As the largest of the New England states, Maine is a fantastic destination for a Valentine’s Day getaway. Athletic couples can enjoy the skiing, skating, rock climbing, and ice fishing in the mountains in the western part of the state. Additionally, nature lovers can explore the vast wilderness to the north, as well as the icy waters of the mighty Penobscot that runs through the center of the state. Further south, or “downeast” in the local dialect, couples can enjoy shopping at the outlet stores of Freeport; exploring the secluded beaches of Biddeford and Kennebunkport; and visiting the chocolate factories and “Wicked Burlesque” in Bath. Portland offers the opportunity to try fresh seafood from the local waters, and take a love-themed tour of the romantic 19th-century Longfellow House. Book a stay at a Maine vacation rental today. Experience everything the Pine Tree State has to offer as you explore the state.

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1. Bethel

The mountains of western Maine draw skiers, skaters, and climbers to their varied terrain, crystal lakes, and wide expanses. Sports-minded couples may enjoy a Valentine’s weekend on the slopes or on ice to get their relationship heated up. Couples into speed should brave the crowds and head to Sunday River, where plenty of downhill trails present a challenge to skiers of all levels. For something a bit varied, Bethel Nordic Ski Center or Carter’s X-C Ski Center should do the trick. Ice climbers wondering where to go near Bethel for a challenge need look no further than Grafton Notch State Park. Afterward, head for a romantic dinner at 22 Broad Street before retiring to your vacation rental.

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2. Rockport

The fishing town of Rockport has developed into a community of shop-lined streets that draws crowds of visiting families all summer. While the tourists flee the harsh winters, the local residents maintain homes and businesses all year and many of the boutiques and galleries remain open year round. Rockport can be a fine destination in February to stroll the narrow streets and browse the shops offering crafts, jewelry, and fine art. Impress your date with a couple of activities you’ve lined up for her enjoyment. Start with a trip to the Farnsworth Museum to learn about Maine history through the museum’s collection of photographs. Then visit the Dowling Walsh Gallery to view the inventory of one of Maine’s biggest art dealers. At night, La Bella Vita and The Enoteca Lounge are romantic spots for an intimate dinner or a Valentine’s dessert.

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3. Sugarloaf Mountain

Sugarloaf Mountain is one of Maine’s most popular ski areas, and the popularity of the Sugarloaf Ski Resort has encouraged additional businesses to open in the area. This has given rise to a good number of shops and restaurants to serve the ski crowd. Break up your skiing by making a little time for some shopping or a quiet romantic dinner after a full day on the trails. Try Forty North for a quiet, romantic dinner date. If you feel you need a little more noise in a more crowded environment, then The Rack is the place to go.

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4. Ogunquit

Ogunquit is a coastal resort town on Maine’s southeastern coast that is full of charming bed and breakfasts and country inns. In mid-February, many of the vacation rentals near Ogunquit Beach are available, giving you a great opportunity to stay right on the beach. The cold winds that roll in off the water help the beach take on a new beauty in the winter, when it returns to its natural state for several months. Many of the local inns are open for off-season diners, and local restaurants offer special menus with romantic themes for the weekend. Consider the Meadowmere Inn for a quaint, cozy dinner, followed by a stroll on the beach that is bound to lead to some snuggling.

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5. Rangeley

Rangeley is the host of the Great Maine Outdoor Weekend Winterpalooza festival that takes place on the same weekend as Valentine’s Day, making this town a great destination for couples with kids. The family-friendly activities include ice golfing and a snowman-building competition. The Rangeley Inn Resort stays open all year and offers a heated indoor pool, hot tub, and cedar sauna to take the edge off after a hard day.

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6. Freeport

Plan ahead and surprise your partner by booking an adventure at the L. L. Bean Outdoor Discovery School, which offers everything from hour-long lessons to weekend-long adventures in activities such as archery, snowshoeing, fly-fishing, cross-country skiing, and more. This is where to go in Freeport for outdoor gear for any season. If jewelry shopping is on the agenda, visit Brown Goldsmiths, Earrings & Company, and R. D. Allen Freeport Jewelers. For clothing and lingerie, check out the Jockey or Calvin Klein outlets. Make your way to the Flavors of Freeport Festival taking place Valentine’s weekend. The festival features a variety of food events, including chocolate factory tours, cocktail competitions, wine dinners, and a lobster brunch. Don’t miss the ice bar at the Freeport Hilton Garden Inn for frosty drinks, ice sculptures, photo ops, snow machines, roaring fires, and a DJ to get your feet moving.

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7. Portland

Portland is the travel hub for buses and trains in and out of Maine and is one of the more diverse cities in the state. Celebrate Valentine’s Day with a romantic dinner at a restaurant catering to couples. Travel and Leisure magazine named Piccolo one of the most romantic restaurants in the country. The cuisine is rustic Italian with an emphasis on locally sourced meats and organic vegetables. Try EVO for a five-course Mediterranean menu served in a dramatic, contemporary space, or pay a visit to Blossoming Lotus, one of Maine’s top plant-based dining rooms that offers contemporary styling and soy- and gluten-free specials.

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