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Romantic Destinations

Roses are red, violets are blue.
This Valentine's Day,
Do something sweet
For the one you love.
And show them a
Destination so new.

By Adrienne Morgan


There's the inherent consideration the customary bouquet of roses and box of chocolates brings, come Valentine's Day. This February, bring on the "oooh and ahhh" factor and surprise your significant other with something more. Show that you care by putting a little extra thought into your gift. You can create everlasting memories—or even rekindle memories past—with a trip to somewhere special. Here are some top picks for romantic destinations.

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ST. PETERSBURG Crush

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Renaissance Vinoy, St. Petersburg.

With an average of 361 days of sunshine per year, it's no surprise that St. Petersburg, FL, is a prime spot for vacationing. From water sports galore to sports teams and history-filled museums, there's something for every couple in St. Pete. The city bustles with the arts, and throughout the year it hosts approximately 1,000 events—ranging from food festivals to art collections to concerts and more.

Get cultured during your St. Pete travels. The new Dalí Museum celebrates its grand opening on Jan. 11, 2011. The museum is home to the world's most comprehensive collection of Salvador Dalí's famous works outside of his native Spain.

To satisfy your need to be outdoors, St. Pete has 137 parks where you can walk, run and play. Explore the numerous fitness trails. Or plan a romantic picnic at a park. Boyd Hill Nature Preserve features trails, boardwalks, myriad ecosystems and even guided tours.

From coastal inns to vast resorts, St. Pete has a wide range of accommodations. The Renaissance Vinoy Resort and Golf Club features a private marina, an 18-hole golf course and a 12-court tennis complex. With a great location, this historic hotel makes for a memorable stay.

Tip for Romantics: Take a romantic stroll on the St. Pete Pier. The city's landmark
is home to shopping, unique art shops, a beautiful coastal background and more.

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Paradise Found in KEY WEST

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Escape the mainland for your chance to experience a tropical oasis. Key West is the ideal location for couples, featuring a colorful history, a vibrant nightlife, and quaint inns and coastal resorts.

Grab your love and visit the southernmost point of the U.S. This landmark can be found at the southern tip of Key West, noting that Cuba is only 90 miles away. With water all around and a tropical climate to boot, opportunities to get out on the water are available year round. Book a tour for dolphin watching or a glass bottom boat, rent a jet ski, take romance to new heights with a parasail for two, or take in the sights with a sunset cruise. Of course, a huge draw to the area is fishing, especially deep sea fishing.

As far as nightlife is concerned, Key West has you covered whether you're looking for a quiet night in, a spot to rub shoulders with the locals, or a place to live it up with upbeat sights and sounds.

Tip for Romantics: After strolling the palm-lined streets, take in the spectacular sunset. Grab a seat for two in a beachside hammock and watch the sun tuck away behind the clouds.

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SAVANNAH Sweethearts

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Historic Savannah, GA, is home to beaches, peaches and Southern charm at its finest. Take a romantic stroll through downtown. This area offers a glimpse at an era past with its cobblestone pavement and historic architecture. Satisfy your inner foodie at one of the many local food joints or gourmet food shops. Stop by one of the microbreweries for a pint, or sit at an outdoor café to sip sweet tea and people watch.

When in Savannah, opt for a stay at one of its historic inns; each tells a different story of colonial Georgia. For a journey back to an era of prosperity, the Eliza Thompson House features elegant and ornate décor reminiscent of the era when it was built—1847. Step back into the Old World at The Gastonian. This plush inn welcomes guests with 19th-century class.

With more than 50 companies offering tours, there are many ways to see the sights—jump on a trolley car for a narrated tour; all aboard a riverboat for a cruise down the Savannah River with waterfront sights; or pound the pavement and explore for yourself all this great city has to offer.

Tip for Romantics: Take the nostalgia up a notch. Reserve a horse-drawn carriage ride. And for a little more thrill and extra closeness, Savannah even offers ghost tours by horse-drawn carriage.

