Valentine’s Day has become one of my all time favorite holidays. Not for the gifts of chocolates or flowers, but simply because I love Love. I always have. There is nothing better than celebrating a good love story (and if you missed ours go back to read The Story of Us)! Not to mention it’s the only holiday that you can put pink and red together (my two favorite colors) and it is completely acceptable!
If you are like me, then you also don’t like to stick with traditional flowers and chocolates as gifts. You like to think outside of the box. I like to do things that create memories rather than spend money on tangible gifts. That’s where the inspiration for this week’s blog comes in…I’m going to share a few ideas that you might want to check out for Valentine’s Day this year. Some are family friendly, others are just for couples.
Hot Air Balloon Ride: Temecula (couples) or The OC Great Park (family): If you are looking for an adventure high above the clouds then this is such a great idea. We took a hot air balloon ride a few years ago and it was such an incredible experience. It was a sunrise adventure over the vineyards of Temecula and it was gorgeous. If you are looking for something for the entire family that is not quite as expensive then try the Orange Balloon ride inside the OC Great Park. For a couple dollars you can soar 400 feet in the air to see about 40 miles in a 360 degree view (runs Thursday-Sunday). They also have a carousel that for $3 the kids can ride unlimited all day, as well as a small play ground.
Wine Tasting: Our favorite place to go wine tasting in southern California is Temecula. There are so many wineries to choose from as well as some amazing restaurants. Even if you are not a huge wine enthusiast you can still enjoy the beautiful country views and a delicious meal. Our favorite places that we have visited are Ponte Winery, South Coast Winery and Falkner Winery. If you live in Northern California you should definitely head to Shenandoah Valley for some smaller, family owned & operated wineries. Our favorite is the Villa Toscana Winery and while you are there you also have to visit the Flower Farm!
Drive up the Coast: We did this one year and it was one of the best travel memories we have! If you don’t have a whole lot of time and you are starting in Southern California you could just do a day trip and stop in downtown Santa Barbara for a nice meal and some sight seeing. If you had an entire weekend or even longer I would suggest stopping in places like Pismo Beach, Moonstone Landing, Big Sur/Hearst Castle, Monterey/Carmel, San Francisco, Half Moon Bay, the list goes on and on…California is seriously one of the prettiest places to travel so you don’t have to go far if you are local to have a wonderful time. If you are outside of Cali, come and visit, you won’t want to go home. I plan on doing an entire blog about this trip at another time, so stay tuned!
Duffy Boat Ride: We have done this a couple times and each time has been a fun experience. I know they offer this in most ocean side cities and even some lakes do it as well. We have cruised the Newport Beach harbor with just a couple family members and we have also done it with about 12 of our closest friends. You can bring food, drinks and games aboard while you sail the harbor. This is definitely a family friendly outing that you may even be able to find a deal on Groupon.
Cooking Class: I have talked about this one before on a blog called Cookin’ Up Some Romance. You can find all the details there. But this really is a fun idea to do with your significant other or even a group of girlfriends for girls night out!!
Go see a Show: Where ever you live there are shows that tour; Broadway, Cirque du Soleil type shows or more young family friendly like Disney Live or Disney on Ice. If you live locally, check out Segerstrom Center for the Arts, The Pantages Theater, or even the newest addition in the OC called Cavalia. It is a Cirque Du Soleil style show mixed with equestrian arts and looks breathtaking.
Picnic at the Ocean or Park: This one I love because besides the food and possibly a couple dollars for parking it is completely free! Pick up some of your favorite sandwiches, grab a big blanket, maybe some activities for the kids like a kite, a kick ball or some sand toys and head to your favorite picnic spot. My favorite is Salt Creek Beach in Dana Point. It is a huge grassy hill with picnic tables, basketball court, bar-b-ques and a beautiful view of the ocean (as well as access to the beach).
Staying In: My last suggestion is for all of you who would just rather stay in and not deal with any Valentine crowds (which we totally did one year). Blow up an air mattress, move the coffee table, rent some movies from Netflix or Redbox and order a pizza. Have fun just relaxing, catching up on your favorite movies/shows and cuddling with your loved one. If you have young kids they may think the air mattress is pretty cool to jump on and play during the day then the adults can send them off the bed and enjoy a little peace later.
Either way you decide to spend your day don’t forget “We love because He first loved us.” -1 John 4:19
And a just a small note to all the guys out there who like to wait till the last minute to go buy your Valentine cards; don’t do it. Instead, write her a love note. Like in the good old days. It doesn’t have to be a Shakespearean poem, just in your own words tell her why you love her. And in my humble opinion, flowers are nice, but they die and are so expensive (especially around Valentine’s Day). Save your money and plan one of these dates, I promise your thoughtfulness will not go unnoticed. And ladies, if he takes the time to do any of the above, be thankful, appreciative and oh so loving!;)