Best Romantic Beaches
Rev up the romance in your relationship with a weekend at the beach where you can blissfully spend the days lazing in the surf, sand and sun -- the nights holed up in high style with your honey. Romance abounds at these 5 destinations, where luxury, amenities and the backdrop of the beach set the stage for fine-tuning your flirting skills.
Cannery Pier Hotel
At the mouth of the Columbia River, the slow-paced fishing town of Astoria is the oldest American settlement west of the Rockies. Watch the waves lick the rocks, try your hand at crabbing, or gape at the charming Victorian homes that grace the cliffside community. When the tide is just right, shipwrecks can be spotted right off the coast. All beaches are public, though a bit windy, and free from the throngs of usual coastal tourists. Couples reconnect at Cannery Pier Hotel, where rooms are elegantly appointed with mood-making fireplaces and claw-foot tubs with waterfront views. Service reigns supreme and thoughtful amenities include bikes you can borrow to cruise the boardwalk, free limousine service and nightly happy hours with wine and hors d'oeuvres.
Dolphin Bay Resort & Spa
Shell Beach, California
Tucked away between Los Angeles and San Francisco, Shell Beach boasts a small-town vibe, but packs plenty of appeal to keep even the savviest of travelers entertained for a long weekend. The addition of beachfront beauty Dolphin Bay Resort & Spa has only increased the romance factor in this quintessential beach town. Spacious rooms with panoramic views and bedding to die for, an intimate spa, an oceanfront infinity pool and plenty of privacy have made Dolphin Bay a romantic refuge for discriminating weekend warriors. Looks, comfort and amenities aside, the resort's restaurant, Lido, is serving some of the most innovative cuisine to be found anywhere along the California coast.
The Wauwinet Inn
Heavy hitters like John Kerry and Teresa Heinz and Chanel vice chairman Arie Kopelman summer at this swank island destination, but for a price, everyday folks can partake in the serenity of this coastal haven, too. For scenic dunes and views, head to Ladies Beach. For a more intimate beach experience, scout out Coatue Beach for gray and harbor seals, salt marshes, and rolling dunes. Stay at The Wauwinet Inn, an exclusive Relais and Chateaux property where guests are made to feel as though they are staying at their (very wealthy) best friend's beach house. Snuggle together under a blanket on a lawn chair, make it movie night with free popcorn and DVDs, or curl up between the luxurious Pratesi sheets -- the vibe is chic, yet always comfortable.
Sure, South Beach is a top contender for a Florida weekend getaway, but for a more subdued escape, stray 90 miles from Miami to the 6 islands that make up Islamorada. Although fishing is the preferred outdoor activity of choice on the islands, couples can opt for a weekend of exclusive pampering at the 16-suite Casa Morada. Rooms come equipped with all the necessary elements for romance: private outdoor spaces and al fresco Jacuzzis; panoramic sunset views; and massages en suite. Want to get out and explore? Try snorkeling the Keys reef, taking a yoga class or renting a boat.
The Ritz-Carlton Kapalua
Boasting year-round bathing-suit-friendly temperatures, Maui seems especially tailored for couples. Warm tropical weather, swaths of sandy beaches and exclusivity make this slice of paradise a popular romantic rendezvous for well-heeled sun-worshippers. For those who want stellar island hospitality coupled with space and privacy, a stay at the newly renovated Ritz-Carlton Kapalua is a must. Relax on your room's private lanai, get a spa service in one of the couples' cabanas with outdoor shower gardens or make use of direct access to D.T. Fleming Beach, which was recently named the Number 1 Beach in the World by Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman, aka Dr. Beach.