I don’t mind winter, but by the time April rolls around, I’m so ready to pack up my puffer coat, trade in my boots for light, sporty sneakers, and head outside for a leap in the park. Unfortunately, the weather here in Boston is never quite as eager, and my April leap in the park is more often a mad dash through frigid streets. My boyfriend—never a big fan of snow—typically is ready for spring right after the December holidays, so we’ve found a quick and easy trip is the best way to shake off our winter dregs and shake up a little spring romance. Here are a few of our favorite domestic escapes:
1. St. Augustine, Florida
You won’t find the spring break crowds here, just clean beaches, fascinating historic sites, and pampering day spas. Founded by the Spanish in the 1500s, Saint Augustine (nicknamed “America’s Oldest City”) provides plenty of romantic possibilities for you and your significant other. Take a carriage ride through downtown’s brick-lined streets, sip local wines at the San Sebastian Winery, or just stroll along the beach, perhaps taking in the view from the historic St. Augustine lighthouse.
2. Breckenridge, Colorado
The winter ski crowds may have vacated once spring arrives—but that just leaves the majestic Rocky Mountains secluded, perfect for a romantic weekend. Breckenridge’s Victorian downtown offers more than 150 shops and galleries to browse; you can also bike the area’s paved trail, admiring the spectacular scenery. April brings the Massive Festival, which features comedy nights, free outdoor concerts, and more. And bring your skis just in case—there may be just enough snow left for one last run before summer arrives.
3. New York City
As a backdrop for countless romantic comedies, New York City is an ideal backdrop for your own romantic spring dramas! Try a little dinner and dancing at The Rainbow Room, indulge in a day of luxury at the Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa, or spend a carefree afternoon in Central Park. To avoid the Midtown crowds, take some time to explore the cafes and galleries in the funky East Village, or wander among the flowers in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.
4. Monterey, California
With sand, surf, and plenty of sea wildlife, Monterey is a great place to shed your winter layers. In spring, you may be able to spot a gray whale, as it migrates to Mexico, see other creatures at the world-famous Aquarium, or shop, dine, and seek Steinbeck-esque inspiration along Cannery Row. On a recent visit, I found just sitting along the water’s edge, watching a lone kayaker out for a morning jaunt, to be incredibly soothing. All kinds of earthly pleasures, both manmade and natural, can be found (and relished) here.
5. Galena, Illinois
Who says you need a big city to be pampered? Galena’s abundance of cozy inns, luxurious spas, elegant art galleries, and historic 19th-century buildings provide a classy atmosphere for a rejuvenating escape. For a great story to tell your friends back home, consider going on a hot air balloon excursion, ghost tour, or a horse-drawn carriage ride. And for more traditional activities to spice things up, Galena offers plenty of gourmet restaurants, cooking and art classes, and even a local winery.
6. Molokai, Hawaii
Just east of Oahu, Molokai offers a more secluded option for spring travelers. Lesser developed than its sister islands, Molokai doesn’t even have a traffic light—just rainforests, white- and gold-sand beaches, jaw-dropping cliffs, and a truly laid-back pace. Clubgoers and night owls may want to head to another island: Molokai is for the quiet adventurers, the romantics, and the loners. Take a horseback ride along the beach, keeping an eye out for humpback whales; sip coffee from a local plantation; or hike the awe-inspiring Pepeopae Trail inside the Molokai Forest Preserve.
7. Savannah, Georgia
Imagine a city with more than twenty historic squares—each in actuality a lush public garden with weeping willows, intricate ironwork, and gorgeous flowers competing for your eye. You’ll find such gardens, plus down-home Southern cooking, stunning architecture, and fun festivals by visiting Savannah in spring. For a truly memorable visit, see the city by foot, taking your time to explore the historic district, then cap off your day with a decadent meal at Paula Deen’s restaurant, The Lady & Sons.
8. Sedona, Arizona
Fair warning: one hike among Sedona’s famous red sand formations may be enough to make even the most Type-A city dweller convert to the laid-back, spiritually aware Arizona lifestyle. And if the spectacular scenery doesn’t provide instant inner peace, the city has a host of services for enlightenment, relaxation, and personal awareness, from traditional spa services to hypnotherapy sessions. To round out your getaway, the city offers a booming arts scene, from eclectic galleries and shops to week-long festivals, all inspired by the beautiful surroundings.
9. Newport, Oregon
The weather in Newport is as unpredictable as a tumultuous love affair: a sunny morning could lead to a rollicking afternoon storm (or vice versa), a cloudy day may suddenly brighten. Expect a mix of conditions during your spring visit, and enjoy the excuse to try out your new rain gear, if only for brief periods each day. The gorgeous coastline provides endless opportunities for beachcombing, fishing and crabbing, sea kayaking, and surfing. And after a day outside, Newport’s four eclectic districts beckon with restaurants serving the fresh catch of the day, as well as antique shops, art galleries, and gift boutiques.
10. Stowe, Vermont
Head to Stowe and you may feel like you’ve arrived in the Alps for the weekend, what with the church spires and quaint shops, all against the dramatic backdrop of Mt. Mansfield. But don’t just take my word for it—none other than Maria Von Trapp herself chose Stowe as her U.S. home, so reminiscent was it of her girlhood in Austria. And there’s the sugar. Spring is maple-sugaring season in Vermont, and what could be more romantic than staring at your beloved over a stack of fluffy pancakes, hot off the griddle, with a good dousing of this local treat? Can’t imagine a sweeter start to spring …