Magical Getaways at Spectacular Destinations

Life is always busy. Taking time to connect is vital in keeping a marriage strong, renewed, and thriving. 

Today, June 1st, my husband and I are celebrating 32 years of marriage. Through the years, we’ve made going away for our anniversary a priority, even if we could only get away for one night a year. 

Now that we are empty nesters, we are looking forward to a week-long cruise in the Caribbean, just like we enjoyed on our honeymoon! I can’t wait to make new memories, share adventures, and fuel that spark that burns hotter when we get away from the distractions of life.

Anniversary weekends away have been the glue that has kept our marriage strong while raising our family. My husband and I would take turns every other year making reservations, booking adventures, and planning our weekends together. The surprise and anticipation were part of the excitement.

We all know the days are long, but the years go by quickly. Being intentional about spending uninterrupted, quality time away together, laughing, discovering new places, sharing dreams, and setting aside daily tasks is extremely important.  

We made favorite memories, renewed our love, and forged new bonds in these times. Whatever storms life stirred up during the year, we found ourselves anchored and able to weather them together. We attribute this to our faith in God and the quality time we invest in one another.

We’ve found through the years that going away one night is refreshing and wonderful. However, two nights are necessary for genuine connection, physical intimacy, and bringing out the richness of our relationship.

When we were younger and didn’t have the funds or the babysitters for two nights away, we would leave on a Saturday morning, enjoy the day, then check into our hotel later that afternoon. Continuing our time on Sunday out to brunch or a hike made it feel like a long time away, yet it was just one night for grandparents to watch the kids.

We’ve found that two nights away is necessary because the first night, we are still trying to unwind. Thoughts of work, the house, kids, projects, etc… are still fresh on our minds. 

Conversations reflect those topics as we catch up. A nice dinner out and time away from everything is freeing, but in the back of our minds, we have to return home the next day. Even if we extend the next day with an activity or adventure, it is different.

When we have stayed away for two nights, it is magical. On the first day, we are still in “debrief mode,” but the next morning, there is no rush to check out. It is rich and beautiful.

On our weekend, we enjoy lazy mornings, a full day of adventures, afternoon naps, and a second night of a romantic dinner out. On the second day, we connected enough emotionally and physically that our conversations became sweet with talk of our dreams and plans, reasons we love each other, and our hopes for the future as we grow old together.  

By Sunday, our souls and spirit are refreshed, and we feel renewed. I have missed my boys, and I can’t wait to return home for big hugs.  

If you don’t have kids at home and are free to get away mid-week, costs are down, rooms are more available, and everything is less crowded. Two nights away are now what we shoot for whenever possible.

Whether for an anniversary weekend away or just some summertime fun, here are top recommendations for a dazzling getaway!

Our favorite destinations:

Lido House, Autograph Collection, New Port Beach, CA

Lido House is a classy boutique hotel with a classic beach-house vibe, nautical décor, with iconic architecture celebrating Newport Beach’s Cape Cod aesthetic. 

The staff is exceptionally professional, making your stay as smooth and enjoyable as possible. Highlights include views of the ocean, a rooftop bar, a beautiful pool with an outdoor fireplace, the Mayor’s Table restaurant, and cozy robes in each room. 

Lido House is a perfect location for bike rides to the boardwalk, pier, and beach. Or just a 12-minute walk to the New Port pier for the Sunday morning Farmer’s Market, lunch, or one of the pubs overlooking the beach.

Year-round, this romantic hotel will be an unforgettable stay.

The Blue Lantern Inn, Dana Point, CA

Blue Lantern Inn is nestled on top of the bluffs overlooking Dana Point Harbor and the Pacific Ocean. They are part of the Four Sisters Inns, a collection of boutique California hotels. 

Most rooms have a view and either a patio or a balcony, a large jacuzzi tub, a fireplace, and a light, airy décor.  

Beach chairs, towels, bikes, and umbrellas are available to borrow. 

Refreshments are served throughout the day, along with a delightful gourmet breakfast and afternoon charcuterie with wine. On-site spa treatments and services are also available.

The professionalism and class of a fine hotel, along with the quaint and personal feel of a bed and breakfast, are ingredients of any treasured destination.

We celebrated our first anniversary at the Blue Lantern Inn. Since then, we’ve fondly stayed at the inn from time to time throughout the years, enjoying the panoramic views, hikes, wine, and cheese while seated on the patio in the afternoon, backgammon around the fireplace, and long bubble baths before their home-cooked breakfasts.

We love to walk just five minutes over to The Chart House for dinner and enjoy a fantastic dinner as we watch the sunset over the Pacific Ocean. 

South Coast Winery Resort & Spa, Temecula, CA

South Coast Winery Resort & Spa is one of the top Temecula Wine Country hotels for a relaxing vacation, wine-tasting tour, and acclaimed dining experience.

