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Romantic Getaways in Myrtle Beach Mar 12

I wanted to take my wife for a weekend romantic getaway for her birthday.  I wanted to take her somewhere she could see the ocean.  After some research, I decided to take my wife to Myrtle Beach for a romantic getaway.

We have traveled to South Carolina several times before and used the Myrtle Beach airport before because there are a few discount airlines that fly in and out of there which keeps prices down.  In this case, we used Spirit Airlines and got a really great deal.  Myrtle Beach has very reasonable airline prices and also has all of the major rental car companies next to the terminal.

There are several hotels and resorts along the ocean but I wanted to find one that had some good specials and was very nice.  We stayed at the Marina Inn at Grande Dunes which was just 5 minutes from the beach.  The Marina Inn has a variety of accommodations from studio rooms to four bedroom suites with kitchens.  Our suite had a fireplace, king bed, full kitchen, and a patio with a view of the Intercoastal waterway and a golf course.  The furniture and the bed were very comfortable.  The Marina Inn has a beautiful outdoor pool for getting some sun and an indoor pool and fitness center if you want to stay in shape.   I thought that the hotel and grounds were very nice and the customer service was excellent.

One of the reasons that we came to Myrtle Beach was to spend some time on the beach.  The beach is just 5 minutes away and the hotel provides shuttles to the beach throughout most of the year or you can drive yourself.  The Marina Inn has beach access right next to the Marriott and provides everything you need to relax at the beach from chairs, umbrellas, hammocks, and a cabana which has casual dining and restrooms and changing rooms.  We went in the off season when there wasn’t shuttle service but the advantage was that we had the beach to ourselves.  We spent the better part of the weekend just relaxing at the beach.

Myrtle Beach does have a lot to do.  Of course, many people go to Myrtle Beach for the golf.  You can’t go too far in Myrtle Beach without finding a golf course.  This would include miniature golf courses, executive courses, and of course some signature golf courses as well.  Myrtle Beach does have a lot of other things to do from dinner shows to small amusement parks to aquariums.

If you like to shop, Myrtle Beach has a lot of options from outlet malls to traditional malls and unique entertainment / shopping areas.  We went to Broadway at the Beach which has a wide variety of shopping, dining, nightlife, and entertainment options.  The complex has themed architecture areas around a 23 acre lake which houses fireworks shows.  We enjoyed eating Ben and Jerry’s ice cream while walking through the different shops.

There are a lot of different dining options in Myrtle Beach.  While we were there, we enjoyed some terrific chicken tenders from Zaxby’s as well as some terrific steaks from Ruth’s Chris Steak House.  We also had a terrific breakfast at the Waterscapes restaurant inside the Marina Inn.  We especially enjoyed their Banana’s Foster French Toast.  Since we were there for a long weekend we really didn’t get to experience all the dining options that Myrtle Beach had to offer but we did see a lot we would like to try the next time we are there.

My wife really liked her birthday romantic getaway to Myrtle Beach.  We were able to relax at the beach which was what she really wanted to do. However, the next time we go we may play some golf or do some of the great activities Myrtle Beach has to offer.  The next time you are looking for a romantic getaway along the ocean, don’t overlook Myrtle Beach!

Romantic Getaways in Grand Bahamas Feb 20

It was winter in Michigan and my wife and I were looking for a romantic getaway where we could be immersed in sunshine and much warmer temperatures.  We immediately thought of going to the Caribbean where we could see white sand beaches, beautiful clear water, and abundant sunshine.  However, trips to the Caribbean can be expensive so we undertook an extensive search to find something that would be in our price range. 

We went through a variety of websites looking for vacation specials in the Caribbean.  After some extensive research, we found a great deal in the Bahamas at the Radisson Our Lucaya Resort in Freeport, Grand Bahamas.  We booked a 5 day trip including hotel and airfare including transfers.  It was really easy to book and everything went as planned.

We got a room with an ocean view which gave us a beautiful view of the crystal clear waters and white sand beaches.  The view from the balcony was so good that we were able to see manta rays swimming in the water from our room.  We also had a great view of the pool which looked like a winding river from the resort to the ocean.  The “river” ended at an infinity pool that had a poolside bar that overlooked the ocean.  The resort offered a variety of water sports including jet skis and boats as well as fishing and snorkeling trips.  They also have a good sized casino if you feel like gambling and a full service spa and fitness center if you want to get into shape or be pampered. 

Our room was very clean and comfortable.  The service was excellent and the bell staff was very accommodating from the moment we stepped onto the resort.  They also have very good restaurants right on the resort for all tastes.  We ate several times at China Beach which was an excellent Asian style restaurant.  They also have a gourmet steak restaurant and a Caribbean style restaurant.  We also had a very good lunch at the Prop Club which overlooks the beach and the water.  Overall, we were very pleased with the food choices and quality.

