Underrated Destinations Perfect For Couples In America

In a country celebrated for its diverse landscapes and captivating cities, there are hidden gems in America that are often overlooked by couples seeking a romantic escape. Away from the bustling crowds and well-trodden paths, these underrated destinations in the United States offer a unique blend of intimacy, charm, and unforgettable experiences. From historic towns with cobblestone streets to serene coastal hideaways, exploring the lesser-known corners of the U.S. reveals romantic havens that captivate the heart and soul. 

We visited many of these idyllic spots, and have found that countless couples have also rated them highly on review sites. In this journey, we'll embark on a tour of underrated destinations with all the ingredients for an unbelievably intimate getaway, inviting lovers to discover magical, lesser-known spots where love can blossom amid tranquility and unparalleled natural beauty.

San Luis Obispo, California

Situated just a few miles from the Pacific Ocean is the beautifully rustic town of San Luis Obispo (SLO). Known for its picturesque natural beauty, SLO is encompassed by volcanic peaks, protected open spaces, vineyards, as well as agricultural and ranch land. Nestled along California's central coast, the city radiates a Western-style, laid-back atmosphere, making it an ideal setting for romantic strolls through its historic downtown. 

SLO's Madonna Inn is an iconic and romantic retreat for couples, showcasing uniquely themed rooms like the rose-hued room called the Love Nest. In town, couples can explore the quaint boutiques, art galleries, and intimate cafes that line Higuera Street, creating an ambiance of romance and serenity. The ​Edna Valley wine region, a short drive south of town, is home to many top wineries that offer tastings amid picturesque vineyards. The nearby ​Morro Bay and ​Pismo Beach provide stunning landscapes for romantic walks along the shoreline, and the Bishop Peak hiking trail offers a touch of excitement for those seeking adventure. Horseback riding is another great way to experience the magic of ​SLO, with numerous ranches and riding trails in the area. You can even book a horseback riding tour that includes wine-tasting stops.

Forty-five minutes north of SLO, San Simeon State Park provides scenic coastal views, where you can see thousands of elephant seals crowding Elephant Seal Vista Point. Hearst Castle, a must-see historic mansion and museum, sits atop a nearby cliff, offering grand architecture, luxurious interiors, and breathtaking gardens. Visit for a glimpse into the opulent lifestyle of media mogul William Randolph Hearst.

Bend & Crater Lake, Oregon

Bend, Oregon, offers a perfect blend of natural beauty, outdoor adventures, and a charming downtown atmosphere. Nestled against the backdrop of the Cascade Mountains, Bend provides a picturesque setting with its snow-capped peaks, serene rivers, and lush forests. Couples can embark on romantic hikes through scenic trails like the Deschutes River Trail, enjoying the breathtaking views and tranquil surroundings. The city's intimate downtown area, with its boutique shops, cozy cafes, and art galleries, creates a warm and inviting atmosphere, ideal for peaceful walks and memorable moments.

Bend offers a variety of outdoor activities for couples, including kayaking, exploring Smith Rock State Park, and helicopter tours over the Cascade Range. In winter, Mt. Bachelor transforms into a romantic, snowy wonderland for skiing and cozying up together in a mountain lodge. The craft brewery scene provides a relaxing atmosphere for couples to enjoy local brews and delicious meals. This combination of natural beauty, outdoor activities, and a welcoming community makes Bend an ideal romantic getaway.

Visiting Crater Lake from Bend adds an extra layer of romance to a couple's getaway. A scenic drive of approximately two hours takes you through mesmerizing landscapes, with breathtaking views of Central Oregon. Upon arriving at Crater Lake National Park, couples are greeted by the sight of the deepest lake in the United States, renowned for its intensely blue water. Explore the rim, take in the panoramic views, and enjoy quiet moments by the lakeside for an unforgettable and romantic day trip from Bend.

Santa Catalina Island, California

Santa Catalina Island, located off the coast of Southern California, is an enchanting yet underrated destination for couples seeking a romantic getaway. The island's natural beauty, crystal-clear waters, and rugged coastline make it an ideal destination for couples to explore secluded beaches, hike, or promenade along the charming streets of Avalon. Accessible from nearby ports like Long Beach, Newport Beach, and Dana Point, the island is accessible via a relaxing hour-long ferry ride, as well as by helicopter, private boat, or airplane.

