Hidden Gems: Unforgettable Off-the-Beaten-Path Romantic Weekend Escapes

Are you and your better half craving to get out of your comfort zone and go on a romantic adventure off the beaten path? Lesser-known destinations provide an incredibly enriching experience in a fascinating place without the limiting influence of tourism.

Off-the-beaten-path travel destinations aren’t crowded with foreign visitors, allowing you to see the best things about a place through a more authentic lens. From learning about interesting history to having a heartwarming chat with a local, these places offer a unique blend of spontaneity and adventure, which is what romantic getaways are all about! 

Off the beaten path for Romantic weekend escapes cover image.

Are you sick of all the one-size-fits-all romantic getaway itineraries?

You’re in the right place. Not every couple wants to be surrounded by other tourists and spend their days taking photos at the same spots as everyone else. Some of us want to escape from the crowd and have a more unique and exclusive experience. If that sounds like your perfect romantic getaway, then this is for you!

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If this is the type of experience you’re looking for, these 10 off-the-beaten-path destinations will certainly have you and your partner immersed in the true heart and soul of your romantic getaway.

1. Mendocino, California

Rocky Pacific Coast Near Mendocino, California
Photo Credit: Yay Images

Mendocino is a charming village perched atop a wild and rugged bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. With towering redwood trees, glass-bottom beaches, and one-of-a-kind gardens, it’s a great place for nature lovers.

Stay in a cozy cottage at Sea Rock Inn, a refined B&B with stunning ocean views. If you’re looking for something more rustic, Joshua Grindle Inn is an 1879 Victorian farmhouse turned B&B that sits on two acres of gardens. Since breakfast is covered, you can’t miss a romantic meal at Trillium Cafe & Inn, Sibo, or Luna Trattoria.

Start your day off epic and spend the morning hiking one of the many cliffside trails that offer spectacular views of the regal cliffs and coastline. Or, go for a romantic stroll and admire the beautiful Victorian architecture before stopping into their unique art galleries and boutique shops. To learn something new, tour the 19th-century Ford House or visit the botanical garden — it’s the only oceanfront botanical garden in the United States!

2. Door County, Wisconsin

The famous Cana Island lighthouse located next to lake Michigan in Door County Wisconsin.
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos

Also known as “Cape Cod of the Midwest,” Door County is a scenic coastal town on a picturesque peninsula brimming with apple and cherry orchards, specialty shops, fish boils, and natural beauty. 

During your visit, experience blissful comfort by staying at the White Gull Inn, a Victorian house within walking distance of Peninsula State Park, Or enjoy an adults-only experience at Ashbrooke Hotel one mile from the beach.

You and your love can spend your days exploring the area’s impressive lighthouses, forests, caves, sand dunes, islands, and historic shipwrecks. When it’s time to wind down after a day of sightseeing, wine tasting, and attending a local fish boil is a must!

In Door County, there are more than just fish boils to choose from. Wild Tomato, Wickman House, and Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant are exceptional local favorites.

3. Eureka Springs, Arkansas

View of shops and historic buildings on the Main Street in Eureka Springs.
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos

Eureka Springs is a historic Victorian town built around its tranquil natural mineral springs. It’s the perfect place for couples who enjoy a vibrant art scene and want to feel like they’ve traveled back in time.   

For an enchanting weekend getaway, Eureka Springs Treehouses, Caves, Castles & Hobbits offers lodging in magical treehouses and hobbit caves. You also can’t go wrong with the 1892 New Orleans Hotel that sits right off Main Street. For some authentic eats, check out Local Flavor Cafe, Grotto Wood Fired Grill and Wine Cave, and The Rockin’ Pig Saloon.

A trip to Eureka Springs isn’t complete without visiting the unique Thorncrown Chapel, an architectural icon. You’ll also want to tour the Eureka Springs and bathe in the healing waters at the Palace Hotel & Bath House. And for a good spook, the Crescent Hotel Ghost Tour will have you and your love holding onto each other extra tight!

4. St. Augustine, Florida

Photo Credit: Deposit Photos

One of the best off the beaten path places is St. Augustine, America’s oldest city on the northeast coast of Florida. What sets this location apart is its old cobblestone streets, Spanish colonial architecture, and the plethora of shops, museums, wineries, distilleries, and restaurants.

To get the full experience, stay at the Casa De Solana Bed & Breakfast, a 1760s Spanish-style B&B. Or, The St. Francis Inn Bed and Breakfast to enjoy the hot tub and romantic amenities. You won’t want to leave, but once you stroll into town, you’ll find tons to explore. Visit the St. Augustine Lighthouse, spend the day at the beach, or explore the many castles in the area that provide tours all year round.

