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Most Romantic Small Towns in the U.S.

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Considering a romantic getaway? Like their global counterparts, these seven small American cities — from Vermont to Hawaii — have one thing in common: romance in spades. Explore historic streetscapes, picturesque marinas, cozy inns and restaurants, and stunning natural vistas — with everything from mineral springs and wine tastings to antique shops and ski lodges at your fingertips. Read on to discover seven of the most romantic towns in the U.S.

7

Stowe, Vermont

Stowe, Vermont view from the summit on a clear day.
Credit: Anton Vattay/ Shutterstock

Located in northern Vermont, Stowe is a picturesque mountain town nestled within a rugged New England landscape. The town encompasses two mountain peaks — Mt. Mansfield and Spruce Peak — which are the main draw. Aside from stunning views, they each offer ample opportunity for skiing, snowboarding, and snowmobiling. Other outdoor activities include year-round hiking, romantic winter sleigh rides, and excursions to scenic Moss Glen Falls. However, many visitors are simply content to enjoy the quiet while cruising around the area’s tidy New England hamlets, complete with idyllic town greens, clapboard houses, and charming church steeples.

Hugging the scenic Little River, the town itself is rustic and welcoming. There is a cidery, numerous dining options, a sculpture park, and a collection of inns and hotels offering the requisite fireplaces, hot tubs, and sweeping mountain views. Shoppers can visit antique stores, and beer fans can try local craft brews at the area’s many breweries. And fans of the Sound of Music can track down the von Trapps, who settled near Stowe after fleeing Austria. Descendents of the famous family still run an inn and a series of eateries in town.

6

St. Simons, Georgia

An old fishing pier on St Simons Island beyond rock seawall.
Credit: Darryl Brooks/ Shutterstock

For couples that crave both solitude and nature, consider a trip to St. Simons — the largest of Georgia’s Golden Isles. Start your romantic getaway with a scenic ferry ride out to this secluded island, and budget plenty of time for St. Simons’ pristine white sand beaches. The town itself couldn’t be more charming either — live oak-shaded lanes are lined with antique shops, cute cafés, and cozy inns and spas. Most visitors rent bikes to explore the island — and taking a picnic lunch out to the 19th-century lighthouse is a favorite activity.

Nature lovers, take note: The island is also rich in birdlife, offering birders a chance at spotting some 300 species. You can enjoy the abundance from scenic coves, on sandy hikes through the region’s salt marshes, or while kayaking along the barrier island’s various inlets. Fort Frederica National Monument, which includes an 18th-century fort and village, and the hauntingly beautiful Christ Church, one of the oldest churches in Georgia, are both must-sees for history buffs. And, while it may not fit into your romantic itinerary, the island offers incredible fishing and world-class golf.

5

Harbor Springs, Michigan

Panoramic drone view of the Little Traverse Bay.
Credit: Blake Brattina/ Shutterstock

Harbor Springs is located on Lake Michigan’s Little Traverse Bay — the deepest freshwater harbor in the Great Lakes. The town, a year-round destination for tourism, is a total charmer — complete with a picturesque yacht-filled marina and leafy streets lined with galleries, fudge shops, and cozy restaurants. But your highlight might just be the romantic drive along a portion of the M-119 highway nicknamed the Tunnel of Trees. The 30-mile stretch hugs Lake Michigan and offers one scenic natural vista after another.

Outside Harbor Springs, the Thorne Swift Nature Preserve is a popular spot for walking along lakefront dunes and marshland lined with cedar forests. The nearby town of Petoskey and its Historic Gaslight District is notable for its preserved Victorian architecture and its many listings on the National Historic Register. Finally, Pond Hill Farm is a must for wine tastings, a seasonal meal, or an idyllic country stroll.

4

Berkeley Springs, West Virginia

Berkeley Springs State Park entrance in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia.
Credit: Malachi Jacobs/ Shutterstock

Soaking in a warm, mineral spring bath with your partner might just be one of the most romantic things you can do — but did you know you can do it in West Virginia? Those healing waters are found within Berkeley Springs State Park and the park’s historic bathhouse. The building — a lovely, fully restored Roman-inspired structure — houses nine tiled tubs. Each four feet deep, the tubs are filled with rejuvenating water heated to 102 degrees Fahrenheit; appointments are available daily. (Fun fact: George Washington was a visitor and bather.)