Some people may be very content to stay on the resort enjoying the pool, the beach, and the great food.  However, there are entertainment, shopping, and dining options across the street from the resort in the Port Lucaya Marketplace.  The have plenty of shops with everything from jewelry to clothing to trinkets and souvenirs.  There are a variety of bars and restaurants for all types of cuisine and entertainment options.  We really liked Zorba’s restaurant which served Greek food and had a good breakfast.

The marketplace is connected to a marina which has a variety of boat tours and even has a world class dive shop called UNEXSO adjacent to it.  If you are interested in snorkeling or scuba diving, UNEXSO has a wide variety of snorkeling and diving trips and a wide range of classes for all levels of expertise.

My wife and I really enjoy snorkeling.  We were able to snorkel right from the beach of the resort.  We saw a variety of coral, fish, and almost a couple of manta rays.  We decided that we wanted to see a wider variety of coral and fish so we took a snorkel / sailing tour with Reef Tours which left from the Port Lucaya Marketplace.  The tour took place from a catamaran and allowed for an hour of snorkeling followed by an hour of sailing.  The snorkeling was amazing.  The water was crystal clear, the coral reef was beautiful, and fish were plentiful.  We did the tour on the last day of the trip and it was a great way to end our wonderful vacation.

Although Grand Bahama Island is not as pricey as some of the other popular Caribbean destinations, it is truly a great place to relax, get some sun, and find an adventure or two.  Don’t overlook Freeport and the Radisson Our Lucaya resort when you are looking for your next romantic getaway.

Romantic Getaways in Santa Barbara Mar 09

If you like to walk along the beach with a view of the mountains, drink fine wine, shop, and walk along streets with intriguing architecture you may want to consider Santa Barbara for your next romantic getaway.

Santa Barbara is only a couple hours drive from Los Angeles but it might feel like worlds away. The attitude is very laid back and courteous which is ideal for a romantic getaway. The beaches are a focal point, but the shops and art galleries that are found throughout downtown are equally as visited. For all of these reasons, Santa Barbara is often called The American Riviera.

The architecture is Spanish-Mediterranean and there is even a self-guided walking tour called the Red Tile Walking Tour of which you can pickup maps at the visitor’s center. Some of the highlights of the tour include the Santa Barbara Courthouse, and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. The main street through downtown is State Street and has a variety of shops and boutiques and even has a shuttle if you get tired of walking.

My wife and I always find that for romantic moments, you just can’t beat a walk on the beach. Santa Barbara has some beautiful beaches for all tastes and moods. If recreational activities and people watching is your cup of tea, East Beach is probably your best bet. If you enjoy watching surfers and watching boats going in and out of the harbor, Ledbetter Beach is ideal. But if you are looking for a little more seclusion, Hendry’s Beach may be just right for you. All of these beaches have beautiful gold-sand beaches lined with palm trees and adequate surf. As a side note, those of you who love art and the water, you may really enjoy the Arts and Crafts Show that takes place every Sunday along the Santa Barbara waterfront. Finally, the sunsets in Santa Barbara are breathtaking and many locals and visitors gather on the waterfront every day to watch the sun go down.

Santa Barbara also has a lot of options for those of you wanting to look for those romantic moments on the ocean. There are whale watching tours that take place from December to March (your best bet to see whales on land would be from Shoreline Park) and there are a variety of other boat tours including some to the Channel Islands and others of the shoreline. If you are looking for a little more romance and seclusion, you can rent sailboats or take a cruise on a 50-foot Catamaran called the Double Dolphin.

If you and your sweetheart are wine lovers, Santa Barbara is the place for you. There are a lot of great vineyards in the area and a variety of ways to see them. There are bus tours, bicycling tours, private tours, and also self-guided ones. The wineries provide beautiful scenery and tasting of a wide variety of wines. The Santa Barbara wine country was actually a large part of the 2004 Oscar winning film Sideways and you can even pick up maps of the actual filming locations.

There are numerous fine romantic restaurants in Santa Barbara which combine ambiance, wonderful food and service, and world class wine lists to make for a very special evening. Some of these romantic restaurants include BouchonAldo’s Italian Restaurant, Seagrass, and Blue Agave. There is also a Melting Pot and Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse if you are looking for some familiar romantic restaurants.

There are several romantic lodging options in Santa Barbara whether you want to stay by the beach or closer to downtown. The nice thing is that whichever you choose, the downtown and the beaches are just a relaxing stroll away. For those of you looking for a romantic retreat where money is no object, you may try the Four Seasons Resort if you want to be closer to the beach or The Canary Hotel or Simpson House Inn if you want to be closer to downtown. Some other lodging options close to the beach that aren’t as pricy include the Casa Del Mar Inn, Franciscan Inn, and Hotel Oceana.

