21 Romantic Places in Virginia and DC, No Reservation Required

Updated on January 29, 2024 by Julie McCool

You don't need a reservation at these 21 romantic places in Virginia and Washington DC, on Valentine's Day or any day of the year. Some of these romantic places require extra effort to reach, and some are just steps away. If you're looking for creative Valentine's Day and couple's night ideas, read on. A map of all these locations is at the end of the article.

What is romantic, of course, is in the eye of the beholder. We love an outdoor picnic with an amazing view even if we have to snuggle up to stay warm. We favor indoor activities when the weather is really bad. In or out, these romantic Virginia and DC destinations meet our idea of romance. Your mileage may vary.

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Outdoor Romantic Places in Virginia Worth the Effort

What could be more romantic than a hike topped off with a relaxing spot to sit and snuggle? These destinations range from easy to difficult to reach, and they all include a lovely place to sit together and commune with nature.

Outdoor-loving couples will find even more to enjoy in our guide to the 15 Best Nature Trails in Northern Virginia for Wildflowers and Wildlife.

Cow Hoof Rock, Great Falls Park

Potomac view from Cow Hoof Rock, Great Falls Park
Cow Hoof Rock View, Great Falls Park

Located at the quieter end of Great Falls Park, Cow Hoof Rock offers beautiful views up the Potomac River to Mather Gorge. Here is our favorite 3-mile Great Falls loop hike for visiting this beautiful spot.

After your hike, snuggle up with a pint at The Old Brogue in the center of town. You can combine both destinations with a scenic loop drive through the town of Great Falls.

Potomac Heritage Trail, Seneca Regional Park

Bench on the Potomac Heritage Trail in Seneca Regional Park
Potomac Heritage Trail, Seneca Regional Park

Hike down to the river on one of the woodland Seneca Regional Park. Then, take a stroll or grab a bench on the Potomac Heritage Trail, a designated National Scenic Trail. Visit in spring to see bluebells and other wildflowers in bloom.

Little Stony Man, Shenandoah National Park

Beautiful View from Little Stony Man Mountain in Shenandoah National Park
Beautiful View from Little Stony Man

Nearly every overlook and hike in Shenandoah National Park can qualify as a romantic destination. But we like Little Stony Man because it's easy to reach and not as crowded as the nearby Stony Man summit. The Little Stony Man Overlook hike and other overlooks in Shenandoah National Park are especially gorgeous when fall foliage emerges.

Plan a day trip with our Guide to Shenandoah's Central District. And check our round-up of Short Hike to Gorgeous Virginia Views for more romantic viewpoints in and near the park.

Mary's Rock, Shenandoah National Park

Stunning Blue Ridge Summer Views on Marys Rock Shenandoah National Park
Marys Rock Shenandoah Park

A 7-mile Mary's Rock hike leads to a large rocky outcropping and another beautiful Blue Ridge view. Most people hike to Mary's Rock from the Panorama parking area. But we prefer the longer and more scenic route from the Jewell Hollow Overlook.

Boardwalk at Theodore Roosevelt Island, Arlington

The Theodore Roosevelt Island Hike Swamp Trail Boardwalk., one of the Best Hikes in Northern Virginia
Theodore Roosevelt Island Boardwalk

Theodore Roosevelt Island is in Washington DC, but the only access is from a footbridge in Arlington Virginia. Take an easy stroll to the Swamp Trail boardwalk on Theodore Roosevelt Island, which crosses a marsh at the edge of the Potomac. There are benches where you can relax with your love, then enjoy a nice quiet stroll around the island.

Huntley Meadows Park, Alexandria

View Huntley Meadows from the observation tower
Observation Tower View Huntley Meadows Park

Enjoy another beautiful NoVA boardwalk stroll over the wetlands in Huntley Meadows Park. The park is one of our favorite hidden gems in Fairfax County and it is beautiful and interesting year-round. The park's observation tower offers views across the marsh and is only .7 miles from the Visitor Center on wheelchair and stroller-friendly trails.

Bench at Lake Audubon, Reston

Colorful fall foliage surrounds a bench at Lake Audubon in Reston Virginia
Fall Foliage in Reston VA

A single bench sits near the path at the northern end of Reston's Lake Audubon. Park by the Lake Audubon Pool and follow the paved, level path for half a mile. A short trail into the woods leads to this quiet spot with a nice lake view.

You can extend your hike with a walk around Lake Thoreau, where you'll find more lakefront benches. Afterward, enjoy lunch on the patio at Red's Table (they have heaters in cold weather) or Cafesano.

