Whether or not you have a sweetheart this Valentine’s Day, get out and adventure in the name of love! Trade the expensive candlelit dinner for a fireside picnic at sunset with extra chocolate. (Queue romantic baby-makin’ music.)
Here are a few ideas to get you started. The list includes both local adventures and day trips. Happy adventuring, love birds!
My fantasy version of this date goes something like this: Woman meets tall, handsome mountain man with finely combed beard. Mountain man takes woman to heart-shaped waterfalls. Mountain man and woman drink champagne from blue-speckled tin cups and take turns plucking petals off a daisy. “He loves me. She loves me. He loves me. She loves me.” (An excerpt from my upcoming romance novel)
In reality, I typed “heart-shaped waterfall near Los Angeles” into my internet search engine, and wouldn’t you know it, there actually is a heart-shaped waterfall in a town called Valley of Enchantment! Heart Rock Falls is a 1.5-hour road trip from Los Angeles. The trail is only 1.7 miles roundtrip, so you don’t have to worry about breaking a sweat in front of your date. If you have a finely combed beard, please feel free to adapt my fantasy version of this hike. It’ll be our little secret.
Salvation Mountain is artist Leonard Knight’s love letter to God. Made of local adobe clay and thousands of gallons of donated paint, the monument rises from the dusty desert landscape with a message for weary wanderers: God is love. For 26 years, Salvation Mountain was Leonard’s home and full-time job. He lived in the back of an old 1939 white fire truck without electricity or air conditioning until old age forced him to move to a care facility.
Salvation Mountain is a 3-hour road trip from Los Angeles. Get lost in Leonard’s world, filled with technicolor trees, secret layers and hidden love notes. Afterwards, explore the haunted shores of the Salton Sea. The sound of brittle fish bones breaking beneath your feet may cause you to think twice about long walks on the beach. On the drive home, stop at Hadley’s Fruit Orchards for a refreshing treat. One large banana date shake with two straws, please!
Toasting s’mores around the campfire is one of those pastimes that will never lose its magic on me. Dockweiler State Beach is the only beach in Los Angeles where bonfires are allowed. Pack a picnic and some warm blankets and snuggle up to your sweetheart as the sun goes down. Every January, I come here to burn my Christmas tree and welcome the New Year. Regular firewood will do just fine to celebrate that hunka hunka burnin’ love in your heart.
The Integratron near Joshua Tree is a sound chamber built in 1954 by George van Tassel, who claimed to have received the plans from an alien visiting from Venus. Just a 2-hour road trip from Los Angeles, the public can attend 30-minute sound baths at the Integratron, in which quartz crystal singing bowls are played to provide healing and rejuvenation to the body.
Entering the Integratron feels a little like boarding a space ship. Once you’re inside, climb the wooden ladder to the upper level, snuggle up next to your sweetheart and prepare to drift off into peaceful oblivion. Afterwards, feed your souls with warm bowls of vegetarian chili at the Crossroads Café. I hear their breakfast is out of this world (and available until 2pm daily).
I grew up in the small town of Chatsworth, California. You may know Chatsworth as the porn capital of the world, but I know it as the sleepy suburban horse town where the hottest nightlife is a bar called the Cowboy Palace.
Just 35 minutes from Downtown Los Angeles, the Cowboy Palace offers live country music and buckets of beer. On my first visit, my sister and I learned the two-step from a couple of local cowboys. On the way out, we received some valuable advice: “Line dancing is the ugly girl’s dance; always dance with a man.” If your 2-step is rustier than an old horseshoe, fear not. The Cowboy Palace offers free dance lessons 7 days a week. You’ll be swinging your partner round and round in no time.
Now that I’ve shared my favorite romantic adventures, what are yours? Please leave a comment to share!
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