Valentine’s Day: Dinner, Diamonds or Destination?

valentines day destination

Full disclosure, I’m not a big fan of Valentine’s Day.  It’s just too forced and commercial for my liking.  But for many, the dilemma of a Valentine’s Day gift can be stressful.

Dinner? Too impersonal. Diamonds? Too committal.  Roses?  Meh.

But what about… DESTINATION?  Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about! Why not create a perfect Valentine’s Day memory that will last long after the indigestion of an overpriced dinner or extra pounds from eating that box of chocolates kick in?  A memory can last a lifetime, long after the sparkle of diamonds fade into oblivion.

The stress is removed, because you can come up with where to go, how long to stay, and how much to spend together.

It could be an exotic, luxury resort, or a simple weekend a short drive away.  The choices are virtually limitless and can be catered to fit the personalities of the couple.

Here are ten places to consider for your romantic Valentine’s Day interlude:

1.   Bora Bora

valentines day destination

Dubbed by James Michener as “the most beautiful island in the world,” Bora Bora’s aqua lagoon is fringed by coconut palms swaying in the tropical breeze.  The pièce de résistance here is staying in a private overwater bungalow, where the glass inlaid floor allows for viewing of tropical fish right beneath your feet. This pricey faraway paradise is that once-in-a-lifetime special splurge.

2.   Charleston, South Carolina

valentines day destination

Bubbling over with southern charm, and rich history, Charleston’s romantic restaurants and boutique hotels beckon those with romance on their minds.  Amble along the cobblestone streets or enjoy the ambiance of a horse-drawn carriage.  Sights include Battery Park, Charleston City Market, Rainbow Row, and area beaches.

3.    Venice, Italy

valentines day destination

Everyone should visit Venice once in their lifetime, and it’s especially appealing and romantic on Valentine’s Day.  The history of the port city, the allure of an evening gondola ride through the canals and under the bridges, exploring ornate ancient buildings, strolling around Piazza San Marco, and the mouth-watering cuisine make for a magical memory.

4.   Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico

valentines day destination

Less than two hours from San Diego, the Valle de Guadalupe contains Baja Mexico’s up-and-coming wineries.  There are some 50+ wineries, but for a romantic escape, stay at Adobe Guadalupe.  This sprawling 6-room hacienda, set against the mountains, has well-appointed, cozy rooms, pool, spa, and stables.  Rooms include a fun, made-to-order breakfast in the big kitchen with other guests.  Adobe Guadalupe is the largest breeder of Azteca horses which are available for riding through the countryside.  Guests can tour the winery and taste some of their award-winning wines, each of which is named after an archangel.

5.   Stowe, Vermont

Covered Bridge, Vermont

Stowe is a picturesque New England 200-year-old village with Mt. Mansfield, Vermont’s highest peak. The landscape imbues Stowe with a character reminiscent of great European mountain resorts. There are many hiking trails on and around Mount Mansfield and Smugglers’ Notch State Park, and the Trapp Family Lodge.  Sneak a smooch if you dare on the covered “Kissing Bridge” which according to local lore is haunted by a young woman who hanged herself from the rafters after being spurned by her lover.

6.   Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik Old Town walls, valentines day destination

Who can resist the castle allegedly used as the model for the famed HBO series “Game of Thrones?”  Gaze down from the city’s old walls overlooking the sea below and quintessential terracotta-roofed residences.  The streets are lined paved with marble and lead past the city squares, cathedrals, mansions, and finally down to the Adriatic beaches.  The charm of days-gone-by has been preserved to fairytale degree.

7.   Buenos Aires

valentines day destination

As they say, it takes two to tango… — what better place to test your mad tango skills than on a romantic escape to Buenos Aires, where this sensuous dance originated.  Add to that the ambiance of the diverse neighborhoods, enticing restaurants, and colorful nightlife options and you have the recipe for an incredibly tantalizing getaway.

8.   Kyoto, Japan

valentines day destination

It’s hard to resist the lure of this city with so many fascinating ancient temples and shogun palaces.  Take a romantic boat ride along the canal, shop for curious local food in the Nishiki Market, or go to the Gion District and try to catch an elusive glimpse of a real-life geisha lightly scampering down the cobblestone alleys.

