5 Top Romantic and Affordable Vacation Destinations (and what to do when you get there)
4 min

Looking to get away for a few days with your sweetie? You’ll want to find a destination with great food, cocktails, and fun activities. Here are five cities with ample opportunities to relax and enjoy each other’s company for the perfect date weekend. 

Pigeon Forge, TN

Pigeon Forge is a friendly mountain town in Eastern Tennessee. It’s the perfect place to hole up in a log cabin with your love for a romantic getaway. This two-level Log Heaven is located inside a cabin community and has a private jacuzzi plus shared pool access. Take in views of beautiful greenery and trees and take advantage of the location between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Pigeon Forge, and Gatlinburg. 

Upon settling in at the log cabin, head to Dollywood at 2700 Dollywood Parks Boulevard. This popular theme park features adrenaline-inducing rides, games, live entertainment, and award-winning dining experiences. Try white water rafting and then ride a rollercoaster before fueling up at Hickory House BBQ or Till and Harvest Food Hall

When you’re ready to slow down, drive to 2174 Parkway Pigeon Forge to sip wine at Mountain Valley Winery. The charming stone building is open daily for complimentary tastings! Try their unique wine varieties like watermelon, red velvet, and rhubarb. 

Ready to cozy up together? Pack a picnic or grab takeout and bring it to Cades Cove, a 6,800-acre valley in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The sunsets here are stunning from the open fields along the 11-mile loop trail. Pack headlamps or flashlights if you plan to stay for the entire sunset!

Kissimmee, FL

Post up at Rainbow Garden, a Florida dream home inside a resort that offers a private enclosed pool and multiple master bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms. Enjoy the community fitness center and arcade before checking out the tiki bar together! 

Ready for a bit of competition? Kick things up a notch at Congo River Golf at 4777 West Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway. Play award-winning adventure golf among waterfalls, rock faces, and rainforests. Then, visit their gem mining area and arcade or even feed live gators! They do not offer same-day tickets, so you’ll need to plan ahead to play here.

Head to Vintage Vino at 14 E Dakin Avenue for a night on the town. The intimate fine wine shop features more than 350 varieties and hosts craft beer nights and Friday Happy Hours. Cozy up with your sweetheart to sip white wine or merlot and enjoy fine cheese. 

Get up close and personal with Florida wildlife at The Paddling Center at 4266 West Vine Street. Located in Shingle Creek Regional Park, they offer paddleboard, canoe, and kayak rentals and tours. Look for unique wildlife like herons, gators, and otters among the stunning Cyprus forests.

Mountains in Mesa Arizona, a town where affordable vacation rentals abound

Enjoy epic sunset views after a day of adventuring in Mesa, AZ

Mesa, AZ

Pack your swimsuits (or don’t!) and spend time in this private pool before spending the night in a luxurious king-sized bed at this Mesa home. You’ll love the contemporary style of this affordable vacation rental close to Phoenix! 

From there, it’s an easy drive to Red, White, and Brew at 6740 East McDowell Road. This local bar and restaurant is known for incredible seafood and making nearly everything from scratch. Grab lunch or dinner here and enjoy innovative classics like coconut-crusted shrimp with jalapeño dipping sauce or share a plate of seafood scampi over linguini. 

In between pool sessions, visit Fuschia Spa at 1822 South Val Vista Drive. Relax during a deep tissue massage with therapeutic essential oils before trying the infrared sauna or getting manicures. 

Every trip to Mesa requires a visit to Organ Stop Pizza at 1149 East Southern Avenue. The pizzeria features a working Wurlitzer theatre organ originally built for the Denver Theatre in 1927. Today, an organist serenades diners enjoying Italian fare like custom pizzas! 

New Orleans, LA

The Big Easy is a paradise for lovers. Spend your romantic getaway at a two-level penthouse with views of Downtown New Orleans from your personal terrace. Cook a delicious meal in the state-of-the-art kitchen and enjoy it on the patio as you watch the sunset. 

When you’re ready to explore, start your day at Cafe Du Monde at 800 Decatur Street. Grab a classic Beignet, a deep-fried dough coated in powdered sugar, from the French market-style eatery. They blend their coffee with chicory to create a unique hot beverage you’ll love.

Rent a bike and pedal along Lafitte Greenway, a 2.6-mile linear park through the middle of Near Orleans. Here, you’ll find murals, live performances, and sidewalk art among bike and pedestrian paths and playground equipment. 

At night, stroll along Frenchman Street – the best place to catch live music! Stop at clubs like Blue Nile and The Spotted Cat to enjoy unforgettable jazz acts. This Seventh Ward locale features establishments open late into the night, so make sure to stay hydrated and dig into tasty Louisiana fare so you can stay out as late as your hearts desire!

Gulf Shores, AL

If you’re looking for a romantic beach getaway, look no further than the Moby Duck, an affordable vacation home in Gulf Shores. This ocean-side condo has king-sized beds and a full kitchen. You won’t have to leave other than to run onto the sugary sand beach and play in the water together! 

If you want to check out the area, start with a dolphin tour through Cetacean Cruises at 4673 Wharf Parkway. Take a sunset cruise and sway to Caribbean music while keeping your eyes out for dolphins playing in the water in Wolf Bay and near Orange Beach. The sailing experts follow a near-shore route ensuring a smoother ride for all!

For a shopping experience, visit The Wharf at 23101 Canal Road. The main street includes fun local shops like clothing, food, and jewelry boutiques. When you get hungry, stop at a restaurant such as Mile Marker 158 Dockside (think inside and outside seating with casual food and hand-crafted cocktails) or YoHo Rum & Tacos (chef-inspired tacos and specialty adult beverages with an ocean view). 

Visit Original Oyster House at 701 Gulf Shores Parkway to dine on seafood by the water. The unique building is located along the boardwalk and perches above the water on stilts. Order the homemade seafood gumbo with fish, shrimp, and crab meat in a roux made with bacon. Or try Natchitoches crawfish pies, a Cajun tradition! 

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