Valentine’s Day Getaways for 2022
– Photograph: Grand Pitons, St. Lucia
If you’re like most of us, last Valentine’s Day was probably a staycation—romantic in its own right in the company of that special someone, but almost certainly unfolding close to home.
As we usher in the new year, what better way to sate your long-simmering wanderlust—while escaping the cold and still avoiding the masses—than with a sun-soaked Valentine’s Day getaway?
While there’s no shortage of beachfront locales to explore around the globe, these four destinations afford lovebirds the salty air and sandy feet you’ve been craving, but are relatively nearby. And with stress-free entry requirements and plenty of opportunities for solitude with your plus-one, they’re our top picks for a last-minute Valentine’s Day getaway this year.
North Shore, Oahu, Hawaii
You’d be hard pressed to find a romantic roundup of beach destinations that doesn’t include our 50th state. Deciding where to go among its eight main islands is the real challenge. Many will flock to Maui’s dreamy Kaanapali beach, or venture to the more verdant and unspoiled shores of Kauai—each as lovely a landscape as you’re likely to find the world over. But our pick this year is Oahu’s North Shore, and there’s so much more to this surfer’s paradise than its killer waves. Far from the more populated center of Waikiki Beach, but still an easy 30-minute drive from Honolulu airport, you’ll find vast stretches of secluded beachfront, low-key restaurants serving up the day’s fresh catch under the stars, and flaming scarlet sunsets as the backdrop to your Valentine’s toast. Better yet, Hawaii is offering quarantine exemptions to all vaccinated U.S. travelers, making it a more accessible escape to a far-flung tropical paradise this year.
Siesta Key, Florida
There’s a reason this stretch of shoreline consistently ranks on lists of the world’s best beaches, and coastal geologist “Dr. Beach” would know best. Studying the unique qualities of the sand, sea and air to comprise his annual rankings, it’s rare for a destination to appear over and over on this list—but Siesta Key continues to return as a favorite, thanks to its powdered sugar-like sand (among the finest and whitest in the world), year-round tropical climate, and warm crystal-blue waters that are ideal for wading and swimming. On land, Siesta Key offers all of the amenities of a postcard-perfect beach town, with bungalows and sprawling enclaves dotting the natural sandy landscape, and a strip of lively beach bars and patios fringing the northernmost stretch of popular Crescent Beach. With the spoils of nearby Longboat Key, Lido Key, and St. Armands Circle in the mix, you’ll have no shortage of romantic beachfront diversions here.
Tucked along the unspoiled coastline of Mexico’s southern Yucatan peninsula—an easy 2-hour drive from the airport in Cancun, and yet seemingly miles away from anywhere—Tulum long ago cemented its place on the list of romantic beach getaways. But its unwavering popularity belies the fact that you can still find your own stretch of paradise away from the crowds whenever you may go, making it an easy choice for a last-minute Valentine’s Day escape from just about anywhere in the contiguous states. Even better, Mexico is offering easy entry for vaccinated travelers, providing access to COVID tests for return, and rolling out the red carpet to Valentine’s Day visitors all around this year. For romance of the barefoot and casual variety, it’s hard to beat the authentic, low-frills dining scene that pairs al fresco dining under the stars with some of the freshest fare you’ll find anywhere.
St. Lucia, Lesser Antilles
St. Lucia just may be synonymous with romance, and for good reason. With its volcanic topography, the island boasts an immense and eco-diverse rainforest ideal for hiking, biking and waterfall chasing with your Valentine, while its coastline beckons snorkelers with an enviable fringing reef system, thanks to centuries of volcanic activity that has shaped the entire shoreline. You’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to active pursuits with your loved one. And when it’s time to relax and unwind, you’ll find that less is more across many boutique resorts here: several properties have done away with the fourth wall entirely, leaving hotel common areas, dining pavilions and bed chambers open to the elements and the spectacular views. At nightfall, St. Lucia offers a bounty of dining options that cater to the honeymoon set, making it the ideal host to your perfect Valentine’s Day dinner this year.
This Valentine’s Day, Pack Your Panama Jack
Nothing ruins romance quite like a sunburn. So before you jet off, be sure to pack your favorite Panama Jack sunscreen products. Our 3 oz tubes meet TSA carry-on guidelines, and will fit just right in your beach bag once you're settled in at your Valentine’s Day destination of choice.