TripOutGayTravel: Romantic road trip getaways

Sure, times are tough this Valentine’s Day, but just because you’ve lost your job and your house doesn’t mean your relationship needs to suffer too. No matter where you are in the country, it’s not too late to plot a fun and romantic getaway weekend, and here’s the good news: Setting a spark in your sweetie can be cheaper than you think. Gas prices are down, and even without a car you can still forego the airport madness by taking your love on the road to one of these easy-access romance-inducing Ameri-queer Meccas.

roadtrip

The Catskills, NY
110 miles from New York City to Livingston Manor; 2 hours by car, 3 hours by bus

This year, bring new meaning to “playing the Catskills” with your Valentine by making the short jaunt up from the frozen city to this hilly winter wonderland. The increasingly gay-couple-heavy Catskills region brims with spas, wineries and great cultural and shopping options, as well as outdoorsy possibilities like downhill skiing and snowmobiling. The Short Line Bus serves several locations in the especially gay-friendly western Catskills; roundtrip service from New York City to most destinations is $70 or less. More info: http://www.outinthecatskills.com/

Key West, FL
160 miles from Miami; 3.5 hours by car, 4 hours by shuttle

At the very tip of Florida’s long key chain, Key West is as far southward as you and your adventurous Valentine can go in mainland America. A longtime tranquil-cum-quirky magnet for artistic types, clothing-often-optional Key West serves up sea, sand, sun, and more importantly sunsets, making it a perfect spot for homo romance. Florida Sunshine Shuttle offers roundtrip shared van service from Miami Airport, for $190. Key West Express offers roundtrip ferry service from Fort Myers for $139. More info:http://www.gaykeywestfl.com

Palm Springs, CA
110 miles from Los Angeles; 2 hours by car, 3 hours by train

What better place to put your Valentine in the mood than this magical land of “what’s not to love?” If the beautiful desert and spectacular mountains don’t grab, the abundance of California modern architecture and luxe resorts surely will. And even if your best-laid romantic plans should go horribly awry, there’s little that can’t be cured by an end-of-weekend shopping splurge at the schmancy Desert Hills Outlet Mall in Cabazon (so much for the budget). Amtrak offers roundtrip service from downtown Los Angeles to Palm Springs for as little as $36.

Provincetown, MA
115 miles from Boston; 2 hours by car, 3 hours by bus

Provincetown may be a lot quieter in February than it will be come June, but all the more privacy for you and your Valentine. Of course it’s a lot colder too this time of year at the end of Cape Cod, but all the better excuse to snuggle up in front of a warm fire. This being Massachusetts, if all goes well you can be married by weekend’s end. The Plymouth & Brockton Bus offers roundtrip service from downtown Boston for $52, or from Logan Airport for $63. The Peter Pan Bus offers low cost service from throughout the Northeast to Hyannis, where you can then switch to the Plymouth & Brockton Bus. More info:http://www.ptown.org, or http://www.gayprovincetown.com

Saugatuck, MI
140 miles from Chicago; 2.5 hours by car, 4.5 hours by train and taxi

Lake Michigan in winter may not be the first place that springs to mind when you whisper “waterfront resort” to your sweetie, but maybe that’s because s/he hasn’t been yet to Saugatuck, the gay jewel of the upper Midwest. Even deep in the off-season this sweet little arts community shines, with galleries and shops aplenty and a surprisingly diverse array of dining options. Romp in the great outdoors (options include lakeside cross-country skiing at Saugatuck Dunes State Park), then warm your Valentine back up with a romp in the great indoors. Amtrak offers roundtrip service from Chicago to Holland for a paltry $54; additional taxi fare for the 12 miles from Holland to Saugatuck varies. More info: http://www.gaysaugatuckdouglas.com

Sonoma Valley, CA
55 miles from San Francisco to Santa Rosa; 1 hour by car, 2 hours by shuttle

Few areas pack in so many romantic triggers as Sonoma, with its beautiful scenery (think rolling hills and redwoods), proximity to the Pacific, and superb spas and restaurants. Of course if all that’s still not enough to get you and your Valentine drunk on each other, you’re right in the middle of California wine country, with more than 250 vineyards in Sonoma County alone. Just a little to the west is the Russian River region (centered at Guerneville), long popular with rugged gays for its myriad outdoor options like biking, hiking, and canoeing. Sonoma County Airport Express offers roundtrip shared van service from San Francisco Airport to Santa Rosa for $64. More info: http://www.gayrussianriver.com

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TripOutGayTravel: Romantic road trip getaways