With Valentine’s Day quickly approaching, the Texas Highways editors wanted to know: What are the most romantic places in the state? So we polled our readers on the topic, something we haven’t done since 1999. We compiled romantic itineraries for each place, perfect for a lovely Valentine’s trip (time’s-a-tickin’!) or a romantic escape any other day of the year.
Enjoy long walks on the beach? Galveston will be a hit for you and your sweetie.
Start off with a leisurely bike ride though some of the city’s historic neighborhoods. Let the wind blow through your hair as you sail on a cruise ship, or if you’re the kind of couple who digs curling up on the couch to watch scary movies, one of Galveston’s many ghost tours might intrigue you. For a more wallet-friendly experience, take a stroll along Postoffice Street and check out public art like the tree sculptures on the island’s East End Historical District. And what is Valentine’s Day without some sweet treats? La King Confectionary should have all of the chocolate you could ever want.
With its colorful scenery, rich history, and amazing food and dining, San Antonio is sure to charm culture vultures.
Book a night at one of San Antonio’s grand hotels that feel like they’re straight out of a movie. Roll out of bed late and head to Magnolia Pancake Haus for its world-famous buttermilk pancakes, then work off all those savory calories by touring the town via recumbent tricycle. Linger while enjoying the lovely flora at the Japanese Tea Garden, then dine luxuriously at one of the many wonderful restaurants at The Pearl’s Hotel Emma. Of course, a trip to the Alamo City wouldn’t be complete without a leisurely stroll along the River Walk, complete with twinkling lights and serenading mariachi bands.
Unfortunately, Valentine’s Day might be a smidge too early for the area’s famous wildflowers, but Fredericksburg’s charming downtown square and litany of wineries are there year-round.
Active couples will get a kick out of a customized bike tour through the Hill Country via Texas Bike Tours. After all that sweating, kick back and imbibe with a wine-tasting tour of the area at spots like William Chris and Becker Vineyards (just make sure you have transportation arranged ahead of time), or take a cooking class at Das Peach Haus. Grab lunch on Main Street at Euro-inspired bistro Vaudeville, and spend the afternoon browsing the vintage and antique shops and exploring the expansive National Museum of the Pacific War. Cap the day off with German beer and sausages at the iconic Aûslander restaurant.
There’s more to this tiny Hill Country town than great tubing on the Guadalupe River: Gruene is beloved for its historic charm and toe-tapping music.
Head to the center of town and enjoy the quaint shops: Grab an ice cream cone at Gruene General Store, shop at Gruene Antique Company, and peruse art at Buck’s Pottery (and maybe purchase a vase to stash those celebratory roses). Eat dinner at the Gristmill River Restaurant (try the Beef Tenderloin Salad), and if you happen to be there on a Sunday, its Gospel Brunch is a must-do. Spend the evening catching some awesome live music at legendary dance hall and concert venue Gruene Hall. If you happen to visit on a Tuesday evening, show up early for Two Ton Tuesdays, where you can get a quick swing dancing lesson before rockabilly group Two Tons of Steel hits the stage.
Palo Duro Canyon
While more specific than our other destinations, the majesty of the second-largest canyon in the nation (behind only that grand one in Arizona) can’t be denied. Plus, Amarillo—with all its new restaurants, museums, and performing arts—is only a stone’s throw away.
Artistic souls who feel inspired by the vast landscape might book a stay at Hudspeth House, where famed painter Georgia O’Keeffe once lived. If you’re determined to stay within the confines of the state park, there’s the spacious Goodnight House. While in the park, there’s plenty to do, from seeing an epic musical (during the summer only) to hiking, biking, and taking a guided tour on horseback (the season begins in March). Lonesome Dove buffs will dig the Charles Goodnight Historical Center in nearby Amarillo.