For couples looking for a romantic getaway to a beautiful oceanfront town with a relaxed atmosphere and a wide variety of choices for lodging, dining and activities, Santa Barbara may be just the place for you.

Romantic Getaways in Panama City Feb 23


When you first think of Panama City and Panama City Beach, you probably don’t think of it as a place for a romantic getaway. Panama City has been known as a popular spring break and summer vacation for college students for years. However, if you know where to go, it can be very romantic. My wife and I spent one of our most romantic weekends ever in Panama City. It was actually where we were engaged to be married and now 12 years later, it always brings back fond memories for us.

Panama City Beach has beautiful beaches. The shoreline is 17 miles long so you should always be able to find your own semi-private spot. The sand is white and powder soft, the water is emerald blue, and there are many water activities available. We traveled from Atlanta both times we vacationed in Panama City and I think many people from Georgia and Alabama do the same.

St. Andrews State Park is a 1260 acre park located on the eastern tip of Panama City Beach. It is well known for its sugar white sands and emerald green waters, and has over one-and-a-half miles of beach on the Gulf of Mexico and Grand Lagoon. Water sports enthusiasts can enjoy swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking, and canoeing. It has a campground, pier fishing, hiking trails, or you can take a ferry to Shell Island. Shell Island is a 700 acre park that is rather undeveloped with some of the best shelling around. There aren’t many things more romantic than walking with your sweetheart on the beach collecting seashells!

Across the bay from St. Andrews State Park is the Marriott Bay Point Resort which is where we stayed both visits. The resort is a quiet departure from the touristy section of Panama City Beach. The rooms are tropically decorated with private balconies with beautiful views of the gulf, lagoon, or the resort’s two golf courses. The golf courses are both beautiful and challenging with one of them having water on 17 of the 18 holes.  They have a spa on site if you really want to relax and be pampered.  The Kingfish restaurant is very good and offers a great breakfast buffet and even a champagne brunch on Sundays. The outdoor heated pool is very nice and even has a pool bar that you can swim up to. There is a boardwalk to a private beach with an open-air martini bar on the way to the beach. The beach offers a variety of water sports and also offers trips to Shell Island. Overall, the resort is a nice place to spend some quiet time with that someone special.

Our favorite restaurant in Panama City is Capt. Anderson’s. It is located on the waterfront and offers great seafood and steaks. You can even sit and watch the boats come in with the catch of the day. It is very popular so be prepared to wait in line but at least you will be close to the water while you wait. Some other nice restaurants in Panama City include Boars Head for steaks and The Boatyard for fresh fish and sushi.

Panama City is a great place for a romantic getaway if you know where to look. On the day that I proposed, we enjoyed relaxing by the pool, and even took a Wave Runner from the Marriott through St. Andrew’s Bay. We had a wonderful dinner at Capt. Anderson’s and then went back to the open air bar for some drinks and some live music. I convinced my future wife to join me for a walk on the beach where I recited some poetry and then got down on one knee to propose. I put a ring on her finger and my wife gave me a wonderful and passionate kiss and we have been happily married for over 11 years. Panama City will always be very special to us because it was the place where we began our beautiful life together! We hope that some of you don’t overlook Panama City when you are looking for that next romantic getaway.

Romantic Getaways to Cocoa Beach Feb 09

 

My husband and I recently escaped to the beautiful beaches of Florida. We live in Michigan and this time of year we deal with temperatures in the minus degrees. So when my husband mentioned escaping to mid-70 degree weather I was overjoyed.

Cocoa Beach is a short ride from the Orlando International Airport. Flying into Orlando is one of the cheaper airports to fly into.

I love staying in romantic inns, but they can be costly. An alternative is staying in a condo or timeshare. These places allow you to have a little bit of home while on vacation. It’s fun to eat out at nice restaurants, but my husband and I also enjoying making our breakfast in the mornings. Having a full kitchen is wonderful. We opted for a time share condo at the Ron Jon Resort. Our condo overlooked the Atlantic Ocean. It’s very romantic watching the sunrise over the Atlantic, especially while watching it from your balcony!

If you can’t find a condo or timeshare or would prefer a hotel, there are a great many hotels in the area, many of which are oceanfront. Click on the links below for some good oceanfront hotels.

