Regardless of where you live, you can find adventurous dates nearby. You don’t need to travel to South Africa to swim with sharks and you don’t need to go to France to try heli-skiing—these adventures, along with others, can be found across the U.S.
All you need is a sense of adventure, a little planning and maybe a long weekend to enjoy a date that will bring you two closer than ever.
Love is in the thin high-altitude air. It’s tough to find a date more romantic (and adventurous) than a hot air balloon ride—luckily there are great opportunities to lift off all over the country. Fly over the incredible red rock formations as the sun rises in Sedona, Ariz. or take in a remarkable view of Napa Valley’s Vineyards in California. Afterward you can enjoy a romantic picnic with some world-class wine.
Don’t worry about traveling to South Africa or Australia to see these massive creatures up close, many aquariums across the country offer diving experiences with their own shark populations. In New York, plunge into a tank full of circling sand tiger sharks, nurse sharks and catch a glimpse of the gaping moray eel or head to the Georgia Aquarium to SCUBA dive or snorkel with gentle whale sharks and manta rays. Check your local aquarium for a similar dive experience.
The couple that paddles together, stays together. Though you might think of kayaking as a tropical water sport, the U.S. coastline provides some of the best sea kayaking spots in the world. If you’re looking for an east coast adventure, head to Maine and paddle the first water trail established in the U.S.; for the west coast experience, visit the San Juan Islands in Washington whose cold waters attract wildlife like whales, otters and seals (wildlife is most abundant April through September).
For the most addicted adrenaline junkies, bungee jumping is a perfect date idea. Though New Zealand is credited with the advent of the activity, there are many suitable jump spots in the U.S. The bridge to nowhere over the San Gabriel River in California is an amazing experience, but if you need the biggest, baddest, highest jump head to the Rio Grande Bridge in Taos, N.M.—the drop is a mind-blowing 680 feet.
It’s easy to overlook all the incredible nature and wildlife that’s right in our own backyard. Take time to appreciate the beauty with your date on a U.S. wildlife safari. In Wyoming, Jackson Hole Wildlife Safaris will send you out with an experienced guide to explore the Grand Tetons or Yellowstone National Park. If you’re looking for something a bit more tropical, the Everglades Safari Park in Florida offers unparalleled views of alligators along with airboat rides or kayak tours—talk about adventure.
It’s tough to find a winter date as romantic as a ski adventure and there’s no better way to go above and beyond (literally) than heli-skiing. Though this adventure will cost quite a bit, there are plenty of amazing spots in the U.S. and Canada. Intermediate skiers should check out Helitrax in Telluride, colo. and hardcore powder hounds should head to Valdez, Alaska where they’ll find the company H2O Guides. H2O is run by world champion skier Dean Cummings and they have 2.6 million acres at their disposal—it’s safe to say you won’t be bored.
Strapping a board (or boards) to your feet not your style? Prefer the uphill trek? Snowshoeing is a fun date idea that packs in a vigorous workout, with ample time to talk and gorgeous views. Head to Mt. Hood, Ore. for the Boy Scout Ridge trail, which starts out nice and easy but builds to gain a total of 1,800 feet of elevation or take to the White Mountains in New Hampshire, which are known for their snowy winters and incredible views and take a moonlit snowshoe tour.
Reach new heights in your relationship—literally. Rock climbing is a great activity for two. If you or your date is a beginner, hit an indoor course and race each other to the top. If you’re a couple of thrill seekers take a course in outdoor climbing. Experts say that it’s such a popular activity for couples because it relies heavily on communication and trust, two important aspects in relationships. And as an added bonus it’s a great full-body work out. Professional instruction is strongly recommended and you can find indoor and outdoor spots all over the country.
You can’t go wrong when the date involves a bunch of adorable dogs and a side of adventure. Though it may seem like an activity lost in time, dogsledding is still widely celebrated. In the U.S., Mahoosuc Guide Service in Maine offers a variety of experiences and even gives guests an option to train and drive a team of dogs and in Minnesota the Wintergreen Dogsled Lodge was called the best in the business by National Geographic and the area is known for stunning scenery.
If skiing or snowboarding isn’t for you, this adventure can take you down the mountain in a totally different way. Fly from some seriously high peaks at Sun Valley in Idaho or take the leap from the Tetons in Jackson Hole, Wyo. Though you and your date will have to travel separately, you’ll share the spectacular experience and can meet at the bottom for a celebratory glass of champagne.