at the Shaw Club Hotel and Spa: home to Zees Grill, and caterer to romance. The hotel can arrange a carriage ride around town and its king suites are second to none. How does a private balcony, rainfall shower, and your very own fireplace sound? You can even order wine, truffles, and a dozen roses to greet you upon arrival.
Corner Brook, NL
Corner Brook may not have a yellow brick road, but it does have red brick sidewalks. And while they won’t lead to Oz, they do make touring downtown with your special someone a breeze and add a bit of charm to your vacation. Shimmy up close to your honey bear and explore the limestone caves beneath the city. You’ll need some courage and a flashlight, but the memories you make will be worth it. Once you’re back under the sun, take a stroll along the Corner Brook Stream Trail, where you can bird watch and tweet sweet nothings to your partner. Satiate your appetite with a stellar meal at the Wine Cellar Steakhouse, then retire to the Glynmill Inn. This friendly hotel has a romance package that includes wine, breakfast, and an in-room hot tub. Rent the residence guest house, and you can add a private kitchen to the list of amenities.
What are you waiting for? It’s always a good time for romance, and you can never earn too many brownie points. Book your special getaway now, then practice some sweet nothings.