10 Places for a romantic outdoors getaway

Columbia River GorgeSo you want to put a little romance in your life yet don’t want  to give up your outdoorsy lifestyle? There are some marvelous places in the Western U.S. where you can have a romantic getaway and enjoy natural beauty and recreation. Here are our top places for that romantic nature-filled  getaway.

Columbia River Gorge, Oregon
The Columbia River Gorge is flowing with beautiful waterfalls and secluded hikes. Couple your day hiking the waterfall trails or biking the Old Columbia River Highway with a stay at the very romantic Skamania Lodge and you’ll have an amazing getaway experience.

You can also enjoy dining locally. You can dine on salmon, locally grown produce, local wines and micro-brews at Gorge restaurants. Here are some suggested restaurants, both in Stevenson, across the Gorge from the Oregon side. The Bridge of the Gods at Cascade Locks  is a great crossing point to reach Skamania Lodge and The Big River Grill.

More: What to Do and See in the Columbia River Gorge

Sedona, Arizona
Sedona, with it’s magestic Red Rocks, fine resorts and mysterious vortexes, is a destination for weddings, honeymoons and romantic getaways.Sedona, Arizona

Sedona, Arizona is a magical place. You can experience the spiritual side of Sedona, peruse the galleries or take a jeep ride into the back country. There is so much to see and do in Sedona.  You’ll find some great hiking in the Sedona area. World-class spas will sooth your aching muscles at the end of the day.

Some of my favorite hide-aways are L’Auberge de Sedona, with creek-side upscale cabins, Forest Houses with woodsy home rentals in Oak Creek Canyon and Canyon Villa Inn with a Red Rock view.

More: What to Do and See in Sedona

Abiquiu, New Mexico
Head to Northern New Mexico for a getaway to Georgia O’Keeffe country. Abiquiu, where the artist lived and painted is home to spectacular scenery and a destination for artists. You’ll find the Abiquiu Inn, with cozy casitas and excellent restaurant, a great base for exploring the countryside.

Just up the hill, is O’Keeffe’s Abiquiu home. Tours are by appointment and you’ll gain a greater understanding of the beauty of the Northern New Mexico landscape that the artist so loved.

Be sure and spend some time at Ghost Ranch, made famous by O’Keeffe, and enjoy their hiking trails and art tour.

Grand Canyon, Arizona
Everyone has to visit the Grand Canyon at least once in their life. But did you know that the Grand Canyon can also be a romantic getaway? Whether you stay at the rustic Bright Angel cabins or at the more elegant El Tovar Lodge, you’ll be right on the South Rim of the canyon.

Enjoy romantic sunsets, hike along the rim or down into the Canyon and when the day is done, have an elegant meal in the El Tovar Dining Room

With mule rides, raft trips, hiking and biking opportunities, your Grand Canyon stay is sure to be filled with adventure. More on Grand Canyon South Rim.

More: Grand Canyon Places to Stay

Moose in Denali National ParkDenali Park, Alaska
You can take a first class train ride from Anchorage into Denali National Park. Stay at one of the log lodges and enjoy fine dining as well as outdoor adventure. Or, if you prefer camp in the park.

There is rafting, hiking and day trips into the wilderness to photograph wild animals. There is no other place like Alaska.

More: Denali National Park and Alaska

Snoqualmie Falls, Washington
Snoqualmie Falls is one of Washington state’s most popular scenic attractions. More than 1.5 million visitors come to the Falls every year. At the Falls, you will find a two-acre park, observation deck, gift shop, and the famous 270 foot waterfall. Enjoy a brisk hike to the base of the Falls.

Salish Lodge, at the top of the Falls, is a beautiful Northwest-style lodge. the Salish Lodge & Spa is the quintessential Pacific Northwest retreat for those seeking an authentic and memorable escape from the everyday. How romantic can it be to laze in front of a fireplace in your room and listen to the rushing waters of the Falls?

More: Snoqualmie Falls

Victoria, British Columbia
Victoria, city of flowers is accessible from the United States by ferry or plane. Victoria has a European feel. The best places to stay are within walking distance of the beautiful Inner Harbor. You can stretch your legs by sailing, biking and walking in Victoria.

Enjoy a romantic carriage ride through the parks of central Victoria. For a taste of Old Britain, stay at the Empress Hotel. Or, at least go for High Tea!

Just outside Victoria, is beautiful Butchart Gardens. Walk the trails through amazing configurations of flowers and trees.

For a real outdoorsy experience, travel “up island” to the wooded parks or try your hand at fishing.

More: Victoria, BC

Fredericksburg, Texas
Fredericksburg, in the Texas Hill Country, is the type of romantic destination where you will find small town charm with German flavor. Go wine tasting, bike riding orFredericksburg, Texas just relax at one of the areas quaint Bed and Breakfast homes or inns. For foodies, you’ll enjoy sampling the local sausages, peach dishes and herbs. The Fredericksburg Herb Farm now has a day spa.

In the spring, you can see the wildflowers the area is famous for and hike in such fun areas as Enchanted Rock.

For WWII or aviation buffs, check out the Hangar Hotel, located right on the airstrip. It’s a lovely newer hotel with decor reminiscent of the 40’s.

More: Fredericksburg, Texas

Carmel, California
Carmel, on California’s Monterey Bay, provides amazing ocean vistas, a quaint dining and shopping area and outdoor recreation. Try kayaking or, my favorite, hiking Point Lobos Reserve.

Be sure and visit the historic Carmel Mission.

In the right season, you can whale-watch from the beach or take a whale-watching boat trip. Year ’round you can charter a boat for fishing in the Monterey Bay.

Carmel is home to many romantic inns, B&B’s and hotels
More: Carmel Romance Guide

San Antonio, Texas
San Antonio, on the fringes of the Texas Hill Country is an exciting city with many recreational opportunities. My favorite thing to do is walk the River Walk. The walk now extends to an area called Museum Reach.

Outside San Antonio, enjoy visiting the missions or go wine tasting at Hill Country favorites like Becker Vineyards.

Because the weather in San Antonio and south Texas is warm, water and outdoor recreational activities are available year round.

Several large resorts cater to the outdoor enthusiast and offer trails and activities. Perched on a hillside once one part of the Hill Country limestone quarries, the Westin La Cantera retains the charm of old Texas. With stone buildings, wrought iron detailing and those old fashioned Texas roses in the garden, the Westin La Cantera retains the charm of an earlier era. You can golf or take the Westin La Cantera nature trail.

The Hill Country Hyatt also offers luxury with a taste of the Hill Country. At the resort, you’ll see structures reminiscent of barns, a summer house and, as the hotel comes into sight, that beautiful stone architecture the Texas Hill Country is known for.

The resort includes 27 holes of championship golf, the beautiful Windflower spa and a four-acre water park which winds through the natural landscape. The resort has gone all out to keep the ranch feel, although on a grand scale, intact for those who wish to experience the beauty of the Hill Country yet stay close-in to San Antonio.

More: San Antonio

Photo Credit: Elizabeth R. Rose

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