Sometimes it’s necessary to take a break from the stresses of real life and spend quality time with the person you love. Whether your idea of paradise is exploring an iconic city, taking in mountain scenery, or sunbathing on the beach — this list narrows down the most enchanting destinations south of the Mason Dixon Line.
1. Savannah, GA: Uncover Savannah’s literary greats among graceful architecture, oak-lined parks and a few lingering spirits. Cozy inns and local-food restaurants flourish around the tree-shaded historic district.
2. Charleston, SC: Escape to Charleston and stay in the heart of downtown, which is filled with historic homes, art galleries and tasty Southern cuisine (not to mention nearby beaches for lounging). The accommodations offer a full range, from beachfront resorts to historic inns, all complete with decadent room service.
3. New Orleans, LA: Bourbon Street craziness aside, nothing says romance quite like the architecture and ambiance of New Orleans’ French Quarter. Its rich culture makes this one of the best cities to visit with a significant other. Though be prepared, it’s a bundle of contradictions. From the grace of Royal to the brass of Bourbon Street, you can experience it all. Once you’ve been there, you’ll never forget it.
4. Asheville, NC: Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, Asheville is the go-to destination for adventurous outings, brewery tastings, window shopping and outdoor firepit gatherings. Explore the downtown, tour its breweries, and drive out to the Biltmore Estate, where they succeed in treating guests like royalty.
5. Charlottesville, VA: People say Virginia is for lovers, and Charlottesville is no exception. Explore the Appalachian Trail, take a relaxing drive on a winding country road, and be sure to stop for a glass of wine at Pippin Hill Farm. You’ll probably want to stay forever.
6. Sea Island, GA: Part of the Golden Isles of Georgia, this privately-owned island offers classic elegance and luxury without a hint of pretension. Its best known for its friendly Southern service and picture-perfect live oak trees draped with moss. This resort also played host to the G-8 2004 Summit, so there’s that.
7. Little Torch Key, FL: You’ll need a plane or a boat to get to this 5-acre, white sand island, but don’t let that stop you from going, for you’ll have no qualms about lingering in this paradise. The resort’s Indonesian feel and two-attendants-per-guest service make the stay worth the splurge.
8. Natchez, MS: Located directly on the Mississippi River, Natchez has all kinds of maritime activity options. On land, there are nightly blues concerts, and gorgeous antebellum homes you can actually stay in. Don’t forget the distillery and the winery, or the carriage tours in historic Downtown.
9. Oxford, MS: Known as the “Cultural Mecca of the South,” this Mississippi town is chock-full of history and has plenty to do outside of tailgating in “The Grove.” Follow part of the Mississippi Blues Trail, tour William Faulkner’s home, and head to McEwen’s for a romantic dinner.
10. Great Smoky Mountains: These are America’s oldest mountains, and they will provide you with fresh experiences with each visit. Visit Blackberry Farms in Walland, TN. The resort offers great mountain views, comfortable ambiance, a spa, and fabulous cuisine. Here, old-growth forests give the mountains a sense of wonder and footpaths wind through the lush green folds where creeks rush by enormous rhododendrons.
11. Blue Ridge Parkway: This 469-mile scenic highway connects the Great Smoky Mountains National Park with Shenandoah National Park, all the while sticking to the ridge-lines. Every bend and turn reveals something special— a stacked-stone bridge, a split rail fence, or an awe-inspiring cottage.