The dreamy island transports visitors to a Mediterranean coastal village, and the port town of Avalon, with its colorful buildings, narrow cobblestone streets, and intimate courtyards, evokes the charm of European destinations. The small-town ambiance, unique architectural style, relaxed pace of life, outdoor cafes, and boutique shops contribute to the atmosphere of the coastal paradise. It provides a perfect backdrop for couples seeking adventure or relaxation, allowing them to create lasting memories together.

Beyond its natural allure, Catalina Island offers couples a myriad of romantic activities and experiences. The historic Catalina Casino, with its stunning Art Deco architecture, hosts fun community events such as concerts, parades, and film festivals. Couples can also indulge in a relaxing yet exciting afternoon of tandem kayaking to explore Catalina's hidden coves and marine life together. Other highlights include zip-lining, scenic helicopter tours, wine-tasting, sunset cruises, waterfront dining, and moonlit strolls along secluded beaches. Lover's Cove is also one of the most beautiful U.S. beaches for snorkeling.

San Juan Islands, Washington

The San Juan Islands, an archipelago nestled in the Salish Sea of Washington state, features stunning landscapes, charming coastal villages, and a relaxed island vibe. Couples can explore the islands by kayaking through tranquil waters, witnessing the diverse marine life, and taking in breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains. The islands' intimate atmosphere is complemented by quaint bed-and-breakfasts and cozy waterfront inns, and the slow-paced lifestyle allows for leisurely strolls through charming towns like Friday Harbor. Here, couples can browse local shops, savor fresh seafood, and enjoy the serenity of island life together.

Beyond the captivating scenery, the San Juan Islands offer several activities for couples to enjoy. Whale-watching tours provide a chance to witness majestic orcas and other marine life in their natural habitat. Adventurous couples can explore the numerous hiking trails, leading to secluded beaches and scenic viewpoints. A sunset cruise around the islands or private sailing excursion adds a touch of romance, allowing lovers to bask in the golden hues of the evening sky while enjoying each other's company. 

One of the top things to do on the archipelago is to enjoy a scenic bicycle ride. Couples can rent bikes and traverse the well-maintained trails to discover hidden gems and enjoy the fresh island air. For a touch of culture, a visit to the San Juan Islands Museum of Art in Friday Harbor offers a delightful collection of local and international artwork. 

Helen, Georgia

For those looking for a memorable getaway, Helen, Georgia, tucked away in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, is a charming yet underrated destination for couples. This whimsical town has cobblestone streets, timber-framed buildings, and balconies lined with flowers, all reminiscent of a quaint European Christmas village. The surrounding natural beauty adds to the romantic atmosphere, offering couples seeking tranquility and romance a captivating backdrop of flowing rivers, verdant foliage, and scenic mountain vistas.

Helen's quaint charm extends to the variety of activities it offers for couples. A walk through the town's charming streets reveals boutique shops, art galleries, and cozy cafes. The Chattahoochee River, meandering through the town, offers the perfect setting for a romantic riverside stroll or a peaceful picnic. For a touch of adventure, couples can explore scenic landscapes ziplining, horseback riding, or hiking in the nearby state parks. For the ultimate thrill, check out Helen's Georgia Mountain Coaster, the only alpine coaster in the state.

The town's wineries and vineyards add a delightful element to a romantic getaway, inviting couples to sip local wines in a relaxed and scenic setting. Some wineries offer tastings with panoramic views of the mountains, creating a perfect backdrop for a romantic afternoon. Helen's seasonal events, such as Oktoberfest and other festive holiday celebrations, further contribute to the town's charm, providing couples with unique and memorable experiences throughout the year. In Helen, the combination of its Bavarian allure, natural surroundings, and diverse activities make it an ideal and underrated destination for couples seeking a romantic retreat in Georgia.

