Romantic Adventures

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If hiking to a spectacular waterfall, warming up in stunning blue waters, cozying up in a historic cabin or fire lookout, or simply escaping the rigor of daily routine is your idea of romantic, then consider these special places and stories as you plan your next getaway.

Some of these locations often inspire proposals and are also popular picks for wedding sites. For those seeking a matrimonial destination, keep in mind you will need to check with local managers for special permit requirements for wedding events or gatherings.

Whether you’re headed out on an adventure with someone special for the first time, hundredth time, or simply being one with nature, these destinations are sure to make you fall in love with your public lands.

Discover special places to create memories with your loved ones.

Sunrises, sea breezes, and wild ponies – need we say more?

Assateague Island National Seashore and Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge

Two white and brown spotted horses graze with their muzzles close to one another.

Assateague Island National Seashore (Kathy Bottner, Share the Experience)

Beautiful white beaches, pastel-colored sunrises and sunsets, and abundant wildlife viewing opportunities await you at Assateague Island National Seashore and Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. On the Seashore, you can stay for the day or camp on the beach and wake up with the sun. On the Refuge, choose from 15 miles (24.1 km) of interconnected trails to explore, including the 0.3 mile (0.48 km) stroll through the woods on the Lighthouse Trail, which brings you to the historic Assateague Lighthouse.

As you take in the scenery around you, keep a watchful eye for wild horses, sika deer, ghost crabs and migrating birds like the great blue heron and snowy egret. If you want to take pictures, be sure to do so from a safe distance for the safety of you, your loved ones, and these extraordinary creatures.

Spend your Hawai'ian vacation in awe of humpback whales

Hawai'ian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary

Humpback whale breaking the surface of the water.

Hawai'ian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary (J. Moore, NOAA)

Already have your romantic Hawai’ian vacation booked? Why not add an excursion to Hawai'ian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, where more than 20 marine mammal species inhabit the waters surrounding the Hawai'ian Islands, including delightfully charismatic spinner dolphins and the endangered Hawai'ian monk seal.

If you visit this winter, you may be able to spot a few of the thousands of humpback whales that migrate to Hawai'i each winter to mate, calve and nurse their young in the warm waters. Set your gaze over the brilliant blue waters from the shore or cozy up with your loved ones on a boat tour or whale watching cruise available from most of Hawai'i's harbors from December through April. Whichever approach you take, you’ll come away from Hawai’ian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary with memories that will last a lifetime (and might just outshine the rest of your Hawai’ian vacation).

Escape to the sky

Mt. Hood National Forest

Purple-tinted sky at dawn illuminates the snow-capped peak of a mountain, as seen from a wooden look

Mt. Hood National Forest (Cheryl Hill, Share the Experience)

Picture this: it’s just you and your special someone surrounded by a sweeping mountain panorama, evergreen forest, and perhaps even the shimmer of fresh snow.

In her Share Your Story submission “An Escape in the Sky,” Alexis S. recalls her memorable stay at Fivemile Butte Lookout: “By the time we arrived and climbed the 40 feet into the sky, it was a blue bird day with views of Wy’East and Pahto. We could even see the cloud inversion hanging below us. We spent the afternoon hiking on trails directly next to the lookout. In the evening, we watched the sunset and cooked a delicious meal on the stove. We read the guestbooks and played games left behind by previous guests… It felt intimate and yet connected with others who cherish this historic structure.”

Cabins, lookouts, and yurts are unique and cozy winter-time lodging options on public lands. You can use the filters as you search Recreation.gov to discover a special location near you.

Warm up on a tropical getaway in the South Pacific

National Park of American Samoa

A double rainbow shines over the turquoise blue waters between the islands of Ofu and Ta'u.

National Park of American Samoa (Mikah Meyer, Share the Experience)

Looking to escape the cold and soak up some sun? The National Park of American Samoa, located in the South Pacific, is one of the most remote parks in the National Park Service. Luxurious beaches, vibrant coral reefs, and thriving tropical rainforests can be found across the three islands of Tutuila, Ta'ū, and Ofu. Take advantage of the tropical weather to enjoy swimming, snorkeling, fishing, hiking, and beach walking. Whether you’re interested in solitude, wildlife spotting, or history and culture, there is something for everyone at this National Park.

While you may be looking for some good old-fashioned R&R, be sure to enjoy the truly unique, culturally rich experience the people of American Samoa have to offer. Plan ahead and prepare by reading the Park’s website for helpful information about arriving at the islands, recreating, and interacting with the local community.

Expand your horizons

Denali National Park & Preserve

Distant shot of two people hiking up a ridge along a narrow river.

Denali National Park & Preserve (Kent Miller, National Park Service)

You may be thinking, how can traveling to a remote location for the first time with my family be romantic or relaxing? The answer is in the memories you will create.

In her Share Your Story submission “Alaskan adventures,” Megan L. describes a family trip along the Savage River Trail just two weeks before welcoming her third son into the world: “The hills and mountains brought me peace and joy prior to my delivery. Two weeks after the birth of our third son… we were back out hiking the Savage River trail with my mother in law and our sweet new baby. My mother in law is from Tennessee she had never been to Denali she managed to hike the Savage River Trail with us. She was as stunned as you can possibly be with the landscape. We saw moose, caribou, birds, small animals and beautiful flowers. The environment brought feelings I can't explain. It was so peaceful and beautiful. I look forward to many more hikes in Denali and on the Savage River trail as our kids grow.”

Hit the road in style

Yosemite National Park and Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks

Young woman wearing a red backpack takes in the iconic granite peaks of Yosemite National Park.

Yosemite National Park (Amy Morales, Share Your Story)

Sometimes, the best adventures ask you to slow down, look around, and take the long road. To celebrate her three-year anniversary with her girlfriend, Amy M. rented a campervan and spent quality time hiking through Yosemite and Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks.

“As we rolled around in our temporary home on towards Sequoia/Kings National Park then to Yosemite we took in the beautiful scenery, listened to our favorite podcasts, and talked about everything and everyone. As we hiked the parks, we felt grounded realizing we were just tiny specks among these enormous natural wonders. It was so refreshing to be outdoors surrounded by natural beauty. Waking up to a crisp morning and the smell of last night's campfire made us smile. This was home away from home. Better yet, this was just home because we were together in our happy place.”

You can read the rest of Amy’s Share Your Story submission “In love and loving nature!” here.

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