7 Romantic Outdoor Date Ideas

Planning something special for Valentine’s day can be a daunting task, but if you’re really in the mood to woo your S.O., you can do it with a thoughtfully planned romantic outdoor adventure. Scenic hikes, picnics, camping, glamping, and other outdoor activities are the makings of a fun and romantic date you and your S.O. will enjoy and remember for years to come. 

Take a day hike

A simple idea, but one that can be jazzed up to feel even more special for Valentine’s day or anniversary date idea. Find a hike that neither of you has been to, or maybe one that’s been on your bucket list for a while. Another fun idea is for the two of you to write down a bunch of different hiking trails or parks, put them in a jar and draw one at random! You can keep that jar of adventures for the next time you and your significant other run out of cute date ideas. How romantic. 


Prepare some food for the hike, a picnic blanket, and plenty of water from your favorite self-cleaning water bottles, and other refreshments. You can make it extra special by splurging on the food you both love. Don’t forget to research several spots where you can set up the picnic that will have a great view (just in case some are taken when you’re there). And lastly, remember to relax and enjoy each other’s company! 

Try a new activity  

What’s something neither of you has done together before? Ice skating? Snow-shoeing? Horseback riding? An outdoor spa? There are a ton of ways to enjoy the outdoors even when it’s cold out that are both romantic and fun. If things have been stressful lately, trying a new activity together is an especially fun way to let loose, be silly, and to be carefree. REI (yes, the same REI you go shopping for all your outdoor gear) has dozens of classes all over the US you can take. 

Take a class

With dozens of classes in different areas of interest, you can find something new to learn or do together. Who knows? Maybe you’ll both pick up a new hobby along the way you can share with one another. Try cooking classes if the two of you usually eat out a lot together, a pottery class if both of you don’t mind getting a little messy and creative, or even try an outdoor photography class so you can finally capture those adventures you’re always taking together. Want something more challenging? Try a rock climbing class to literally take your relationship to new heights. 

Go on a scenic drive

Sometimes the best destination is no destination. Driving aimlessly on the open road, blasting your favorite music, maybe sharing new ones, or throwing back oldies you both know the words to, and having meaningful conversations with one another, are the best parts about scenic drives. 


Pick a scenic route that you may have heard about but have never actually taken or one that’s nostalgic, but somewhere your significant other hasn’t seen yet. You can look up a few places to eat around your route, but the beauty in a day like this is to wander and explore with your loved one. Making it a somewhat spontaneous day out can reignite some untapped creativity or joy–and who knows, maybe you’ll find your new favorite place on this new adventure. Just make sure to pack some snacks for the road and lots of water (you’ll need it after singing at the top of your lungs!). 

Go stargazing 

If you live in a city with a lot of light, this may be particularly special for you and your significant other. The idea of this is inherently romantic–whether it’s driving up to a vista point somewhere to look at the view and enjoy the stars, or if it means camping in the wilderness to enjoy the fresh air, sounds, and more stars in the sky than you’ve seen in a while. Put together a playlist of you and your significant others’ favorite songs, bring come cozy blankets, refreshments, and maybe even some chocolate covered strawberries. 

Go glamping

This may require a bit more planning and booking in advance, but it’s sure worth it and definitely special. If you and your significant other like to enjoy the outdoors but want a touch of luxury to go along with it, a glamping trip might just be the thing for you. Rent a yurt or cabin for the weekend, and bring everything you need for s’mores and a good time. You can bring some refreshments, camping food, and even some board games. Here’s another cute idea–bring a canvas and some paint and do your own “paint nite” together in the woods. Bring on your artsy sides! Better yet? Just relax and enjoy the outdoors with your favorite person. 

Bonfire on the beach

This is typically something you may do with a group of friends, but it’s 10 times more romantic to do just with your significant other. Make sure you go to a beach that allows bonfires and be sure you are doing it safely in the designated areas. Typically, national parks beaches and other public lands will have information regarding campfires or bonfires on their websites. Beware of high tide and nearby fire hazards like docks, bushes, and trees–stay as far away from these areas as possible. 


Now that we’ve got the safety warnings out of the way–because nothing is sexier than being prepared–make sure you have everything you need to hang out by the bonfire with your beau. Bring warm clothes and lots of blankets, beverages like beer, wine, water (of course), hot chocolate–whatever suits your fancy–hot packed food, biodegradable wet wipes, cards or board games, a portable Bluetooth speaker, external battery, and maybe even an iPad to cuddle and watch your favorite movies or shows on. When you’re ready to head home, don’t forget to pack everything you brought out with you and follow the Leave No Trace principles to ensure your beach stays beautiful. Lastly, make sure you’ve followed the proper method of putting out your bonfire to ensure the land, wildlife, and people don’t get hurt. 


