10 Last-Minute & Totally Not Cheesy Valentine’s Day Date Ideas in San Diego

Whew, what a title. I, a hopeless romantic, shockingly find Valentine’s Day to be an overrated and overcommercialized “holiday” – an excuse for greeting card and chocolate companies to guilt you into thinking your beau won’t love you if you don’t dump your money into worthless sentiments that could be given any other day for free.


I’m actually not all that anti-Valentine’s Day, I just think there are much more clever and genuine ways to spend it. Considering the fact that this Valentine’s Day (which happens to fall on the President’s Day holiday weekend this year) snuck up on me, I’m thinking it snuck up on you too. And you just might need a last-minute idea for something to do and somewhere to go. So I dug up 10 awesome non-cheesy date ideas around San Diego – some happening this weekend only, and some that can be used as date ideas any time of year.

Enjoy — and if you use one of these ideas, let me know will you?

1. Take a road trip/go camping

We’re tent camping at Two Sisters Farms in the heart of Temecula’s wine country, a whopping 45 minute drive from our home in North County. Spending the day sipping wine and the evening watching the stars? Yeah, that sounds perfect to me. There are tons of places you can spontaneously head out to — even on a holiday weekend, you can find some last-minute accommodations if you’re really spontaneous. Check out my 4-day California Road Trip Guide (we did this last Valentine’s Day!)

2. Dance at Balboa Park’s International Dance Festival

Head down to Balboa Park to learn various styles of social dancing from pros – for free! You’ll learn different dance steps from different cultures all over the world – and you’ll get to show them all off during the free-for-all. (Sun, Feb 14th from 12-5pm; Balboa Park)

3. Jump at a trampoline park

For fun-loving couples everywhere – little else is more fun than bouncing around on a black tarp. An hour of jump time is only $15 at Sky Zone, and they have multiple locations throughout the city.

4. Go indoor roller skating

Harken back to the 80s and 90s with your four-wheeled roller skates (or dust off those inline blades) at SkateWorld. Open sessions are just $8, but they’re only open from 1:30-5pm on Sundays.

5. Take a gondola ride for two

Photo courtesy of: www.wandermelon.com
Photo courtesy of: www.wandermelon.com

Okay, maaaaybe this one doesn’t fully qualify as “non-cheesy” — but guys, I promise, your girl will love this. The Gondola Company in Coronado is running a Valentine special all weekend: private 50-minute cruises with a complimentary dessert plate, blankets, and souvenir glasses are just $165 per couple. (And you can add a musician to your boat for an extra $100.)

6. Go see Deadpool

Moreover, go see it at the brand new La Jolla theater, The LOT. Chill out in oversized recliners and munch on next-level concessions snacks like flatbread pizzas, charred shishito peppers, and housemade donuts with dipping sauces. I recommend purchasing your tickets, like, now. (Side note: have you seen the Deadpool Valentine trailer?)

7. Swoon over coffee

Forget the Valentine’s Day dinner idea – morning coffee is where it’s at, yo. Head to your favorite coffee house early on Sunday, leave your smartphones at home, and like, have a real conversation with each other.

8. Hike to a waterfall

San Diego has a million trails, but leave Torrey Pines and Potato Chip to the lovestruck masses this weekend. Instead, opt for Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve, where you can walk through Mexican and Native American settlement remnants and archaelogical finds, including adobe ruins, as well as seemingly random groves of sycamore and California live oak trees. Best of all, there’s a gorgeous waterfall that plunges over ancient volcanic rock. Bring a picnic – and maybe some wine in a flask.

9. Swing from a trapeze

The boyfriend is quite graceful.
The boyfriend is quite graceful.

Trapeze High in Escondido is San Diego’s only trapeze and circus arts school. A single class is $60 each, but trust me, it’s crazy fun. And it’s a good bonding exercise for couples – since there’s that whole trust/fall/let go thing going on.

10. Kayak La Jolla Cove

One of my favorite pastimes in San Diego, date or not. Book a tandem kayak with Everyday California (my favorite kayaking company here) and paddle out together past the waves, over the sea kelp forests teeming with garibaldi fish and leopard sharks, through the ancient sea caves, and past the sea lions barking on the cliffs. (The weather is going to be ridiculously gorgeous this weekend, too.)

Whatever you end up doing this Valentine’s Day/President’s Day weekend, have fun and be safe!

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