Although Memphis, Tennessee boasts tons of exciting activities and attractions for couples, the surrounding cities and towns are even more ideal for a quick, romantic trip with your sweetheart. From natural hot springs and mountains in Arkansas to music-drenched locations in Tennessee, you can easily experience a change of pace and scenery with a short road trip from many vacation rentals in Memphis. Absorb the culture of cities like St. Louis, Missouri; Birmingham, Alabama; and Little Rock, Arkansas, and savor both the quiet and electrifying moments together.

1. Nashville, Tennessee

nashville forestSweep your sweetie off to a musically inspired getaway in Nashville. Spots like Bourbon Street Blues and Boogie Bar, Wildhorse Saloon, and Sambuca let you dance with your love to your choice of blues, jazz, and country music. For an upscale musical experience, grab tickets to a Nashville Symphony performance. Historic music venues like Ryman Auditorium and the Grande Ole Opry offer additional musical date options. Slip into Olive and Sinclair Chocolate Co. for stone-ground artisan chocolates. For wine lovers, Arrington Vineyards is the perfect spot to sample wine in a beautiful hillside setting. If you prefer whiskey, stop by Corsair Distillery. Try unique and upscale dining experiences, from Bon Appetit-recommended Catbird Seat to industrial-chic Rolf and Daughters.

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2. St. Louis, Missouri

st louis arch
Source: Flickr/Marek Kubica

Head north for big-city activities in St. Louis. Cozy up while heading to the top of the Gateway Arch to catch amazing views. Stroll the St. Louis Art Museum to explore pieces spanning centuries. For a modern twist, check out the Contemporary Art Museum of St. Louis. Experience playful romance at City Museum, a unique experience that’s part playground, part interactive museum with an aquarium in the mix. Go at night to enjoy the museum with fewer kids. The St. Louis area boasts several breweries, including sustainable, hand-crafted beer at Old Bakery Beer Company and tours of the Anheuser-Busch Brewery. Check out the floral displays at the Jewel Box in Forest Park. Make reservations at Kemoll’s on the 42nd floor of Met Square for a fine dining experience boasting 360-degree views, including the Arch and Mississippi River. Soak in the art deco ambiance at Flamingo Bowl, which is only open to adults at night. Grab signature cocktails and food while you challenge your sweetheart to a friendly game. Top off the night with alcohol-infused ice cream at Clementine’s Naughty and Nice Creamery.

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3. Chattanooga, Tennessee

waterfall rocks
Source: Flickr/Jeff Gunn

Chattanooga welcomes couples with mountain views, underground waterfalls, and gourmet dining. Start your romantic adventure atop Lookout Mountain, where you can take the Incline Railway, the steepest passenger railway in the world. Rock City on the mountain gives you a vantage point for seeing seven states and a 100-foot waterfall. Enjoy the view over lunch on the terrace at Cafe 7 Dining. Take a tour inside to see a cave and underground waterfall, Ruby Falls. See Lookout Mountain from a different perspective aboard the Southern Belle, a vintage steamboat sailing along the riverfront. Back in town, catch a Chattanooga Symphony performance at Tivoli Theatre. Known as one of the best in the nation, the Tennessee Aquarium is another popular stop. Stop at the Chattanooga Market to gather the fresh, seasonal ingredients you need to cook a romantic meal in the privacy of your vacation rental. A walk along the Riverwalk area puts you near shops, galleries, dining, and the iconic Walnut Street Walking Bridge.

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4. Hot Springs, Arkansas

hot spring forest
Source: Flickr/Nicolas Henderson

Hot Springs offers the natural beauty of the Ouachita Mountains and Hot Springs National Park for your romantic getaway. Small-town charm offers an intimate setting as you wander Bathhouse Row, a stretch containing eight historic bathhouse buildings from the late 1800s and early 1900s. While many are no longer open to the public, some still operate in various capacities. Stop by the Fordyce Bathhouse to visit the park’s visitor center and museum. Buckstaff Bathhouse offers various bathing options along with spa services you can enjoy with your love. Explore the park with a carriage ride, or see it from above with a climb up Hot Springs Mountain Tower. Soak in the essence of the city at Superior Bathhouse Brewery, where you can enjoy craft beers made with thermal spring water.

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5. Oxford, Mississippi

state capitol
Source: Flickr/Visit Mississippi

Known as the cultural mecca of the South, Oxford serves up history in the form of blues music, historic cemeteries, and connections to William Faulkner. Visit Faulkner’s home until his death, Rowan Oak, a Greek Revival house now serving as a museum. Visit the oldest department store in the South among other boutiques and shops around Oxford’s square. Stop for gourmet dining at restaurants around the square, including Boure, Chancellor’s Grille and Lounge, and City Grocery. Stroll across the University of Mississippi campus to experience one of the most beautiful colleges around. Known as Ole Miss, the campus includes many historic buildings, creating a romantic backdrop for a stroll with your sweetie.

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6. Birmingham, Alabama

city center
Source: Facebook

Get away to Birmingham for a dose of creativity at the Birmingham Museum of Art, or enjoy an intellectual option at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. Add a fun twist to your date weekend at Cahaba Brewing, where you can enjoy craft beer plus food from various food trucks. Ramp up the romance at the dimly lit Marble Ring speakeasy, creating the feeling of bygone times and romance. Check the schedule at the Alabama Theatre to find a production that matches your preferences, or take in the intricate beauty of the Lyric Theatre in Birmingham’s Theatre District. Escape to Red Mountain Park to explore trails and city overlooks. Birmingham offers many upscale dining experiences at restaurants such as Bottega, OverBird, Cafe Dupont, and GianMarco’s.

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7. Little Rock, Arkansas

bus stop
Source: Flickr/Ed Schipul

Head west toward Little Rock for another out-of-state option. Explore the city via the replica vintage electric streetcars that connect Little Rock and North Little Rock. Pack a lunch at your vacation rental, and head to the park setting of The Old Mill for a romantic picnic. If you prefer fine dining, check out stunning views and fresh seafood at Brave New Restaurant, or try elegant southern food at One Eleven at the Capital. The Arkansas Botanical Gardens offers a romantic setting with gorgeous flowers and plants year-round. Sweat with your sweetie at Pinnacle Mountain State Park, the place to go for hiking and mountain views.

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