After spending months locked up with your family, you may be in desperate need of quality time with your significant other. As cases start to decline, people are starting to think about travel, and in particular the chance for maybe a romantic getaway. If you have some childcare from your “quaran-team”, even an evening with your partner can do wonders for your relationship and mental health. But what can you do during the pandemic? And how do you plan for that trip? Check out below for ideas, suggestions, and tips for planning the perfect romantic getaway.
Wine Country Escape
Wine Country can offer rolling hills with vineyards as far as the eye can see, romantic outdoor tables where you can sip wine and watch the sun set, and a nice bottle of red wine to bond over and get in the mood. Wine country can be done with kids but is best as an adult activity. During the pandemic, many wineries have set up outdoor tasting areas, and some even have fire-pits to make it cozy and romantic. Wine countries around the area are also usually filled with places to hike, bike, or just stroll to get some outdoor time to bond. In warmer months or in milder climates you can find outdoor restaurants to enjoy a meal with a nice bottle that you just picked up. Or you can get take-out and eat in the room enjoying just each other’s company.
Places to Go: In California, Napa or Sonoma County are the places to go. Napa is great if you want easy. It is one road up and down where you access all the wineries. Sonoma County is where you want to go if you want something less touristy. In New York, check out the Finger Lakes area, which is known both for it’s wine as well as it’s amazing restaurants and scenery. And wherever you go, pack these wine bottle savers to bring back all the amazing bottles of wine you will buy.
COVID Considerations: At time of publication, wineries in California are allowing tasting outdoors and require reservations in advance. Always check to see the local county restrictions, as some will not allow hotels to be open to non-essential workers at this time. California has a statewide mask mandate, so be sure to bring your facemask with you. They will be required during all times except when eating or drinking.
Top 5 Napa
- Winery: V. Sattui
- Winery: Sterling Vineyard
- Winery: Honig Vineyard
- Things to Do: Napa Valley Wine Train
- Eat: Oxbow Public Market
Top 5 Sonoma
- Stay: Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn and Spa
- Winery: Buena Vista Winery
- Winery: La Crema Estate at Saralee’s Vineyard
- Things to Do: Sonoma Town Square
- Things to Do: Sonoma State Historic Park
There is something about being out in the woods, away from the rest of society, just you and your spouse or partner, snuggled up together by a fire or keeping warm in the tent. Camping lets you get away from it all and reconnect with nature as you reconnect as a couple. You can hike to explore, or just stay at the site by the fire roasting marshmallows or reading a book. If you are typically not a camper, the modern world has got you covered. Many campgrounds these days have cabins or yurts you can rent, that can be as luxurious as a hotel room, or as simple as a tent with a floor and a mat to lay down your sleeping bag. There are options for all budgets and all levels of desire to be one with nature.
Places to Go: National Parks are great for having economical camping options, but reservations need to be made early. Pinnacles National Park in California is one that is not as popular and has more reservations available. Yosemite and Yellowstone require having reservations months in advance. Also check your local state parks for camping options. We were able to find a very economical camp site in Mount Diablo State Park in June. Private campgrounds near popular parks and lakes will have more luxurious glamping and cabin options to choose from.
COVID Considerations: Note that during COVID, a shared bathroom may not be as desirable, but are often the only option in campgrounds. You will want to bring your sanitizing wipes with you to use. There is also always the natural option. Most campgrounds have moved to a purely reservation- based system so be sure to make reservations early as they are working on lower capacity. This is one of the safest options as you are in fresh air and can bring your own food to control exposure. But you are likely to still run into people in the campground and trail so be sure to bring your mask.
Top 5 – California Camping Getaways
I grew up near a beach, so a beach escape will always be what brings me back to my happy place. Part of why I always love the beach is the romance of it. I love sitting on the beach with a loved one and watching the sun set over the water in the west (or watching the sun rise over the water in the east). Sitting by the water you can hear it lapping the land and you are instantly relaxed. A beach getaway can also mean water sports. You can do some snorkeling, diving, jet skiing, surfing, or whatever gets your heart racing and lets the two of you reconnect. Plus you get to wear a swim suit and that can always add some fun and sexiness to your getaway.
