PHOTO: Views of Hanalei Bay in Kauai. (Photo via Flickr/Chuck 55)
Destinations that offer relaxing atmospheres, the opportunity to unwind from life’s daily stressors, magnetic appeal and a setting to rekindle romance are pretty special. Add a stunning, picturesque view or spectacular backdrop, and it’s icing on the cake.
Renowned for its lush greenery, endless waterfalls, hundreds of rainbows, idyllic beaches and verdant gardens awash with colorful tropical plants, the Hawaiian island of Kauai possesses unparalleled natural beauty. From the soaring cliffs of the NaPali coast and its many velvety emerald peaks to the vast chasm of Waimea Canyon, Kauai dazzles the senses like no other destination on the planet.
There are so many strikingly unforgettable views in this island paradise, the choices are endless. Hanalei Pier provides a magnificent panoramic view of Hanalei Bay and the dramatic ridges of the Na Pali Coast. A trek on the Na Pali coast itself is considered one of the world’s most picturesque and exhilarating hikes. However, a stop at the Kalalau Lookout also rewards visitors with a 4,000-foot view of dagger-like cliffs and deep gorges of the Kalalau Valley. Let’s not forget endless strolls on long stretches of secluded shoreline and walking through the lapping tide of warm turquoise waters caressing your toes.
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Carmel-by- the- Sea
This quaint collection of whimsical thatched-roof cottages, Cape Cod homes, eclectic shops, artsy boutiques and storybook restaurants has given this coastal California town the reputation for ultimate romance. A walk on its sheltered, white silky beach with a slight breeze blowing through the hair feels like you’re in a fairytale. Incredibly picturesque Point Lobos State Reserve, at the northern end of the Big Sur Coast is less than four miles away. This beautiful promontory has so many breathtakingly beautiful stopping points along its wild Pacific coast that it’s hard to imagine the force of nature can be this incredible. Beside its rocky shores, crashing waves and prized ocean vistas, Point Lobos has a variety of scenic trails, majestic pines and wildflowers. If you love the outdoors, this area is hard to beat for romance.
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Magical, enchanting and romantic are just some of the names describing the island of Maui, and the Hawaiians say Maui no ka oi- Maui is the best. With its ancient volcanoes, natural turquoise pools, cascading waterfalls and miles of shimmering pristine beaches, Maui has so many ways to bring that “live in the moment” feeling to couples looking for romance. Sunrise at Haleakala’s 10,000-foot peak is a life-changing experience for many. An evening stroll through the torch-lit old whaling town of Lahaina with its massive banyan trees has its own special romantic appeal. Witnessing the spectacular sunset at the Old Lahaina Luau is one we’ll never forget. Considered the best in the islands, this Polynesian spectacle is suffused with the spirit of aloha and cultural authenticity.
Cabo san Lucas, Baja, Mexico
We call Cabo the “desert meets the ocean.” Located on the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja California peninsula, Cabo is all about the water. Like pearls on a necklace, a string of sparkling beaches stretches through Los Cabos along the Sea of Cortez and into the Pacific Ocean. Sunset sails transport passengers to Cabo’s famous stunning rock formations of El Arco, Cabo’s iconic trademark arch at Land’s End. Restaurants carved into cliffs overlooking the Bay of Cabo San Lucas offer magnificent views. Simply put, Cabo enchants. People come here for different reasons. Whether it’s tossing inhibitions to the wind, walking hand in hand on a windswept beach, falling asleep to the rhythm of the ocean or just immersing themselves in the colorful Mexican culture and its tantalizing foods, lovers love Cabo.
Newport, Rhode Island
I remember the first time we drove across the Newport Bridge as the sailboats passed underneath and surrounded the waters of the harbor we knew there was something absolutely extraordinary about this place. Newport was the gilded age playground to families like the Vanderbilts and Astors who built architectural stunning mansions celebrating the Victorian Age they called their “cottages.” Meandering through these mansions like the Breakers and Marble House are jaw-dropping experiences as are the spectacular harbor views from their massive lawns.
Sailing has long been a tradition of this New England city by the sea hosting some of the most coveted racing histories of our time. A romantic sunset sail on a schooner in the Narraganset Harbor is one sweet quintessential experience, and candlelight dinner at one of historic Bannister’s Wharf’s legendary waterfront restaurants-unparalleled.
Peace, serenity and its stunning red rock towers have made this mystical Arizona town a perfect choice for couples looking for a different romantic experience. The Yavapai Apache tribe considers this area to be sacred, and seven supposed male and female energy vortexes with healing and cleansing properties are said to exist here.
The river gorge of Oak Creek Canyon is breathtaking, but even a visit to the grounds of L’Auberge de Sedona, situated on the banks of Oak Creek is a calming, tranquil experience. Arizona is known for its magnificent sunsets and one not-to-be-missed breathtaking experience happens at Sedona’s Airport Mesa. The overlook offers stunning panoramic views with a spectacular palette of colors splashing across the sky and surrounding mountains as the sun disappears from the horizon.