There’s no shortage of unique date ideas along the Emerald Coast, but cooler air and water temperatures this time of year hamper a few of those. You’re not off the hook for Valentine’s Day, though, so we’ve compiled a few options that’ll make holiday date nights or regular date nights something to remember.
Cruise Off Into The Sunset
It may be too cool to get in the water, but not on the water. Try a sunset cruise or a daytime tour of the main waterways around the Panhandle. Smile N’ Wave Sailing Adventures offers daytime dolphin-watching excursions and romantic sunset cruises aboard a 31-foot catamaran. Cruisin’ Tikis Destin is another option offering Valentine’s Day tiki cruises complete with artisan charcuterie from The Board Chef. Be sure to bring a camera along to capture pictures that memorialize your experience. Private charters are also available from Just Sail Destin.
Book A Massage For Two
There are plenty of places to score an excellent massage in Destin and along Scenic Highway 30A, but we love The Salamander Spa at The Henderson for a truly luxuriousexperience. Try a couples’ massage or any other spa treatment side-by-side. The Salamander Spa features 11 exquisite private treatment rooms and a wet area with an experiential shower, whirlpool tub, Himalayan salt suite, sunlit relaxation spaces, and a full-service salon.
Give Your Kitchen The Night Off
Let Havana Beach Bar & Grill at The Pearl in Rosemary Beach handle the dishes while you enjoy a three-course Valentine’s Day dinner with live piano entertainment. Reservations for the dinner, which includes options such as lamb medallions and seared duck breast, are required. Other good options include dinners at Old Florida Fish House and Pescado, as well as a murder mystery fundraiser dinner at The Palms Bistro.
Turn The Bookstore Into A Date Destination
There aren’t many things more relaxing than wandering through a bookstore and we have several options to choose from. There’s Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million in Destin, but if you prefer an independent bookseller, look no further than The Book Rack in Fort Walton Beach or Sundog Books in Seaside, Florida. Add a stop for coffee or a glass of wine before or after.
While you’re in Seaside, you might want to check out Fired Up, a pottery studio where you can paint your own creations. Simply choose a piece you love, create your own design and leave it with the Fired Up team and they’ll “fire” your creation, usually within 24 hours. Fired Up also offers a “to-go pottery service,” where you can complete your part of the process in the comfort of your own home.
Let’s Get Physical
One of the best attributes of the Emerald Coast is the giant “backyard” it gives all of us space to play in. Use the Valentine’s Day holiday to explore a community you’ve never spent much time in. If the weather is good, rent electric bikes from YOLO Board + Bike and trek from Gulf Place to Rosemary Beach and back again. Check out Timpoochee Trail or any of the area’s parks. If you’d prefer an indoor experience, try a rock climbing gym like Rock Out Climbing in Destin or a trampoline park like Urban Air Adventure Park.
Get Locked Up
It’s not how it sounds! We’re not advocating that you spend Valentine’s Day in the slammer; instead, try your luck at an escape room like Escapology or Gulf Coast Escape Room. At Escapology, you can choose your team and your adventure and plot your escape. Stop a nuclear war or find the killer on the Budapest Express … before they find you.
It may not be happening on Valentine’s Day, but these beginner pottery classes at J.Leon Gallery + Studio are certain to be a good time. This six-week class is an introduction to the fundamental wheel-working skills used for shaping clay, intended for adults with little to no experience. Students (ages 18+) will begin with learning basic techniques of centering clay, throwing cylinder forms on the wheel, trimming and glazing. The class will also cover altering and decorating thrown forms. When you register for the course, you receive a 25-pound bag of clay, full use of the gallery’s range of glazes, firing of finished pieces and use of the studio during class time. Additional clay may be purchased from J.Leon Gallery + Studio.
Head To The Beach
You didn’t think we’d leave this one off the list, did you? Even if the water is too cool for swimming, you can’t beat the atmosphere and views with a simple trip to the beach. Pack a picnic and your beach chairs or just grab your favorite beverage and a blanket and enjoy a sunset or evening walk on any of our sugary-sand beaches.
Plan A “Trip” At Home
If you’d prefer to keep it simple and stay at home for Valentine’s Day 2021, we get it. But, it doesn’t have to be boring. Plan a holiday to France or Italy with a themed dinner. Choose a bottle of wine from your chosen destination and explore hors d’oeuvres, a main dish and desserts from your featured destination. Cook alone for your partner or bond over a menu you choose together. Chan’s Wine World is a great spot to research a locale to build a menu around.
Take In A Virtual Concert
Join Grammy-, Tony- and Emmy-Award-winning vocalist Josh Groban for the virtual concert experience of the winter, all for the price of a donation to public broadcasting. The livestream concert coincides with Groban’s new album, Harmony, and will feature new hits and timeless favorites. Cost is $120 for the one-time broadcast or as little as $10 per month in an ongoing donation program.