Valentine’s day is a great excuse to show your partner how much you care–no matter if you’ve been dating for three months or three years. But don’t let the romance die after Valentine’s day is over. Be spontaneous and plan more adventures together in the outdoors. Connecting with nature is the best escape for whatever lifestyle you’re living. So go ahead, let your inner romantic shine and show your partner how much you care.


7 Gorgeous Glamping Destinations and Luxury Camping Resorts in the U.S.

If you’ve read our guide to camping sustainably and decide you’re not about that backcountry life, we get it. We can’t all be nature buffs or backpacking aficionados, but we can appreciate nature without the added stress and athleticism it requires to rough it in the mountains. The term “glamping” stems from just this–a modest mash of “glamour” and “camping” that is just as it sounds (yes, I did just used “modest” and “glamour” in the same sentence). So for all of you nature enthusiasts who don’t like to sacrifice all of your creature comforts to enjoy it, glamping may be just the thing to cure you of your city-life woes. 


If you’re looking to be truly inspired by your surroundings, go glamping. Being more relaxed and less focused on surviving out in the wilderness brings you certain ease–so much so that it might just feel like an actual vacation! To truly enjoy yourself in the outdoors, here are some of the most unique glamping destinations you can go to in the United States that will get you outdoors a whole lot more. 

Under Canvas – Montana + Multiple Locations

Under Canvas Resorts - Glacier, Montana Safari style tent

With a whopping eight campsites across the United States, Under Canvas has created a family of well thought out luxury sites that will make any nature lover happy. Locations include the Grand Canyon, Moab, Yellowstone, Glacier, Zion, Great Smokey Mountains, Mount Rushmore, and Tucson so far. Each campsite is close to activities unique to the destination its nestled in, ranging from llama trekking to paddleboarding, horseback riding, and even helicopter tours. Depending on the type of adventure you want to have, Under Canvas has much to offer. 


Dunton River Camp – Colorado

Dunton River Camp Colorado safari style tent

Dunton River Camp is a rustic glamping experience set up in Colorado’s San Juan Mountains. You’ll find breathtaking views of Wilson Peak or the Dolores River. There is a myriad of activities ranging from fly fishing, mountain biking, and horseback riding to soaking in the Dunton Hot Springs, getting massages or taking a yoga class. There are 8 luxury tents available, so be sure to book early to reserve your spot. Soaking in the rustic charm here without giving up all the little luxuries of a resort vacation is definitely how we want to spend our PTO. 

Autocamp – California

Autocamp Yosemite airstream in California

As Californians, Autocamp holds a special place in our heart. Its unique experience features Airstreams that evoke a retro yet modern feel. Locations include Russian River (located under the Redwoods just minutes from wine country and the California coast), Yosemite (one of the country’s most treasured national parks situated in the foothills of the Sierra Mountains), and Santa Barbara (located in Downtown Santa Barbara minutes from the beach and the Santa Ynez Mountains). The campers themselves don’t feel like you’re in airstream–they feel more like a modern tiny home with updated amenities and luxurious bed and bath. Each airstream has its own patio where you can enjoy your own firepit and have a healthy local snack and wine while enjoying the lush scenery. What more can you ask for?

Eco-pods – California

Ecopods in mojave desert glamping

Not your typical glamping situation here, but definitely a special one. To really experience something, the starkness of the desert and the intensity it brings between seasons, these “eco-pods” provide the perfect shelter to experience the outdoors. The pods are constructed so that you can really experience the “intensity of the sun and wind, hear it when it rains, and experience the quiet solitude of the dark”. Experience desert activities like going off-roading or riding your dirt bike or motorcycle across the valley. 

Asheville Glamping – North Carolina

Asheville Glamping in North CarolinaAsheville Glamping provides a variety of tents and cabins to choose from depending on your budget–each with its own charm and views. Perhaps the most unique experience at Asheville Glamping is their newest Dome 4 (pictured) with a transparent roof that allows you to stargaze at night, a luxurious queen sized memory foam bed and pastoral views. It’s close to Biltmore Village where guests will find an abundance of activities to complement their glamourous stay here at Asheville. If you’re looking for a romantic stay that’s easy to access, this is it!

Collective Retreats – New York + Multiple Locations

Collective Retreats Governor's Island New York summit tent

Collective Retreats sets the bar high for their glamping sites across the United States. You’ll get that boho safari vibe from all of its tents, but there is no skimping on the glam. They’ve done their research in selecting the most breathtaking landscapes to nestle their beautifully designed tents in. Keep in mind they are on the higher end of this roundup of glamping locations. Retreat sites include Governor’s Island, Hudson Valley, Vail, Hill Country, and Yellowstone–each with their own charm. Pictured above is their Governor’s Island safari tent. This site is just a ferry ride away from downtown Manhattan (so all you city folk can glamp too without having to take a plane), with a panoramic view of the statue of liberty across the New York Harbor. 

