Calling All Snow Bunnies—Here Are the Most Romantic Places to Visit This Winter
If your concept of the ultimate romantic vacation includes cuddling in front of a roaring fire while snowflakes gently fall across a wild, scenic coastline, these destinations are sure to make for an unforgettable retreat that is virtually guaranteed to ignite the spark of romance. Blame it on the cold weather or all that holiday cheer, but there's something about winter that gives us the itch to escape with our main squeeze. Yet, with the hubbub of people amassing tourist destinations, the challenge can be finding a place to steal away from the crowds. Fortunately, we rounded up plentiful options for a secluded and romantic winter getaway.
Couples can snowshoe through Vermont's quiet mountain trails before cozying up in front of a crackling fire at a luxurious country estate. Or watch the winter storms whip up the crashing surf from a warm, inviting inn high above Iceland's majestic Northern Lights. Here are our quintessential location choices for a cozy winter escape with that special someone.
HOT SPRINGS, MONTANA
Enjoy the natural pools, friendly atmosphere, and surrounding wilderness with endless recreational activities. Psh—skip glamping and glowing posh fireplaces at cozy winter resorts; it's time to get back to nature and warm up naturally! One of Montana's hidden treasures, a plethora of hot springs dot the Big Sky winter landscape, and offer a welcome reprieve when temperatures plummet to 20 degrees. Favorites include the Bozeman Hot Springs, While Sulphur Springs, Chico Hot Springs, Mammoth Hot Springs, the Firehole River Swimming Area, and Norris Hot Springs.
It may seem counterintuitive to contemplate Iceland in winter, but hear us out. Reykjavik bears the distinction of being the world's northernmost capital, and for many Icelandic visitors it also serves as a gateway to the rugged adventure possibilities beyond. Revitalize after outdoor pursuits in one of the many geothermal springs or luxurious indoor spas. We appreciate Reykjavik's open-minded and animated culture that includes a hip and internationally recognized music and arts scene, great food and notoriously "enthusiastic" nightlife. Moreover, it's the off season and therefore surprisingly affordable. The mere six hours of daylight only up your chances of witnessing the majestic Northern Lights. And the 40-degree temps shouldn't stop you from taking a dip outside—its celebrated geothermal spa, the Blue Lagoon, offers mineral-rich waters averaging 100 degrees.
Northwest Wyoming is mountain country, where high peaks—some of which remain snowcapped all year-round—tower above deep, glacier-carved valleys. It's no wonder city-dwellers have a love affair with this authentic western town. Here you can hike through mountain meadows, challenge white water, explore Native American culture, and trace the history of westbound 19th-century emigrants. Surrounded by the majestic Grand Tetons, Jackson offers all kinds of snow-filled activities and awesome wildlife viewing. You can ski the powdery peaks, dogsled to Granite Hot Springs followed by a dip in the steamy baths, sleigh through the National Elk Refuge, or cruise Yellowstone on a snowmobile. After a long adventurous day, book a room with park views and a wood-burning fireplace at the Rusty Parrot Lodge, where spiced apple cider, warm cookies, and a couples' massage at Body Sage spa await after a day's adventures.
You can never tire of basking in the pink glow of Sedona, Arizona's red rock canyons. This spiritual desert oasis looks especially alluring during winter, when the rusty-red mountaintops are dusted with a sprinkling of white. With mild days and the crowds thinned out, solitude-seeking couples have Sedona's spectacular hiking trails practically to themselves. With a mellow vibe, the area offers both the primitive energy and pull of red rock hikes and canyon tours, plus kitschy cafés and trinket shops, local artist communities, and an array of healers with their own breed of eccentric practices. Meandering drives through majestic canyons, sunrise hot-air balloon rides, and New Age-esque spa treatments all heighten the romance factor. Stop by the L'Auberge de Sedona, a favorite resort in the area that helps you scheme out nearby excursions along Oak Creek.
With plenty of lavish hotels and ski resorts in the area, Stowe is a perfect destination for a couples winter retreat. Handmade Candy Cane demonstrations take place between Thanksgiving and Christmas and the Stowe Winter Carnival runs in mid-January. Of course, it has emerged as more than just a ski lover's locale. Couples can cozy together for warmth by taking a tour at Cold Hollow Cider Millor at The Alchemist Brewery—consistently ranked among the top five beers in the world by Beer Advocate. As the town continues to expand to accommodate tourists, so do its businesses: Stowe Bowl, a boutique bowling alley, is a chic lounge perfect for an intimate date night.
The Berkshires, Massachusetts
Western Mass is plain gorgeous, from the green hills of the Berkshires to the stunning foliage along the Mohawk Trail, America's scenic automobile route. Berkshire visitors quickly discover that this rural vacation area—long known as a cultural Mecca of museums, historic sites, and performing arts venues—combines a year-round mixture of exploratory things to do for travelers of all ages and inclinations. With vast roads, small towns, and classic red barns, the Berkshires deliver all the dreamlike wintry romance of New England, as immortalized by singer James Taylor. Couples can snag some alone time as they snowshoe and cross-country through mountain trails, explore Norman Rockwell–esque Stockbridge, and enjoy candlelit dinners at inviting lodges like The Old Inn on the Green. For some cuddling downtime, stop by the Blantyre Hotel. It has a 110-foot Norway spruce Christmas tree in its foyer, four-poster beds, and crackling fireplaces. Sleigh rides, an on-site ice-skating rink, and winter picnics with homemade hot chocolate seal the deal.