Not sure how to spend Valentine’s Day? Maybe you don’t have plans yet. Maybe you and your partner aren’t fond of spending the evening in a restaurant crowded with couples. Or perhaps (like us) you want to save some money while still enjoying the day with your sweetheart. You could stay in for a romantic evening inside (nothing wrong with that!). But here’s a better idea. Get out and spend the day enjoying the beauty of nature with a Valentine’s Day hike.
Why You Should Plan a Valentine’s Day Hike
Hiking is a happiness booster. A hike together is a great opportunity to get to know each other even better and get a little exercise. You can chit-chat the whole time, or you can walk in silence, just holding hands and enjoying the quiet beauty of nature. Or both! That’s the beauty of hiking, it is whatever you want it to be.
The sunrise or sunset is a romance booster. All those shades of purple, pinks, oranges, and blues mixed together is better than a Valentine’s day card. Which should you go for? If you are a morning person, get up early (we are often up at 5) and plan to catch the sunrise from a vista point. After your hike, head back home and fall into bed together (wink, wink). If sleeping in sounds like a better option, a day or evening hike might be more your style. If you are hoping to catch the sunset, be sure to check the hours of whatever park you are at. Some state parks and preserves close at or 30 minutes after sunset). Bring headlamps or flashlights, it can get dark quickly after sunset.
This Valentine’s Day, you can visit a National Park for free! For President’s Day weekend, National Parks are all entrance fee-free. National Parks will be more crowded as a result, but this is a great way to hike some trails well known for their beauty.
If you aren’t near a national park, do some googling. Try to find a nearby state or county park or preserve with hiking trails. Search for a trail that will take you to a waterfall, peak, or into the woods.
Tips for a Romantic Valentine’s Day Hike
Do some research before setting off. If you don’t know if there will be maps at the trailhead, consider downloading one to your phone. We wouldn’t want you to get lost!
Know your limits. If you are both regular hikers, a long sweaty hike can be romantic. If you don’t normally hike, keep it simple. This should be fun and enjoyable. Keep it under 4 miles, and take a break in the middle for a picnic.
Plan a picnic. Depending on the length of your hike, consider what you will be comfortable carrying. Bring a picnic blanket (or, for less bulk, a lightweight sheet). Pack something tasty and filling that’s out of the ordinary. Cheese, salami, and a baguette (pre-cut and in a plastic bag), or maybe a pasta salad. Maybe some hummus and pita? Fruit and chocolate will make for the perfect desert. If you are planning a long hike, dried fruit will mean more fuel and less space.
If you want something special with your picnic, don’t bring a bottle of wine. Look for wine in eco cartons. It’s portable and shatterproof. And some plastic wine glasses from the dollar store to be extra fancy! Be sure to also bring plenty of water for during the hike.
Leave no trace. Pack light (plastic tupperware and plastic bags instead of glass) because you must carry all your trash out with you. The great outdoors is our most beautiful treasure, please help keep it that way.
Plan and prepare for rain. A rainy-day hike sounds romantic to some, but not all. Bring a lightweight rain jacket, and discuss with your partner an indoor alternative.
Take some selfies. Remember the day with some cheesy kissing photos. Angel carries a tripod on most of our hikes, but that isn’t necessary to remember your Valentine’s day. Pass someone on the trail? Ask if they will snap a quick photo of you and your surroundings. If not, selfies will suffice. Selfies are a great reason to get extra close to one another, so you can fit more of the beautiful backdrop of nature into your shot.