Planning something special for Valentine’s day can be a daunting task, but if you’re really in the mood to woo your S.O., you can do it with a thoughtfully planned romantic outdoor adventure. Scenic hikes, picnics, camping, glamping, and other outdoor activities are the makings of a fun and romantic date you and your S.O. will enjoy and remember for years to come.
Take a day hike
A simple idea, but one that can be jazzed up to feel even more special for Valentine’s day or anniversary date idea. Find a hike that neither of you has been to, or maybe one that’s been on your bucket list for a while. Another fun idea is for the two of you to write down a bunch of different hiking trails or parks, put them in a jar and draw one at random! You can keep that jar of adventures for the next time you and your significant other run out of cute date ideas. How romantic.
Prepare some food for the hike, a picnic blanket, and plenty of water from your favorite self-cleaning water bottles, and other refreshments. You can make it extra special by splurging on the food you both love. Don’t forget to research several spots where you can set up the picnic that will have a great view (just in case some are taken when you’re there). And lastly, remember to relax and enjoy each other’s company!
Try a new activity
What’s something neither of you has done together before? Ice skating? Snow-shoeing? Horseback riding? An outdoor spa? There are a ton of ways to enjoy the outdoors even when it’s cold out that are both romantic and fun. If things have been stressful lately, trying a new activity together is an especially fun way to let loose, be silly, and to be carefree. REI (yes, the same REI you go shopping for all your outdoor gear) has dozens of classes all over the US you can take.
Take a class
With dozens of classes in different areas of interest, you can find something new to learn or do together. Who knows? Maybe you’ll both pick up a new hobby along the way you can share with one another. Try cooking classes if the two of you usually eat out a lot together, a pottery class if both of you don’t mind getting a little messy and creative, or even try an outdoor photography class so you can finally capture those adventures you’re always taking together. Want something more challenging? Try a rock climbing class to literally take your relationship to new heights.
Go on a scenic drive
Sometimes the best destination is no destination. Driving aimlessly on the open road, blasting your favorite music, maybe sharing new ones, or throwing back oldies you both know the words to, and having meaningful conversations with one another, are the best parts about scenic drives.
Pick a scenic route that you may have heard about but have never actually taken or one that’s nostalgic, but somewhere your significant other hasn’t seen yet. You can look up a few places to eat around your route, but the beauty in a day like this is to wander and explore with your loved one. Making it a somewhat spontaneous day out can reignite some untapped creativity or joy–and who knows, maybe you’ll find your new favorite place on this new adventure. Just make sure to pack some snacks for the road and lots of water (you’ll need it after singing at the top of your lungs!).
If you live in a city with a lot of light, this may be particularly special for you and your significant other. The idea of this is inherently romantic–whether it’s driving up to a vista point somewhere to look at the view and enjoy the stars, or if it means camping in the wilderness to enjoy the fresh air, sounds, and more stars in the sky than you’ve seen in a while. Put together a playlist of you and your significant others’ favorite songs, bring come cozy blankets, refreshments, and maybe even some chocolate covered strawberries.
This may require a bit more planning and booking in advance, but it’s sure worth it and definitely special. If you and your significant other like to enjoy the outdoors but want a touch of luxury to go along with it, a glamping trip might just be the thing for you. Rent a yurt or cabin for the weekend, and bring everything you need for s’mores and a good time. You can bring some refreshments, camping food, and even some board games. Here’s another cute idea–bring a canvas and some paint and do your own “paint nite” together in the woods. Bring on your artsy sides! Better yet? Just relax and enjoy the outdoors with your favorite person.
Bonfire on the beach
This is typically something you may do with a group of friends, but it’s 10 times more romantic to do just with your significant other. Make sure you go to a beach that allows bonfires and be sure you are doing it safely in the designated areas. Typically, national parks beaches and other public lands will have information regarding campfires or bonfires on their websites. Beware of high tide and nearby fire hazards like docks, bushes, and trees–stay as far away from these areas as possible.
Now that we’ve got the safety warnings out of the way–because nothing is sexier than being prepared–make sure you have everything you need to hang out by the bonfire with your beau. Bring warm clothes and lots of blankets, beverages like beer, wine, water (of course), hot chocolate–whatever suits your fancy–hot packed food, biodegradable wet wipes, cards or board games, a portable Bluetooth speaker, external battery, and maybe even an iPad to cuddle and watch your favorite movies or shows on. When you’re ready to head home, don’t forget to pack everything you brought out with you and follow the Leave No Trace principles to ensure your beach stays beautiful. Lastly, make sure you’ve followed the proper method of putting out your bonfire to ensure the land, wildlife, and people don’t get hurt.
Valentine’s day is a great excuse to show your partner how much you care–no matter if you’ve been dating for three months or three years. But don’t let the romance die after Valentine’s day is over. Be spontaneous and plan more adventures together in the outdoors. Connecting with nature is the best escape for whatever lifestyle you’re living. So go ahead, let your inner romantic shine, and show your partner how much you care.