South Coast Winery Resort & Spa offers a unique winery getaway experience, with villas pleasantly tucked away in the vineyards, a pool, food & wine pairing, beautiful grounds for strolling, and the hotel is within walking distance of other vineyards and restaurants. 

The villa has a living room with a fireplace, table, small bar, and a large bathroom with a jacuzzi tub. There is plenty of room for dancing, which is a must for us! Early morning coffee on the patio, with hot air balloons overhead, makes for a delightful start to a day. A highlight of one trip was a winery tour with food and wine pairing in their cellar.

The Simpson House Inn, Santa Barbara, CA

We stumbled upon this inn while exploring Santa Barbara. We were staying at a different bed and breakfast, and while out for a walk, we found and fell in love with the lush landscape, hidden cottages, and tranquility at The Simpson House.

Housed in a Victorian estate built in 1874, Simpson House Inn invites you to relax with its perfect combination of historic charm and modern luxuries. This adult-only boutique hotel is nestled on an acre of English gardens and features 15 guest rooms in the Victorian Manor, Carriage Barn, or English Cottages. Their gardens won the prestigious “Santa Barbara Beautiful” Award. 

Every guest stay includes afternoon refreshments, evening wine and heavy hors d’ouervres reception, dessert bites, and a gourmet breakfast in the morning which can be served in the main house or your room.

Rejuvenating spa treatments are offered in the luxury of your room or cottage. If you prefer activities, Simpson House Inn is only a five-minute walk from the historic downtown district filled with boutiques, art galleries, wineries, cozy cafes, and elegant restaurants.  

We enjoyed jumping on the trolley that travels up and down State Street. We could shop, have lunch, and end up on the pier for a seafood dinner. A nature trail hike, scenic bike rides, or a stroll down to the beach are also outstanding options from this inn.

The Mission Inn, Riverside, CA

Mission Inn Hotel & Spa’s unique architecture and history are reflected in each of its 238 luxurious guest rooms, including 27 suites. No two rooms are the same. The beautiful grounds offer a glimpse back in time, along with nooks to sit and relax or a table for two to enjoy the views.

There are five upscale restaurants, two unique bars, and a Sunday Brunch. They offer a beautiful heated pool and spa, a top-notch day spa, and are a stone’s throw from downtown Riverside with shops, restaurants, and bars.  

We strolled through the inn, enjoying the beauty and grandeur, and then adjacent to the inn and out a side door, we found the shops, street performers, and the most delicious sandwich shop for lunch.

At Christmas time, they are known for their Festival of Lights, where the Mission Inn is illuminated and brought to life with millions of lights and displays.

Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort & Spa, Dana Point, CA

Laguna Cliffs is an oceanfront beach-chic hotel providing awe-inspiring views of the Pacific Ocean. Enjoy a casually sophisticated setting across their rooms, restaurants, and full-service spa throughout the resort. Look no further for new adventures with their prime location near Doheny State Beach, Dana Point Harbor, and Laguna Beach, perfect for a day trip.

All 378 guest rooms have gone under a $25 million renovation, including all the suites. The rooms are dressed in an intentionally tonal color palette of warm creams, clean whites, and soft grey tones. All rooms have hardwood floors, custom robes, and custom linens.

Feeding the squirrels and watching the weddings celebrated here are part of the charm of this hotel.

Kenwood Inn & Spa, Sonoma, CA

I’ve always wanted to visit Italy for the ambiance, foods and flavors, wine and cheeses, and cobblestone streets. Kenwood Inn and Spa is part of the Four Sisters Inns, a collection of boutique California hotels that gives you the feeling of being in Italy. 

A trip to Sonoma Valley, soaking in the Mediterranean richness, tranquility, and exotic tastes, is the perfect United States travel destination. At Kenwood Inn and Spa, enjoy taking strolls along meandering pathways, stealing kisses as you soak in the majestic scenery, sunbathing by the tree-lined pool, sipping wine on the balcony, slow mornings with coffee and conversation by the fireplace, and lounging in a hot bubble bath for two. What a delightful vision of fun and freedom. 

The area is full of exciting activities to keep a couple busy! From bike riding wine tours, visiting The Olive Press, touring local wineries while pairing food with wine, and experiencing Sonoma’s restaurants, hiking trails, and pubs would be on our itinerary. A relaxing massage at the spa would complete an exquisitely-perfect day. 

For travel outside of the country – these two all-inclusive resorts were excellent:

The Excellence Resort, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

This luxury, adult-only resort provides beautiful ocean views, spectacular excursions, multiple restaurants, bars, and fun nighttime entertainment, including a silent dance party. 

We recommend joining the Excellence Club with wonderful benefits and access to upgraded amenities within your suite and throughout the hotel. The suites in the Excellence Club allow you exclusive swimming pools, secluded beach areas, and personalized service at intimate restaurants and lounges, turning your stay into a private adventure.

