Romantic getaways conjure up a certain je ne sais quoi. An amazing bottle of wine beneath the Tuscan stars, French champagne overlooking the Eiffel Tower in Paris, or breakfast in bed at a luxury hotel in London. Yet, as we look closer to home for new travel inspiration, why not hit the wide-open road and head out west on a trip that will have you falling in love all over again? Here are our picks for the most romantic Midwestern getaways.
Door County, Wisconsin
The Door County peninsula, between Green Bay and Lake Michigan, is beloved for its 300 miles of beautiful shoreline, lighthouses, historic villages, and scenic nature parks. Stay at the historic waterfront Edgewater Resort, in a cozy cottage, and enjoy romantic views over Eagle Harbor. The hotel is in the heart of the main town, Ephraim, close to restaurants, the beach, and Peninsula State Park where you can explore Cave Point, a popular hiking trail where cliffs protrude out over picturesque sea caves.
South Haven, Michigan
This sleepy beach destination is perfect for relaxing and reconnecting. Charter a sailboat out to the rustic 19th-century South Haven Lighthouse then spend the day exploring the wineries down the South Haven wine trail. For an authentic experience, try one of the many family-run B&B’s at South Haven. Or for an intimate adventure try glamping at The Fields of Michigan, literally set on a farm of blueberry fields, there are 10 fully kitted out luxury tents.
Black Hills, South Dakota
Take the windy journey to South Dakota’s Badlands, where granite spires, pine trees, and wild horses roam free. Stop to explore Badlands National Park for eerie landscapes of eroded hills and labyrinth-like cave formations. Rent a car and drive the 39-mile Badlands Loop Road for a quick view of the Black Hills or hike the Notch Trail to see the formations up close. It’s also worth a visit to Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary to see the 600 mustangs that roam the 11,000-acre property up close and personal. You can also take a guided tour along the 18-mile Wildlife Loop to spot bison. Stay at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Sylvan Lake Lodge on a rock-rimmed lake overlooking the scenic Custer State Park, where you can pull up a rocking chair on the veranda and take in the smells of pine and spruce from the hillside forest. Tribe Tip: Go in late September to catch the annual Buffalo Roundup – where thousands wait hours to see 1,300 bison stomping down the valley chased by real-life cowboys on horseback – Yeehaw.
Red Wing, Minnesota
Embrace Midwestern culture with a trip to Red Wing, Minnesota. You can’t miss a visit to the Red Wing Depot where you’ll delight in locally crafted decor, jewelry, clothes, 10-gallon souvenirs, and handmade cowboy boots. Your next stop should be Pottery Place Mall, a converted warehouse and antique lover’s paradise. For lunch head to the majestic St. James Hotel, the oldest hotel in Minnesota, for homemade Sturdiwheat pancakes with vanilla syrup, and views of the Mississippi River. After, take the drive up to Sorin’s Bluff to explore the charming town and Colvill Park to eagle watch. Migration season is March, so that’s your best time to catch sight of the magnificent birds. Finish with a romantic dinner at The Port (located within St. James Hotel) and indulge in mouthwatering bison ribeye. Bed down for the night at the Round Barn Farm, a quaint B&B where you can help bake perfectly crusted buttermilk bread for breakfast in the morning.
Traverse City, Michigan
Romance beckons at this Lake Michigan harbor town, home to 40 winery bike tours, waterside pubs, and Darling Botanical Co. where you can create your own terrarium. July is when the annual Cherry Festival takes place with all American pie-eating contests, farm tours, cherry farmers market, and a street parade. To experience the fresh local seafood, head to The Cove, a riverside bar and grill with a rustic fishing cabin vibe. Make sure you order their secret-recipe seafood chowder and a “Chubby Mary” – a bloody mary garnished with smoked chub. Or for award-winning farm-to-table Italian fare, try Trattoria Stella. Stay at Chateau Chantal, an intimate eleven room boutique hotel looking out over the Grand Traverse Bay.