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From the rugged beaches and lighthouses of Maine to charming cities with cobbled streets, magnificent architecture and Southern hospitality, America’s East Coast offers a wide range of romantic vacation destinations. Whether you’re looking for seclusion and quiet moments enjoyed together, cultural attractions, outdoor adventure or a mix of it all, couples can find some of the best vacation destinations on the East Coast. Choose the one that fits just right and look forward to an unforgettable escape with plenty of opportunities to turn up the romance.
Charleston, South Carolina
Romance is around every corner in Charleston, especially in the historic downtown with its cobblestone streets and alleyways, horse-drawn carriages and iconic single houses, an architectural home style that is popular in the South. Then there are the gardens that make for tranquil strolls and plenty of Instagrammable moments. This coastal city has a rich history, lots of Southern hospitality, and mouthwatering cuisine that goes way beyond fried chicken and biscuits. You can even take a sunset boat cruise along gorgeous waterways with the stunning colors complemented by frequent dolphin sightings.
Amelia Island, Florida
Often named among the country’s top islands, Amelia Island offers the mix of a laid-back beach town and a resort-style escape with 13 miles of pristine sands, a rich arts scene, historic landmarks, beautiful golf courses, and an array of restaurants. With so many things to do in Amelia Island, couples can enjoy romantic moments while horseback riding on the beach at sunset, exploring historic downtown Fernandina Beach, or watching for great egrets, herons, and ibis while kayaking. Made up of 50 blocks of charming cobbled streets, Amelia Island features around 400 Victorian-era buildings along with local shops, antique markets and eateries. Fort Clinch State Park hosts a well-preserved Civil War-era fort, beaches, and scenic trails that wind through the woods.
Bar Harbor, Maine
Picturesque seaside Bar Harbor offers breathtaking water and mountain landscapes, a wealth of outdoor adventure, and fresh lobster. It’s lovely year-round, although fall is particularly unforgettable with the brilliant autumn colors. If you’re looking forward to that lobster you’ll want to come in the summer when it’s in season, which also happens to be the perfect time for refreshing dips in the Atlantic. One of the must-dos here is to hike (or drive) to the top of Cadillac Mountain just before the sun comes up to catch morning’s first light. Be sure to visit the area’s famous lighthouses too, long a symbol of love and romance.
The Berkshires, Massachusetts
The Berkshire Mountains in western Massachusetts have long been luring romance-seeking couples with striking natural beauty that includes some of the most picturesque scenery in the country. Stockbridge lies at its heart, providing an ideal base for enjoying the area and exploring quaint streets lined with antique shops and museums, including the Norman Rockwell Museum. The 20th-century American author, painter and illustrator, was born in Stockbridge and the museum showcases an impressive collection of his original works, personal memorabilia and his study. The Berkshire Botanical Garden, one of the oldest public gardens, is found here too, calling for romantic strolls among a variety of gardens, including a rose garden.
Chincoteague Island, Virginia
A tranquil island off the Virginia coast, Chincoteague is enjoyable all year-round and is especially ideal for a romantic getaway. It’s the gateway to the Virginia portion of Assateague Island and the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. If you can be here for the annual Pony Swim on the last Wednesday of July, you can even watch the famous Chincoteague wild ponies swim across the channel. Otherwise, enjoy relaxing on the beach, watching glorious sunsets over Chincoteague Bay, hiking, biking, boating, or a cruise to the small, picturesque island of Tangier.
Dripping Spanish moss, magnificent architecture, enticing town squares and an incredible food scene all make Savannah one of the most romantic cities in the U.S. Be sure to take a stroll through the canopy of trees in Forsyth Park and along Jones Street, which has been named the most beautiful street in the country. Touring the sites can be done on a walking tour, an old town-style trolley, or a horse-drawn carriage to up the romance factor.
Key West, Florida
There are plenty of romantic things to do in Key West. It’s known worldwide as a top sailing destination, and it offers a wide range of water sports like snorkeling, diving, and paddle boarding. The sunsets are legendary, with a sunset cruise bringing the chance to cuddle up with the one you love while sipping tropical drinks with a backdrop of a dazzling palette of oranges, yellows, reds, purples and blues. When on land, you can watch it from Mallory Square, a former warehouse area known for its sunset-watching rituals and nightly celebrations with live entertainment, shops, and eateries, with a carnival-like atmosphere. You’ll have to share a slice of Key Lime Pie, although it’s so good we don’t blame you if you want to have your own.
Asheville, North Carolina
Asheville is surrounded by gorgeous mountain scenery, just minutes from the famous Blue Ridge Parkway and close to hiking trails in the Pisgah National Forest or Great Smoky Mountain National Park too. Be sure to take the short trek to Craggy Pinnacle for a sweeping 360-degree view of the mountains, and some great selfie photo-ops. There are plenty of attractions in the city itself, with lots of street art, an epic craft beer scene, and numerous tasty food options. One of America’s true “castles” is just a short drive away too. Biltmore Estate, a 250-room chateau built by George Vanderbilt in 1895, is a wonder of opulence and architecture. Take a self-guided tour of the gardens, grounds, home, and the Antler Hill Village, which also includes the Winery, the Farm, The Biltmore Legacy, and Village Green.
Newport, Rhode Island
Newport is a seaside city rich in culture, history and views. At Bowen’s Wharf you can rent a boat and get out on the water in one of America’s top sailing destinations or simply enjoy a stroll along the Newport Cliff Walk, which stretches for 3.5 miles and offers stunning ocean views. You’ll find plenty of ocean-view restaurants serving mouthwatering seafood and even entertainment with dining at the Newport Playhouse & Cabaret Restaurant, which offers an evening of song and dance. Of course touring the famous Newport mansions themselves is a fabulous way to lose yourselves in the luxuries of the past while exploring the city’s history.
It would be hard to find a more romantic town than Woodstock. A pastoral dream with a traditional Main Street, general store, pretty covered bridges, towering church steeples, red barns, and lush scenery. In the autumn it’s even more stunning with shades of fiery red, gold, and burnt orange framing it all. Or visit in winter, which brings a postcard-perfect holiday scene with a thick blanket of snow perfect for nights sipping hot cocoa next to a fire. With mountains surrounding the area, during the chillier months there are opportunities for skiing, and when the snow melts hiking trails abound, along with activities like kayaking and fishing.