America's Sweetest Retreats

Ten Sure Bets for the Romantic Escape Artist

Jan 30, 2004
Outside Magazine
romantic adventure travel, Washington

Two harbor-side seats just waiting for a pair of loungers.

romantic adventure travel, Hawaii

The Sea Ranch Cottages

romantic adventure travel, St. John

Harmony Studios

Listen up, Casanova: With laid-back inns and well-appointed eco-resorts taking center stage on the U.S. vacation scene, a getaway with your honey need not be synonymous with adventure deprivation.

Say goodbye to prim "romantic" B&Bs that look like your grandma's parlor, and meet the love nests of the future—complete with jaw-dropping scenery and dozens of options (both indoors and out) for getting your adrenaline pumping. From mountain biking, climbing, and scuba diving to hot-tubbing, spa treatments, and fine dining, these intimate havens offer pure bliss for the active tryst.

Friday Harbor House, San Juan Island, WA
Each luxurious room at Friday Harbor House, a 20-room boutique hotel situated on a bluff overlooking the San Juan Channel, comes with its own fireplace and oversized whirlpool tub for relaxing with your sweetheart.

When you come up for air, savor meals prepared with farm-fresh produce, herbs from the inn's garden, and local seafood. The inn is in Friday Harbor, a cute town on San Juan Island, with breathtaking views of Mount Constitution on nearby Orcas Island. From the bald eagles soaring above to the orca pods breaching offshore, the 700 San Juan Islands are also prime spots for critter watching while kayaking, hiking, or cycling.
(Doubles from $150; 866-722-7356;

Hotel Hana-Maui, Maui, HI
When you get a load of the sea crashing practically right into this place, you won't be surprised that scenes from Fantasy Island were shot on its sparkling 66-acre grounds. The resort's 47 plantation-style cottages, all with ocean views (and surrounded by a 4,500-acre ranch), are situated near the little town of Hana on Maui's east coast.

There are horses on site, hiking in Haleakala National Park, cycling along the winding coastal roads, and snorkeling nearby at Hamoa Beach, but after soaking in the stars and the ocean views from the hot tub on your room's huge deck, you might not feel like doing much else.
(Doubles from $295; 800-321-4262; Harmony Studios, Maho Bay, St. John
It's the picture-perfect Caribbean getaway and you don't even need a passport. We challenge you not to fall in love with the sugar-white beaches and undeveloped green hills of 19-square-mile St. John, where you can snorkel, dive, sea kayak, and hike in the national park covering two-thirds of the island.

If going eco boosts your libido, check into Harmony Studios, which shares the same location as the legendary Maho Bay Camp of tent cottages, but its dozen rooms—with cozy balconies and incredible views of Maho Bay—are more comfortable (a major plus for the intimate getaway). In keeping with the eco-theme, the studios are solar and wind powered and built almost entirely of recycled materials.
(Doubles from $110; 800-392-9004;

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