After a day of exploring, have a romantic dinner at Harry’s Seafood Bar & Grille or Catch 27, both great places for authentic seafood. If you’re vegan or vegetarian, Manatee Cafe also has plenty of delicious options. 

5. Beaufort, South Carolina

Ruins of Old Sheldon Church near Beaufort, South Carolina, United States.
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos

Head on down to Beaufort for some good o’ southern charm and hospitality. This coastal Sea Island has done well to preserve its antebellum architecture, giving couples who visit a taste of its historic small-town atmosphere. 

Wake up and lull to sleep in the historic Rhett House Inn. The surrounding oak trees covered in swaying Spanish moss provide the perfect romantic backdrop. Anchorage 1770 offers a similar feel but with better accessibility options. For good eats, make sure you check out Fishcamp on 11th Street, Plums, and local favorite: Lowcountry Produce Market & Café.

While here, take a romantic stroll through the tropical Hunting Island State Park to take in breathtaking views of the marshlands. You’ll also want to take a romantic horse and buggy tour through The Old Point Neighborhood to view the majestic live oaks before soaking up the culture on Historic Bay Street.

Most important tip: Respect the place you’re visiting and the locals who live there. Remember that where you go isn’t just the backdrop for your romantic vacation but a place where people live and work. Showing respect for the land, culture, and way of life can go a long way in creating a positive experience for both you and the people you meet.

6. Galena, Illinois

The Grant Park in Galena, Illinois during daylight
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos

Galena is a historic town known for its well-preserved 19th-century architecture, eclectic art scene, and acclaimed vineyards. Step off the beaten track and experience years of history with your beau, starting with a stay at The Hancock House Bed and Breakfast Inn, a hillside Victorian-style B&B that’s been standing since 1891. For something more cozy and secluded, the Inn At Irish Hollow sits on 500 acres of scenic farmland  — perfect for a romantic stay.

Explore your creative side and take a pottery class at the Artists’ Annex. Or, journey back to the early 19th century and visit the Galena & U.S. Grant Museum. Don’t forget to make a stop at one of the many award-winning wineries for a tasting, too! And after a fun-filled day, rejuvenate at one of the many health and wellness spas in Galena Country.

The Midwest knows how to eat, so make sure you treat yourselves to a romantic dinner at the Log Cabin Steakhouse and Fried Green Tomatoes. For something more casual, Durty Gurt’s is a local favorite.

7. Cannon Beach, Oregon

Looking at Haystack Rock, Cannon Beach, Oregon, a couple is strolling along the shoreline
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos

Cannon Beach is the perfect destination for couples who live for stunning beaches, hiking trails, and top-of-the-line seafood. Its iconic Haystack Rock makes this scenic coastal town a unique travel destination, but this only scratches the surface.

You and your partner can spend the day sightseeing at Cannon Beach’s natural wonders by visiting Ecola State Park, Arcadia Beach. Stop and have a picnic at one of the many scenic viewpoints or walk along the tidepools hand-in-hand. Keep an eye out for Tufted Puffins! They are frequent in this incredible region.

Between the cozy Ocean Lodge, uniquely modern Arch Cape Loft, and beachside Tolovana Inn, there are plenty of romantic places to stay for your romantic getaway. For the best seafood in town, Ecola Seafoods Restaurant & Market has fresh catch served daily. When you’re in the mood for something sweet, Crepe Neptune is your go-to. And for a romantic dinner with a view, The Wayfarer Restaurant & Lounge is simply extraordinary. 

8. Taos, New Mexico

Ancient City of Taos, New Mexico USA.
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos

A historic art colony, Taos is a true diamond in the desert and the muse of famous artists like Georgia O’Keeffe, Ansel Adams, and Mabel Lujan Dodge. Couples who visit this beautiful place will be enamored by its Pueblo architecture and distinctive art scene.

There are many places to stay in Taos that embody its enchanting desert atmosphere. Get a taste of the van life and stay at Hotel Luna Mystica, or sleep among the trees and enjoy drinks in the patio jacuzzi at Cottam’s Lodge. For a romantic dinner out, The Love Apple, Doc Martin’s Restaurant, and Chokola are all great authentic Mexican options with price points for every budget.

So what to do in Taos? What isn’t there to do? You can’t make a trip without visiting the Taos Art Museum. You and your boo can cool off and have a splash on the scenic river float available during the summer. If you’re visiting in winter, go skiing at Taos Ski Valley and have a blast together in the snow!

