Underrated Destinations In The US For A Valentine's Day Getaway, According To Instagram

Valentine's Day is just around the corner, and if you or your significant other are big travelers, a weekend (or longer) getaway is a great way to spend it. This famously romantic, but also potentially anxiety-inducing holiday is most commonly acknowledged with an exchange of gifts, cards, and a candle-lit dinner. That's all well and good, but maybe you'd prefer to do something a little more special this year. After all, there are only so many years in a row you can toast your relationships with another box of chocolates or last-minute restaurant reservations because you low-key forgot.

That's why taking a trip for Valentine's Day is the perfect way to celebrate! You'll actually spend some quality time together and experience the thrill of discovering somewhere new as a couple. However, you might be fresh out of ideas for where to go, or maybe you want to do something a bit unexpected for your partner. Well, lucky for you, we dug through numerous posts on Instagram to find some of the most romantic destinations in the U.S. We then removed any places from the list that came up too frequently on Google, to ensure we suggested the most unique Valentine's getaway for you and your special someone.

Great Smoky Mountains, North Carolina

The Great Smoky Mountains are not necessarily an under-the-radar destination, but when it comes to trips for partners, the rolling hills are much less popular than well-known romantic escapes such as Malibu or Savannah. So, while every other couple in the country will be flocking to the beaches of California or mystical towns of the South, you can smugly enjoy your mountain retreat sans crowds.

And the Great Smokies are a fantastic place to spend this particular holiday. You can rent a dreamy treehouse, with views of the verdant peaks. Spend days hiking and getting away from it all in nature. You can even hike part of the Appalachian Trail, as the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is home to over 70 miles of it. Or perhaps you and your partner are waterfall enthusiasts, well there are plenty (more specifically, 100) in the park. 

If you're history buffs, you'll delight in the 90 different dwellings left by settlers from the 1800s. Accommodation within the national park is extremely limited, as the LeConte Lodge is the sole option. Thus, it tends to book out months in advance. So, if you're planning a bit closer to the wire you'll want to hop on Airbnb or check out hotels in the area, just note they actually won't be inside the park. However, if you want to stay in one of those treehouses all over Instagram, it wouldn't be an option within the national park anyway.

Port Townsend, Washington

The Pacific Northwest has been blowing up Instagram since the app went live. The varied region, full of cozy cabins in moody forests, bucket list-worthy mountain hikes, and beaches that hardly look real, certainly builds an easy case for a romantic trip. However, due to its acclaim among travelers, very few corners of the area can still be reasonably considered "underrated." Sure, those A-frames near Mount Rainier or houseboat rentals are the stuff of dreams, but you'll be competing with many others who also love nature.

Instead, check out Port Townsend, a favorite among Washingtonians for weekends and short vacations. This adorable small town is located in a quiet corner of the Kitsap Peninsula, a 30-minute to an hour-long ferry ride from Seattle (depending on the route you take) followed by an additional hour's drive once you disembark the boat. The journey is well worth it though, as you'll be rewarded with a tranquil coastal town full of old Victorian-era mansions that now offer numerous accommodation options in the form of B&Bs. 

There is also a nice sandy beach (a rarity in this part of the country) and a lighthouse located within Fort Worden Historical State Park. It's also possible to camp, should that be your and your partner's thing! Additionally, make sure to stroll the main street, which feels plucked from another period, and sample the many local breweries located in the area.

Whitwell, Tennessee

Nashville might be the go-to Tennessee city break, but let's be real, there isn't much romantic about drunk bach parties everywhere on your Valentine's Day escape. Instead, head to the peaceful town of Whitwell. Located southeast of Nashville and southwest of Knoxville, it's easy to get to and a great option for couples looking to enjoy a woodsy cabin escape. Again, as Instagram demonstrates and has popularized the trend, tree house stays are plentiful in this part of the state. Choose from arbor-dwelling-inspired homes to creations straight out of a fairytale, as well as more traditional cabin rentals. There's something for everyone in and around Whitwell.

You and your partner could certainly spend the entirety of the trip relaxing in your dreamy accommodations. However, if you love the outdoors, E/ast Tennessee is the perfect place to get out and enjoy it. Chimneys State Nature Area isn't far away from town and is full of amazing trails for all levels of hikers. Additionally, there are two state forests located just a bit further away.

