Henry David Thoreau once said “There is no remedy for love, but to love more.”
Love is in the air and every February 14th we celebrate our amour on Valentine’s Day with cards, flowers, candies, and gifts. But the greatest gift of all is spending the day with the one you love, doing the things you love best.
San Diego’s temperate climate is conducive to outdoor play, making it easy to celebrate this beloved holiday in the great outdoors. Be it adventurous or romantic, we have some outdoor date ideas for San Diego that will surprise and delight your special someone, providing memories that will long outlive a wrapped present.
Top-5 popular romantic tours in San Diego
- 🚢 Relax in style aboard a luxury dinner cruise and enjoy panoramic views from the boat’s deck with this Dinner Cruise
- 🐋 Go on a whale-watching expedition in San Diego on this 3-hour cruise and board a 2-story yacht that gives you 360-degree views of the ocean
- 🍲 Sample cuisine with influences from Mexico, Asia and Italy with this walking tasting tour
- 🍷 Sip on some of the best wines in the San Diego area during this Temecula Wine Country Tour
- 🌊 Admire views of the vibrant blue ocean and craggy coastline as you travel south and across Mexican border with this Baja California Coastal Day Trip
Outdoor San Diego Valentine’s Day Date Ideas
How about packing an overnight bag for the love of your life and surprising him or her with a stay at one of these San Diego romantic hotels? I’ve done this, and my husband LOVED it! Staycations in San Diego are the best!
L’Auberge Del Mar is a popular wedding venue and for good reason. This luxury resort overlooking the Pacific Ocean is located in the heart of charming Del Mar village.
The Hotel del Coronado is so romantic, there’s no need to even venture past this historic resort to find perfect magical moments. And you’ll enjoy some of San Diego’s most kissable sunsets.
La Valencia Hotel, the historic pink lady of La Jolla offers jaw-dropping Pacific views and salty breezes. One of my favorite hotels in La Jolla. Couples here can enjoy an unforgettable romantic boutique experience while channeling the passionate spirit of Old Hollywood.
HOT AIR BALLOONING
A few years ago, my hubby totally surprised me with a sunset hot air balloon trip. It was completely unexpected, exciting, thoughtful, and romantic, especially accompanied by champagne. He told me to dress warm with lots of layers but wouldn’t reveal the surprise until we arrived.
Lucky for San Diegans we can choose between balloons that soar high above San Diego’s coastline or venture up north a bit further to Temecula to float over the vineyards at sunrise or sunset. Either way (and we’ve done both), they are amazing unforgettable experiences. Find the best Hot Air Balloon offers here>>
GLASS HEART TREASURE HUNT IN CARLSBAD VILLAGE
On February 11th & 12th, 2023, grab your partner and head to Carlsbad Village and go on a fun and exciting treasure hunt. All around Carlsbad Village, 200 handblown glass hearts are hidden in plain sight.
If you find one, you not only get to keep the stunning heart, but you’ll receive a code to enter a giveaway with cool prizes. Find all the details here>>
TAKE A GONDOLA RIDE
Yes, you read that right. Though we can’t recreate cruising through the canals of Venice, Italy, San Diego does have gondolas.
The Gondola Company takes riders on a relaxing romantic adventure through the calm canals of the Coronado Cays. These 50-minute tours (with private touring options) take place on weekends with reservations required.
The company is hosting a Valentine’s Cruise that included a complimentary truffle plate and souvenir wine glasses. Select wines are available for purchase, or guests may bring their own beverages.
PICNIC ON THE BEACH
In San Diego, beaches and picnics just seem to go hand in hand. And what better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than packing some luscious goodies in a picnic basket and heading to the beach for a stunning sunset?
Two of our favorite locations are Ellen Browning Scripps Park at the La Jolla Cove and the beach in Del Mar. Both offer soft grassy knolls to lay a blanket down and admire the stunningly picturesque Pacific views. Not only are the sunsets magnificent but when the sky is ablaze in color after the sun disappears beyond the horizon, it’s magical.