9. Lanesboro, Minnesota

View of Lanesboro street with red flowers, greenery, and farm infrastructure.
Photo Credit: Stone Mill Hotel & Suites

Love a good hiking trail? Lanesboro is full of ’em! this charming small town is surrounded by the natural beauty of the Root River Valley. With a population of only 711, you and your one and only are sure to have a romantic getaway that is quiet and secluded.

Feel like a Minnesota native and stay at Stone Mill Hotel & Suites. Or, experience Victorian luxury and stay at the Historic Scanlan House B&B. Either would be the perfect place to crash after a fun-filled day of hiking and biking along the river. Be sure to also check out the Bluffscape Amish Tours, The Peddler Boutique, and Lanesboro Museum to learn all about the culture in the area.

Lanesboro may be a small town, but it’s got some good eats. Pedal Pushers Cafe is a local favorite, as well as Aroma Pie Shoppe for some sweets and High Court Pub for some boozin’. 

10. Leavenworth, Washington

Winter Mountains Snow German Buildings Orange Maple Leaves Leavenworth Washington
Photo Credit: Yay Images

Escape to a scenic Bavarian-style village without leaving the States in Leavenworth, Washington. If the soaring mountains don’t make your jaw drop, the architecture straight out of a storybook will! It’s the perfect place for a romantic getaway.

For panoramic views of the mountains, Mountain Home Lodge is equipped with an outdoor pool and hot tub. And if you want to feel completely one with nature, Icicle Road Haüs is a one-of-a-kind stay with mountain views right amongst the trees.

Leavenworth offers many great dining options that hold true to the Bavarian culture there. For German eats, Andreas Keller Restaurant and München Haus are must-visits. And for the best breakfast in town, Breakfast at Pine River Ranch will blow you away.

During your stay, check out The Leavenworth Nutcracker Museum to learn a bit about the culture. We also recommend taking a romantic horseback ride at Eagle Creek Ranch and visiting the Leavenworth Reindeer Farm, which is around all year long.

Dos and Don’ts for Off-the-Beaten-Path Travel

  • Do – Research and plan your trip ahead of time to ensure that you are traveling safely and within your means.
  • Don’t – Assume that what works at home also applies in other countries. Many countries have different cultures, customs, and laws, which may be vastly different from what you are used to.
  • Do – Pack light and efficiently. When traveling off the beaten path, you may encounter rough terrain and limited transportation options, which can make carrying heavy luggage difficult.
  • Don’t – Engage in activities that may be disrespectful or harmful to the local environment or community. Be mindful of your actions and their impact on the places you visit.
  • Do – Have a sense of adventure and embrace new experiences. Off-the-beaten-path travel often involves unique opportunities to immerse yourself in different cultures, try new foods, and explore lesser-known destinations. Embrace these experiences and step out of your comfort zone!
Back view of hugging couple walking on street in sunny day.
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos


What is off-the-beaten-path travel?

Going on a romantic getaway off-the-beaten-path means that you are going somewhere that isn’t as touristy or popular to visit. This place might not even have tourism at all! 

These so-called “hidden gems” give you the opportunity to explore an area in a more authentic way without encountering tourists or restaurants, shops, and lodgings that are catered to tourists. Basically, you’ll be experiencing it just as the locals do!

How to travel and not be a tourist?

If you and your partner are aiming to travel like a local, there are a few ways you can embody the spirit of an explorer without being a regular tourist.

Be spontaneous: instead of planning every moment of your trip, try just taking things day by day and leaving yourself room to stumble upon something that excites you!

Avoid chain stores/restaurants: seek out the local small businesses rather than big establishments that you can find anywhere else. It’s a great way to support the local community.

Don’t just book big attractions: while some are super fun and worthwhile, highly advertised attractions can often be a tourist trap. Stick to other activities that are cheaper or even free! You’ll likely find all the locals there.

Chat with some locals: the best way to get a feel for the culture of a place is to talk with a local! Spontaneous connections like this are priceless.

How do I find out if where I’m going is safe?

Without the safety net of tourism, some off-the-beaten-path destinations can be more dangerous. To determine whether or not a destination is safe, it’s best to research and read up on the current safety situation. You can also speak to locals who are familiar with the area you plan to visit to get an inside look at what to expect.

The Roads Less Traveled Offer More for Romance

We hope this guide has equipped you with all the necessary information for planning an amazing romantic getaway off the beaten path. 

Whether it’s the enchanting desert atmosphere of Taos, New Mexico, or the snow-capped mountains of Leavenworth, Washington, any of these top 10 spots would make a great destination for your next romantic escape.

Share your favorite hidden gems with us, and let us know how you made the most of your romantic getaway! Don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter for more unique travel tips and romantic destination ideas. We can’t wait to hear about your adventures! 

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