Crabtree Falls, Montebello

View from Crabtree Falls, Virginia
View from Crabtree Falls, Virginia

Crabtree Falls is one of the best fall hikes in Virginia. The popular trail west of Charlottesville, Virginia, offers several great viewpoints of the cascading falls. The rocky area at the top of the popular hike is a nice place to stop for a picnic and enjoy the views. This is a very popular trail, especially on weekends, so visit on a weekday for a better shot at a quiet spot.

Also in the Charlottesville area, snap a romantic pic with a Blue Ridge Mountains backdrop at a LOVE sign made of woven birch twigs at Montfair Resort Farm in Crozet. Or try one of our Favorite Local Restaurants in Charlottesville VA.

Romantic Places in Virginia That Are Easy to Reach

Here are some of our favorite romantic spots in Virginia that are easy to reach, with alternatives for good weather and bad.

Porch at Riverbend Park, Great Falls

Riverbend Park Porch and View of the Potomac River, one of the Best Places to Picnic in Northern Virginia
Riverbend Park Porch

If you want to enjoy a nice view of the Potomac River without a hike, you can post up in the Adirondack chairs at the Riverbend Park Visitor Center. If the spring wildflowers are blooming, take a short, easy walk on the River Trail to a private bench closer to the water.

Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, Vienna

Rocking chairs at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens
Meadowlark Botanical Gardens

The beautiful gardens at Meadowlark are perfect for a romantic walk, especially when flowers are blooming. Fortunately, there are blooms at Meadowlark all year long, even during cold winter months.

But if you want to limit your walking, relax on the rocking chairs and benches near the Visitor Center. Fortunately, the best gardens in Virginia and Washington DC offer more romantic places to commune with nature.

Dirt Farm Brewing or Bluemont Vineyard, Bluemont

Adirondack Chairs and View at Dirt Farm Brewing in Bluemont Virginia
Dirt Farm Brewing View

Whether your love prefers Virginia wine or beer, there's a patio in Bluemont where you can sip and soak up an amazing view. Bluemont Vineyard tops our list of sensational winery views in Northern Virginia. And the scenery is equally impressive from the outdoor chairs at neighboring Dirt Farm Brewing. (You'll find more fun brewery views on the LoCo Ale Trail in Loudoun County.)

Plan your visit with our guide to Fantastic Fun Things to Do in Bluemont Virginia. Or make it a romantic weekend getaway when you book one of these Fantastic Northern Virginia Wine Country Vacation Rentals in and near Bluemont.

The Winery at La Grange, Haymarket

Winery at La Grange cozy basement
Winery at La Grange Basement

If it's too cold for a patio, the basement of the Winery at La Grange, in Haymarket, is a cozy spot to enjoy a delicious glass of wine. If the weather is nice, consider an easy hike at nearby Bull Run Mountains followed by a glass outside on the patio or by the vineyard.

Van Gogh Bridge, Reston

Cherry Blossoms surround the Van Gogh Bridge at Lake Anne in Reston Virginia
Van Gogh Bridge Cherry Blossoms Reston

It's an easy level stroll to Lake Anne's Van Gogh Bridge, one of the most perfectly romantic photo spots in Northern Virginia. The bridge is one of the most beautiful places to see cherry blossoms in Virginia. When the trees are in bloom it is hard to beat the romance of this lovely location.

The Swing at Lake Anne, Reston

The Swing at Lake Anne is one of our favorite romantic places in Reston Virginia
The Swing at Lake Anne Reston

Near the bridge, The Swing at Lake Anne Plaza is a favorite destination in our hidden art of Reston round-up.  The hidden swing is ideal for couples seeking unique and romantic places in Virginia. You won't have the best lake view from The Swing, but it's a nice quiet spot to snuggle on a relaxed walk around Lake Anne.

LOVE Sign, Manassas Railroad Depot, Manassas

Take a romantic photo at the LOVE sign in Manassas Virginia
The LOVE sign at Manassas Railroad Depot Virginia

LOVEworks are ideal romantic places in Virginia for a photo op with your sweetie. They can be found all over the state, and the one near the historic Manassas Railroad Depot is a LOVEly picture spot. It's big enough for a couple's photo inside the O, perfect with a bright blue sky behind you.

The LOVE sign in Lovettsville Virginia, a perfect spot for romantic and family photos.
LOVE sign in Lovettsville Virginia

Or take a photo with the lovebird on the LOVE sign in Lovettsville. Then head to historic Waterford for a walk, craft beer, Virginia wine, and local shops.

