By Cory Peters
Looking for a romantic getaway that won’t cost a pretty penny? We’ve chosen six affordable destinations along with low-cost yet delightful date ideas. Click the city’s name for our selection of the best bed and breakfasts in each area.
Kansas City, Missouri
Hit the hottest spots Kansas City has to offer on the KC Streetcar. It’s free and has 16 stops along the two-mile route through downtown. If you plan your trip for the first weekend of the month, you can take advantage of First Fridays. It’s a gallery art crawl in the Crossroads Art District.
First Weekends extend the fun with antique and vintage vendors in the historic West Bottoms neighborhood. Love art? Admission to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art is free (garage parking is $12). The Money Museum is also (go figure) free.
At night, escape the city center for a relaxing stay at the Main Street Inn Bed and Breakfast in Parkville, Missouri. This charming Queen Anne mansion is close to Parkville’s historic downtown. The Silver Heart Inn & Cottages is near the historic district in Independence, Missouri. Both inns are nine miles from downtown Kansas City.
New Smyrna Beach, Florida
Get off the beaten beach path and head to New Smyrna Beach. It’s an hour from Orlando, and the crowds are smaller with so many inexpensive date-worthy spots, including Smyrna Dunes Park and the Flagler Avenue Boardwalk.
Climb the 203 steps at the Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse, the tallest in Florida. For $6.95, you’ll get a workout and an unbeatable ocean view. The Marine Discovery Center is a “hands-on, feet-wet” way to learn about local ecology. Boat tours are $32 with a sunset cruise and full-moon option.
The Anchor Inn in New Smyrna’s historic downtown is a colorful, ocean-themed B&B. Relax in Old Florida style and check out the creations of local artists around the inn.
Hit the trail with your date on one of Phoenix’s scenic hikes. Camelback Mountain provides astounding views if you’re up for the challenge. Phoenix also happens to be one of 2022’s best cities for hiking. South Mountain is free and has trails for all abilities. You can also drive to the top if that’s more your speed.
The Desert Botanical Gardens is free on the second Tuesday of every month, and it’s magical at sunset. Take $10 swing or salsa dancing lessons Wednesdays and Thursday nights at The Duce. Stay to show off your moves and enjoy drink specials all night.
Relax and unwind at the W2ND Historic Inn in nearby Mesa, Arizona. Modern amenities mingle with vintage touches, and the inn is a quick walk from restaurants and shopping in Mesa’s vibrant downtown.
Raleigh, North Carolina
The Museum Park at the North Carolina Museum of Art is free from dawn to dusk. Stroll the grounds, explore the art installations, or check out one of the unpaved nature trails. Hike, bike, or boat at William B. Umstead State Park.
Get to know the city’s colorful side by taking a mural tour. It doesn’t get more romantic than a rose garden, and you can visit the Raleigh Rose Garden for free seven days a week. Old Mill at the Farm in Durham has live music on Fridays at the Farm for $20 per vehicle.
Extend your getaway to Durham, North Carolina at the Morehead Manor Bed and Breakfast in the historic Morehead Hill neighborhood. The Arrowhead Inn, also in Durham, sits on six tranquil acres of lawns and gardens to explore.
San Antonio, Texas
This is one of our favorite romantic getaways in the western United States. No visit here is complete without a romantic stroll along the River Walk. Immerse yourself in Mexican culture at Market Square. If history is your passion, visit the Alamo or the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park.
Brackenridge Park is the perfect place for a romantic picnic, and admission is free. For art lovers, the McNay Art Museum is free on Thursday nights and the first Sunday of every month. The San Antonio Museum of Art is in an old brewery, and it’s free Tuesdays from 4-9 p.m. and Sundays 10 a.m.-12 p.m.
Kick up your feet at the Noble Inns near the Riverwalk and other historic San Antonio sites. These three B&Bs serve up southern Texas hospitality and elegance to pamper you during your stay.
San Diego, California
Beautiful beaches and balmy weather make San Diego a romantic destination indeed. There are many ways to enjoy the 70 miles of pristine coastline for little or no money. A favorite is a $7 ferry ride to Coronado Island. Once there, swim, surf, or soak in the sun on Coronado Beach.
Back in the city, spend time in Balboa Park, a 1,200-acre oasis with gardens, theaters, museums, and the San Diego Zoo. Skate, bike, or jog the two-mile Mission Beach Boardwalk. In the evening, settle in for a spectacular sunset at Sunset Cliffs Natural Park.
The Beach Hut Bed and Breakfast in Mission Bay Park is the quintessential SoCo place to stay. It’s a quick stroll from Sail Bay’s boardwalk and beach. It’s also in close proximity to San Diego’s top attractions.
You don’t have to bust your budget to enjoy a romantic getaway. These six cities are accessible and affordable. They also provide plenty of money-saving ways to spend time with your sweetie.
Cory Peters is a wedding and engagement photographer who does her best work at outdoor venues. She’s photographed couples tying the knot on the ski slopes in Colorado and in the Everglades in Florida. She has a passion for shooting flower gardens all over the world.