St. Augustine, Florida

Florida is a popular getaway destination for couples, as it is warm year-round and full of amazing beaches. However, Miami and Key West leave little room to breathe, no matter the month, due to being vogue among all types. So, instead, why not head over to St. Augustine? This lovely slice of Florida is located just south of Jacksonville, hundreds of miles from the crowds and sky-high prices of South Florida. If you're a couple that appreciates historic charm, St. Augustine is technically the oldest city in the U.S. and was founded by the Spanish in 1565 before Boston or Philadelphia was even an idea in settlers' minds.

St. Augustine isn't any less idyllic or deserving of consideration than South Florida for your couples getaway. In fact, you could say thanks to its position, very much under the radar, the town makes for a much better choice as a destination. You'll have fewer people to contend with for dinner reservations, beach space, and elbow rooms while strolling the city. And while the temps won't be as balmy as Miami, the February averages are still in the 60s, much warmer than the majority of the U.S. during Valentine's Day weekend.

Breckenridge, Colorado

Perhaps you and your partner (or at least one of you) are a big fan of winter, whose ideal vacation involves piles of snow and majestic mountain views. Colorado might be the ideal state for your trip but don't flock to Aspen or Vail like everyone else. Go to Breckenridge, a much-underrated resort town in the Rockies. The town has numerous accommodation options from traditional ski lodges to individual cabins and of course, many boutique hotels. No matter your budget or preference, there's something that will inspire you to book a trip immediately.

And if your S.O. is into winter sports (not simply the season), this is the ideal place to book a trip. The surrounding slopes are open to both skiers and snowboarders. There are also other activities such as snowshoeing and ice skating. If you're looking to stay warm, take a wander around the Arts District or indulge with your partner at a spa!

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

If you and your special someone are more into city breaks, no worries, we've got you covered. And, per numerous Instagram posts, Milwaukee is an ideal location for any couple looking for a fun weekend. The Midwest often gets an undeserved reputation for being a bit of a bore, but Wisconsin's largest metropolis is anything but that. Just make sure you pack layers and are prepared for a mix of a cozy getaway with your partner as well as braving some frigid temps that are typical in February.

In a part of the country known to be less than pedestrian-friendly, Milwaukee has many walkable neighborhoods for love birds to stroll together. The historic Third Ward district, which is home to some of the city's most impressive architecture, is perfect for wandering. Additionally, in the eastern part of the city, around Brady Street, visitors will delight in the high number of delicious cafes, hip bars, and romantic restaurants. And finally, no visit is complete without strolling the beautiful lakefront, and in winter, there is even a skating rink that overlooks the frozen water!

Hocking Hills, Ohio

Ohio might come as a bit of a surprise, but the Hocking Hills State Park is ideal for the nature-loving person in your life. There are miles of trails waiting to be hiked and delicious cafes that will welcome you with top-notch coffee and pastries after. In winter, trekking might take a bit more effort, in the form of layering and motivation to get out the door, but it is well worth it. The crisp air makes for a great atmosphere (and encourages you to keep moving), and the park's waterfalls are often frozen in a special wintry display.

For the adventurous, you can explore on horseback. Numerous outfits offer guided trail rides of the area's natural beauty, for a Valentine's Day neither of you will forget! As for accommodation, you will be delighted to learn the region is full of cute options. From dreamy treehouses to snug B&Bs and more typical vacation rentals, you're sure to find something for you and your partner. The best part of Hocking Hills is that it is far from the well-trodden path for romantic getaways, so you'll enjoy all of the above without the crowds of other parks in the country.

Florence, Oregon

The Oregon Coast is solidly on the tourist trail, particularly with couples looking for somewhere to escape together. However, winter, particularly February, sees fewer crowds, and Valentine's Day is well before the mid-March kick-off of the spring break season. Most wouldn't imagine a northern state would make for a great beach trip during this time of year. But, the coastal Pacific Northwest winter is quite mild (especially compared to the East Coast or Midwest), and while you won't be jumping in the Pacific, you'll easily be able to enjoy the outdoors.

