Seeking out a waterfall, lingering in a sculpture garden, or enjoying a meal with an unforgettable view… Whatever you and your partner like to do when you get away, these incredibly romantic Midwest getaways have plenty to suit your needs.
At TripAdvisor, we use the wisdom of our traveler community to help you unleash the full potential of every trip. Our suggestions on where to go, what to do, and how to experience the world are backed by strong traveler reviews and opinions. We aim to bring you a variety of travel inspiration no matter your travel style or tastes. Here, we’re hunting in the Midwest on a quest to find great romantic getaways for you and your other half. The result is a range of top-notch destinations, from charming small towns and lakeside resorts to major cosmopolitan cities full of life. And when it comes to your accommodation, these 16 romantic Midwest getaways are stocked with high-quality vacation rentals cared for by welcoming hosts—and you can book them right on TripAdvisor!
As well as providing a good deal for your dollar, private rentals are true to their name—utterly private! You’ll be able to spend quality time with your loved one, with no other guests to worry about and no interruptions. You’ll enjoy homey amenities such as laundry and a full kitchen—perfect for whipping up a romantic candlelit dinner! And if there’s a secluded garden or hot tub included, even better.
We’ve selected Midwest cities and towns with plenty of romantic activities. Parasailing over lakes, sipping cocktails in trendy bars, nosing around antique shops, fishing for perch, or checking in for a spa day. Or maybe your idea of romance is a little different—a day at a theme park, an afternoon at the aquarium, or an action-packed tour by jet ski. Whatever experiences you choose to spark up the romance, we hope you’ll discover a brand-new Midwestern adventure below.
Feeling the love? Read on for some of the most romantic getaways in the Midwest.
The former gold-mining hub of Lead is located near the scenic Terry Peak Ski Area and Deer Mountain Ski Resort, and it’s also a great starting point for hiking the George S. Mickelson Trail, which winds for over a hundred miles through the rugged Black Hills. You can learn all about Lead’s mining heritage at the Black Hills Mining Museum and enjoy more local history less than five miles away in Deadwood, where you can tour the ‘grandest house west of the Mississippi’.
“Spearfish Canyon is one of the most beautiful places my husband [and] I have traveled to. This location had amazing views and was secluded for a nice romantic getaway. The owner lives below and is there for any questions. He had great recommendations for hikes, but never bothered us and let us have our alone time as well. I would recommend 10/10 and hope to come back for an anniversary down the road.” — TripAdvisor Review of “Sky Lodge” Vacation Rental
Hocking Hills is the perfect Midwest getaway for couples who love an outdoor adventure. Long, scenic walks await you in Hocking Hills State Park, with its waterfalls and prehistoric caves. You can also fit in some canoeing or ziplining before sinking into a hot tub at sundown. What’s not to like? Reserve that romantic countryside cabin now before someone else does!
“This is our place for a relaxing romantic weekend. It’s such a beautiful area. We love it! There’s so much to do. Hiking, exploring, zip lining, boating, [and] also shopping. — TripAdvisor Review of Hocking Hills
Door County is a beautiful area to visit any time of year, with its peninsula location offering plenty of shoreline and Lake Michigan/Green Bay views. You can appreciate the area’s historic lighthouses from a cruise and even during the annual lighthouse festival! The local orchards grow some of the tastiest cherries in the world, so don’t leave without trying the famous cherry pie. Eight wineries await you (some producing cherry wine) along the Door County Wine Trail, and in the summer don’t miss the Door County Wine Fest.
“We went to Cana Island Lighthouse on one of the days of our mini-moon in Door County. My husband had never been inside a lighthouse so I was excited to see his reaction to this beauty! I have toured many lighthouses before and this one was a really fun experience! We climbed the 100+ stairs to the top and took a ton of pictures of us at the top. It was just BREATHTAKING!! Nothing short of amazing!! The history part of it was what my husband really liked too. It’s a very neat area!” — TripAdvisor Review of the Cana Island Lighthouse in Door County
Named after its first permanent settler Julien Dubuque, this place is simply charming. Start your visit with a paddleboat ride down the historic Mississippi River then take in the views from the Fenelon Place Elevator, Dubuque’s short, steep funicular railway. In winter, you can ski down Sundown Mountain or strap on your snowshoes and make your way through the Swiss Valley Nature Preserve. Grab a selfie at the famous ‘Field of Dreams’ field, or dial up the romance with a day at the Potosa Spa, complete with couple massages.
