Visit This Midwest City For A Budget-Friendly Romantic Getaway

Everyone has their own idea about what makes a vacation romantic. Some people like to splurge on a grand trip to a classic mainstay like Paris, which can with a hefty price tag. It could feature a 5-course meal with views of Notre Dame at La Tour d'Argent, Time Out's pick of romantic restaurants in the French capital, will set you back €360  per head (around $380) without wine. Others who hate crowds and ostentation might think that nothing says "I love you" more than a vigorous hike in the middle of nowhere. Sometimes, however, all you need is a sweet little place where you can just be yourselves and enjoy your time together with minimal fuss. That's why Charlevoix in Michigan is worth checking out for your next intimate getaway. 

Nobody likes to be a cheapskate when it comes to love, but budget-conscious sweethearts will also find Charlevoix as pleasingly easy on the bank balance as it is on the eye. With its reputation as a resort for well-heeled visitors, it offers the perfect blend of quaint small-town atmosphere, bracing beach walks, and gorgeous surrounding countryside. Charlevoix may be an unassuming place in many ways, but it is quite overt about its romantic credentials: After all, it isn't nicknamed Charlevoix the Beautiful for nothing.

Charlevoix is a lovely spot for a getaway

Situated on the northeastern shore of Lake Michigan and divided by the Pine River, which connects the larger body of water with Lake Charlevoix, this small city is a scenic spot for a romantic break. Its position on the water's edge naturally gives it a sense of light and space and it is surrounded by splendid autumnal colors in the fall. Charlevoix's beaches are ideal for a hand-in-hand stroll and the landmark lighthouse provides a great photo opportunity. If you're lucky, you might find a rare Charlevoix Stone as a keepsake from your trip.

Charlevoix is home to some architectural treasures that will appeal to the whimsical and add a touch of magic to a romantic getaway. Perhaps the city's most famous (and Instagram-worthy) attraction is the very cute Mushroom Houses — a series of peculiar cottages built by architect Earl Young without blueprints, who designed each house to suit its location rather than adapt the landscape to accommodate his vision. If you think they look like something from "The Lord of the Rings," you can continue that fantasy theme with a visit to Castle Farms, originally designed to emulate the chateaux of Normandy, France. It even has its own dragon! 

If you want to say love with flowers, head to Lavender Hill Farm. In the summer months, the fields are glowing with color from 30 varieties of the fragrant plant and the handsomely restored barn hosts live music acts.

Places for a romantic dinner in Charlevoix

A romantic getaway destination wouldn't be worthy of the name without a few nice spots to wine and dine. The wide streets of Charlevoix's small downtown area are ideal for walking and there are plenty of shops, restaurants, and pubs to choose from depending on your style. Sometimes it's lovely to just wander along and see where the evening takes you but, if you want a concrete reservation, there are a few picks to suit all tastes.

The menu at Stafford's Weathervane ranges from snails to mac and cheese, and if you can get a table on the terrace you can enjoy views of boats passing through the canal. If you prefer a meal of the candlelit variety, Terry's of Charlevoix promises an intimate vibe to accompany its fish specialties. For a more formal affair, Grey Gables offers white-tablecloth service in an elegant old-fashioned dining room. Or, if you'd rather get hands-on and share your food with each other, On the eDge serves freshly cooked tapas with a decent selection of wines.

If you fancy a nightcap after your meal, Vue Wine Bar has a good range of drinks and a great view from the deck while Jax Northside Food & Spirits is a smart "answer to the roadhouse of the 21st century" serving craft beers and cocktails. Whatever you choose during your trip to Charlevoix, you're sure to leave with fond memories and return home thinking about your next getaway together.