Option # 1 - The Scavenger Hunt
The movie Gone Girl is the exact opposite of what everyone’s Valentine’s Day should be like (faking your murder and framing your husband for it isn’t what I’d call romantic), but copying the scavenger hunt the couple partakes in for their anniversary is a cool way to escape crowded, noisy restaurants, and mix it up. All you have to do is write out a series of clues that takes her to locations that are special. Maybe it’s the bagel place you first met, the coffee shop you had your first date, and a favorite clothing store, to name a few.
The one rule is, she has to take a selfie at each stop. Just make sure the clues lead her back to your place or hers. You don’t have to become Shakespeare or The Riddler to get these done, but let’s not make them so tough she’s feeling like she’s in the final round of jeopardy. Plus, it’s Valentine’s Day, so no one’s going to judge you for a few “Roses Are Red” rhymes. The hunt will give you time to prepare the great reveal at the end, whether it’s a puppy or that dinner recipe you finally mastered just in time.
Cost: A bit of planning and the cost of the gift at the end.
Option #2 - A Trip To The Gun Range
We’ve said it before, this is our under-the-radar, go-to date. Sure, we know what you’re thinking, but trust us, it’s a blast and you’ll definitely win points for creativity. Heard of The Shaky Bridge Theory? The gist is, adrenaline = arousal, and dammit if firing off a few clips isn’t going to get your adrenaline pumping. You can even make it a little competition with prizes and/or penalties if your date it the competitive type. The key is balancing it out with something on the other side of the spectrum; picnic in the park, a quiet drink somewhere romantic, you get the idea.
Cost: Between $50 - $100 all in for ammo and range time.
Option #3 - The Staycation With a Twist
For Valentine’s Day, a weekend getaway doesn’t always have to mean hopping on a plane or even leaving your state. Find an Airbnb in your own city or a few hours away in a town or city you’ve never been and play tourists for a few days. With a massive amount of variety from guesthouses to penthouses, you can decide how baller you want to be. Sites like TripAdvisor, Yelp and a multitude of apps also give you the opportunity to be your own tour guide. It’s a great way to put a new, cool spin on a standard tradition. Looking to add even more surprise to it? Pre-pack a bag for your significant other and tell her to meet you somewhere and whisk her away with no knowledge of where you’re going.
Cost: Depending on what you’re looking for and the area, renting an entire place for the weekend could run anywhere from $50/night on up.
Option # 4 - Choose Your Own Internet Adventure
There are countless awesome deals on activities, events, sports, and travel happening on deal sites all over the internet. Make these sites your personal event planner and pick an activity or adventure the two of you have never done before. From kayaking to art shows to day trips, deal sites offer amazing ways to spend Valentine’s Day without repeating your usual date nights and for incredibly affordable prices. The possibilities are endless, time to fire up the Google machine. Looking to add some surprise? Both of you should browse LivingSocial and Groupon separately, pick an outing, and keep it a surprise until Valentine’s Day.
Cost: It will vary, but you can find most events for between $15-$100/person.