Attention, lovers: Valentine’s Day is coming up fast. Sure, you can scramble together some last-minute restaurant reservations and a few tokens of your affection, but why not go big? A surprise trip is always, always the perfect gift. V-Day falls on a Saturday this year, which gives you the whole weekend to enjoy a quick vacation somewhere new. Here are some of the best small towns in North America to get that holiday smooch—or, you know, something more:
It’s February and it’s cold—so why not travel to one of the best small mountain towns in the States? Telluride, Colorado, doesn’t have the same flash as Aspen or Vail, but the locals are perfectly fine with that. The ski town is still holding on to its hippie and artist roots, despite the gradual uptick of visitors. During V-Day, enjoy a hearty meal anywhere in the red-brick downtown area before hitting the slopes. Whether you and your partner are black diamond-ready or are still on the bunny slopes, it’s always a ride in Telluride.
Fort Bragg, California
As Aristotle once said, “Love is a battlefield.” Or maybe that was Pat Benatar. Either way, head to Fort Bragg, a former military post along the California shoreline. Bundle up before heading out to Glass Beach, which features multi-coloured glass pebbles coating the sand. The area was once the Union Lumber Company’s dumping grounds, which led to an enormous amount of trash close to the sea. Despite a massive clean-up in the 1960s, hundreds of glass bottles escaped the collection. In the decades since, the glass pieces were pounded enough by the waves to meld into smooth rocks on the shore. After your time walking on the bright stones (in shoes), duck into any of the locally owned cafés. The downtown area is a cozy one, with salty wind-beaten buildings and perfect views of the Pacific Ocean. Prepare to “brag” to all of your friends about your V-Day trip to Fort Bragg once you’re home.
Ok, ok, so Victoria, British Columbia, may not exactly constitute as a “small town.” However, it’s been crowned “Canada’s Most Romantic City” two years in a row from Amazon so it’s going on the list. Victoria isn’t one of those brash, touristy cities with overpriced attractions. Instead, you and your partner can take in a morning at the world-famous BC Museum, enjoy an afternoon bike ride around town, and indulge in an evening stroll along Fisherman’s Wharf. It’s no secret: Victoria is a sure-win for a romantic vacation.
Wilmington, North Carolina
The wooden pier, humming boats, and salty breezes of the Atlantic Ocean all make Wilmington, North Carolina, a perfect getaway on the East Coast. Spend the afternoon checking out Wrightsville Beach where you and your love can brave the cool waters to do some stand-up paddleboarding. Or you can take a carriage ride through the Historic District and spot the old-time buildings and diners. Of course, the real appeal is sightseeing. Movies and TV shows such as “A Walk to Remember,” “Empire Records,” and “Dawson’s Creek” were all filmed around Wilmington. Avoid the plot twists of a bad Valentine’s weekend and count on Wilmington for a perfect holiday.
Sometimes romance is loud and wet—especially if you’re standing in front of Niagara Falls. This national landmark has played host to numerous newlyweds and lovers through the years. It’s quite cheesy and epic, but something everyone’s got to do at least once. When it comes to your accommodations, however, do yourself a favour and stay out of the touristy areas. Having a sappy Valentine’s Day is fine, but you want to stay somewhere quaint and full of fine wine and cheese once you’re done with the Falls. Niagara-on-the-Lake offers the perfect amount of charming atmosphere with deceptively strong regional drinks. Gush with happines on your weekend by the water.
Don’t end up in the dog house because you picked up generic chocolates on your way home from work. Surprise your partner with a romantic weekend. Hopefully you’ll get that smooch and little somethin’ somethin’ extra for your efforts.
What are your top picks for Valentine’s Day destinations?
Featured Photo Attribution: Flickr/Creative Commons/Chuckcars/Via/https://flic.kr/p/b2PXe4