One of the towns that came up in our Instagram research (but not too often, nor did it make first-page Google searches, so rest assured you won't be flocking there with crowds of others) was Florence. Sure, we'd all love to go to Florence, Italy, for this holiday, but if an international adventure is a bit out of your budget or simply too far, Oregon won't disappoint. While the town may not culinarily match its European counterpart, it's still full of cafes serving some of the best coffee in the country and breweries with locally crafted creations. And, of course, you won't have to go far to enjoy this special stretch of coastline, perfect for long walks with your loved one.

Deadwood, South Dakota

South Dakota is rarely on any list to visit as a "must-see," but Deadwood might just be the best-hidden gem you could visit on Valentine's Day. The snow stacks up tall in the winter in the surrounding Black Hills, creating a magical atmosphere and landscape. Frozen creeks and waterfalls cover the area and can be viewed on one of the many trails available to the public. Alternatively, you can partake in a favorite pastime in this part of the country and explore the hills on horseback.

And Deadwood itself is a great little town full of tranquil spots to hide away and cozy up to your partner. Do so at one of the many spas in town or adorable boutique hotels. Once you've had enough relaxation, get out and explore with your S.O. Make sure to stroll the historic main street and learn all about the town's storied history. Then head to one of the casinos in town and try your luck or go shopping. If you're keen to enjoy a South Dakota winter, the ski resort of Lead is only about a 10-minute drive away. Alternatively, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing are all possible from town.

Buffalo, New York

Upstate has been trendy among New Yorkers for a while, but they tend to favor more luxe destinations such as Hudson or Lake George. In comparison, Buffalo is a lot bigger than the other towns but still has a quaint feel when compared to Manhattan. It is also less frequented among the New York set and thus, you won't have to fight for a table or spot at the bar. It also has plenty of things to do, so you and your partner won't get bored.

You can go ice skating, climb city hall for views of the city and across to Canada, or escape the cold with a visit to the Botanical Gardens. There are also a ton of murals around the city. Just bundle up and maybe grab a hot chocolate to go, as Buffalo certainly isn't warm around Valentine's Day. And, of course, Niagara Falls is only a 26-minute drive away, a wonderful site to enjoy on a special getaway weekend.

San Antonio, Texas

A true Texan gem, San Antonio has been welcoming visitors for decades. However, it is often overshadowed by the likes of Austin, Marfa, and Dallas. But those in the know are aware of the smaller city's charm and appeal for couples. It's the perfect location for a not-too-cold Valentine's Day escape, with plenty to do but without big city crowds. The famous River Walk is understandably all over Instagram and is a lovely place for a stroll. Then, have a drink or meal at one of the many adorable restaurants along the water.

It's also full of cultural offerings, no matter the time of year. The McNay Art Museum always houses interesting exhibits, and the Market Square is the largest Mexican market in the U.S. You'll always find high-quality handmade jewelry, textiles, and food for sale. Finally, don't forget to check out the Alamo and the breathtaking Nature Bridge Caverns. The caves are some of the largest underground formations in Texas and make for a unique activity.

Mount Bohemia, Michigan

Michigan has been gaining popularity among travelers who love the outdoors and are looking for something a little off-beat. It's also popular among travelers in the Midwest, at large, as the state is home to a diverse array of places to visit. A strong favorite among the region's locals, per Instagram, is Mount Bohemia. Located on the Keweenaw Peninsula in the state's Upper Peninsula (the section that doesn't quite look like it's part of Michigan), the mountain, resort, and town are the perfect romantic destination.

You'll have a choice of a variety of activities such as skiing, snowboarding, and backcountry adventures. And if you're looking for fun accommodation, Mount Bohemia is the place to go. There are quintessential log cabins, yurts, and traditional hotels. Many are ski-in and ski-out accommodations, and most either offer views of the lake or the mountain forests. This is the destination for couples who truly love winter and want to make winter sports and activities the heart of their Valentine's Day trip.

Our Methodology

We primarily used Instagram to put together this round-up, searching various love-related hashtags such as #romanticgetaway #romanticdestinations, #vdayescape, and #coupletrips to source recommendations for amazing places around the U.S. to spend Valentine's Day. We selected destinations that looked like a fun place to spend time as a couple, keeping in mind that this piece focused on "underrated" options. So even in making the initial list, we tried to select locations that were not too "obvious" such as Aspen, Charleston, or Sedona. We then searched "romantic getaways in the U.S." in Google and removed anything from our Insta-source list that came up more than once in the first few search pages. You don't want to be going where everyone else is!