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Romantic getaways for pilotsRomantic getaways for pilots

Sometimes it is the flying itself that incites romance. Other times the trip is all about the destination. When it comes to Valentine’s Day, the destination must live up to the thrill of the flight. Here are a few of my favorite winter haunts for romance in the United States.

  • Beaches, lighthouse tours, art shows, and a chowder competition await in Mendocino, California. Photo courtesy Visit Mendocino County.
  • Whether you enjoy snowboarding, skiing, or snowshoeing, Big Bear, California, offers it all and makes for a perfect romantic getaway in February. Photo courtesy of Big Bear Mountain Resort.
  • Explore the quirky mountain town of Park City, Utah, at night and hit the slopes during the day on your romantic getaway. Photo courtesy of Park City Chamber/ Bureau.
  • When you're in the oldest town in the United States, make sure to visit Prohibition Kitchen. Photo courtesy of

Mendocino, California

Just about every building in this tiny town of about 1,000 permanent residents is on the National Register of Historic Places. The food scene is farm-to-table fantastic. And the beaches? Can you say drama to the nth degree? Catch the annual whale-watching celebration with art shows, lighthouse tours at nearby Fort Bragg, and a chowder competition! Fly in to Little River Airport.

Big Bear, California

SoCal may be known for its beaches, but romance in the winter requires brilliant snowy peaks, a big fire, and, if you are so inclined, the exhilaration of some of the best snow skiing in the lower 48, especially in an El Niño year such as 2019. A quick flight from the Los Angeles basin to the San Bernardino mountains puts you in the backyard of two all-inclusive properties, Bear Mountain and Snow Summit, both snowboard and snow skiers’ delights. More into hiking? Slip on some snowshoes and enjoy the quiet sanctity of the surrounding national forest. Fly in to Big Bear City Airport.

Park City, Utah

Park City offers the perfect combo of a quirky mountain town and top-notch skiing terrain for downhill and cross-country enthusiasts alike. And the snow? Pure champagne powder. Fly in to Skypark Airport in North Salt Lake or Heber City Municipal-Russ McDonald Field to the south.

Mackinac Island in Michigan can be a romantic getaway any time of year. Photo courtesy of Mackinac Island Tourism.

Mackinac Island, Michigan

If you are based in the Midwest, consider one of the most iconic spots on the Great Lakes chain for a winter getaway. Mackinac Island is not just a summer playground. In winter the little town on the island comes alive with every sport from romantic horse-drawn sleigh rides to screaming wind-powered ice boating across the lake. Best of all? You’ll be one of just a few who are in on the secret to this little town’s winter charm. Fly in to Mackinac Island Airport.

Cedar Key, Florida

If a water view is more your style, check out the cozy sea-faring island of Cedar Key, Florida. The little honky-tonk downtown comes alive every February with its own arts and crafts street fair and seafood fest. The runway is short and fat, but in good condition, and there are plenty of condos and hotel rooms with water views if you book early. Fly in to George T. Lewis Airport.

St. Petersburg, Florida

Looking for a bit of culture and city nightlife? Land downtown at St. Petersburg’s Albert Whitted airport and you’ll be strolling distance from the Vinoy hotel and resort, as well as a half-dozen other exciting venues, from the Salvador Dali museum to the Amalie arena and Tampa Bay Lightning hockey. The Vinoy resort has golf and boating, along with expansive Tampa Bay views. Oh, and nearby there’s shopping. Fly in to Albert Whitted Airport.

St. Augustine, Florida

Spend a night or two in the oldest town in the United States. St. Augustine’s old town oozes romance. Little shops and restaurants entwined between bed-and-breakfasts that range from kitschy to elegant line gaslit narrow cobblestone lanes. The fort is just one of a dozen possible activities (don’t miss beautiful Ponte Vedra Beach) available to visitors. Fly in to Northeast Florida Regional Airport.

Darien, Georgia

Rent a whole island (house included) for the week. has a couple that can be catered to your specifications. They’ll pick you up at Brunswick airport and deliver you to the docks in Darien, where a skiff will shuttle you through the tidewaters from the charming pre-colonial town to a perfect world of sky, grass, and water. Indoor and outdoor fireplaces, hot tubs, boardwalks, kayaks, and plenty of privacy will be yours for the duration. Fly in to Brunswick Golden Isles Airport.

Savannah, Georgia

Oak-lined cobblestone boulevards dripping in Spanish moss, terminating in even more beautiful ancient (by U.S. standards) parks, Savannah, Georgia, was one of the first planned communities in the new world, and it was designed for strolling. Definitely stay on one of the old streets near town-center in one of dozens of beautiful B&Bs. Don’t miss the town’s excellent eateries, from old-time ice cream and soda shops to family-style southern treats. Fly in to Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport.

New Paltz, New York

Want funky, all-inclusive, indoor and outdoor fun, with views to die for on your getaway? Mohonk Mountain house, towering over the little village of New Paltz, can deliver it all. Just a short hop from New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, or Massachusetts, the more than 150-year-old resort is known for its romance packages. Fly in to Hudson Valley Regional Airport.

Amy Laboda

Amy Laboda

Aviation freelance writer
Amy Laboda has been flying airplanes since she was 15 years old. She's taught flight students from East Coast to West, and currently serves as a National FAA FAAST Team member, providing Aviation Safety Seminars for FAA certified pilots in the U.S. and abroad. She was the Editor in Chief of Aviation for Women magazine for nearly 13 years before returning to her freelance writing and multimedia career.
Topics: Travel, US Travel

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