“A romantic tradition. My husband and I go every year for our special ride. We have been doing this for over forty five years. The scenery is just so beautiful from the top.” — TripAdvisor Review of the Fenelon Place Elevator
On this Lake Erie isle, you can spend quiet days on the lake fishing for walleye and perch, wander along the state park’s pebble beach, or soar over it all by helicopter or even parasail. It’s easy to catch a ferry to neighboring islands and make the most of the spectacular surrounding views. Swing by the Put in Bay Winery to sample the fruits of the region.
“My husband and I visited with another couple recently and had a wonderful time. The wine was delicious and (the) atmosphere beautiful. It’s historical and right across the street from the water. The patio offers amazing views while music plays in the background.” TripAdvisor Review of the Put in Bay Winery
Lakeside Saugatuck is another great choice for a romantic getaway in the Midwest. In fact, the Saugatuck/Douglas region has become a preferred destination for the LGBT community, and is considered one of the top gay destinations to travel to this year. Oval Beach is a lovely place to unwind, the dunes of Saugatuck Dunes State Park are begging to be explored, and Lake Michigan provides the perfect backdrop for an afternoon of sailing. The town offers high-quality art galleries and art-related events to attend, and you’ll find plenty of charming stores where you can browse for a one-of-a-kind find.
“Paradise. This beach is one of the best I’ve ever been to. Perfect in every way. The water was crystal clear and turquoise in areas, felt like I was at the ocean. I recommend watching the sunset! Very romantic and perfect for families.” — TripAdvisor Review of Oval Beach
The capital of Wisconsin offers no fewer than five lakes on its doorstep, and plenty more in the surrounding area. Stroll through the University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum with its trails through woodland, prairie, and wetland, tour the area by mountain bike, or stop in at the striking, glass-fronted Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. Admission is free and there’s a rooftop sculpture garden. For a taste of Madison’s culinary offerings, stroll through the charming downtown area on a walking food tour.
“This is a must in Madison in spring and fall. Walks through the park in the trees are very romantic and spirit lifting. Every kind of crab tree and lilac and Magnolia are on display in spring.” — TripAdvisor Review of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum
There’s a lot going on in Saint Paul, and much of it revolves around flavor. Visit Keg and Case West 7th Market for wonderful food, coffee, and crafts all under one roof, have a drink at Spot Bar, the longest-running dive bar in town, or feast on a seafood platter at the OCTO fishbar. (Insider tip: as romantic gestures go, you could do much worse than hand-crafted sweet treats from Legacy Chocolates and blooms from Pocket Full of Posies.) To discover Saint Paul with a local, try a food and cultural walking tour or a craft brewery tour covering Saint Paul and Minneapolis. Try to fit in a visit to the Minnesota Museum of American Art. It’s free to enter and houses more than 5,000 American artworks from the 19th century onwards.
Wisconsin Dells may be best known for its appeal to families (it is the Waterpark Capital of the World, after all), but it can also be a fun destination for couples in the Midwest. Try a romantic kayak ride for two at Mirror Lake State Park, a sunset dinner cruise along the Wisconsin River, or a couple’s massage and dip in the outdoor pool at Sundara Inn and Spa. Or if your idea of romance really is waterslides and rollercoasters, then this place definitely has you covered.
A short distance from Saugatuck is Grand Rapids, an excellent romantic Midwest getaway for fans of the outdoors. Try paddle boarding for two on the Grand River or cycling around the Luton Park Trails. You can up the romance with a day uncovering 200 acres of gorgeous grounds at the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. Grand Rapids has been awarded the Best Beer Scene by USA TODAY readers, so be sure to try some along the Beer City Ale Trail before relaxing back at your comfortable rental. Or if you’re in a party mood and want to meet other visitors to the city, why not sign up for the pub cruiser party bike?
