Plan A Valentines Day in Your National Parks

Rebecca WatsonNPF Blog
A couple sitting on top of a mountain looking down at a valley at Haleakala National Park
Haleakalā National Park / Shutterstock - Maridav

Finding the perfect gift for your valentine can seem daunting, but there is no better gift than time spent together. We’ve put together a list of romantic backdrops perfect for a Valentine’s Day rendezvous. From firsthand history lessons to heart-pumping adventures, America’s national parks boast an exceptional list of experiences and activities year-round. If you’re looking for a unique way to celebrate Valentine’s Day, you’ll be inspired by all there is to do – and love – in our national parks.

Take a Moonlit Stroll  

Lincoln Memorial lit up at night against a purple and lavender sky.

Lincoln Memorial

iStock / S. Greg Panosian

Wander the length of the National Mall in the nation’s capital under the light of the moon. Discover over 150 monuments, memorials, reservations, fountains, circles, statues, and park spaces throughout downtown Washington, D.C. Early evening hours, beautiful and tranquil, are perfect for seeing these spots illuminated with soft glowing lights, transporting you far from the hustle of the city. 

Snorkel in Coral Reefs 

A hawksbill sea turtle wades through the reef, underwater picture

Hawksbill sea turtle, Virgin Islands National Park

NPS Photo

Explore the coral reefs at Virgin Islands National Park in a tropical getaway! Snorkel off Salomon and Honeymoon Bay, two white-sand beaches and spot sea turtles throughout the park. Two-thirds of the island of St. John is national park land, making this unique destination a must-see for anyone seeking a warmer climate in February. 

Share a Perfect Picnic 

Paved trail along a river and trees

Cuyahoga Valley National Park

NPS Photo / Victoria Stauffenberg

Wrap up a delicious meal and head to Cuyahoga Valley National Park for a picturesque picnic at one of the park’s many picnic sites. After your picnic, make your way to Brandywine Falls, a 60-foot waterfall that dazzles no matter the season. If you want to lengthen your stay, check out the nearby historic inns that feature easy access to the park’s trails. 

Go Whale Watching 

Sunset over the Point Reyes Lighthouse

Point Reyes Lighthouse, Point Reyes National Seashore

NPS Photo

Share a one-of-a-kind experience with a whale watching trip at Point Reyes National Seashore. The Point Reyes Peninsula juts out 10 miles into the Pacific Ocean, allowing visitors to get close to the California gray whale in their annual migration along the coast. Visit during late April and early May to get the best chance to see these majestic mammals close to shore.  

Indulge Your Senses 

Historic Bath House Row

Hot Springs National Park

iStock / Tizod

Treat yourselves to a spa treatment at Hot Springs National Park. Part of the Louisiana Purchase, the park has long attracted American Indians, exploring expeditions, and settlers seeking the health benefits of the natural hot springs. Take a traditional bath at the Buckstaff Bathhouse, a park concessioner since 1912, or soak in the pools at Quapaw Baths and Spa.  

Take a Snowshoe Hike 

Ranger leads students on a snowshoe hike

Ranger led snowshoe hike, Grand Teton National Park

NPS Photo

Bundle up and embark on a snowshoe hike in Grand Teton National Park. From November 1 to May 1, the Teton Park Road is open for non-motorized use only, intermittently groomed for ideal skiing and snowshoeing. Rangers lead educational and fun snowshoe hikes here from the end of December through mid-March, conditions permitting.  

Snuggle Up on a Wagon Ride 

A mother and child walk through a grassy farm

Oxon Cove Park and Oxon Hill Farm

NPS Photo / Anthony DeYoung

Enjoy the views on a scenic wagon ride through Oxon Cove Park & Oxon Hill Farm. The land you’ll traverse aboard the wagon has been home for many generations of human habitation over the past 10,000 years and the park protects its natural and cultural resources and tells the story of the land and how it’s changed over time. Check the park’s calendar for current wagon ride event listings.  

Gaze at the Stars 

Clear night sky, filled with stars, above tall, thin trees at Everglades National Park

Everglades National Park

iStock / JillGehring

Escape the everyday and spend a night looking up at the stars at Everglades National Park. Due to its location, the park is an excellent place to stargaze. During the winter, rangers offer a variety of nighttime programs, including new moon events. Check the park’s ranger-led programs schedule for times and locations.  

With over 400 national parks, there are endless ways to cozy up with your loved one while enjoying some of the most beautiful landscapes and fascinating historical sites. Get out there and #FindYourPark / #EncuentraTuParque today! 

I Heart Parks Travel Guide
Coast to coast, national parks offer hundreds of opportunities to make lasting memories with the one you love. Explore some of our favorite parks for romantic adventures, from the Rocky Mountains to Lady Liberty.

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