Trying to find a desirable restaurant that has a table for two by the window on Valentine’s Day night can give you a heart attack. So why not break free from the traditional plan and try a little something special for that someone special in the great outdoors? Thinking outside the box is as simple as thinking outside. Here are our top 10 suggestions for celebrating the 14th with your favorite nature lover.
Research has found a connection between health problems like depression and anxiety and too much urban living. That’s bad news. The good news, however, is that an antidote is not that hard to come by in the form of heeding nature’s call. Studies have shown that even just an hour and a half outdoors can reduce negative thoughts. Yes, nature is a known stress buster. Plus, it never fails to impress. So planning a romantic and/or fun excursion outside, whether it’s for just an hour or for a few days, will not only make Valentine’s Day more special but will also save your lives! Isn’t that special? So let’s get this show on the road. For real.
1. Dine seriously al fresco
No sidewalk or patio table can compare to one out in Mother Nature’s backyard. Take your best blanket (or your second best), head to a park or lovely little wooded area, find a clearing, and sit back and enjoy. Keep food simple to pack and eat—finger foods that don’t require utensils are best. Try small sandwiches, some fruits and veggies, and, of course, a picnic’s best friend, cheese and, of course, bacon! The Bacon Crate, one of the tastiest gifts for men, will add some fantastic flavor to that spread. You can bring along some music for the meal, or let nature’s soundtrack set the mood. Chirp, squeak, moo, that sort of thing.
2. Take a hike
Get the blood flowing and the endorphins pumping with a hearty hike for two. Find a trail with a nice view or land features (think mountains or cliffs) that overlook breathtaking landscapes, or aim for a river- or stream-side trail. And keeping your eyes open for bears is a fun secondary activity you can do as a couple.
3. By hook or by, well, just hook
There is nothing quite as romantic as worms, hooks, and fishing lures, right? On the surface, a fishing date may sound crazy and that’s because it kind of is. But in a good way. Think of the slow moving adventure, the seclusion, the fish! Find a nice beach, riverbank, fishing hole, or go out on a boat, drop your lines, and just wait. And relax. Then wait and relax some more. This may require a lot of waiting. But the payoff will be worth all that waiting. Especially if you bring along a Troutdoorsman Crate, which comes with a canvas creel, fillet knife and grill holder to take care of your big (or small) haul.
4. Hit the slopes
Better Off Dead showed us all that nothing proves the depths of one’s love more than racing down a deadly snow-covered mountain. Not that ambitious? Well the bunny hill will do, too. A day out on the slopes together, breathing cold air and conquering the mountain, however large or small, is a great way to spend Valentine’s Day. Plus, once you’re done with the skis, you can head indoors to enjoy a fireplace, some hot chocolate, and maybe a nice John Cusack movie.
5. Get campy
Done right, a camping trip can be an excellent way to show the love this Valentine’s Day. There are a few things to secure: A nice, secluded camping site free of serial killers, a cozy tent free of holes (mosquito bites are not romantic), warm and comfortable sleeping bags, an appropriate itinerary that keeps you busy but not exhausted, and a delicious food plan. The Dutch Oven Kit will help ensure the two of you stay deliciously well fed.
6. Save water, drink beer
Wine may be fine, but beer will make you cheer! Especially if you take your loved one for a tasting adventure. There are tons of different beers and microbreweries popping up every day, it seems— a little searching will help you build an afternoon of sampling stouts, saisons, schwarzbiers, and everything in between.
7. When you wish upon a star...
...your dreams can come true. First, though, you’re going to need a star, which can be hard to find within the city limits. Escape the concrete jungle and get under some clear night skies and hunt down your favorite stars and planets. Not sure where Orion’s Belt is? Bring along an astronomy guide—there’s an app for that—and a bottle of spirits to keep warm even when the shooting star trails go cold.
8. Get on your bikes and ride
You don’t have to don riding shorts to go for a Valentine’s Day bike ride. In fact, DON’T put those things on, nobody wants to see that. But a nice bike ride along a trail or by the beach wearing normal clothing can be very romantic. Toss some Exotic Meats into your basket for a meaty post-ride snack.
9. Up, up and away
Taking a hot air balloon ride for Valentine’s Day is an ingenious way to mix both love and learning because balloons are science. Well at least hot air balloons demonstrate basic scientific principles at work, which can be pretty neat. Plus flying in the sky. Fun!
10. The great escape
Sometimes going big is the only way to go for Valentine’s Day. There are billions* of places to go for a romantic getaway—you can choose a romantically named destination like Lovers Key State Park in Florida or Bridalveil Fall in Yosemite, rent a cabin near a lake in the woods, head to the mountains or find a romantic spot any nature lover will enjoy. Stay as close to home or get as far away as you want and make your own adventure.
*This may be an exaggeration, but trust us, there are lots.