Readers Choice

WINNERS: Best Romantic N. American GetawayChosen by readers of USA TODAY and 10Best

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    #1 - St. Paul, Minnesota

    St. Paul is the smaller, quieter and, many say, the more sophisticated of the Twin Cities.  While not an obvious choice as a romantic getaway, couples love it for its diverse romantic offerings, like leisurely paddle- wheeler rides along the Mississippi, beer tastings, or ice skating.   St. Paul also has a thriving performing arts scene. 

    Photo courtesy of Jeremy Noble

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    #2 - Savannah, Georgia

    There's a reason Sherman didn't burn Savannah during his march across the South.  Over a dozen park-like town squares dot this lovely city in Georgia's low country.  Couples stroll through quiet neighborhoods, or explore the bustling waterfront.  Forsyth Park offers a lovely place to picnic, and cozy hotels are easy to find. 

    Photo courtesy of RiverNorthPhotography/iStock

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    #3 - Victoria, British Columbia

    Mountains swoop down to the sea in this European-looking Pacific Northwest destination.  Whale watching, lush parks and unique dining options add to the fun for lovers who venture beyond mainland Canada to find romance in charming Victoria.   

    Photo courtesy of johnnya123/iStock

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    #4 - Santa Fe, New Mexico

    Santa Fe has so many romantic aspects, it's hard to list them all. Beautiful architecture, tempting galleries, crisp air and brilliant blue skies, soothing Native American music and several gorgeous hotels all within a short stroll of the historic Plaza . . . this is Santa Fe.  

    Photo courtesy of Chris Corrie

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    #5 - New Orleans, Louisiana

    Although New Orleans has a reputation as a place to party (and it offers unlimited sexy nightlife) this stunning city also gives couples an elegant setting in which to relax.  The foodie scene is alive and well, and gracious homes, gardens and streets all invite discovery.  Between its sights, sounds and people, New Orleans provides an experience that's highly memorable for couples.

    Photo courtesy of John Foxx/Stockbyte

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    #6 - Naples, Florida

    Chic and sunny Naples is a great getaway for romance.  Its west-facing pier is the perfect place to unwind together during sunset. Naples' beautiful downtown is tropical and walkable, making it the perfect setting for a leisurely stroll, day or night.  Art galleries, tennis, golf, watersports, fine dining and cultural opportunities abound.

    Photo courtesy of Naples Marco Island Everglades CVB

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    #7 - Bar Harbor, Maine

    Tiny Bar Harbor invites exploration on foot.  Cozy B&Bs and classic waterfront hotels set the stage for romance, while whale watching and sailing cruises beckons lovers to a fun day on the water.  Bar Harbor has lots of cozy dining options, and Acadia National Park is just moments away, with all its stunning vistas, trails and landmarks.

    Photo courtesy of jubilance/iStock

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    #8 - Mendocino, California

    Lovely Mendocino, with its dramatic coastal setting, lures couples year-round.  With its rich arts scene, and a bevy of fine dining - not to mention Mendocino County wines and beautiful beaches - Mendocino is a prime west coast pick for lovers.  

    Photo courtesy of Arthur Preston/iStock

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    #9 - Charleston, South Carolina

    A regular award-winner for its romantic merits, lovely Charleston is practically heaving with southern charm.  Massive oaks shade this historic coastal city, with its gracious antebellum homes and lush gardens.  Horse-drawn carriages clip-clop down cobblestone streets, past one beautiful church after another.   

    Photo courtesy of Ron Cogswell

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    #10 - Honolulu, Hawaii

    Jaw-dropping views, tropical temperatures, cultural surprises ... and the lure of the Pacific Ocean.  It all adds up to a near-perfect setting for romance.  Couples have a trip of a lifetime when they go to Hawaii, and Honolulu offers them activities as diverse as water sports, garden tours and sexy nightlife.  

    Photo courtesy of Spondylolithesis/iStock

St. Paul Surprises with Big Win

Savannah, Victoria, Santa Fe, New Orleans round out top 5

Readers of USA TODAY and 10Best voted a surprising destination into 1st place in our Readers' Choice contest for Most Romantic North American City.  A hearty congratulation goes out to St. Paul, Minnesota, which won while wearing its winter wonderland look.  St. Paul took an early lead and never relinquished the top spot.   

Voters handed southern favorite Savannah, Georgia the 2nd place nod, while Victoria, British Columbia took honors in 3rd place.   Rounding out the top five spot were Santa Fe, New Mexico and new Orleans, Louisiana.

St. Paul is giving away an all-expenses paid trip to two lucky lovers, to celebrate its big win.  Enter by February 12 at 11:59 pm CST, at www.visitsaintpaul.com/romance

The full list of winners in the 'Best Romantic North American Getaway' contest category for 10Best Readers' Choice are as follows:

  1. St. Paul, Minnesota
  2. Savannah, Georgia
  3. Victoria, British Columbia
  4. Santa Fe, New Mexico
  5. New Orleans, Louisiana
  6. Naples, Florida
  7. Bar Harbor, Maine
  8. Mendocino, California
  9. Charleston, South Carolina
  10. Honolulu, Hawaii

Congratulations to all our winners!  

Voters are allowed to vote once per day, per category.  10Best does regular audits of its votes, to confirm no unethical voting is occurring.  To see contests currently underway, go to: http://www.10best.com/awards/travel/ 

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Meet the Experts

Libby McMillan

10Best Sr. Editor Libby McMillan is a die-hard romantic who's visited (and swooned in) nearly every getaway place on this list.   As a writer, she soaks up details, while as a photographer she appreciates the visual splendor of any stunning place she goes.  A journalist who's happiest when traveling as part of a pair, she enthusiastically recommends romance as the perfect theme for a trip.  

Lydia Schrandt

10Best Photo Editor Lydia Schrandt has seen a good portion of the world with her traveling companion and always enjoys savoring a new place a deux.   Her camera lens is often trained on the most beautiful spots of a romantic destination, but she never forgets to pack away the gear and just enjoy the destination as any lucky couple might.  

Ben Abramson

Ben Abramson is USA TODAY's online travel editor, and has traveled across much of America in search of memorable meals, great art and architecture and vibrant cities.  He thinks that all travel is romantic, but some destinations make the moment on their own.

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