“My girlfriend fell in love with the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. We had a very romantic picnic there and walked around for about 3 hours. The gardens are amazing and there are interesting sculptures scattered around. The staff is also very friendly. There’s an awesome Art Prize display as well.” — TripAdvisor Reviewer
This beautiful beach destination rolls at a relaxed pace, leaving you to unwind and truly enjoy each other’s company. You can pick your own fresh fruit from the farms here—look out for the famous blueberries, who get their own National Blueberry Festival each year. You can board historic and replica ships and join sailing excursions from the Michigan Maritime Museum, and don’t miss the 19th-century South Haven lighthouse. You might like to join a beach yoga session to unwind at the end of the day, staying on after class to take in one of those Lake Michigan sunsets.
“A great place to spend a romantic evening watching the sun go down over the lake. After the sunset, the lights along the pier will light up. And you can also enjoy watching all the boats come in off the lake. It’s like watching a parade.” — TripAdvisor Review of the South Haven Lighthouses
Branson is big on live entertainment, so you can take your pick from the many shows available, from country music to acrobatics. There are tastings available at Curling Vine Winery, there’s parasailing over Table Rock Lake, and if you’re visiting in August, don’t miss the incredible sight of the Branson Balloon Festival taking to the air. Pre-book your tickets to the Titanic Museum to walk around a replica of the famous vessel and channel your inner Winslet/DiCaprio, or take a romantic walk around the Butterfly Palace and linger in the Emerald Forest Mirror Maze.
Your first stop here should be Falls Park, where you’ll find the falls and the remains of the late 19th-century Queen Bee Mill, plus a café offering views over the rushing waters. Take a romantic trip to the Butterfly House & Aquarium, where you can see over 800 species fluttering all around you, and don’t miss the town’s Sculpture Walk, where you’ll discover all sorts of artwork on display. Fishing classes are available to book at the Outdoor Campus and the Great Bear Recreation Park is the place to head for skiing in the winter.
“If you can’t get to Niagara Falls, then this is the next best. Sioux Falls are just simply gorgeous. Great place to have a picnic, you could spend a whole day just walking around taking in the views or looking at the ruins which I think was an Old Mill that are located next to the falls. Plenty of photo opportunities. There are great vantage points and a lovely wide walking path which winds itself around the whole area. At night there are huge lights cast down onto the falls and it is quite a sight to behold. It is romantic, picturesque, exciting and a truly O.M.G experience. This is definitely a must see destination, you will not be disappointed and it’s all for free.” — TripAdvisor Review of Falls Park
This romantic Midwest town is lined with quaint little shops selling locally made art, jewelry, and antiques. Try the Brown County Antique Mall for a good nose around for collectibles and refuel on sweet treats at the Nashville Fudge Kitchen. To explore a little further, set off on a hike or biking tour of Brown County State Park or Yellowwood State Forest, or visit the Ramp Creek Covered Bridge and the Bean Blossom Covered Bridge.
“Such a great place to visit and explore! We love camping with our kids and couples getaway with my husband. Some pretty awesome stores, places to eat, and a great state park!” — TripAdvisor Review of Nashville, Indiana
If your style of romance involves making good food and drink a priority, Cincinnati is definitely one to consider. There are many tasty food tours you can join: try this best bites and sights trip or this evening wine and food tour. Cross the river into Kentucky to check out Devou Park for a round of golf and wonderful views of the Cincinnati skyline, or seek out a Sunday riverboat jazz cruise with BB Riverboats. A couples’ session at the Woodhouse Day Spa should hit the spot, too.
There’s lots to choose from when it comes to date night experiences in Milwaukee: get vacation vibes going over drinks at a Tiki bar, relax over craft brews and appetizers in a beer garden, or sample something a little stronger at the uber-cool Bryant’s Cocktail Lounge, which has been going since 1938. You can get to know the city and its bridges on the Milwaukee RiverWalk, on a walking photography tour or on a sightseeing bus and walking trip finishing up at the Lakefront Brewery.