Image: Canyonlands NP
Ken Redding  /  © Ken Redding / Corbis
On the banks of the Colorado River, this area is best known for its adventure sports, including mountain biking on Moab's Slickrock Trail and kayaking through Canyonlands National Park.
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updated 2/10/2009 10:42:09 AM ET 2009-02-10T15:42:09

This Valentine's Day, 45 New York locations of fast-food chain White Castle will host a by-reservation-only candlelight dinner from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. for those in the mood for love — and steam-grilled sliders.

While fries and Formica table tops appeal to some, most romantics will be searching for something a bit more captivating this Feb. 14.

And since the annual day for doting falls on a Saturday this year, spending that weekend away never seemed so convenient. Indeed, romance is a major driver when it comes to taking a vacation. About 20 percent of all U.S. adults took a romantic trip in the past year, according to Washington, D.C.-based trade group U.S. Travel Association.

East retreats
Florence Quinn, president and founder of New York travel and hospitality public relations firm Quinn & Co., says that when booking a weekend getaway, she and her husband's first choice is the Berkshires, a stretch of mountains and valleys in western Massachusetts.

The rural area is best known for its beautiful countryside mixed with highbrow culture. Along with the Taconic Mountains, Western New England Marble Valleys and Berkshire Highlands, the area is home to the Williamstown Theater Festival and outdoor concert venue Tanglewood, where the Boston Symphony Orchestra performs regularly in the summer.

“It's an ideal combination: natural beauty and sophistication,” says Quinn.

Of course, Tanglewood and Williamstown offer more to visitors in the warm months, but resorts like the Cranwell and Wheatleigh, both in Lenox, Mass., are romantic year-long. Both properties resemble old English country estates, framed by lush forests.

At Wheatleigh, food takes center stage. For a romantic dinner, chef Jeffrey Thompson serves up dishes like Four Story Hill Farm veal served with parsnip, heirloom squash and blue-foot mushrooms (the tasting menu starts at $125; a room is $715 per night). The spa is the signature at Cranwell, where couples can indulge in duet — or his and her — massages. Treatments start at $115, rooms at $205 per night.

West Coast options
While the Berkshires is among New England's most romantic destinations, the West Coast has plenty of points to choose from as well. Paris Permenter, publisher of romantic travel site Lovetripper.com, is a fan of the Sunset Bay Cruise in San Francisco ($45 per person).

“The view of the city at dusk and the Golden Gate Bridge with the sunset behind it really defines a romantic setting,” says Permenter. Included with the cruise, of course, is Champagne.

Another attractive option, perhaps the day after the cruise, is a drive down California's Highway 1 to Big Sur, about two and half hours from San Francisco, which offers yet another breathtaking view, this time of rocky ocean cliffs hugged by pine and cypress trees. Arguably the best way to enjoy the scenery — particularly the McWay waterfalls — is to take a trek down the Overlook Trail in Julia Pfeiffer State Park. The walk is about a quarter mile long and 80 feet above sea level.

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Farther north, but still near the coast, is the Hoh Rain Forest in Washington's Olympic National Park. Teri Citterman, editor of The Best Places to Kiss in the Northwest, says that while the sky may be gray and the weather damp in this part of the country, the rain forest still attracts with its enchanting moss-filled curtains, waterfalls and trails. She calls it a Northwest version of the Emerald City in The Wizard of Oz.

“This is a rugged, rocky, lush, enchanting forest,” says Citterman. Set up camp at the Lost Mountain Lodge, which offers several romantic-getaway packages that include extras such as his-and-hers aromatherapy spa treatments, Champagne and chocolates. (Room rates start at $185 per night.)

Sun and sand
Appealing as cozying up in a drizzly climate might sound, some still believe that there's nothing more romantic than clear skies, white sand and blue water. More still might look at Valentine's Day's falling on a weekend the perfect excuse to make a bit more of a getaway.

St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands is a good option, says John Bigley, co-publisher of romantic travel Web site Lovetripper.com. Locals call it the “love city,” he says, and he believes it's easy to see why.

“It has plenty of quiet hideaways for couples to enjoy,” he says. “Even a stretch of sand with the perfect name: Honeymoon Beach.” Round-trip tickets from New York to St. Thomas — a 15-minute ferry ride away from St. John — currently start at about $500.

Whether it's a day trip or a full weekend away that you're considering for celebrating Valentine's Day, just remember that if it's true love, some candlelight and White Castle sliders might be more than enough considering current economic conditions.

That is, so long as you promise a trip to one of those other places next year.

© 2012 Forbes.com

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