Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. Carve out some time right now to plan something special for your significant other. By special, we don’t mean last-minute chocolates or flowers. While the token gifts are at least a nice effort, an experience that you can share together—especially one slightly outside the comfort zone—will be much more memorable. This year, skip the long-stemmed roses and Hallmark cards and sign up for the experience of a lifetime instead. Here, we’ve rounded up seven unique outdoor experiences, perfect for you and yours truly.
The Coziest Winter Glamping Sites in the World
Free Dive with Sharks Oahu, Hawaii
Located on Oahu’s famed North Shore, One Ocean offers a daily Pelagic Shark Research Snorkel where guests have the opportunity to get up close to the apex predators without the confines of a cage. Perfect for adventurous couples, the program—based on shark behavioral research and data collection—is a fun way to learn how to safely interact with sharks. On the tour, you’ll snorkel alongside safety divers and biologists while learning the latest on shark biology, physiology, behavior, and body language. Each participant spends 45-60 minutes in the water and typical sightings include sandbar sharks, Galapagos sharks, tiger sharks, and scalloped hammerheads.
Chelsea Bantley Dog Sledding Anchorage, Alaska
If you’re looking for a memorable wintertime adventure, Alaska Mushing School offers daytime and evening tours, perfect for couples. Classic rides include a visit to the Iditarod kennel where you’ll first learn about the mushing lifestyle. Then leave the city behind and meander through spruce forest, slide over frozen lakes, and navigate tundra with a professional musher serving as your sled driver. The six-mile tour last approximately 1.5 hours and if you’re lucky, you’ll have the chance to see moose, eagles, fox, and other creatures who call the Alaskan wild home. If you’re looking for an additional thrill, try sledding at night. Traverse the snowy landscape under a star-studded sky—you may even catch a glimpse of the Aurora borealis.
Courtesy of Alaska Mushing School Rappel Down a Waterfall Saluda, North Carolina
Green River Adventures offers rappelling trips down the Green’s Big Bradley Waterfall. Tailor-made for thrill seekers, the trip begins with a short hike to the falls where participants will practice on a 30-foot face before descending the 200-foot falls. Reviewed by American Mountain Guide Association facilitators, the trip is equal parts safe and fun. If you’re looking to extend the experience, combine your trip with the Waterfall Trek, which includes lunch at the Purple Onion Café and a hike through Cove Creek, where you’ll navigate rope-assisted passages, log crossings, and rock slides, making for a fun-filled day with your loved one.
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Courtesy of Green River Adventures Backcountry Skiing Wasatch Mountains, Utah
Due to its optimal elevation, moderate climate, extended fall-lines, sparse tree cover, and easy access, Utah’s storied Wasatch Mountains are the ultimate backcountry skiing destination. With trips running from November to June, The Backcountry Pros offer tailor-made ski or split-board tours to the best snow in the area. Whether you prefer powder, steep sections, or simply working on your skills, the private tours throughout Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons near Salt Lake City make for the perfect adventure for diehard couples.
Courtesy of The Backcountry Pros Cave Kayaking Tour Santa Cruz Island, California
Located off the coast of Santa Barbara, the Channel Islands Adventure Company kayaking tour takes place on Santa Cruz Island, the largest of the Channel Islands. The tour launches from Prisoner’s Harbor, located on the north coast of the island, and navigates through a number of towering sea caves that line the coast. In addition to exploring the caves, participants will paddle atop a bustling kelp forest, alongside breathtaking cliffs, and may even spot fish and mammals who call the protected stretch of Pacific their home. If you and your loved one are looking to dip beneath the surface, tack on a snorkeling tour and explore the lush kelp forests from a different perspective.
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Rebecca Parsons REI Backpacking Trip Grand Canyon, Arizona
If you’re looking to take on a multi-day excursion together, REI’s Thunder River Loop backpacking trip in the Grand Canyon may be the perfect bond-forging journey. The four-day trek takes hikers alongside rushing waterfalls and over rocky trails from the North Rim to the Colorado River. The trip is equal parts challenging and rewarding, with steep terrain and jaw-dropping scenery. The guided trip includes meals and gear, so all that’s left for you to do is show up. If you’d prefer to explore the South Rim, REI also offers a four-day trek on the Hermit Rapids Loop.
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Courtesy of REI
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