Marsh View Platform at Mason Neck State Park, Lorton

Marsh platform view Mason Neck
Marsh View, Mason Neck State Park

There are beautiful trails and views all over Mason Neck State Park. If you want to limit your walking, take a short stroll on the quarter-mile Marsh View Trail. The platform at the end of the trail is an ideal place to sit and watch birds and the gentle movement of the marsh.

Algonkian Regional Park, Cascades VA

Pretty view from benches at Algonkian Regional Park in Cascades VA
Benches at Algonkian Regional Park

Algonkian Regional Park offers a nice stretch of public land along the Potomac River in Loudoun County. A dirt path by the river is dotted with several benches where you can enjoy a quiet moment. The two benches pictured above are right next to the parking area, down a wheelchair-accessible stone path.

BONUS: More Northern Virginia Romantic Places

Fall foliage on a Georgetown Pike Scenic Drive in Northern Virginia Near Washington DC
Georgetown Pike Scenic Drive in Northern Virginia

Take your love on a scenic drive on beautiful and historic roads in Virginia and you can stay cozy in your car. We've rounded up the best Northern Virginia Scenic Drives Near Washington DC that are perfect for a couple's day trip. Our itineraries include small towns, pretty views, country roads, and interesting stops to enjoy along the way.

Want to include a meal on your romantic day? Reservations may be required at these Romantic Restaurants in Northern VA. Or pick up a sweet treat at one of the tasty, artisanal Chocolate Shops in Northern Virginia. And it's always fun to cuddle up in your own little igloo at these spots with Heated Outdoor Dining and Drinking in Northern Virginia.

Romantic Places in Washington DC

Washington DC is rich with amazing, romantic restaurants perfect for Valentine's Day or a date night outing. But when we want a romantic spot without the expense of a meal, these are places we like to visit.

United States Botanic Garden, Washington DC

Jungle plants at US Botanic Garden
The Jungle, US Botanic Garden, DC

Instead of bringing home a dozen roses, you can immerse yourself in a whole building full of nature's beauty at the US Botanic Garden. We recommend a seat in The Jungle, a warm, glass-enclosed conservatory filled with tropical plants. A visit to the Orchid Room is a nice shot of romance too. The garden has one of the best holiday displays in DC, so December is another great time to visit.

Library of Congress, Washington DC

The Library of Congress is a beautifully romantic place in Washington DC
Library of Congress Washington DC

The Library of Congress might seem like an odd pick for a couple's outing. But the beautiful, decorative interior, an homage to learning, feels pretty romantic to us. We love to visit when exploring the US Capitol area. In fact, there's an underground tunnel connecting the two buildings; very helpful on a chilly day.

Albert Einstein Memorial, Washington DC

Albert Einstein Memorial is a fun photo stop in Washington DC
Albert Einstein Memorial, Washington DC

The Albert Einstein Memorial is another offbeat romantic spot for scholarly couples. Snuggle up on the bench with Albert and contemplate the mathematics of love. Or take a selfie in the wise one's lap. Visit on Pi Day and you can wish Mr. Einstein a happy birthday while you celebrate math.

National Zoo, Washington DC

Panda at the National Zoo Washington DC
National Zoo Panda, Washington DC

We suggest a romantic morning stroll around the National Zoo when the animals are most active. The pandas are sadly gone but you are likely to see other furry friends at play.

Tidal Basin, Washington DC

Explore the Tidal Basin and Jefferson Memorial at night in Washington DC
Tidal Basin and Jefferson Memorial at night, DC

The Tidal Basin is overrun with crowds during cherry blossom season. Otherwise, it's a lovely destination for a romantic stroll. Visit on a warm night and you can enjoy inspiring views of the monuments reflected in the water.

Capital Wheel, National Harbor

Take a ride on the Capital Wheel at National Harbor
Capital Wheel at National Harbor

Impress your date with a trip to National Harbor and a ride on the Capital Wheel. Whether you choose daytime views of the Potomac and the harbor, or a night ride when the lights of DC are sparkling, you should get a nice dose of romance. Book the VIP Gondola and enjoy your ride on leather seats with a glass-bottom floor and other perks.

Plan Your Romantic Outing

There you have it. 21 romantic places in Virginia and DC with no reservations required. Here is a map of the romantic places in Virginia and DC listed above.

Romantic Places in Virginia + DC map
Romantic Places in Virginia + DC map

Find inspiration for a longer couple's trip in 22 Fabulous Romantic Getaways from Washington DC. Find more Valentine's Day fun in our guide to February Events in Northern Virginia.

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These 21 romantic places in Virginia and Washington DC never require a reservation, and they offer unique ways to spend time with your love all year long.