9.   Quebec City, Canada

Quebec City valentines day destination

If you don’t mind frosty weather and look forward to a cozy winter retreat, look no further than Quebec City.  Bundle up and take a brisk walk on the snow-covered streets in this delightful French-Canadian city.  There are plenty of cafes, pubs and bistros to warm up as you cuddle by their fireplaces.

10.  Caribbean

valentines day destination

Take your pick of the dozens of islands offering shimmering turquoise surf lapping onto white sand beaches dotted with swaying palms.  The Caribbean is made up of hundreds of islands, but the 36 major islands are found on the Greater Antilles on the north and the Lesser Antilles on the south and east including the West Indies grouping, which also includes the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands, as well as the Windward and Leeward groupings.  Have some fun in the sun as you swim, snorkel, or sail in the bathwater-warm sea and then watch the sun set over a fresh seafood dinner.

With so many fabulous options for a Valentine’s Day getaway, what could be better?

Hmmmm.  Maybe dinner at the destination with a gift of diamonds….


  1. We’ll pick destinations any time to celebrate a special event. The castle at Dubrovnik kind of stood out from the other dream destinations – rather grim and forbidding – but what a fun to place explore!
    Anita @ No Particular Place To Go recently posted…An Urban Garden in Getsemani: Cartagena, ColombiaMy Profile

    • luggageandlipstick says:

      I agree — destinations are top! The castle at Dubrovnik does stand out, which just proves there’s a special place for everyone, no matter what you like!

  2. Bora Bora would be nice :)

  3. Destination wins every time for me – and you’ve picked a stellar bunch! Of course I wouldn’t mind adding dinner to the destination 😉
    Anne recently posted…Music and Midnight in Orvieto – New Year’s EveMy Profile

  4. I’ll take a destination date any time. We visited Charleston just about a year ago and it was freezing cold – polar vortex – cold! I’d like to go back one day in the spring, I bet it is just so pretty with those stately homes sitting across from the water front. A beautiful city, but also a city with so much disturbing history. Really quite a fascinating destination.
    Patti recently posted…The “P” Word: Prague ~My Profile

    • luggageandlipstick says:

      I hear you. One of the times I was in Charleston was in January in pouring, bone-chilling rain. However, every other time it has been gorgeous — weather and scenery.

  5. We’re in Charleston now. It was 67 and sunny, perfect for winter.
    Great choices!

  6. If there’s a choice… always take the trip! And any one of these fabulous destinations would do just fine.

  7. At this point, I’m over the diamonds, dinner could be fun, but destination would be my pick. Keeping it in the D’s – How about Dubrovnik?? Love it.
    Betsy Wuebker | PassingThru recently posted…Story, Memory and the Intransigence of ListsMy Profile

  8. What wonderful choices you have selected for a romantic Valentine’s Day getaway. My own favorite among them is Tahiti, which is currently at the top of my bucket list. Anyone know someone who wants to send a blogger there?

  9. I’m definitely in the destination over diamonds camp and always have been. No engagement ring, but a wonderful honeymoon trip to Peru. After 32 years, my husband is definitely on board with the experiences over things concept. As a result, we’ve already been to 7 of your recommended destinations.

    • luggageandlipstick says:

      I agree with you 100%, Suzanne. I’ve read a lot of your travel stories — sounds like you have a wonderful life (with Mr. Excitement!)!

  10. I’m with you about diamonds, roses and Valentine’s Day. We do try to make a special dinner at home- would NEVER go out. One of the worst days to dine out all year- the other two: Thanksgiving and Christmas followed by Mother’s Day brunch and Easter. A destination always good if it’s the right one. Some great ones here! BTW great memories seeing the Chateau Frontenac!

    • luggageandlipstick says:

      Chateau Frontenac is beautiful. I’m usually not much of a cold weather person, but that’s one of the places I can make an exception.

  11. There’s some great choices here! Valle de Guadalupe gets my vote …I’ve never been but have surely enjoyed some fine wines from the region.
    Michele Peterson ( A Taste for Travel) recently posted…GTA Photography: Review and Promo CodeMy Profile

  12. We love celebrating special days with trips instead of gifts, so much more memorable! Bora Bora would be amazing!
    Tarah recently posted…A Weekend Guide to San DiegoMy Profile

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