Cheap Valentine's Day Date Ideas That Are Actually Fun

Oh jeez, here comes another expensive, and mostly unnecessary holiday. Valentine’s Day is swooping down swiftly like a bird of prey ready to take our money just when we finally started recovering from the real holidays. A Godiva chocolate covered strawberry here, some Veuve Cliquot there, a little blue box from Tiffany’s, and a candlelight dinner later, and you’re left lighter in the wallet. And, also, a little in the soul.

Love isn’t about grand gestures and expensive things. Love is doing the dishes without being asked, shoveling the drive way, and somehow making tedious every day tasks fun because you are in it together. To this day my favorite date of all time was spending the day driving around South Florida in our beat up 1991 Caprice getting free “Stolen Base” Taco Bell tacos, making jokes and dreaming about the future. With that said here are some thoughtful ideas on how to spend Valentine’s Day loving instead of spending.

Become a “Local Tourist.” Gaylord has tons to do. Spend the day visiting local landmarks and museums. As far as cheap Valentine’s Day ideas go, this one can be very inexpensive if you avoid tourist traps and focus on learning about your city. Visit Call of the Wild, or check out Aspen Park. Stroll around Downtown Gaylord, and window shop, stop by the Sugar Bowl and share a small plate or have a hot chocolate at the Alpine Chocolate Haus. Pop into Funky Fish, and get inspiration for an underwater adventure in the summer.

Take a food, beer and/or wine tour. No, don’t have a ridiculously expensive Valentine’s dinner. Share Burger King in the car. It’ll make you feel like a love-struck (and cash-strapped) teenager again. Try having Valentine’s lunch or breakfast out, rather than dinner. Pick your five favorite restaurants, and share a small plate at each one. Skip dinner and go out for coffee and dessert at one of Gaylord’s many incredible restaurants. Go to the Rusty Pelican and do an impromptu wine tasting. Or head to the Iron Pig for one of their cocktail flights.

Stay home, and make a meal together. Cooking with your loved one, chatting, music softly playing in the background can be an enjoyable experience. Gather your ingredients, and take a stab at a new and challenging dish, develop a signature cocktail (mine is Grapefruit Rosemary vodka spritzers), make a charcuterie plate, so you don’t starve if it all goes wrong. Don’t forget the candlelight.

There is so much you can do without breaking the bank. Pick up some take-out, and binge-watch the show you’ve meant to check out. Have a game night. Break out the Monopoly and give each other heck. Go outside channel your inner Elsa, and build a snowman or go sledding. Then, be sure to warm up with snuggles and lots of hot cocoa.

The best things in life are simple. Things end up forgotten but moments are forever. The bracelet from Tiffany’s will end up back in its little blue box neglected. Those new boots will get old and break. But, laughing over a plate of fries, and the giddy squeals from sledding down a hill will bring you a smile for the rest of your life.