Valentine’s Day. If those two words just sent a chill down your spine, we feel you. We haven’t booked any plans on our end yet, either. But we do have a few ideas to help you earn hero status by sweeping your partner away for a last-minute getaway. Check out these five options for a quick weekend jaunt that won’t break the bank.
Aphrodisiac oysters and chocolate — Portland, Maine
Maine is already on the radar of any seafood-loving and nature-appreciating couple in the northeast. But aside from the occasional ski trip, you’ve probably only visited in the summer, a common mistake that until now you could be forgiven for.
There are two primary reasons why you and your honey should get up to the Pine Tree State for Valentine’s Day: Oysters are an aphrodisiac, and Portland certainly doesn’t shut down when the snow falls. You may not be fishing off the coast or camping in Acadia National Park, but a mid-February weekend is the perfect time to drown yourself in craft beer and sensual seafood, minus the crowds and prices of the summertime rush. There’s also chocolate — and more beer — at Allagash Brewing’s Valentine’s Day Beer, Hearts, and Chocolate event. For just $25 each, you and your sweetie will pair five beers with five dishes inspired by chocolate, which just so happens to be another aphrodisiac.
If you’re already on the East Coast and road-tripping up to Maine, this romantic getaway will be a bargain. The city’s best Airbnbs are much cheaper this time of year. You can stay in a private home right in town for around $100 per night. If you and your better half feel like getting down on the dancefloor, Moe. is playing both Friday and Saturday nights at the State Theatre, the perfect chance to grind up against each other and burn off those celebratory lobster rolls.
Star-and-moon-gazing on the coast — Hermosa Beach/Los Angeles, California
If you’re itching for a mid-winter beach session, Valentine’s weekend is prime for heading to Los Angeles. Flights into LA are famously cheap from most major US cities, including from New York at just over $300 round-trip. The Portofino Hotel & Marina has a collection of epic “Love Month” lodging and dining specials right on the waterfront in Redondo Beach. On the big day itself, treat your partner to a four-course dinner for just $75 per person.
After dinner, use this comped ticket certificate to sip classy cocktails while taking in the action of dueling pianos at Sainte Rocke in Hermosa Beach, followed by a romantic walk under the moonlight along the sandy coast. Up in Hollywood, February is awards season, which means star-gazing is at its finest throughout La La Land right now. Even if you don’t see The Gos (ahem, Ryan Gosling) lounging at a nightclub off the strip, you can still hit Hollywood Boulevard and make your way down the Walk of Fame for the budget-friendly cost of $0.
The wine-soaked weekend getaway — Fredericksburg, Texas
Yeah, yeah, Texas isn’t Napa Valley. But in this case, that’s entirely the point. Fredericksburg, an hour and a half due west of Austin, is under the radar of all but the hardiest wine connoisseurs in the US, a handy trip hack firmly on display in the price of a Valentine’s weekend getaway.
From February 8 through February 19, the Texas Hill Country Wine Lovers Celebration welcomes guests with couples passes costing only $75, allowing you to enjoy tastings from up to four wineries per day from the more than 45 located in the region. Rooms at hotels and lodges in Fredricksburg are available for under $100 per night on Valentine’s weekend, and you can get fly into San Antonio starting as low as $127 from the West Coast and $238 from New York.
The hunny bunny ski trip — Salt Lake City, Utah
Ski trips are expensive. Once you compiled the cost of lift tickets, flights, lodging, and overpriced resort food, the sum can be enough to momentarily jolt your heart rate. At the ticket window, you’re often looking up to $200 per day just to get yourself on the mountain — and that’s if your partner stays barside in the lodge.
It doesn’t have to be this way. If you really need a mountain getaway this Valentine’s, the cure for this wallet buster is the Ski City Super Pass. Included are a lift ticket and ground transportation from Salt Lake City to one of four mountains nearby — Brighton, Snowbird, Alta, and Solitude — for no more than $100 per person per day. The pass also gets you discounted gear rental in case you aren’t equipped upon touch down in Salt Lake. The catch is that you have to book at least three days, but Valentine’s Day is on Thursday, so this is just an excuse to start your weekend early.
Lodging doesn’t have to break the bank, either, as staying in a big city means you’re escaping resort hotel rates. The ski-friendly Hotel RL (the hipsterized moniker for the hotel formerly known as the Red Lion) in downtown SLC currently has a $59 special on Hotels.com. Combine these offers, along with roundtrip flights into SLC for $228 to $500 depending on your starting point, and skiing Utah powder is actually affordable. You’ll save enough to enjoy that apres-ski session, and nothing brings a couple closer together than a mug of Peppermint Schnapps and hot chocolate after a cold day on the mountain.
Sailing the night away — San Juan, Puerto Rico
Your partner will never forget the time you texted to say, “Honey, we’re going to Puerto Rico in two weeks.” Surprisingly, you can get down there and enjoy yourself for a reasonable amount of money. Round-trip flights from Miami start at $275. Once on-island, Sail Old San Juan will take you on a two-hour Valentine’s evening sunset sail around the capital city for $75 per person. Then, head to Santaella for a dinner of elevated Puerto Rican specialties and a bill that won’t break the bank. Just be sure to make reservations in advance.
The restaurant is a short walk from the Hotel Iberia, which at about $100 per night over Valentine’s weekend is the best deal in the heart of the city. On the way back to your room, stop in for a nightcap at Captain Rum, a favorite local watering hole. In the morning, walk through Old San Juan and check out the San Juan Gate, the old San Juan Cathedral, and take in the views from El Morro. Then, relax over a picnic lunch at Isla Verde Beach. If time is on your side, you could even rent a car and cruise about the island, reaching Domes Beach on the west coast before turning back.