Whether it’s a birthday, Valentine’s day, or anniversary – what better way to celebrate than by enjoying a romantic escape in the beautiful Northwest? These top spots for romance are sure to make for a dreamy, unforgettable getaway.
Langley, Whidbey Island, Washington
Set atop a bluff on Whidbey Island, Langley overlooks the glistening waters of Saratoga Passage and the Cascade Mountain Range. Often named as one of the Northwest’s “best escapes,” it offers a charming, tranquil atmosphere, with streets lined with historic buildings that house antique shops, book stores, cafes and eateries, many of which focus on dishes created with locally-grown ingredients.
You’ll find lots to do in this seaside village too, from whale watching excursions and meeting winemakers that produce local wines to browsing world-class art galleries and chatting with the artists. From the picturesque waterfront, one can also explore more than 1,000 acres of wooded trails on foot or two-wheels, and enjoy paddling the waters in a kayak while catching glimpses of blue herons, bald eagles and perhaps even migrating whales. The Inn at Langley offers the ideal romantic stay, with its 28 guestrooms, suites and cottages featuring 180-degree waterfront views and jetted tubs that face a cozy fireplace and the Puget Sound.
San Juan Island, Washington
The San Juan Islands are a scenic ferry ride away from mainland Washington State and offer the chance to enjoy plenty of romance, peace and tranquility along with a multitude of outdoor adventures. San Juan Island, the largest in the archipelago, boasts outstanding farm-to-table restaurants, eclectic boutiques, loads of art galleries and several museums. It also happens to be one of the top spots for whale watching in the world. Killer whales are frequently seen not far from shore at Lime Kiln Point, and many other places along the west side of the island. Join a kayak tour and you’re likely to enjoy close encounters with all sorts of wildlife. In addition to whales, seals, sea lions, porpoise, otters, bald eagles and many other creatures can often be seen.
You’ll also have your pick of romantic accommodation options like Roche Harbor Resort, a historic property set along the north end of the island at the edge of the Salish Sea.
Port Townsend, Washington
This Victorian seaport town set on the northeastern tip of the Olympic Peninsula, is surrounded by water and soaring mountains. A “City of Dreams,” as it was referred to when officially settled back in 1851, today it’s often named on lists of the best small towns in America. You’ll find an eclectic mix of creative types like musicians, writers and artists, along with mariners and outdoor adventurers, while streets are lined with spectacular Victorian-era buildings which host a variety of restaurants, cafes, galleries and boutiques.
Recreate “An Officer and a Gentleman,” at beautiful Fort Worden State Park, the very spot it was filmed, and enjoy the gorgeous beaches, some of which are hidden away, ideal for a little romantic interlude. You can even stay in a castle by booking a room at Manresa Castle, or perhaps the very romantic Ann Starrett Mansion.
Mount Rainier National Park, Washington
On a clear day in the Seattle area, impressive Mount Rainier, which rises up more than 14,000 feet, is a remarkable, jaw-dropping sight that can be seen from many points throughout the Puget Sound region. By visiting Mount Rainier National Park, you’ll get to experience it up close. Not only does that snow-capped mountain summit await, you can enjoy picnics in colorful wildflower-filled alpine meadows, and be mesmerized by the vast glaciers and tumbling waterfalls that cascade around almost every bend. During the warmer months, enjoy cozying up together at night in a tent, or one of the romantic log cabins at Three Bears Lodge.
Kalaloch Lodge and Olympic National Park, Washington
Kalaloch Lodge offers a classic romantic seaside escape with easy access to Olympic National Park along a breathtakingly rugged stretch of coastline. Cabins sit perched atop a bluff, offering panoramic ocean views, and you can spend your days peering into tide pools, beachcombing and watching for whales, as well as venturing inland to hike through the pristine temperate rainforest dotted with cascading falls. End your day by gazing at a glorious sunset over the Pacific.
Columbia River Gorge, Oregon
The Columbia River Gorge divides the states of Washington and Oregon, and by driving the Historic Columbia River Highway which begins just east of Portland, you can enjoy a romantic, scenic road trip that boasts some of the most magnificent views in the Northwest, including panoramic vistas of the Columbia. If you two are into outdoor adventure, check out the world-class windsurfing and kite boarding conditions, or one of the many hiking trails that can be found throughout the region. Or, you could always enjoy simple pleasures like indulging in wine tasting at one of the many wineries in the region followed by a soothing treatment at a relaxing spa. Whatever you do, be sure to visit Multnomah Falls to kiss among the mist of this waterfall that plunges for over 600 feet as the “granddaddy” of the 77 waterfalls found on the Oregon side of the gorge.
Make a weekend, or more, out of it by staying at the Columbia Gorge Hotel which overlooks the Gorge, a 208-foot-high waterfall and beautifully landscaped formal gardens. It includes a tranquil onsite spa offering massage and body treatments, as well as rooms with elegant touches like canopy beds.
Cannon Beach, Oregon
Cannon Beach is arguably the most romantic town on the entire Oregon coast. It offers a bevy of upscale restaurants, art galleries, unique shops and seaside resorts known for their impressive views of iconic Haystack Rock and the Pacific Ocean, some of which cater specifically to couples seeking a romantic escape, like the Stephanie Inn. Kids 12 and younger aren’t allowed, so you’ll have plenty of quiet time for enjoying storm watching from the comfort of your room, which just so happens to include a Jacuzzi for two and a fireplace.
Timberline Lodge, Mount Hood, Oregon
One of Oregon’s most iconic mountaintop destinations, Timberline Lodge is a National Historic Landmark that sits at the halfway point on Mount Hood, nearly 6,000 feet in elevation for incredible close-up views of the famous peak as well as access to the year-round ski area. Rooms feature handcrafted furnishings and original artwork, much of which was created by the same dedicated folks who built the facilities. During the peak of winter, the ground floor is typically buried in snow, so guests get through by entering a snow tunnel. Despite its age, there are lots of modern amenities, including a year-round heated outdoor swimming pool, hot tub, sauna, fitness room and more.
This mountain town is a favorite with many types of travelers. Sitting along the southern shores of Payette Lake, it gets the highest average snowfall in the state. Kayakers, boaters, standup paddle-boarders and swimmers come to explore the brilliant blue glacial lake in the warmer months, as well as participate in activities on the land, like huckleberry picking and hiking. In the winter, Brundage Mountain opens up its legendary ski lift, and visitors can also cross-country ski into a yurt or go snowmobiling.
With spectacular scenery, exciting excursions, and the feeling of total escape being nestled in the heart of the Salmon River Mountains, McCall is everything anyone could ever want in a romantic getaway. Stay at the Shore Lodge and enjoy soaking in the heated indoor/outdoor pools, side-by-side couples-massage and more.
Sun Valley, Idaho
Sun Valley is famous as a ski resort, though you’ll find lots to do year-round. It boasts two ski slopes, Bald Mountain and Dollar Mountain, and when the snow has melted, visitors can hike the many trails that crisscross the area, or ride the ski lift up Baldy and then mountain bike or hike the more challenging treks there.. The spring and summer months are also popular for horseback riding and fly fishing for trout in the area’s pristine rivers.
Stay at Knob Hill Inn Sun Valley, a charming European-style resort, and you can soak up awe-inspiring views of the Boulder and Smokey Mountain ranges and enjoy plenty of romantic comforts and amenities, like in-suite picnics.