Big cities know how to dazzle, but when it comes to you and your love, nothing beats the fairytale shimmer of a small town. Whether it’s watching a sunset from a sandy beach, horseback riding in the great outdoors or sipping wine by a fire, these five romantic settings cater to couples.
Beaufort, South Carolina
Picturesque Beaufort (population of about 13,000), founded in 1711, embraces American and maritime history in a setting that will make you swoon. A stroll along Bay Street shows off its sea-facing mansions, including the restored Cuthbert House Inn and Anchorage 1770, stunning places to stay. Cuddle up on a horse-drawn carriage tour and clip clop under stately moss-covered oak trees, past historic churches and even a few Hollywood movie sites (Forrest Gump, The Prince of Tides and The Big Chill are a few favorites filmed around town). The view of a swirling pink and orange sunset from pretty Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park is mesmerizing, but it gets better on a sunset cruise with Coastal Expeditions. If you’re lucky, you’ll spot a dolphin or two. Dine on local seafood and Lowcountry specialties at Saltus River Grill, a modern restaurant with exceptional water views and outdoor seating that is among the town’s best.
Surrounded by sand and sea at the tip of iconic Cape Cod, this artsy and eclectic LGBTQ+ hub is known as Ptown (population about 3,500). If scrumptious seafood is your date night jam, you’re in for a treat as Ptown has many restaurants to choose from. Grab a craft cocktail at family-run Mac’s Fish House, committed to local catch, with happy hour oysters and clams at half-price. Rain, snow or shine, stroll through the Provincetown Art Association and Museum (PAAM) to enjoy works from more than 900 artists — many who call Cape Cod home. Ptown has more than 30 miles of beaches to sink your toes into during the summer. When cold weather beckons you indoors, a decadent couple’s massage workshop at Sole Luna will warm things up, as will the in-room fireplaces at Gabriel’s Provincetown Hotel.