Firelight – New York

Firelight Glamping resort in Ithaca, New york

Traveling more upstate, Firelight is glamping site you can’t miss. It’s earned its title as an eco-friendly glamping site with a homely feel. If you love being in the trees and listening to the leaves rustling in the wind, this campsite is for you. The feel is rustic and unpretentious and has all the creature comforts one could want from a luxury glamping site. Here, they encourage their guests to enjoy the site with activities like live music by the fire, artisanal wine, beer, cider, spirits and cocktails, massages, outdoor yoga, and wild foraging hikes. There’s no shortage of things to do here if you get bored but let’s not forget to enjoy the scenery and being in the woods for a spectacularly relaxing getaway. 



Tips for Camping Sustainably

Go zero waste (or try!)

Say no to single-use plastic and opt for reusable options where you can. Plastic will take up to 10,000 years to disintegrate, all the while leeching toxic chemicals into the Earth. When you’re roughing it out in the backcountry, it’s likely that you’ll need to fill up your bottle in questionable places. The perfect solution is to bring an activated charcoal stick with you that will filter the water and/or a self-cleaning bottle to deter any bacteria from forming in your water bottle; the LARQ Bottle uses medical grade UV-C LED technology to eliminate up to 99.9999% of bacteria and viruses (in Adventure Mode) so you can drink with confidence–even out in nature.

Organic food

Purchasing organic foods are more environmentally friendly than buying foods riddled with pesticides and chemicals. Aside from keeping those harmful chemicals from entering your body, you’re promoting sustainable agriculture and keeping any toxic food waste from entering your campsite. Organic farming reduces pollution, conserves water, reduces soil erosion, increases soil fertility, and uses less energy than traditional farming.

Dispose of human waste properly

When available, always use nearby restrooms, outhouses, or porta-potties. If you’re in a situation where you need to dig a hole, make sure you are at least 200 steps from any water source, dig a hole 6-8 inches deep and bury your waste. Make sure you pack up your used toilet paper, or better yet–use natural toilet paper.

Leave the campsite better than you found it

You should always leave a place better than you found it, but when camping, this is especially important. Respect the grounds we wander and pick up after yourself, or even for other people if needed. Litter, chemical products, and other manmade items, when left behind, are a danger for wildlife and the species that live in the area.

Make sure you pack everything with you–your trash, recyclables, and compost–and drop them off at the appropriate disposal area or take them with you.


Always check the rules and regulations for campfires before you embark on your trip! Not all campsites will allow fires.

  • Don’t bring your own firewood. Foreign species to the area can have adverse effects on the environment. Instead, use branches and sticks from surrounding areas of the campgrounds.
  • Always use rocks from the surrounding area to form a barrier around your fire and build high to keep it contained
  • Keep your fire small–this way, it’s much easier to control.
  • Always be sure to burn all the wood and coal to ash so that the fire is completely diminished. Once you’ve done this, scatter the cold ashes around.
  • Never leave a fire unattended. This is how accidents happen!

Lock everything up

The scent and taste of human food can make wildlife more aggressive, namely, bears. Bears are intelligent creatures that also have an incredible sense of smell. They can detect food from up to 20 miles away! Once they have a taste of human food, they’ll learn to seek it out, which becomes dangerous for campsites, humans, as well as the bears themselves.

Bear canisters are considered the safest form of storing food and trash aside from provided food lockers at some major campsites and backcountry because they are airtight and hide the scent of your food and other scented belongings. They’re also mandatory in some national parks and wilderness areas in the United States, so be sure to check the rules and regulations before taking on a trip!

Use eco-friendly products

Swapping for eco-friendly products–no matter how seemingly small the change–can have a huge impact on the environment…if you are using the right ones. However, beware of greenwashing. An easy way to check if a product is eco-friendly is scanning for certifications like Certified B Corporations, Fair Trade or Non-GMO. For disposable items, looking for biodegradable options is best–especially for camping. Here are a few of our recommendations for sustainably made or eco-friendly options for camping:

