Valentine’s Day is a notoriously expensive holiday, often characterized by fancy dinners and upscale resort weekends. These over-the-top getaways are as cliché as they are expensive. It doesn't have to be that way. If you’re looking for a romantic Valentine’s Day adventure that won’t put a dent in your wallet, we’ve got you covered. From cozy, snow-covered cabins to beach-side retreats, these are the best budget vacations to book for your 2019 Valentine’s Day celebration.
Visit Canada’s Most Romantic City
Not only is Quebec City one of North America’s oldest fortified cities, but it’s also got some serious old-world charm without the high-end price tag. That’s not to say you couldn’t spend a fortune in Quebec City, but you definitely don’t have to. Get acquainted with this big little city by starting your vacation with a free walking tour of the historic downtown. Next, head to the Dufferin Slide, where you and sweetie can toboggan down the Dufferin Terrace for just $7, and that includes hot chocolate. Budget travelers will want to venture away from Old City for dining options and lodging. Your best bet is to head just outside the city to Littoral Hotel & Spa, where rooms start at just $76 per night and couple massages are just $158.
Explore Mountains and Beaches of Nicaragua
Nicaragua is the largest country in Central America, as well as one of the least visited and most budget-friendly. Fly into the capital of Managua before heading out to the beach at San Juan del Sur. Here you’ll find ample opportunities for relaxation and romance, not to mention serious partying, if that’s your thing. The town is surrounded by volcanic hills and temperatures are a balmy 80–85 degrees Fahrenheit all year round. Spend your days relaxing on one of the 22 beaches in and around town, and your evenings dining at any of the more than 60 restaurants, serving everything from American BBQ to elegant seafood dishes. Eating and sleeping are incredibly affordable. You can score a food-truck meal for less than a few dollars, and hotels range from $25 to $150 per night.
Escape the Crowds in Lagos, Portugal
Lagos is a beach town in Southern Portugal that attracts huge swaths of tourists during the summer months. Visit in February and you will be treated to the charms of a working village, and you will have the beaches and hiking trails all to yourself. Be sure to stroll along the town walls, which date back to the Roman era, and provide fabulous views of the city and the coast. Another must-visit destination is the Ponta da Piedade cliffs, just outside of town. These rock formations are some of the tallest and most striking in the country — perfect for a romantic afternoon on the beach. As for dining, you will find that some of the local restaurants close down during the winter months, but you will still have plenty to choose from. Budget hotels range from $28 to $80, and even waterfront rooms will be under $100 in February.
Discover the Southern Charm of Savannah, Georgia
Savannah is a historic coastal city and a lovely destination for a romantic winter getaway. Sprawling manicured parks, antebellum architecture and tree-lined cobblestone streets will make you feel like you’re visiting another era, but the trendy boutiques, eclectic restaurants and posh galleries are thoroughly modern. Entrance to the Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens is just $5 per person, and even in February, you will find quiet nature trails lined with flowers. You can wander around the historic district and Savannah City Market, where you’ll find gorgeous buildings and many culinary delights. Lodging will be your most expensive investment, with downtown hotels running anywhere between $100 and $200.
Embrace Winter in North Lake Tahoe, California
Lake Tahoe is the largest alpine lake in the United States, with more than 70 miles of shoreline in the Sierra Nevada mountains. North Lake Tahoe is within driving distance of Northern California, and while the area is popular with skiers, there are plenty of deals for budget travelers. Your best bet is to visit North Lake Tahoe during the week and to stay at one of the smaller resorts or hotels. Tahoe North Shore Lodge has modest rooms starting at $80, and even more luxurious lodging can be found for under $120 per night. Once you’re settled in, head out to explore this beautiful area. You can enjoy the outdoor ice skating rink at Northstar California Resort, embark on a romantic sleigh ride at Sand Harbor for $25 per person or make use of the free groomed ski and snowshoe trails at Spooner Lake & Backcountry State Park.