Are you one of those couples who got married on or around Valentine's Day in February and have an anniversary coming up? Even if the 14th isn't your exact date, February is when everyone's thoughts turn to love and indulging in a romantic getaway. This month, you basically have three choices:
- Follow the Sun. It's cold outside but you can shake off winter's chill by heading south or west to warmer weather. Discover some of the best places that will warm your hearts on an anniversary jaunt.
- Revel in the Snow. If your idea of fun together involves sports in the fluffy white stuff — downhill and cross-country skiing, skating, snowboarding, rides by carriage and dogsled through the snowy woods — then you'll savor a ski getaway trip for your anniversary.
- Settle for a Staycation. If you simply can't get away in February or funds are tight, plan on a romantic staycation at home. And enhance your Valentine's gift with a travel gift certificate so that you can escape later.
If you can travel to celebrate your February anniversary, start dreaming about these exceptional places.
February is Ski Season
From the Adirondack Mountains to the Canadian Rockies, most of the high elevations in the Northern Hemisphere are blanketed in snow come February. Discover the places on this continent that appeal to both athletes and aesthetes and offer scenic beauty, fine food, terrific accommodations and plenty of non-ski pursuits:
Bask in the Bahamas
There are 700 islands in the Bahamas, and many of the larger sand-rimmed ones are host to resorts that seem made for couples.
The long-awaited Baha Mar complex on Cable Beach is finally open for business, and there's a lot of see and do here. First choose which of the three hotels you prefer: the sexy SLS Baha Mar, the luxurious Rosewood Baha Mar, or the 1,800-room, something-for-everyone Grand Hyatt Baha Mar. In addition to the wide beach, swimming pools, and all kinds of water sports, Baha Mar also contains an ESPA Spa, a casino with ocean views, a Jack Nicklaus golf course, and a multitude of lounges and restaurants.
Cuddle Where It Couldn't Be Cozier
If you want a sure thing — and who doesn't on a romantic getaway — splurge on a stay in a Relais & Chateaux inn. These exceptional places, each one different from the others, are located in the United States, France, Italy and other locations all over the world.
Romantic elements that each shares are excellent cuisine, character, and charm. And if you have the time and the cash to totally indulge, plan to stay at several during your getaway; the brand's Routes du Bonheur are suggested itineraries for a driving vacation within a region.
Find Your Way to the Florida Keys
A necklace of islands surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the Caribbean Sea on the other, the Florida Keys is a popular vacation destination for couples.
The Keys offer everything from laid-back resorts to luxury places for romantics to savor the sun and sand. To cross this island chain that stretches from Key Largo (just below Miami) to Key West (at land's end), you'll traverse Route 1's numerous scenic overwater bridges.
Whether your passion is swimming, snorkeling, diving, fishing, feasting on fresh-caught seafood, participating in sunset revelry, or simply swinging in a hammock under a shady palm tree, you can indulge it here because there's water, water everywhere.
One of the largest hotels in the Florida Keys, Hawk's Cay stands on 60 acres within Duck Key, which is about an hour and a half drive from Miami. This property has both guest rooms and multi-bedroom villa suites, so it hosts families and groups as well as couples. To enhance romance, order room service breakfast, then go kayaking, biking, or kite boarding, and enjoy a sunset sail. Also keep an eye out for one of hotel's five Atlantic bottlenose dolphins that call Hawks Cay home.
Retreat to the Riviera Maya
A glorious beach destination along the coast of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, the Riviera Maya is filled with sensual resorts that cater to couples who crave a place in the sun.
The main point of arrival is Cancun International Airport, an easy plane ride for visitors from the eastern United States From there, visitors can travel to southern points on the Riviera Maya via the coastal highway. Although the midday sun can be searing, the average daily temperature ranges from 77 to 86 F. And those who visit in February can expect dry weather since the rainy season occurs May through November.
Secrets Resorts and Spas are among the area's popular all-inclusive brands. It features multiple locations on the Riviera Maya, all of which are all-inclusives and cater strictly to adults.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site as well as a national park, these five small, cliff-top villages on the Italian Riviera overlook the Ligurian Sea and are connected by coastal pathways. Thanks to its seductive sea views, the one linking Riomaggiore and Manarola is nicknamed Via dell'Amore. If you plan to hike between the towns, buy a Cinque Terre card. It includes access to the trails, use of the park buses, discounts to local museums, and wi-fi. The entire area is car-free, but each town has a train station.
Foodies will be interested to know that this part of Italy is known for its pesto, and those who drink will want to toast their love with limoncello.
Check out Cartagena
Visiting Cartagena on Columbia's coast will surround you in Colonial charm, city discoveries, island adventures, and much more at affordable rates. And Colombia is not far from the US: flying time from Miami is 2.5 hours, from Houston it's 3.5 hours, and from NYC it's 5.5 hours.
A fusion of European and Latin style make this former Colonial fortress both fun and fashionable. Savor meals in beachfront boîtes along the waterfront, take romantic carriage rides down cobblestone streets, and sleep in high-style hotels.
If part of your romantic fantasy involves visiting a near-deserted island, take the hour long boat ride across Cartagena Bay to reach nearby Rosario Island. The beaches are golden, the turquoise waters are warm, and you'll encounter marine life in their own open-water aquarium.
If the idea of visiting Hong Kong enchants, February is an ideal month to visit as heat and humidity make the destination uncomfortable later in the year. As one of the world’s great centers of commerce and trade, Hong Kong is one of Asia’s most modern and stylish cities.
Yet culture and heritage set Hong Kong apart from the rest of Asia. With more than 100 years of Colonial history and a largely Chinese population, Hong Kong is a unique fusion of Western and Eastern cultures where old incense-filled temples and Colonial buildings live side by side with glass-and-steel skyscrapers.
Hong Kong is also one of the world’s greatest cities for food lovers. From street food to Michelin-starred restaurants, Hong Kong is a living cultural experience for couples to immerse themselves in.
Hotels and resorts throughout the world create special packages for couples to celebrate Valentine's Day. Many of these deals are good for the entire month of February; some extend all the way into spring. These Valentine's Day offers typically include romantic perks — flowers, chocolate, late checkout, even rose petals on your bed. If you want something out of the ordinary, request it in advance from the management. To find a Valentine's Day offer, go directly to a hotel website and click on Deals or Offers and scroll to find one.
Consider Ottawa. Yes, Ottawa, the capital of Canada in the province of Ontario. Normally, Ottawa isn't known as a tourist hotspot; in fact, some consider the city downright dull. But in winter, Ottawa becomes magical, with an attraction that no place else on earth can boast: the Rideau Canal. Stretching 126 miles, this waterway is usually frozen solid by February — and that's when the fun begins.
Rent a pair of ice skates, hold each other's hand, and glide your way to invigorating bliss. Pause at a hut along the frozen waterway selling BeaverTails, a local delicacy that's fried, sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon, savored while warm, and best when shared. When you're ready to warm up, exit at Parliament Hill and head to the classic, classy and castle-like Fairmont Chateau Laurier.