Meanwhile, the historic town of Berkeley Springs is a romantic destination in its own right — filled with charming shops and restaurants. Also a well-known destination for arts lovers, the town offers an array of galleries, a theater, ongoing concerts, and festivals all year long. Outdoorsy activities include golf, biking, hiking, and simply taking in West Virginia’s lush, forested mountains and ridges. Be sure to visit the Panorama Overlook, which offers breathtaking views into Pennsylvania and Maryland and of the Potomac and Cacapon Rivers.

3

Lambertville, New Jersey

Aerial of Lambertville and New Hope bridge.
Credit: FotosForTheFuture/ Shutterstock

Founded in 1705, Lambertville offers lovely shaded streets, lined with restored Victorian homes and federal-style townhomes, and a compact downtown packed with eclectic antique shops, art galleries, and romantic restaurants — including the popular Lambertville Station in a restored 19th-century train depot. Bikers and hikers can enjoy the Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park Trail that cuts through town, and offers extraordinary views of the river and the surrounding woods.

Just outside of town, you can search for quirky ephemera at the Golden Nugget flea market, pick-up local produce and cheeses at one of a handful of nearby organic farms, admire the flowers and birds at the Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve, or walk across the Delaware River on the pedestrian-friendly bridge into the town of New Hope, located on the Pennsylvania side of the river. It features historic architecture, charming bistros, quirky shopping, brewpubs, and the Bucks County Playhouse.

2

Bisbee, Arizona

Street view of Bisbee Arizona and the their shops with lights.
Credit: DenisTangneyJr/ iStock

An old mining town just 12 miles north of the Mexican border in Arizona, Bisbee has avoided the ghost town fate of many such places and instead transformed into a quirky arts destination. For generations, residents mined the area for copper, gold, silver, and turquoise — leaving an impressive downtown complete with opulent Victorian hotels and saloons, stately brick buildings that now house spas and galleries, and a series of picturesque public stairways that allow pedestrian access up and around steep hillsides. The curving steps, many lined with historic stucco structures, recall Lisbon or the Amalfi Coast — except you’re in the Old West, surrounded by brewpubs, craft bourbon distilleries, and tasty Tex-Mex restaurants.    

The subterranean Queen Mine Tour is a must-see. Visitors strap on hardhats before traveling 1,500 feet underground to view the decommissioned copper mines. Above ground, view an incredible collection of street art or join one of the ghost tours that romanticize the town’s rugged past. And, right outside town, hikes through the Mule Mountains offer spectacular sunrises and sunsets from the red and gold desert landscape.

1

Lahaina, Hawaii

Lahaina Harbor on a beautiful day on the island of Maui, Hawaii.
Credit: AnnaGodfrey/ iStock

Hawaii is already considered one of the most romantic destinations on Earth — and Lahaina is no exception. Located on the island of Maui, this charming oceanfront town is steeped in history — it was once the capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom and later became a major center for whaling. Today, the town is best known for stunning sunsets, the restaurants and jewelry shops of Front Street, and a number of beachfront resorts with ample opportunity for romantic interludes.

No visit to Lahaina is complete without surfing or snorkeling in the azure coastal waters — look out for colorful reef fish and sea turtles. For a scenic stroll, the Kapalua Coastal Trail offers an ocean’s edge view of lava rock, white sands, and lush tropical foliage. Serious hikers, however, swear by the more rugged inland Pali Trail, which offers scenic panoramas from its high elevations. Afterward, be sure to check out the town’s famous banyan tree — planted in 1873, the 60-foot tree takes up an entire city block and includes 46 major trunks. On weekends, artisans and crafters set up their wares around the tree, and local musicians and dancers frequently perform. And finally, wrap up the day with a romantic sunset cruise or a traditional luau.

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