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Infatuated with ASHEVILLE

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Vast gardens await at the Biltmore Estate.

It's difficult to not find romance nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Asheville, NC, has a plethora of activities to suit any couple's preferences. Start off with a scenic drive. The mountain foliage and sights to be seen are unrivaled in Asheville. Drop in the indoor scene for some relaxing fun. The Downtown Market and various antiquing hotspots make for the ultimate laid-back afternoon, all under the beautiful mountain backdrop.

Nature sets the mood in Asheville with floral finds galore. The Botanical Gardens preserves and displays flowers of the Southern Appalachian area. For a look at unspoiled beauty at its finest, make time for the North Carolina Arboretum along the Blue Ridge Parkway. The arboretum encompasses 434 acres of gardens, a gift shop, trails and even a Bonsai Exhibition Garden. To bring back a piece of nature with you, visit the Western North Carolina Farmers Market. Here you can find fresh fruits and vegetables, bakery items, homemade treats, crafts, flowers and plants.

Pamper your sweetheart while in Asheville. Day spas and wellness resorts dot the area. Some will even come straight to your hotel for added pampering. Whether you're looking for a massage, a natural hot spring, facials, or even a wrap in mountain honey and warm buttergoat cream, Asheville reigns with a variety of spa experiences.

Tip for Romantics: For a truly enchanted escape, visit a real-life castle, the Biltmore Estate. The chateau was built in the late 1800s by George Washington Vanderbilt. The Biltmore spans 250 rooms and welcomes visitors with tours, restaurants, shopping, beautiful gardens, an 8,000-acre backyard, carriage rides, a winery and much more.

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Sparks in ST. AUGUSTINE

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Settle into relaxation throughout St. Augustine.
Photo by: stfrancisinn.com.

The nation's oldest city, St. Augustine, FL, could be the perfect locale for your romantic getaway. Map out your Old City adventure, starting with a few historic sites. Tour the Castilla de San Marcos, one of the city's oldest homes, or take a peek at the architecture of the beautiful Ponce de Leon Hotel, built by railroad magnate Henry Flagler in 1888. Fort Matanzas is a top pick—this historical landmark was built by the Spanish in the 1700s. And the Ponce de Leon Fountain of Youth is an archeological site where it is said Ponce de Leon originally landed and found springs that preserve one's youthful glow.

Surrounding the area of St. Augustine are pristine beaches boasting beautiful weather year-round. From the north, at Guana River State Park and its 2,000-acre habitat for endangered species, all the way south to St. Augustine Beach, there are miles and miles of coastline to take in the sights.

Tip for Romantics: Combine a piece of history with the perfect modern-day romantic experience. St. Augustine has a variety of historical inns lining its brick-paved streets. Settle into your very own history-in-the-making with one of the many bed & breakfasts, some of which are restored 19th-century homes.

Map to romantic destination? Check. Reservations at a quaint inn? Check. This Valentine's Day, celebrate the one you love. All you need for a romantic rendezvous is a comfortable setting and that special someone.

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AAA Travel Packages

Let AAA do the work for you. AAA travel packages include accommodations, attraction tickets and more.

SAVANNAH "Southern Sampler"
2-night stay at Staybridge Suites
Old Savannah Trolley Tours
Full breakfast daily and more!

KEY WEST "Key West Calypso"
2-night stay at Crowne Plaza Key West La Concha
1-day Key West Trolley ticket
Buffet breakfasts, complimentary parking and more!

ST. AUGUSTINE "St. Augustine Treasures"
2-night stay at Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites Historic
Best of St. Augustine pass (includes 5 attractions)
2 breakfast buffets and more!

ASHEVILLE "Biltmore & Blue Ridge"
2-night stay at Homewood Suites by Hilton
Admission to the Biltmore Estate
2 "Suite Start" breakfasts and more!

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