Editor's Note: Some of this information may be outdated, but you can still use this article to give yourself some ideas for future Valentine's Day retreats.
Heart-shaped candies, special cards, and small tokens of affection are all hallmarks of a standard Valentine’s Day celebration. But here in Texas, you can go way bigger than that. From El Paso to Orange, the Lone Star State is full of amazing, unique, and romantic things you can do with that special cowboy or cowgirl in your life. So saddle on up and make your next Valentine’s Day adventure one you’ll never forget.
Keep in mind that a few of these things can be done throughout the year, while others are specific events. If some of these things are unavailable by the time you read this, keep this article in mind for next year’s Valentine’s Day.
Also, if you're under 21, you won't be able to do any of these things if they involve drinking wine or any other type of alcohol.
Happy travels, lovebirds!
Denton sits in the midst of North Texas Horse Country, an area known for having one of the highest concentrations of horse farms in the country. Therefore, perhaps the most “Denton” way to celebrate Valentine’s Day is by going on a horseback riding tour that takes you and your sweetheart on a memorable jaunt through the beautiful North Texas scenery. Providers like Black Mustang Ranch offer a variety of trail rides and horses to suit your level of experience, so don’t worry if neither you nor your valentine have any riding experience. Tours last from one hour to four hours, but the longer rides are suggested for more experienced riders.
This unforgettable adventure can be booked throughout the year, just in case you’re not in “Lil’ D” on Valentine’s Day. For more Horse Country-related excursions, check out Denton’s website.
Photo Credit: Discover Denton
The San Antonio River Walk is one of the best-known tourist attractions in Texas, but it just so happens to be a fantastic place to take a date as well. Hold hands with your significant other as you stroll along the river while the neon lights of lively bars and restaurants cast a soft light on the narrow tree-covered path. Along the way, you’ll pass gorgeous bridges, historic buildings, and a few of San Antonio’s top attractions, such as the bustling Rivercenter Mall, the Arneson Amphitheater, and the Main Plaza. Conclude your romantic sojourn to the River Walk with a lovely meal at one of the area’s charming riverside restaurants. Order some food (and perhaps a glass of wine), sit back, and enjoy an intimate evening with your valentine.
See Also: Downtown Fort Worth
Photo Credit: Brandon Watts
If you’re looking for a romantic weekend retreat this Valentine’s Day, it’s hard to beat Jefferson (AKA the Bed and Breakfast Capital of Texas). The East Texas town’s brick streets, quaint homes, and captivating downtown provide a breathtaking setting for spending some quality time with your sweetheart. Yet it’s Jefferson’s bed and breakfasts that make it a truly romantic Valentine’s Day escape. In the center of town, you’ll find numerous bed and breakfasts within stately 19th-century homes that embody the spirit of Southern hospitality. Most of these inns are located within walking distance of the boutique shops and delightful restaurants in downtown Jefferson, so you’re never too far from everything this quaint town has to offer.
Thousands of brilliant stars illuminate a cloudless night sky, giving you and your partner a light show of galactic proportions. To take in the unfettered beauty of a wide-open Texas sky, make your way to Big Bend National Park. The park is widely known as one of the best places to go stargazing in North America. Why is that? Big Bend is far from any light pollution of an urban area, meaning that you can enjoy a clear view of as many as 2,000 stars in any given night. Big Bend is also one of the few places you can go to see the Milky Way Galaxy in all its glory, the kind of experienced that you and your partner will never forget.
See Also: Davis Mountains State Park
Photo Credit: Brewster County Tourism Council
Take your beloved on an unforgettable journey through the sky on the Wyler Aerial Tramway in El Paso. The tramway lifts you to the top of Ranger Peak, a four-minute journey that offers magnificent panoramic views of the rugged Franklin Mountains and the beautiful city of El Paso. Once you’re there, you’ll be treated to an even more amazing view of 7,000 square miles of scenic desert terrain that includes three states and two nations. When you’re done admiring the view, stretch your legs on the two-mile Ridge Trail or browse the gift shop for a souvenir. Riding El Paso’s tram is a true one-of-a-kind experience as it’s the only one of its kind in the Lone Star State. If you and your significant other want a truly unique Valentine’s Day experience, hop aboard the Wyler Aerial Tramway.
Photo Credit: Destination El Paso
Delicious food, a bottle of wine, and a table perched in a rotating tower with an unbelievable view of beautiful downtown Dallas. Does it get any more romantic than that? The dining experience at Reunion Tower is hard to beat. Reunion Tower is a 50-story-tall structure that is a tourist attraction and a venue for two high-end restaurants: Cloud Nine Café and Five Sixty. Cloud Nine Café offers casual fare, while Five Sixty is a Wolfgang Puck restaurant that features modern Asian cuisine and an extensive wine list. While you and your date relax and enjoy your libations, you’ll have a revolving view of Dallas’ downtown area that is particularly stunning after the sun sets. The combination of great food and sweeping views is the perfect way to spend a dressy Valentine’s Day with your date.
Too late to get dinner reservations? Don’t worry! You can still enjoy the view at the GeO-Deck, which is open until 6 p.m. on Valentine’s Day.
