Imagine standing on a dramatic bluff, surrounded by nature. The sun sets in the distance with deep, pinkish colors reflecting off the calm surface of the ocean. Birds swoop in the sky, the gentle, salt-stung breeze kisses your skin.
Now imagine getting on one knee, asking your partner to spend the rest of their life with you. With a powerful backdrop like this, a marriage proposal is simply unforgettable. Engagements can happen anywhere in the world (in the privacy of your own home, romantic restaurants, even flash mobs on busy streets), but natural landscapes have proven to inspire for centuries, providing a commanding setting for a very special moment. From romantic cities to breathtaking beaches, these five destinations are perfectly enchanting, famously romantic and visited time and time again for that other big day you’ll never forget.
Big Island, Hawaii
Among the many beautiful islands of Hawaii, Big Island (or Hawaii Island) is arguably the most ravishing. It seduces visitors with eight different climate zones; you can frolic on snowy peaks, in tropical rainforests and on exotic beaches in the same day, and each landscape provides proposal opportunities. A favorite is Akaka Falls, a breathtaking, 500-foot waterfall deep in a jungle brimming with wild orchids and bamboo. At certain times of day, the mist of the falls and sun create a rainbow, making the scene truly unforgettable. Another exciting option is proposing on a private helicopter tour over Wai’ilikahi Falls, where the aerial views are dramatic and spectacular. For more immense views, head to Waipi’o Valley. The massive, verdant valleys with waterfalls streaming down the sides are truly spectacular. You will rarely see another soul at Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, a sprawling nature reserve where black lava rock and flowing, red lava pools create a unique, yet oh-so-Big Island, landscape. Here, stunning backdrops from spots like Kilauea Caledera and Kilauea Iki Crater are so romantic, they’re already famous for weddings.
Where to stay on Big Island
Riviera Maya, Mexico
With sprawling white beaches, turquoise waters, ancient ruins and traditionally distinguished hospitality, Riviera Maya is a magnet to romance-seeking couples. In fact, Riviera Maya is so breathtaking, alluring and rapturous – with chilled-out vibes to boot – it’s an in-demand honeymoon and wedding destination (it’s also easy to get to from the United States, making it a convenient, stress-free getaway). Spanning almost 80 miles along the Yucatan Peninsula, there’s no shortage of excellent proposal spots, though some places feel effortlessly built for romance. Couples flock to Tulum, a bohemian-minded beach town that attracts yogis, luxury travelers and soulseekers alike. There’s something particularly magical here (as soon as you enter Tulum, dozens of fluttering butterflies seem to greet you). The beaches are considered the best on the coast, and they’re not overrun with tourists, which amps the appeal. Right around sunset, the beach setting is extraordinary. Affluent travelers love Mayakoba, a high-end resort area deep in the mangroves. Couples can board a small boat in this tropical rainforest, traversing canals that are walled by exotic flora. If on the other hand you would appreciate an audience for your proposal, head to Fifth Avenue in Playa Del Carmen. This lively street is chockfull of street vendors, authentic restaurants and boutiques, flooding with visitors, and you can hire a mariachi band on the spot for a true engagement fiesta.
Where to stay in Riviera Maya
Los Angeles, USA
Los Angeles offers many romantic settings – from thriving, iconic streets to the world-famous Santa Monica pier – that have stood the test of time for romantic interludes. The City of Angels is a mecca for food culture, Hollywood history, creative industries and celebrity sightings, but it’s also the perfect setting to get down on one knee. An iconic activity, and a rite of passage, is a hike on Hollyridge Trail to the see world-famous Hollywood sign. Here, the views of the sprawling city are immense, and getting engaged from the summit is truly epic (and exceptionally Instagrammable). In Downtown L.A., you can propose against the urban backdrop without working up a sweat. SkySpace at the US Bank Tower (the tallest building in the US west of the Mississippi River) has an open-air observation deck with 360-degree panoramas of the city. And while stargazers are known to congregate at Griffith Observatory, romance-seekers also flock to this famous, outdoor observatory to admire the night sky and pop the question.
Where to stay in Los Angeles
Guanacaste, Costa Rica
The rumors are true: Costa Rica is one of the most romantic places on the planet. This riveting, natural destination is truly unspoiled, with sublime beaches, lush rain forests and tons of outdoor adventures. The breathtaking destination is celebrated for its low carbon footprint (it’s touted as the “greenest” country in the world), which shows the country’s pride in eco-responsibility. It’s also ranked number one on the Happy Index, proving there’s lots to love here. Best of all? Monkeys. The adorable monkeys swinging from branches create an extraordinary backdrop, not to mention other animals (horses, turtles, parrots) that seem as happy as the humans. One of the most popular regions is Guanacaste, and most visitors take to the sea here. The calm, pristine waters are perfect for a sail, and a proposal in the middle of the ocean is sure to be remembered. Inland, Arenal National Park, with its 7,000-year old volcano rising 5,300 feet high, is another majestic setting. The natural hot springs will set the scene for romantic memories. Of course, there’s no shortage of wonderful beaches, but you’ll want to head to Santa Theresa at the southern tip of Nicoya Peninsula. It’s not only the best beach town in Costa Rica, it’s one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Framed by vibrant forestry, the wide, white-sand beach is low-key, relaxed and a hot spot for laid-back surfers. It’s completely authentic (no corporations, no tourist-seeking hawkers), and the sunsets here are as glorious as they come.
Where to stay in Guanacaste
Paris is called The Romance Capital of the World and The City of Love for good reason. It’s known for centuries-old architecture, beautiful plazas and parks, romantic cafes and iconic attractions like the Louvre and Eiffel Tower. There’s great chocolate and oysters and wine, and even a baguette here has the power to seduce. Unlike other European cities, Paris famously embraces public affection, where passionate couples can show their love with kisses – and no one will bat an eye. Paris is romance, and proposals are aplenty. While it may sound cliche, proposing in front of the Eiffel Tower is popular for a reason. The historic landmark is so stunning, it actually inspires one to get on their knee and vow their love, even if a proposal was never planned. The Eiffel Tower makes the perfect backdrop almost anywhere in the city, but get up close for the money shot. For something quieter, with equally beauiftul scenery, head to Palais Royal, the most romantic park in Paris, or pick a quiet spot along the gorgeous Seine River.
Where to stay in Paris