Top 10 Romantic Retreats

These offshore vacations make falling in love even more fun.
Text by Allen B. Bunting

Bermuda
Bermuda has long been a choice vacation spot for lovers. Topping their list: Elbow Beach on the south shore, which was named "Best Place for Falling in Love" by The Bermudian magazine. For a secluded retreat, visit Astwood Cove in Warwick Parish or Somerset Long Bay in Sandys Parish; 800/237-6832 or bermudatourism.com.

Manhattan, New York
Hopeless romantics will always find inspiration in the Big Apple. Restaurants are everywhere, but couples flock to the West Village's One if by Land, Two if by Sea (considered one of the best places in the city to pop the question). For skyline views, head to Top of the Rock, the observation deck crowning the GE Building at Rockefeller Center; rockefellercenter.com. For a different view of the island, try a Manhattan Harbor Brunch Cruise for two aboard a 1920s-style yacht; 866/973-7436, xperiencedays.com, or iloveny.com.

Big Island, Hawaii
The Mauna Lani Resort, on the Big Island's Kohala coast, indulges romantic guests with its Lava Love getaway package. For at least three nights, health-conscious couples may stay in a deluxe oceanfront suite and enjoy sunrise workouts on the beach; a private, lava-rock sauna; spa treatments; and even a hula lesson; 800/367-2323 or maunalani.com.

Whidbey Island, Washington
Stress starts to melt away as you step off the ferry onto this Washington island, just one hour north of Seattle. Rich in natural beauty, Whidbey Island is also home to picturesque towns and romantic B&Bs. Spend the day in Langley (for a special treat, pick up a picnic for two from the Chef's Pantry). Journeying north, drop by Greenbank Farms for wine and cheese before climbing the Admiralty Head Lighthouse for a gorgeous view of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Toast to your travels at the new Frasers Gourmet Hideaway in Oak Harbor; whidbeycamanoislands.com.

Lovers Key, Florida
This Gulf Coast island is popular, but it still offers secluded nooks and stretches of beach where Valentines can get away from it all. Rent a canoe or tandem kayak at Lovers Key State Park, and paddle the canals among manatees and other wildlife. Later, snuggle at sunset on a beach that, at least for the evening, is yours alone; floridastateparks.org/loverskey or fortmyerssanibel.com.

Cumberland Island, Georgia
This hidden gem gained national attention in 1996 when John F. Kennedy Jr. married Carolyn Bessette inside the island's First African Baptist Church. Renowned for its privacy and serene beauty, Cumberland has more than 17 miles of white-sand beaches to explore, and numerous wild horses to admire. We recommend an overnight stay at the Greyfield Inn, a 1900-era mansion on more than 200 acres of protected shore; greyfieldinn.com or cumberlandisland.org.

Princess Royal Island, British Columbia
Journey off British Columbia's north coast to find wild and beautiful Princess Royal Island. The two of you can get a taste of this remote island when the King Pacific Lodge docks (yes, docks!) at its shores each year. Combining the best of wilderness and luxury, the floating lodge offers couples fly-fishing and kayaking adventures, combined with spa treatments and ocean-view or wilderness-view suites (the Romance and Waterfall suites are top-notch); 888/592-5464 or kingpacificlodge.com.

The Grove Isle Hotel & Spa, Miami, Florida
Secluded on a 20-acre island in Biscayne Bay, The Grove Isle Hotel & Spa provides a relaxing escape from the big city nearby. A pool and jogging path overlook the bay, as do 49 bayview rooms. Dine at the acclaimed oceanfront Baleen restaurant, and spice things up with the Tantra Lovers Island Escape package; 800/884-7683 or groveisle.com.

Naples, Long Beach, California
Naples, near Belmont Shores in Alamitos Bay, is actually a series of islands divided by waterways. In classic Italian style, gondoliers take lovebirds on a tour of the canals―no doubt, the best way to explore this watery village. Surprise your sweetheart with a bottle of vino, then take a Venetian-style moonlit ride. (Don't forget to smooch under every bridge for good luck!) For more information, call The Gondola Getaway, 562/433-9595 or gondolagetawayinc.com; or visit beachcalifornia.com/naples2.html. Also, look for our feature on the gondolas in an upcoming issue of Coastal Living.

Anguilla, Caribbean
With 33 white-sand beaches, this small island is a picture-perfect hideaway. Escape for the afternoon to Long Pond Bay or Katouche Bay (if you're lucky, you'll have the beach to yourself). Couples on the go will love the CuisinArt Resort & Spa (800/943-3210 or cuisinartresort.com), on popular Rendevous Bay (Anguilla's longest beach). The resort offers activities everyone can enjoy, including catamaran cruises and hands-on cooking classes; anguilla-vacation.com.