5 Dreamy Destinations for Your First Trip as a Couple
What’s better than striking out on your own for a great getaway? It could be adventuring with a new partner for the first time, sharing the epic sights and experiences, and enjoying each other’s company. Recent data from an Adobe Lightroom survey suggests many people may agree: 87 percent of millennial Instagram users said that taking photos of their significant other on their trip makes it more fun and memorable. Your first trip is a big deal in coupledom: You’re sharing the planning and budgeting and learning how each of you likes to travel, and you might even work out a few surprising frustrations along the way. To help it go off without a hitch, we asked seasoned travelers for their favorite destinations — and what made their first trip so special.
Beauty by the Beach: Carmel by the Sea, California
Nestled along the coast in central California, Carmel is a resort town with one of the country’s most picturesque beaches, complete with sweeping vistas of the famous Pebble Beach golf course. It’s also home to some famous residents, including Clint Eastwood and Doris Day. “I’ve traveled all around the world, but when my boyfriend and I drove to Carmel-by-the-Sea for our first couples road trip, it was flawless,” travel PR pro Hayley Gibbs told us. “Downtown Carmel is only one square mile, so you can stroll with your partner hand-in-hand on cobblestone streets in a very romantic setting. It feels like an old village in Europe! There are secret passageways and courtyards, [and] we explored some of the most charming streets and alleys.”
Gibbs says that Carmel’s famous beach is the perfect place to enjoy a picnic and watch a sunset — you might even catch some whales. And she raves about the food and wine scene. “There are 18 wine tasting rooms in total, so we gallivanted from one to the next. The restaurant options are amazing!” Plan to follow Gibbs’ lead? We love the fun environment at Dametra Cafe and Mission Ranch — plus strolling along Ocean Avenue to scope out all of the boutiques.
The True Winter Wonderland: Quebec City, Quebec
Sure, the Canadian province of Quebec can be cold, but it can also make for an ultra-romantic first getaway — even in the middle of winter. Travel blogger Lindsay Davies explains, “I took my new partner on an adventure into the winter wonderland of Canada’s province of Quebec. When we first met, I told him I would show him more of Canada because he’s not from the country.” Davies told us that, despite the frigid temps, the trip went off without a hitch.
“In Quebec City, we spent a night in the magical ice hotel, the Hôtel de Glace, where it felt as if we had just stepped into Elsa’s castle from ‘Frozen.’ Wandering through the sculpted rooms during the day, we stared in awe at the beauty. At night, we sipped on specially made cocktails out of ice chalices to warm up by the fire. While my partner, who was born in the Philippines, isn’t a fan of the cold, even he admits that it was an amazing getaway. The chilly temperatures just meant we had to snuggle up closer together… cue the romance!”
A Dreamy Desert Oasis: Joshua Tree, California
Joshua Tree is an ideal desert destination for stargazers, nature lovers, and couples who care about wellness. Under an hour from Palm Springs and about two from Los Angeles or San Diego, it also makes for an ideal weekend away for those who live in Southern California. “My first vacation with my current partner — who was my new partner at the time — was to Joshua Tree,” yoga teacher and traveler Emily Torres shared with us. “We rented an Airbnb just outside the park instead of camping, and I’m so thankful for that decision! We were still able to enjoy the comforts of having a home base, like bathrooms and a bed, while still being able to be outside and be active together.”
Torres says that hiking was a perfect activity for having conversations with her partner — and that the two lucked out in scoring an Airbnb with an outdoor bathtub they could use while stargazing at night. “Our trip was perfect because we barely had cell service and could enjoy quality time while fostering a new relationship, and we got to enjoy being active in a gorgeous place,” she raves. Hoping to uncover a cool spot to hunker down for a night or two like Torres did? Get The Joshua Tree House on your list ASAP and book it early. Rooms are hard to get, but worth the wait.
The Quintessential City Experience: New York
New York is a classic choice for a first-time getaway. Whether you and bae are foodies, art aficionados, sports fans, or sightseers, the City That Never Sleeps has something for every kind of couple. “My fiancé and I — he was my boyfriend at the time — took our first trip together to New York City a few months into our relationship. We’re both seasoned travelers and we’ve both been to New York City plenty of times, but it was so much fun to experience the vibrancy of the city together,” blogger Cynthia Hoyt shared.
“Going to New York City with him that time was just as exciting as when I visited it for the first time at eight years old. This time, we had plans to catch up with his friends, and we spent our time exploring the more refined parts of the city, like TriBeCa and SoHo. We walked through the crowded streets like two puppies in love, window-shopping and finding excuses to indulge in all-day happy hours. I actually unplugged for the weekend and got to enjoy the new experience with him!”
A Creative Escape: Santa Fe, New Mexico
The capital of New Mexico is a thriving arts hub known for its pueblo architecture and adobe landmarks. And if you love museums, this may be the place for you: Santa Fe is one of the most museum-dense locales in the US, trailing behind only Boston and New York. Video editor Annabelle Needles says, “For our first trip together back when we were dating, my husband and I took a weekend road trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico. It was a great destination because there are lots of different types of things to do: interactive art exhibits, historical churches, and outdoor activities in the nearby national monuments.”
Needles and her boo were all about the food scene too. “From amazing Spanish tapas at Boca Feliz and sopapillas on the patio at Rancho de Chimayo, we could always find something to agree on! Since we started our road trip in Denver, it was a manageable first getaway without the commitment of expensive airline tickets that you had to buy far in advance.” Feeling inspired? Consider visiting Santa Fe in the winter. You’ll experience cooler temps, seasonal views, and far fewer tourists.
Where did you go on your first vacation with your partner? Show us your snapshots on Instagram by tagging @BritandCo.
(Photos via Getty)