If you’re a nature lover, don’t miss the Cocoa Beach Kayaking Guided Nature Tour. All the guides are incredible (and girls all the kayaks are tandem, so you can sit back, relax and take in the beautiful scenery while your beau does all the work). You’ll paddle at a leisurely pace along the Thousand Islands of Cocoa Beach. Bring your binoculars to observe the bird life in the most diverse estuaries in the Indian River Lagoon. Don’t forget your camera for your up close and personal view of bottlenose dolphins and the Florida manatees. If you forget your hat, sunglasses or bottled water don’t fret because there provided free of charge.

Another romantic sight seeing tour is Space Coast River Tour on the Blue Dolphin leaving from Merritt Island. It’s a relaxing and enjoyable two hour tour departing through the working Port of Canaveral and into the Banana River to see wildlife. The wildlife ranges from bottlenose dolphins, huge lovable manatees, brown pelican, osprey, endangered bald eagle, great blue heron and many more.

If your really into seeing the endangered Florida manatee and would like to know where to see many of them in one place, please email me and I will send you the directions.

A romantic restaurant not to miss is Milliken’s Reef, it truly has it all. The dining room is very romantic from its white tablecloths, candlelight and piano jazz bar. The ambience is relaxed. The seafood is incredible. You should definitely try their conch. They also have a Tiki bar outside overlooking the water. Milliken’s Tiki Bar has it all: from palm trees to tiki torches, live island music and sand for a dance floor. If you are just looking for good food and not the romantic ambiance, there are many great restaurants in the area including Grills, Jack Baker’s Lobster Shanty, and Slow & Low Bar-B-Que.

If you are looking for a room with a great view, a romantic dinner, a relaxing tour on the water looking at wildlife, Cocoa Beach is the place for your next romantic excursion. And by the way, there is nothing more romantic than just walking hand in hand with your sweetheart on the beach! Enjoy your trip!

Romantic Getaways in Vail and Beaver Creek Dec 07

When most people think of Vail or Beaver Creek they think of world class skiing.  However, you will find that Vail has a lot to offer couples looking for a romantic getaway anytime of year.

Romance is in the air you breathe whether you are taking moonlight walks underneath the stars in the mountains of Vail or roasting marshmallows and drinking hot chocolate with your loved ones in the square at Beaver Creek.  Being in Vail and Beaver Creek for a romantic retreat is a moment in time you’ll treasure forever.

One of our favorite places to stay in Vail is the Vail Mountain Resort and Spa Marriott.  Many rooms have a crackling fireplace and a view of the splendid mountains.  There concierge is superb especially Adam Friedman.  He gave us great recommendations for romantic excursions.  There are great hiking trails within walking distance from the resort.

My husband and I recently celebrated our 11th anniversary in Vail and truly had an anniversary to remember.  To begin the day we had a scrumptious hot breakfast buffet at the Marriott, which was included in the price of our stay.  Later that afternoon for a romantic retreat we took a scenic drive to Beaver Creek Resort, a neighboring community.  In the middle of the square you can find an ice skating ring where couples can feel like kids again by strapping on those ice skating shoes and sharing laughter and memories that will last a lifetime.  To warm up afterwards you don’t have to go far.  There are several gas fireplaces with huge comfortable chairs to relax in while reminiscing with hot chocolate from the many cafes in the square.  Take a stroll around the square and you’re sure to find that special gift in the many quaint shops around. 

For a romantic dinner take a shuttle to Splendido at the Chateau.  Chef David Walford will tease your palette with fine contemporary American cuisine with French and Italian influences.  If you go in the Fall time they have great specials.  The ambience is exquisite from the moment you walk in with a grand piano, and a magnificent wood burning fireplace.  It reminds me of a chateau you would find in France.  The décor of the restaurant is made for romance from the white table clothes, candlelight, spectacular view of the mountains, and waitstaff that anticipate every need you might want.  Did I mention you can stay here?  How romantic would that be? 

After a romantic dinner you should take a shuttle ride to the Ritz Carlton lodge.  Enjoy an evening cocktail at Spago’s, a Wolfgang Puck restaurant. But for romance take your cocktail outside to the wood burning fire pit outside and cuddle up with your loved one for an evening under the stars roasting marshmallows.  Take a stroll around the grounds under a full moon.  It’s very romantic.  If you can afford to stay here, this is a very romantic atmosphere.  It’s very different from a normal Ritz Carlton.  The superb service and elegance is still there, but if you love the outdoors you’ll love the Ritz, It’s designed as a rustic lodge with beautiful fireplaces in every room.  You will definitely not be roughing it here, but you’ll still get that loving nature ambience. And for pet lovers, you can take The Ritz Carlton dog on your hiking trips with you.   

When we returned to the Marriott, our evening of perfection ended on a high note when we returned to our room to find chilled champagne and strawberries dipped in chocolate from our concierge!