Baecation Destinations: Stateside

Photo by William Stitt

Photo by William Stitt

Have you ever wanted to go on a trip with a certain someone, but had no idea where to go? You want to do something romantic, but the idea of a $200 date just seems like way too much to spend on just a dinner and if you're going to be dropping that kind of money then you want more bang for your buck. Well, worry no more. I have compiled a list of some of the best-and most affordable- weekend trips that you can take your bae/boo/honey dip/ wifey/ hubby/ companion/ bff or pet on this year to score some major brownie points arranged in no particular order.*

*If you decide to take your pet, please do not feed them brownies. Chocolate is dangerous to most animals. Brownie points is simply an idiom and should not be taken seriously, unless you're opening a bakery and Brownie Points is a rewards card.

1. Phoenix, AZ

Phoenix might not be a destination that strikes many as an ideal spot for a baecation and that's what makes it so great! Because it's not a "brand name" travel destination, you can expect a big city feel without the big city cost of an LA, New York, or Chicago. You can spend the day exploring the Desert Botanical Gardens, visiting the zoo or the art museum, and taking in some of the culturally significant Pueblo historical sites throughout the city. Also, The Grand Canyon is only a 3hr drive away and this would make for an excellent day trip to round out your weekend. Nothing says romance like visiting one of nature's greatest creations and watching the sunset paint the entire valley in orange and red hues.

2. Memphis, TN

You're at dinner. It's not the traditional Valentine's day dinner with white table clothes and fancy wine and a waiter that prefers the title, garçon to, 'sir'. No, this is a restaurant with wooden bench seats, red and white plaid, plastic tablecloths, metal tins of paper napkins on the table, food that comes on a thick plastic plates that's brought out on a tray. There's a tinge of smoke in the air that has wafted over the room coming from the apple cider vinegar soaked wood chips slowly burning out back. In the corner is a local band made up of old men that are old enough to be your grandfather, playing their heart's out on a stage that's covered in a thin layer of sawdust that puffs up every time they stomp their feet. You look up from your tray of ribs to see your Cinnamon Apple sitting across from you with a big smile on their face and BBQ sauce around their mouth and you know that this is one of those moments that you're sure to remember forever. 

There are tons of other things to do in Memphis if you're still not sold on the idea: Beale Street Historic District is essentially the home of Blues. You can stay woke at The National Civil Right's Movement. You can take a tour of 'The Pyramid' or visit the Orpheum Theater, where several Blue's legends have played; the list goes on.

Don't sleep on Memphis.

3. Denver, CO

Carl took a trip to Denver for his birthday and wrote an article which you can read here. Outside of doing the things that Carl did during his trip, Denver is a destination that still has a lot more to offer. The sweeping mountain views, the fresh crisp air, a thriving art scene that's embraced by the community and the kind people already make it one of our most recommended baecations, but that's not the only reason it made this list. 

Let's say that you and your Sugar Pie Honey Bun are the outdoorsy type: Denver has tons of hiking trails that you can take together. Not into the great outdoors but still want to get out and do something unique? Why not do a walking tour of Denver and discover hidden murals around the city? Still too much outdoor stuff? Ok, how about visiting the historic Bluebird Theater to catch a concert, or splurge a little at Cherry Creek North. You can finish up the date at Avanti, a multilevel restaurant made from re-purposed shipping containers may not have the most romantic menu, but it makes up for it in droves by offering customers an uninterrupted view of downtown Denver.

4. Chicago, IL

I heard y'all like lists, so here's a list in your list so you can list while you list.

10 Reasons to Take Your Partner to Chicago

1. The magnificent Mile- Get your shop on

2. Millenium Park- It's awesome and Cloud Gate (The Bean) is there. Perfect for smoochy selfies.**

3. Buckingham Fountain- It's one of the largest fountains in the world. Make a wish-then kiss.**

4. Navy Pier- Ride the ferris wheel and steal a kiss**

5. Garfield Park Conservatory- It's been described as "landscape art under glass"

6. 360 Chicago- 360 views of all of Chicago. located in the John Hancock Building, not to be confused with Willis Tower, that's the next one.

7. The Willis Tower- What many know as Sear's Tower. It's tall. Super tall.

8. Pizza- If you've never had Chicago-style deep dish, then you're missing out. I'd suggest Giordano's or Lou Malnati's.

9. The Art Institute of Chicago- Imagine the Louvre, but much closer. Houses over 300,000 works of art.

10. The Food- Aside from the wonderful pizza, Chicago has tons of different food options that range from world class sushi to Greek classics to Southern Soul Food.

**Don't force a kiss on someone who doesn't want it. That's sexual assault and not cool at all. And, yes, asking for a kiss on the cheek then turning your face really fast at the last second so the person kisses you on the mouth counts as a type of assault so don't do it. Stealing a kiss is another idiom, just like brownie points and shouldn't be taken seriously.

5. St. Louis, MO

One thing that many people don't know about STL is that most of it's major attractions are absolutely free-which makes it the perfect place for a budget friendly baecation. 

Everyone knows about the St. Louis Arch (at 630 ft wide and 630ft tall, it towers above the Statue of Liberty- take that New York), but did you know that there's a free museum underneath it? The newly recently Busch Stadium sits right next to Ballpark Village, a food and entertainment district centered around sports. Forest Park, St. Louis's largest public park  is 1,293 acres (500 acres larger than Central Park- take that New York) is located in University City, 10 minutes from the city center and is home to the History Museum (free), the art museum (free) and the St. Louis Zoo (free AND they sell beer). U-City is also home to the Delmar Loop, a street lined with a number of restaurants, bars, niche shops and more. There's the Anheuser Busch Brewery which offers tours for a small cost and Cherokee Street which serves as the city's artist corner, just to name a few things to do there. 

6. New Orleans, LA

I know that at the time of posting New Orleans is recovering from a deadly natural disaster and it might not be the kind of place that you want to visit, especially not for Valentine's Day, but I think that is exactly why you should visit. New Orleans needs help and you can take a non-traditional baecation to help those in need. I think that participating in that sort of trip with your partner can do wonders for strengthening your relationship and can bring you both closer together. If you decide to postpone that trip for a more traditional one then NOLA is still the perfect place to go.

One of the main things that makes NOLA a perfect place for you and your Bisou Buddy to visit is simply how beautiful it is. The houses are painted in faded pastels and verandas hold trellises that spill over with droopy vines. The streets are narrow and the influence of both the antebellum south and French colonialism are ever present, while remaining distinctly black. You can spend the entire weekend lazily walking through the French Quarter while feasting on beignets from Cafe du Monde, gumbo, alligator bites and catfish po' boys from hole in the walls, and sipping Hurrican cocktails at Pat O'Brien's. If you so choose, there are swamp tours that you can take or you can simply hop onto the streetcar (trolley) and ride through the historic St. Charles area. Whatever you decide to do, take your time and enjoy all of New Orleans.

Now, when things between you and your special friend start to get a little bit more serious then you should consider taking things to the next level by getting matching passport stamps *ooh how romantical* You can read that list here.