People may think that Paris is for lovers and Rome inspires romance, but there's no need to cross the ocean to celebrate Valentine's Day in style. There are plenty of lovely vacation spots for lovers right here in the United States.
Savannah, Georgia is one of the most charming, welcoming cities in the United States. Southern charm and hospitality are everywhere you look and everywhere you go, from the cobblestone streets and lush gardens of the Historic District downtown, to the famous Waving Girl statue on Savannah's historic River Street. The statue commemorates Florence Martus, who lived with her brother in the lighthouse near the entrance of the Savannah harbor. She lived there for 44 years, and she waved to welcome every incoming vessel and to say goodbye to each outgoing ship. Some say she waved to more than 50,000 ships during her time at the lighthouse.
Savannah is home to 45 bed and breakfasts and historic inns. For a relaxing guided city tour, there are trolleys, carriages, free ferries, and riverboats cruising the Savannah River. Take a guided tour to begin with, so you'll know what attractions or locations you want to go back and explore later. There are numerous walking tours available in Savannah if you want to leave your hotel for a little while. The city's 276 years of history provide many chances to explore the various aspects of its culture, focusing on architecture, antiques, the Civil War, ghosts, African-American heritage, gardens, and even celebrity cook Paula Deen.
One of the signature signs of Savannah has always been the Spanish moss that dangles from the majestic oak trees that abound in the town. But it's not the best souvenir to take home from your vacation. Remember that Savannah is located in the deep south, and Spanish moss is the favorite home of chiggers, tiny biting bugs that you can't see with the naked eye. Centuries ago residents would often stuff their mattresses with Spanish moss because it was soft and plenteous, but after sleeping on them they would wake up covered in irritating, itchy red bumps thanks to the tiny chiggers embedded in their mattresses. Ever wonder where the phrase, 'goodnight, sleep tight, don't let the bedbugs bite' came from? Well, now you know.
Many people might think about Hawaii as a great romantic getaway. The North Shore O'ahu is the best of the best when it comes to the islands, because it is a paradise rich with plantation-era architecture, ancient cultural locations, dozens of quaint cafes and boutiques, and some of the largest waves in the world. Besides the beaches and breathtaking landscapes, there are nature parks and walking tours, hiking, skydiving, horseback riding, gliding, and golf at the Turtle Bay Resort's championship golf course―just about every vacation sport you can imagine. Or visit Pu'u O Mahuka Heiau, located above Waimea, which is O'Ahu's largest and oldest ancient Hawaiian religious temple. If you're looking for exciting nightlife, Waikiki is where you want to go. But you don't even have to get up from your lounge chair to relax because everywhere you look is something spectacular and beautiful.
When you get hungry there are a plethora of dining adventures in store for you. Local traditional Hawaiian plate lunches are famous for their simplicity, or you can enjoy a plate of grilled locally caught North Shore shrimp. Casual lunch wagons such as Giovanni's Original White Shrimp Truck, as well as sandwich shops and coffee shops are great for a quick pick-me-up. More than 30 restaurants serve up a wide array of dining appetites including Thai, Chinese, Japanese, Mexican, Italian, and native Hawaiian food. Most of the freshwater shrimp, fresh seafood, meat, vegetables, fruits, and bread served in the North Shore restaurants are produced by local farmers.
Napa Valley in California is one of the most popular vacation destinations in the United States, thanks to its portrayal in movies. Nearly 5 million visitors make the trek to the Napa Valley each year, making it the most popular California tourist destination after Disneyland. After all, when you're looking for a romantic vacation, what could be better than spending a few days surrounded by wine?
Napa Valley has a rich history of winemaking, with the first vineyard having opened there in 1858. The first winery opened up in 1861, and the rest is history. Located just outside San Francisco, the area offers informational and lovely walking tours in charming towns like Yountville, which has hung onto its quaint, rural beginnings even as commercialism and tourism has surrounded it. There are of course numerous wine-tasting jaunts and winery tours. Or you can take a biking tour through the vineyards to sample wines and gourmet foods, go shopping for antiques or visit a spa. But the best way to see the lush beauty of the vineyards is by enjoying a birds-eye view from a hot air balloon ride. Affordable rides are offered each day, and are especially lovely at sunset and sunrise.
Numerous bed and breakfasts and charming inns are located throughout the valley. Milliken Creek, one of the finest of those tucked-away inns, is an old house that has been converted into an inn. Its isolated location is ideal, right on the beautiful Napa River. Guests get all the modern amenities of a five-star hotel, but supplemented by the charm of a homey inn with nightly turn-down service, candle-lit evenings, and a fantastic breakfast every morning that is delivered to guests in any room they want it. The inn serves only about 20 guests at a time, so service is personal and attentive.
For Valentine travelers with a more funky and hip appetite, the Vortexes of Sedona might be the perfect spot. Each year thousands of new-age visitors seeking their own personal vision travel to the desert to experience for themselves the energy of the vortexes. Vortex sites are said to be spiritual spots where the energy produced by the vortex is just right for facilitating meditation, prayer, and healing. The energy flow is sometimes said to exist on multiple dimensions, and interact with people's inner selves, providing healing for the energies of both masculine and feminine. Which, of course, makes this area particularly interesting for those seeking a romantic boost.
The science behind the vortexes is a mishmash of history, geology, and astronomy. The hillsides are composed of layers of sandstone and limestone left behind by a receding ocean. Iron oxide covering the sandstone formed rust, which resulted in the stunning red rocks that surround Sedona. Humans existed in the Sedona area as long ago as about 4,000 BC when hunter-gatherers settled in the areas around Verde Valley and Prescott. A more advanced civilization sprang up around 900 BC, building cliff houses and pueblos. The people, known as the Sinagua, were proficient farmers and made pottery, baskets, and jewelry. The cliff dwellings are still seen spotted throughout the hillsides, and the red rocks are still decorated with pictographs and petroglyphs drawn by these ancient people.
Sedona's reputation as a spot for spiritual healing got a huge boost in 1987, during the time of the Harmonic Convergence. On the weekend of August 16-17, a worldwide esoteric spiritual event took place, which was to some extent based on the Mayan calendar. The dates for the convergence were supposed to be mark a unique alignment of the planets of the solar system. Supposedly, the Harmonic Convergence was an awakening of unity and love through divine transformation and the channeling of divine information. The convergence supposedly began the countdown of the 26 years leading to the 'end of history' which is supposed to happen in 2012, the end of the Mayan calendar.
Whether you want to experience the romance of panoramic views, exciting adventures, fascinating history, leisurely walks through quaint scenery, or metaphysical energy, there is a whole country of vacation spots that can give you a Valentine's Day to remember.