April travel has two halves: Up until mid-month, couples looking for a romantic place to celebrate an anniversary ought to be careful to avoid places overrun with spring breakers. The majority return to school by April 15, so you don't have to be quite so careful about where you go in the latter half of the month.
April is when the annual National Cherry Blossom Festival takes place in Washington, D.C., and the gorgeous trees lining the tidal basin are in full bloom. Just a few miles down the Potomac River, National Harbor is a compact, walkable, upmarket community that has three appealing hotels: AC Hotel National Harbor By Marriott, Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, and MGM National Harbor, which also features a casino.
One of National Harbor's most popular April events is Sakura Sunday, which features a Japanese market, sake and beer garden, and live performances that relate to D.C.'s cherry blossom festival.
Yet anytime is a good time for a romantic getaway to National Harbor. Couples have their choice of more than 40 eateries, can cuddle as they ride the Capital Wheel that soars 180 feet above the water (especially at sunset), and take the free shuttle to Tanger Outlets in case you want to pick out anniversary gifts together.
Have a shell of a time on the quiet side of Lee County in southwest Florida. While bigger and busier Fort Myers may draw some spring breakers, smaller and quieter Sanibel and Captiva islands are havens for grown-ups.
Every morning a bounty of seashells wash ashore on their clean, protected beaches where sunsets draw a nightly crowd. At the island’s marina, you can see river otters, loggerhead sea turtles, dolphins, manatees, bald eagles, and hundreds of other native and migratory birds that take up home in this area.
Couples who appreciate full-service accommodations should consider South Seas Island Resort on Captiva Island, which boasts 2.5 miles of beach along the Gulf of Mexico.
Inspired by roadside lodgings that catered to medieval pilgrims, Portugal’s pousadas (country inns) reflect the customs, culture, and cuisine of the country. Desire a relaxing country retreat, a convenient site near Lisbon, or a location near gilded museums and centuries-old cathedrals? You can find them all, and the weather should be comfortable in April and with fewer crowds than in the summer.
Some pousadas are former convents or monasteries with superb architecture and dazzling azulejo tiling. Others are adjacent to historic monuments or even located in Portugal's famous wine country.
In these enchanting pousadas, hospitality and dining are as authentic as the structure itself. In addition to their authentic charm, pousadas' intimate size gives a couple an opportunity to meet and get to know the people of Portugal.
Since it's home to Adobe, Yahoo, and Google, most people associate Silicon Valley with the high-tech industry, not romantic getaways. Yet San Jose, as California’s third-largest city, is a good pick for an April romantic getaway. Its gentle climate (the average high in April is 71 degrees F) and easygoing attitude add to the appeal.
Couples will appreciate that San Jose is culturally endowed with concerts, plays, museums, galleries, a professional hockey team, and a state university all within walking distance of downtown. A short drive from downtown, lively Santana Row is a three-block stretch of shops, day spas, cafés, restaurants, and clubs. If you want to stop and smell the roses, they're always something in bloom at the Municipal Rose Garden, home to more than 3,500 plantings and 189 varieties.
An added plus: Lovers of California wine can find numerous vineyards a few minutes' drive from San Jose in the Santa Cruz Mountains. The growing area is less commercial and far less crowded than Napa Valley.
April is autumn in New Zealand, and the weather couldn't be better: Expect sunny days under clear blue skies and temperatures in the mid-60s F. The country's extraordinary scenery includes everything from glaciers and rain forests, beaches and mountain ranges, volcanoes and geysers, tranquil lakes and fjords, meadows and plains, thunderous waterfalls and serpentine rivers, enticing adventurous couples to spend time exploring outdoors.
More than a third of the land has been set aside in national parks, reserves, and heritage sites that preserve the country's ecological treasures. Yet you need not rough it: Extraordinary places that include Delamore Lodge, Kauri Cliffs, and Eagles Nest offer the kind of luxury experience a couple looking to spend a romantic vacation together deserves.
Nearly a third of the way down the Blue Ridge Parkway, Roanoke is a good stopover point to stretch your legs and reward yourself with a memorable meal. Prefer to travel the waterways? You can kayak through town on the Roanoke River and other nearby scenic waterways.
Surrounded by verdant farmland and inspired by Southern cooking and hospitality, Roanoke eateries offer a variety of foodie experiences. Sample the city’s culinary scene with Roanoke Food Tours, which surveys downtown food and culture.
Open every day, the Historic Roanoke City Market is the place to score picnic-worthy fruit, vegetables, cheese, and baked goods from local farmers. All around the market, you can visit the nearby boutique shops, museums, and more incredible restaurants.
Thanks to its distinctive red rocks and the energy that some believe they emanate, Sedona takes couples out of everyday life and surrounds them in an otherworldly destination—and sometimes that's just what you want on your passionate escape.
Explore the surroundings on a pink jeep tour or from above in a hot air balloon. Afterward, head to L'Auberge de Sedona, one of the most romantic retreats in the Southwest. Located on 11 acres in a canyon by a stream, this French country inn offers couples the choice of cuddling in a charming room in its two-story lodge or a secluded cabin with a working fireplace.
The capital of a small country that didn’t wrest itself from communist control until 1989, Budapest has flourished in the intervening years. Some couples come on their anniversary to see and sail the Danube, some because Hungary is part of their family heritage, some because they’ve heard about wonderful Hungarian wines and want to sample them, others simply because they want to explore its cultural and natural treasures.
What makes an April visit especially appealing is the Budapest Spring Festival. It features performances of classical music, opera, jazz, world music, dance, contemporary circus, theater, and the visual arts and gives visitors an opportunity to discover more of the city by visiting the multiple venues where the events are held. And there's no more romantic place to stay than the Four Seasons Gresham Palace Budapest.
Rainy season is normally over by April, yielding gorgeous weather in Hawaii. One of the great things about the 50th state is that there is lots more to do here than in most tropical destinations. Obviously Hawaii is famous for its pristine beaches and crystal blue waters, but you can also go for a hike in the verdant landscapes, swim under waterfalls, snorkel with tropical fish, experience local culture at a luau, or head out for a night out dancing at one of Honolulu's many bars.
Definitely plan to experience more than one of the islands on your vacation, as each one has something special and unique to offer, from the big city vibe in Honolulu on Oahu to the beautiful hiking trails on the island of Maui. An ideal way to experience multiple islands is on a cruise, and boating from island to island is as romantic as being on the island itself.
San Diego, California
San Diego's ideal climate and balmy breezes lure guests year-round. Hotel del Coronado is among the country's finest examples of Victorian architecture. The distinctive red-shingled roof evokes the mission heritage of San Diego, while the white-painted woodwork is as ornate and delicious as a wedding cake. This grand dame prides herself on old-world service combined with modern conveniences.
A grassy promenade alongside the hotel beach is dotted with palm trees, separating tennis courts from the water. Golfers can play bayside at the nearby Coronado Golf Course. In the greater San Diego area are more than 50 golf courses, including Torrey Pines, site of the annual Farmers Insurance Open. Across from the hotel is the picturesque marina on Glorietta Bay, where visitors may surf, fish, or rent a sailboat. As dusk settles, lilac-hued sunsets cast a romantic glow.