Miilé Spa is beautiful, with special touches to enhance your treatment. The wellness space provides bespoke service and soothing spa experiences combined with indigenous healing ingredients for a rejuvenating escape that exudes serenity. Enjoy pampering with cozy robes and champagne, refreshing spa therapy, and a hydrotherapy experience, allowing true relaxation. 

The people in the Dominican Republic are warm and friendly and constantly smiling. Once you arrive and are greeted with champagne or a beverage, you are no longer a stranger or traveler to them. Everyone is called “family,” and you are cared for as such.

Ranked as one of the top resort destinations in Punta Cana, this beautiful resort will surpass your expectations.

Dreams Las Mareas, Costa Rica

Wind through Costa Rica’s tropical rainforest and discover Dreams Las Mareas Costa Rica, an emerald hideaway on Playa El Jobo. Surrounded by lush landscapes and awe-inspiring views of the region’s natural wonders, Dreams Las Mareas offers couples and families the chance to create unforgettable memories at a charming all-inclusive resort in Costa Rica. 

Catch a glimpse of the loveable capuchin monkeys swinging high in the Guanacaste trees, and discover adventures including white water rafting, snorkeling, deep seas fishing, or hiking in the rainforest. Indulge in unlimited drinks and fine dining, relax by the pool, explore the quiet beach, kayak, or walk through the lush green landscape. 

Keep your head on a swivel, as you may spot exquisite butterflies, monkeys, lizards, iguanas, green frogs, sea turtles, crocodiles, capuchin monkeys, howler monkeys, and more.

Named one of the happiest countries in the world, the people of Costa Rica are warm and friendly. They don’t stress about life and appreciate what they have, even if it is minimal, enjoying a relaxed, simple life. Their life motto is Pura Vida (pronounced poo-rah vee-dah), meaning the “simple life” or “pure life.” It is a form of greeting and more than a saying. It is a way of life, living with your heart and soul.

Costa Rica is one of my favorite places because of the people’s warmth, the land’s beauty, and the exotic animals found everywhere. 

Shana by the Beach Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

This hotel is nestled in the jungle and a short walk down to a beautiful secluded beach, teaming with wildlife. It is not all-inclusive, but a restaurant, pool, and spa are on site. The location is ideal for calling home as you explore Costa Rica. 

We enjoyed breakfast on the patio while watching toucans in the trees. (We couldn’t have sugar packets on the table because the capuchin monkeys would steal them!) Gorgeous macaws squawked, alerting us that they were flying by our balcony each morning, and the capuchin monkeys visited our balcony, too, swinging on the railing, looking for fruit and mischief. 

It is easy to schedule adventures through the front desk, with trustworthy guides to Manuel Antonio Park or zipline through the jungle, enjoy bike rides on the beach, hike to waterfalls, and deep sea fish, attend coffee and chocolate tours, and so much more.

Just driving back from dinner, we spotted a giant sloth crossing overhead along a wire… twice! The wildlife in Costa Rica is breathtaking and incredible!

For a longer romantic adventure vacation, this is the place to go!

I hope these destinations have inspired you to plan your next romantic getaway as you invest in your marriage. 

Please share your favorite weekend destination in the comments below.

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8 thoughts on “Magical Getaways at Spectacular Destinations

  1. Lynnette Holdridge

    Wow! These places sound amazing! What an awesome writer you are! We have been to a couple of the places you mentioned and they are all that you described. Getting away is a must for a happy marriage. Life is unpredictable. Live it to the fullest!

    1. LeannSeale Post author

      AMEN to that! We have that same view – live and enjoy adventures now! We never know how much time we have and there are so many beautiful places to explore, experience, and enjoy. Happy you are taking adventures and enjoying amazing places too. Whoo-Hoo!

  2. Renee

    Wow! YOU have inspired me (I mean Gavin), to start planning our next romantic getaway. These are all very magical. You could write as a travel blogger. You made me want to try out every single place. I haven’t been to any of these places but I am adding them to my bucket list of travels. I will be sending this blog to Gav to start planning!
    Happy Anniversary! I have always admired that you two took the time to celebrate your anniversary by getting away, even when you were knee deep in raising four boys. Your weekends were always SO busy with activities, but you stepped away and invested in each other. I love that you’re going on so many adventures and now able to get away for more than a night or two. Enjoy your special anniversary trip. Xoxo

    1. LeannSeale Post author

      Ah, thank you! I hope the two of you enjoy getting away together here soon. Thank you for sharing the blog with Gavin & that he will be planning a fun time away! That is awesome! Sending you hugs.

    1. LeannSeale Post author

      This blog was fun to create & I hope you enjoy these destinations too. I sure will send love to the boys. Happy summer time 🙂

  3. Lorie Porter

    Happy Anniversary! I agree with our Momma and Sista! You should be a travel blogger. Love the personal pics of you guys at the different destinations (especially the wedding pic and first anniversary pic!). Glad you are going to relive the honeymoon trip this year!

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