If you’re looking for the perfect place to whisk away your sweetie this Valentine’s Day, head South. Something about the way of life below the Mason-Dixon line screams romance, from the sweet, Southern fashions to the moss-draped trees and the lovingly baked pralines and pies. It doesn’t hurt matters that you’re likely to enjoy warm weather when you fly South for Feb. 14, either, and nothing charms a Northerner quite like sunshine in the winter. Whether you’re looking to get intimate with your darling over classic Southern flavors or to reconnect amidst some of America’s most divine architectural splendor, you can do it all down South.
- Dinner and a Carriage Ride in Charleston—When we think of Charleston, we instantly think of the heart-eyed emoji (????). This gem of a Southern town goes big on history, food and all-around Southern charm, making it the perfect place to don your finest monogrammed apparel and sip a crafty julep. Like many of the cities on this list, Charleston is a foodie’s haven (it was named one of America’s best food cities by The Washington Post in 2015 and one of America’s most exciting food cities by Zagat in 2017) and romance-heavy signature spots like Husk, Circa 1886 and Halls Chophouse make it a top-notch destination for lovers. But the romantic must-do in Charleston is the carriage ride, offering plenty of cuddling potential through the utterly delightful streets of Charleston’s historic downtown.
- A Private Dining Experience in Savannah—Georgia’s own historic charmer is well-known for its cheery, well-manicured parks featuring the region’s beloved Spanish moss and wide old streets lined with exemplary Colonial and Victorian estates. Like Charleston, it’s on the up-and-up food-wise, and you’ll find plenty of unique and romantic dining experiences here, too, including a few opportunities for private dining. From the elegant, prim-and-proper vibes of The Olde Pink House to the more modern semi-private experience at Local11ten, there’s no shortage of “just-us” gastronomic prospects here. Finish your evening with a romantic stroll through the iconic Forsyth Park.
- A Five-Star Spa Retreat in Miami—If heat and passion are what you seek, take your Feb. 14 date night further south to Miami. The lively, Latin culture lends itself well to outgoing pairs who dream of dancing, dining and staying out late, but there’s another side of Miami that caters to chill duos as well. The city is home to some of the region’s most decadent luxury spas, all of which lend themselves well to a romantic yet unique Valentine’s Day experience. From the 24-karat gold scrub at The Edition to the chardonnay massage at the Biltmore Hotel, there’s no shortage of five-star spa treatments to spur relaxation and romance in Miami.
- A Unique Tasting Experience in Nashville—You know Nashville as the Music City, but there’s more to the story. This live music hotbed is multilayered, and there’s so much to do there for the adventurous couple. Of course, a good Nashville date night should start off right—with a show at Ryman Auditorium or Mercy Lounge—but if you want a whole-new experience, you have to look to the city’s unique tasting opportunities. Enjoy a hypnotic absinthe tasting during The Green Hour at Tempered Café or go on a food tour to experience the gastronomic vibes of this cool city firsthand.
- A Self-Guided Food Tour and Cooking Class in Asheville—There’s no shortage of things to do on Valentine’s Day in Asheville, especially if your idea of a good date night centers around gorging. This fun date night idea takes you to this foodie city’s culinary crown jewels—and trust us, there are plenty—and finishes with a couple’s cooking class focused on the warm, rustic flavors of the Smokies. If you’re looking for a particularly unique cooking experience, consider Log Cabin Cooking, an Asheville company offering hands-on cooking classes from within an authentic 1930s log cabin.
- A Parisian-Themed Evening in New Orleans—If you can’t surprise your valentine with a trip to France, let the French Quarter suffice (and suffice it will). The New Orleans epicenter is bursting with opportunities for European romance, and February—before the Fat Tuesday crowds begin to shuffle in—is a great time to visit. Give your New Orleans date night a bit of Parisian passion with dinner at the sweet bistro Meauxbar if you’re looking for something on the contemporary end or Arnaud’s French 75 if you seek more of a traditional French dining experience. Be sure to save room for beignets at Café Du Monde after dinner if you want to say you did.
- A Cobblestone Walk and Craft Cocktails in Alexandria—Often dubbed one of Virginia’s most romantic cities, Alexandria, VA has earned itself the designation of “Best Place for a First Date” by the Washingtonian. The Washington, D.C. suburb plays up old-fashioned charm, making it the perfect place for a cobblestone stroll. Start on Captain’s Row, the charming 1700s block of Prince Street that was once home to seafarers, or meander through Old Town to the Potomac waterfront. Alexandria may be historic, but it’s not archaic. It’s also got plenty of potential for the contemporary craft cocktail lover, with high-taste sippers enjoying complex pours at Bar PX, Magnolia’s on King and Captain Gregory’s.
No one does romance quite like the South! No matter if your idea of romance is hot and heavy in South Beach or sweet and sultry in Savannah, you’ll find that this region will make your valentine swoon. To complete any one of these evenings, show up with a Southern-style bouquet complete with area-appropriate blossoms—magnolias, azaleas and daffodils for days!—and don’t forget to go heavy on the Southern charm.