Places to Go: In the United States, the best places to go to get some beach time right now are Florida – I hear the Gulf Shores has been quieter with a lot of rentals and less people. In California, San Diego has beautiful beaches. Santa Barbara and Santa Cruz is a little less crowded (but can be colder in winter months). Of course, Hawaii, Mexico and the Caribbean can be beautiful options, but due to the current pandemic, may require much more planning with testing and quarantine requirements. When choosing a place, be sure to look for something with a beach view and/or easy beach access and have access to the equipment you need such as beach chairs, shade, and beach towels so you do not have to pack it.
COVID Considerations: Before booking any place, make sure to check the local tourism website for the latest COVID restrictions. Some counties in California were only allowing essential travelers to stay in hotels during the peak of the surge. If flying, be sure to comply with the mandatory mask mandate, and consider a face shield for those moments when eating or drinking. Make sure to pick a beach location with plenty of space to social distance and bring a mask for any time you will be out and about. Getting a hotel with kitchenette or an Airbnb may allow you to have more control of your own food and eating arrangements. When looking to rent equipment for water sports, check what are their sanitizing protocols, and be prepared to bring your own equipment or sanitizing supplies if you want to be extra safe. Hawaii and many places in the Caribbean now require a negative PCR COVID test taken no later than 72 hours prior to landing. They may also require a 14-day quarantine. Mexico is not requiring a negative test at the time of publication, but the US is requiring a negative PCR test taken no later than 72 hours prior to landing to return. This is for everyone, including US Citizens. Be sure to check what your travel insurance will cover if you were to test positive before or during your trip.
Top 5 Beach Escapes
- La Jolla, California
- Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
- Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
- Saint Thomas, USVI
- Gulf Shores, Florida
New York, San Francisco, Chicago – There is something about the glamour of the big city. There are amazing museums, world famous restaurants, parks, public works of art, music, and theater to enjoy. A city trip certainly requires a lot more planning than it did in the past, but it does offer a wealth of activities that allow you to reconnect with your significant other, and you can enjoy without the responsibilities and job of keeping the little ones engaged and entertained. I love to walk in a city – to me that is the best way to get the feel and energy of the city. Do your research and see what is open and make reservations for the museums and experiences that are currently open. It is also great to check out what restaurants are open and allowing dining (indoor or outdoor) and make your reservations for a romantic dinner for two. Right now, most of the theater and music experiences are closed, but there is hope they will reopen some point this year, allowing you to enjoy an evening of entertainment with your spouse or partner. And there is always cuddling up in your hotel room and checking out the views of the city scape all around you.
Places to Go: For me, a weekend in New York is a fantastic romantic escape. There is a wealth of things to do, even during a pandemic, and using Priceline you can usually find last minute hotel deals at reasonable (for New York) prices. But I also love San Francisco for a weekend escape, even if you are local like we are. Every neighborhood has a different vibe, and San Francisco is an incredibly easy city to navigate (even with all the hills). But some other great places to visit include Chicago, and its beautiful Millennium park with a million outdoor activities, Seattle known for Pike Place Market, and San Diego with its year-round sun and surf and famous Gaslamp Quarter.
COVID Considerations: With the pandemic continuing, cities are where you will find the most people and therefore need to be the most cautious if you are choosing to travel there. Cities are also the places with the most restrictions. Check the tourism website before leaving to see what the current restrictions are, make sure to comply with current requirements. Most cities have a mask mandate, so be sure to always have proper face coverings. Check all the museums you with to visit and make sure to make reservations. Finally make sure, you understand the dining restrictions that may be in place wherever you are, and perhaps see if you have a small table in your hotel to bring your takeout back for a romantic night in.
Top 5 – New York
- Eat: Dinner in Little Italy
- Things to Do: Walking in Central Park
- Things to Do: A show on Broadway
- Things to Do: Shopping on 5th Avenue
- Things to Do: Christmas in New York
Top 5 – San Francisco
- Things to Do: Walking Golden Gate Park
- Things to Do: Farmer’s Market at the Ferry Building
- Things to Do: Take a Free Walking Tour
- Eat: Dinner at Perbacco or Colibri
- Things to Do: The De Young Museum
This pandemic has been stressful on most relationships. If you can get coverage, a romantic getaway may be just the thing that will allow you to reconnect. You must do what you feel is safe and comfortable. It might be Valentines Day, it might be this summer, it might not be until 2022. But even the act of planning this escape may be just what you need. Check out my ideas, cuddle up next to your spouse with your computer or iPad, and think about how you can reconnect on your next romantic getaway.
* Starred Photos taken by Atma Photography
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