See Also: Tower of the Americas in San Antonio
With a glass of wine in one hand, and your sweetheart’s in the other, you roam between rows of grape vines surrounded by rolling tree-covered hills. You might, for a moment, mistake this for the scenic vineyards of Tuscany or California’s Napa Valley, but instead you’re in the Texas Hill Country. There are dozens of wineries and vineyards throughout the region that provide a wonderful backdrop for a romantic afternoon. Relax and try the wines made from locally grown grapes, tour the wine-making facilities, or simply enjoy the gorgeous scenery. Some of the top wineries in the Hill Country, like Messina Hof Winery and Mendelbaum Winery, offer overnight accommodations in case you wanted to turn your afternoon date into a weekend getaway.
See Also: Wine Country in Lubbock
Photo Credit: Blake Mistich
Thanks to its beachfront hotels and beautiful architecture, Galveston Island is already a great choice for a romantic Valentine’s Day getaway. For a fun date night while you’re in Galveston, look no further than the Historic Pleasure Pier, a 1,130-foot-long pier packed with a stunning array of rides, restaurants, and shops. If you and your significant other are looking for some heart-pounding excitement, make sure to ride the Iron Shark roller coaster or the Texas Star Flyer, which swings riders 230 feet above the Gulf. The Pleasure Pier’s most recognizable attraction is the 100-foot-tall Ferris wheel that lights up the night sky with its bright LED lights. These are just a few of the experiences Pleasure Pier has to offer. To get the full picture, you’ll just have to check it yourself.
Photo Credit: Katie Haugland/flickr
Looking for a really unique Valentine’s Day date to share with your cherished companion? Go on a romantic ride aboard a historic steam train! Climb aboard, settle into an antique train car, and watch the scenery glide by as you listen to the distinctive clicks of the train’s wheels as they roll over the steel tracks. If you’re in East Texas, book your spot on The Texas State Railroad’s Valentine’s Day Dinner Train, which includes freshly made appetizers, tasty entrees, and an enticing box of chocolates to enjoy. Another option is the Valentine’s Day Flyer offered by the Austin Steam Train Association, This six-hour sojourn takes you from Cedar Park to Burnet through some of the finest landscapes of the Hill Country. When you arrive, you and your date can eat lunch and explore the shops in the charming town square.
Although it’s not a Valentine’s Day-themed excursion, the tours offered by the Grapevine Vintage Railroad are worth doing. The three tours available are a one-hour fun ride, a six-hour trip to the Fort Worth Stockyards Station, and an excursion along the Trinity River that leaves from the stockyards. These trips may not have all the flowers and chocolates of the occasion, but we’d argue the setting and the destination are more than enough to make this a romantic thing to do.
There are plenty of romantic movies you can watch on Valentine’s Day, so why not catch one in a one-of-a-kind theater? The Barnhill Center at Historic Simon Theatre in Brenham, a beautifully resorted 1920’s art deco theater adorned with elegant crystal and brass chandeliers and gold Chivari chairs. Throughout Valentine’s weekend, the theater is showing one of Hollywood’s iconic romantic comedies, Sleepless in Seattle, that can’t be missed. During the movie, you and your sweetheart will enjoy a mood-setting assortment of dessert and champagne. You can purchase tickets to the Saturday and Sunday screenings on the theater’s website.
Photo Credit: Brenham/Washington County Convention & Visitors Bureau
The Big Texan’s 72 oz. Steak Challenge is a famous challenge for ambitious foodies from all over the world who are visiting Amarillo. If you want to take it on but you’re not sure you can do it alone, then why not enlist the help of a partner? After all, two stomachs are better than one. Together, you can chow down on the Texas-sized steak, as well as all the tasty sides that includes a salad, baked potato, and a shrimp cocktail. Finishing the meal as a team won’t get you in The Big Texan’s 72 oz. Hall of Fame, but it’s certainly a fun way to enjoy a Valentine’s Day dinner. Plus, since you split the meal, you just might have room for some dessert.
Lake Conroe’s scenic beauty provides a fantastic backdrop for a romantic evening, but you can take your Valentine’s Day experience to another level by going on a dinner cruise. Climb aboard a beautifully decorated yacht and cuddle up with your sweetheart as you embark on a three-hour lake cruise. Sit back and enjoy an unparalleled view of the sunset, then follow that up with a delectable four-course meal that includes a savory chocolate brownie cake for dessert. The sojourn culminates with romantic music and dancing until the yacht pulls back into port.
To reserve a spot on the cruise, visit Waterpoint Marina’s website.
A breathtaking sunset paired with a scenic stroll along a wide sandy beach makes for a great end to a lovely Valentine’s Day, especially if you’re at Matagorda Beach. The beach, nestled where the Colorado River flows into the Gulf of Mexico, provides a quiet alternative to the busier coastal areas of Galveston and Corpus Christi. In addition to the sunsets (and sunrises), Matagorda Beach is a great place to go if you and your significant other enjoy fishing, bird watching, and other outdoor pursuits. Depending on the weather (Texas winters are unpredictable) you may either be in shorts or in a thick jacket, so make sure to check the forecast before heading to the beach.
See Also: South Padre Island
Photo Credit: William Saturn/Creative Commons
Last, but certainly not least, we present the most meta of our Valentine’s Day options: watching a play about love on a holiday celebrating love. That’s exactly what you and your honey can do at the Be Theater in the central Texas town of San Angelo. The play, titled Five Course Love, is a series of vignettes about people looking for love in different restaurants. What sets this play apart is that only three actors play the story’s 15 characters, an interesting dynamic that creates some wonderful humor. Five Course Love is showing throughout February, so you can catch a performance later in the month if you miss the shows during Valentine’s weekend.
Photo Credit: Be Theatre Company
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