PopUpPicnic offers to organize and set everything up for you. I am in LOVE with the Boho style picnic!!!
TAKE IN A DRIVE-IN MOVIE
When was the last time you went old-school and took in a drive-in movie? Well, you can do that here in San Diego, and what a novel concept for an old-fashioned Valentine’s surprise.
A $10 adult ticket provides admission for two movies playing on the same screen at South Bay Drive-In Theatres. A snack bar on site is available for food and drink purchases, although patrons are also free to bring their own popcorn, candy, beverages…and lipstick.
You have two options for drive-in movie theaters in San Diego:
South Bay Drive-In Theatre and Swap Meet
Santee Drive-In Theatre
There’s something special about being on the water, especially on our scenic San Diego Bay. Any warm sunny day is perfect for a sail, but a Valentine’s sunset sail catching the sun melt into the sea is a perfect romantic experience.
You’ll find many small, private sailing trips in and around the San Diego harbor or further out in the Pacific. Take a look at these:
And how about a nautical adventure on one of San Diego’s newest additions to the waterfront? Triton Charters 75-foot vessel can host a number of guests, though due to the impressive size of the boat, no one feels crowded, and social distancing is carefully adhered to. With its full bar stocked and refreshments, you’ll find everything you need for an evening with your special someone.
An unknown author once wrote that “Love like wine gets better with time.” So how about taking your favorite Valentine wine tasting?
Temecula Valley offers some incredible wine tasting experiences and being outdoors makes it even more special to enjoy the bucolic rolling hill vineyard views. Some of our favorite wineries with a view include Robert Renzoni, where you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to Tuscany. To make it extra special, stay at one of these romantic winery hotels in Temecula.
Carter Estate is the perfect place to relax under the trees overlooking the vineyards. Ponte Vineyard Inn offers stunning views of Temecula Wine Country, and patio views from South Coast Winery Resort and Spa are simply spectacular.
OCEANSIDE HARBOR WINE SUNSET CRUISE
How does a 90-minute evening sunset cruise from Oceanside Harbor aboard a luxurious Oceanside Adventures Catamaran sound? Add in the fact that the cruise also features an appetizer platter and three tastes of Oceanside’s own Beach House Winery vintages.
Stunning views at sunset, dolphins and other wildlife sightings come at no extra charge. Private charters are available as well. Read our 5 Reasons to visit Oceanside for a quick getaway here>>
HIKING TORREY PINES
Hiking may not seem a romantic thing to some, that is until you hike Torrey Pines. This La Jolla state natural reserve has some of the most impressive vistas imaginable. Meandering well-maintained wilderness paths provide breathtaking glimpses of the Pacific Ocean. Trails ultimately lead to lofty cliffs overlooking miles of magnificent coastal beach.
Surrounded by stunning sandstone formations, the Reserve offers multiple hikes of varying lengths and difficulties past picturesque Torrey pines, desert succulents, and colorful wildflowers. It’s a great way to get exercise and fresh air with the one you love, and it’s simply magnificent. For an even more memorable experience, hike at night and enjoy one of the top stargazing spots in San Diego.
GET PAMPERED AT GLEN IVY HOT SPRINGS
Glen Ivy Hot Springs is about 1.5 hours north of San Diego, about halfway between Temecula and Riverside. There, you will find natural hot springs with mineral-rich waters, mud baths, tropical landscaping and beautiful pools, and of course spa treatments that will make you feel pampered and rejuvenated. Read our full review of Glen Ivy Hot Springs here>>
Whatever your inclination, we hope these ideas will help make your outdoor San Diego Valentine’s Day this year very special.
Outdoor San Diego Valentine’s Day Date Ideas was written by Noreen Kompanik for San Diego Explorer.
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Last Updated on February 24, 2023 by Anastasia Rybina
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