Florida Keys

The Florida Keys, stretching from Key Largo to Key West, are known for their idyllic turquoise waters and vibrant coral reefs. While the Florida Keys are a reasonably well-known spot for cruises and vacationers, they are often considered underrated because they are overshadowed by more mainstream tropical destinations, like the Caribbean or Hawaii. But the Keys offer a unique blend of tropical charm and a more laid-back atmosphere, catering to couples seeking a fusion of lush beauty and a slower pace of life. The best time to visit the Florida Keys is between the holiday season to May, offering ideal weather and a vibrant atmosphere. 

The scenic Overseas Highway, connecting the islands, provides a romantic drive with breathtaking ocean views. On Key West, a visit to the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum adds a touch of literary charm, allowing couples to wander through the lavish gardens, learn about the author's life, and see the 60 polydactyl (six-toed) cats that live here. Visitors can also see the urinal-turned-fountain that Hemingway infamously stole and hand-carried from his local bar, Sloppy Joe's, after a night of drinking.

The Keys offer couples a variety of activities. Explore the area's coral reefs snorkeling and scuba diving, kayak through mangrove forests, embark on a sunset cruise, and enjoy live music and waterfront dining at seafood restaurants. For a luxurious, all-inclusive stay, the spectacular Bungalows on Key Largo may be an ideal choice for couples. 

Salem, Massachusetts

Salem, Massachusetts, known for its rich history and infamous witch trials, is often overlooked as a couples' destination due to its obscurity and association with horror. However, the city's cobblestone streets and historic architecture create a captivating atmosphere, perfect for romantic strolls through neighborhoods like the McIntire Historic District. However, Salem is also an ideal destination for those with a penchant for the spooky.

Salem is a romantic destination that combines history, culture, and scenic beauty. The Peabody Essex Museum offers cultural experiences for history and art enthusiasts, while couples can explore historic ships and wharves at the Salem Maritime National Historic Site. The city also boasts scenic parks and waterfront areas, such as the Salem Common and Derby Wharf, where couples can enjoy picturesque views of the harbor and indulge in a leisurely picnic. Salem's vibrant culinary scene offers waterfront seafood restaurants and cozy cafes, while its burgeoning arts scene offers cultural experiences for couples.

Salem is also an enchanting destination for couples interested in macabre history and folklore. The city's association with the 1692 witch trials adds a mysterious allure, with attractions like the Witch Trials Memorial Park, the Salem Witch Museum, and the Witch House. Couples can explore the city on ghost tours or attend Haunted Happenings in October, a month-long, witchy bazaar that makes Salem a fun and spooky Halloween destination. Salem's combination of historic charm, scenic waterfront, and seasonal festivities make it a delightful destination for couples seeking a romantic — and perhaps a tad eerie — getaway.

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Myrtle Beach, a South Carolina beach town, is a lively and romantic destination for couples seeking a mix of seaside charm and a variety of entertainment options. With a 60-mile stretch of pristine coastline, couples can unwind on sandy shores and take romantic walks along the Atlantic Ocean. While Myrtle Beach is often associated with family vacations, it's also a haven for lovers seeking an intimate escape due to its scenic beauty and plethora of fun activities for couples to enjoy together, including the iconic Myrtle Beach Boardwalk and Promenade, the breathtaking nature of Myrtle Beach State Park, as well as the city's oceanfront attractions, shops, and restaurants.

Ranked as the best budget-friendly beach on South Carolina's coast, the city's burgeoning culinary scene provides diverse dining options, ranging from waterfront seafood to cozy bistros. The Grand Strand is also known for live music performances, art galleries, and theater shows. The Carolina Opry, a renowned entertainment venue, offers performances from country music to dance, and exemplifies how Myrtle Beach is a versatile, underrated gem for couples seeking a romantic escape with a range of activities to suit different preferences.

Hāna, Maui, Hawai'i

Hāna, situated on Maui's eastern coast, is a hidden gem for couples seeking a tranquil retreat with jaw-dropping scenic views. The journey begins with a picturesque, 1.5-hour drive from Kahului Airport along the romantic Road to Hāna, which winds through lush rainforests and cascading waterfalls, along a rocky coastline with expansive views of the Pacific Ocean. 