  • Camp stove – Camp stoves are easy to use and convenient for cooking on an outdoor adventure.
  • Bamboo travel utensils – Bamboo is one of the most sustainable crops because it grows fast and doesn’t require any fertilizer or pesticides. It regenerates its own roots so it doesn’t need to be replanted either. You’re probably thinking–so this is why I see bamboo products everywhere. Yes, yes it is.
  • Self-cleaning Reusable Water bottle – Surely as a backpacker, you may be accustomed to using the Steripen–but did you know that these require you to carry a separate water bottle and are made with toxic mercury-based lamps? That means if you break yours in the backcountry, you would be releasing toxic chemicals into nature, and potentially exposing yourself to them too. Thus, it wouldn’t be a sustainable adventure without a LARQ Bottle that stays clean even in the roughest of adventures. Using UV-C LED technology, the LARQ Bottle purifies and cleans the inside of your bottle without the need for any toxic chemicals so it’s safe to use in and away from nature, and you can fill up and stay hydrated–even in the mountains. Just fill up, press the button twice for Adventure Mode, wipe the area around the mouth, and drink up!
  • Activated Charcoal – You’ve probably heard the buzz around activated charcoal (especially in LA), and there’s good reason around it! For camping, activated charcoal sticks are great for filtering water without the plastic (like from popular water filters). Fill from your water source, drop an activated charcoal stick in, and leave overnight to let it work. You can refill your LARQ Bottle with this filtered water for your day hike!
  • Dr. Bronner’s Biodegradable Soap – Soaps and lotions, although biodegradable can affect the quality of our natural water sources, so it’s still best to wash yourself at least 200 feet from any water source.
  • Hammock – Hammocks are actually good for you to sleep in because of the position of your neck and spine when cradled in one of these bad boys. This one’s constructed with Repreve fabric which uses recycled plastic water bottles–9 to be exact!
  • Hammock straps – When choosing a spot to string up your hammock, make sure the trees are strong (at least 8″ in diameter), healthy leaves, no bare patches on the bark, wilting or dead branches. Try to avoid young trees, trees that produce sap, or that tend to attract crawling poisonous vines. It’s also important to make sure your hammock straps are tree-friendly–meaning they won’t damage or strip the bark of the trees you’re using. If you come across a tree with stripping from a hammock strap, move onto the next one! That one probably needs a little break.
  • Headlamps – Headlamps are pretty much essential when camping overnight or taking early morning hikes or late evening ones. These headlamps are made from 100% recyclable materials!
  • Biodegradable wet wipes – Staying clean is the best way to prevent germs from spreading, but out in the backcountry this can be difficult without soap and water or wet wipes. Conventional wet wipes aren’t biodegradable and will need to be packed up in a bear canister after being used. Instead, biodegradable ones like these will take up to a month to decompose–just dig a 6-8inch hole at least 200 ft away from a water source.

Leave No Trace

As a general rule of thumb, pack up everything you brought with you when you leave your campsite. Follow these Seven Principles of Leave No Trace to have a wonderful and sustainable trip into the wilderness:

  • Plan Ahead & Prepare – Knowing the terrain and environment you will be traveling through will help reduce environmental damage, minimize resource damage, and is overall safer.
  • Travel & Camp on Durable Surfaces – as a rule of thumb, camp at least 200 feet from water sources and do try not to disturb, trample or camp on top of vegetation. It’s also best to camp further away from other campsites to ensure a clear route for wildlife to access water sources.
  • Dispose of Waste Properly – Aside from properly disposing of human waste, other forms of waste include greywater (used water from washing dishes, showering, or doing laundry). Carry the water 200 feet away from any water sources and scatter strained dishwater.
  • Leave What You Find – Grabbing a souvenir from the campsite doesn’t seem like it would be a big deal, but for the wildlife in the area, it could. Did you know that pregnant deer depend on maple leaves for vitamin C? Or that birds building nests would need that tiny stick you found? All you should take from your trip is the memories and the sights. Leave everything else to the inhabitants!
  • Minimize Campfire Impacts – In addition to the aforementioned best practices for campfires, you should always try to use stoves if you can bring them with you instead of traditional fire for cooking. These are fast, easy to operate and have a less severe impact on the campsites and surrounding areas. If you have a site with a fire ring, use that! These are built to contain fires which mean less risk involved–especially if you’re a beginner!
  • Respect Wildlife – This is their home and they don’t want to be disturbed. Be considerate guests and view them from afar, keeping food safely packed away and trash contained as well. As we mentioned before, you should set up camp far enough away from other campsites so that animals can pass through.
  • Be Considerate of Other Visitors – We know you like your music, but keep it to yourself. Animals have an acute sense of hearing, so the music will cause a serious disturbance to the animals and others around you; if you must, use earbuds instead of loud speakers. When hiking, groups leading or riding pack stock have the right-of-way on trails, so as a hiker or bicyclist, move aside and let them pass–be quiet around horses since they startle easily.

Read more about the Seven Principles of Leave No Trace to ensure you’re best equipped with the knowledge to help you camp sustainably! Adventure away!