The town, known as "The Heart of Old Hawai'i" offers a variety of activities for couples, including the Seven Sacred Pools, Red Sand Beach, Wai'anapanapa State Park, and Hāna Bay. The Seven Pools at Ohe'o Gulch has refreshing freshwater pools and a waterfall, while Red Sand Beach is a gorgeous hidden cove with unique crimson sands. Wai'anapanapa State Park features sea caves, lush greenery, and black sand beaches, while Hāna Bay is a beautiful spot for couples to explore and snorkel among the striking contrast of turquoise waters and black lava rock.

Hike to the enchanting Waimoku Falls, a towering waterfall nestled within the bamboo forest of Haleakalā National Park. The Garden of Eden Arboretum and Botanical Garden offers a serene setting for lovebirds to wander amid a diverse collection of tropical plants and flowers. For a taste of Hāna's culinary scene, try a plate lunch, a local favorite, from Troy's, the must-try banana bread from Hāna Farms, or a crepe and organic smoothie at Huelo Lookout, a popular fruit stand along the Hāna Highway.

Woodstock, Vermont

Woodstock, often touted as one of the prettiest towns in America, is a quaint New England hamlet, known for its historic covered bridges, stately homes, and enchanting village coated in lush greenery. Its idyllic setting along the Ottauquechee River exudes classic Vermont charm, perfect for lovers seeking a break from the hustle and bustle. Woodstock's rolling hills, charming villages, and bucolic landscapes evoke a sense of enchantment reminiscent of the Shire in J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth, making it an ideal destination for couples seeking a storybook getaway.

While Woodstock may not be as well-known as some other Vermont destinations, it offers a range of activities for couples to enjoy. Woodstock is home to the Billings Farm & Museum, where couples can experience the rural charm of a working dairy farm, and the nearby Quechee Gorge, often referred to as the "Little Grand Canyon," provides a stunning natural backdrop for hiking and picnicking. 

If your itinerary allows time for it, visit Middletown Springs, a hidden gem nestled in the Vermont countryside that's an approximate 1-hour drive from Woodstock. For the full Shire-esque experience, you can stay in a Hobbit-themed Airbnb rental. With its historic covered bridges and cozy cottages, as well as the all-over greenery and meandering rivers, you can almost imagine encountering hobbits living in the lush hillsides. The area's serene atmosphere and the warm hospitality of the locals make it a romantic and magical destination, reminiscent of a fairy tale.

Solvang, California

The charming town called Solvang, nestled in California's Santa Ynez Valley, is just 45 minutes north of Santa Barbara but is known for its Danish architecture, windmills, and flower-lined streets. It is a perfect spot for couples seeking a European-inspired escape. Enchanting architecture, intimate wine-tasting rooms, and charming boutiques contribute to the town's romantic ambiance, and Solvang exudes a quaint allure that transports visitors to the streets of a European village.

Couples visiting Solvang can indulge in a variety of activities to enhance the romantic experience. The town is home to boutique shops offering unique treasures, art galleries, and delightful bakeries that evoke the spirit of Denmark. Exploring the town by bicycle or horse-drawn carriage adds a touch of whimsy, allowing couples to meander through the charming streets and visit surrounding vineyards. Be sure to try a bowl of Solvang's famous split pea soup at Pea Soup Anderson's and perhaps make a stop at the nearby ostrich farm, Ostrichland USA, where over 100 ostriches and emus roam the ranch. 

Solvang's proximity to the Santa Ynez wine country provides an excellent opportunity for couples to embark on a romantic wine-tasting adventure. The rolling hills and vineyard landscapes create a serene backdrop to sample local varietals and savor gourmet cuisine. Additionally, couples can partake in hot air balloon rides for a breathtaking aerial view of the valley, creating a truly magical and memorable experience. In Solvang, the blend of European charm, wine country allure, and a range of activities make it an underrated gem for couples seeking a romantic retreat.


This list of underrated American destinations perfect for couples was informed through first-hand experience. Along with considering each destination's natural beauty, historic charms, activities, and other unique qualities, we also cross-referenced our experience with other travelers' experiences, many of whom also rated these destinations highly.