10 Romantic Outdoor Adventures
If watching a sunset from a mountain top, hiking a steep slope to a spectacular waterfall, or cozying up in a historic lodge is your idea of romantic, then you’ll fall for this list of outdoor adventures. Some of these locations often inspire proposals and are also popular picks for wedding sites. Take a moment and check out the Department of the Interior's video below that shows how special these lands can be. Couples will want to check with local managers for special permit requirements for wedding events.
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It doesn't get much more romantic than this historic, rustic, eclectic and ultra-cozy Ahwahnee Hotel set against Yosemite Falls, Half Dome and Glacier Point. The hotel was built in the 1920s, and offers four-star dining and lodging, a unique history and breathtaking scenery. You'll be hard-pressed to replicate another experience like it.Valhalla Grand Hall, Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit
Historic Site (USFS)
Known as Valhalla, the Heller Estate is part of the Tallac Historic Site – 74-acres (29 ha) of beautifully secluded woods along the shore of Lake Tahoe. Once a magnet for the San Franciscan elite in the late 1800s and early 1900s, the Tallac Historic Site now hosts outdoor enthusiasts from all walks of life – providing interpretive sites throughout the grounds, a boathouse now used as a community theater and the elegant Valhalla Grand Hall. Built in 1923, the grand hall offers handsome wood floors, an open-wood beam ceiling, balcony and 20-foot (6 m) high stone fireplace. Managed by the Tahoe Tallac Association, Valhalla is available from mid-April to mid-December for indoor events and weddings offering rustic charm and breath-taking views of Lake Tahoe from the grounds surrounding this historic site.
(Loveland Ski Area)
Dozens of couples flock to Loveland Ski Area on Valentine’s Day to tie the knot during the Mountaintop Matrimony group ceremony. Once they have taken their vows, newlyweds carve the slopes to a wedding party in the lodge. If skiing is your mutual passion, then it is only natural that you would don a pair of skis over gowns and tuxedos to honor your life together—although some do both!
Ford/Share the Experience)
If a remote island setting is your idea of a perfect couples’ getaway, then add Dry Tortugas National Park to your bucket list of romantic adventures. Historical attractions, pristine beaches, stunning coral reefs and marine life are await you in this paradise about 70 miles (112 km) west of Key West.
Just about anywhere in Hawaii inspires romance. It is the perfect backdrop for proposals and weddings, as well as a destination for honeymoons and romantic getaways! Awe-inspiring scenery, adventurous treks to an active volcano and the clichéd—but oh so wonderful—sunsets on the beach provide just the right setting for your romantic outdoor adventure. Check out our Destination Hawaii trip ideas, to help plan your rendezvous.
Tombarelli/Share the Experience)
Inspiring vistas and natural settings are ideal for fanning the flames of love at Acadia National Park. Snuggle up in a cozy tent at Seawall Campground on the quiet side of Mount Desert Island. For charming hotels or bed and breakfasts, check area chambers of commerce sites on this list of nearby attractions.
Las Vegas is an incredibly popular destination for romantic getaways and weddings. Beyond the Las Vegas Strip, there are some outdoor settings that offer profoundly different alternatives for couples. Check out our Destination Las Vegas itinerary for dozens of locations, along with these two sites sure to be a hit.Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
Conservation Area (Kyle Wilson/
Share the Experience)
If the great outdoors calls you away from the lights and sounds of the Strip, Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is an enchanting backdrop perfect for sweet nothings whispered by visiting couples. About 20 minutes west of Las Vegas, spring and autumn are popular times for weddings when the weather is not too cold, not too hot, but just right.
Great Basin National Park
Sheth/Share the Experience)
What better place to escape with your true love than at one of the most remote, least visited yet inspiring national parks in the continental U.S.? At Great Basin National Park lovers can gaze up at the stars through one of the clearest night skies anywhere on earth. During the day you can easily reach 10,000 feet (3,038 m) via Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive then follow the summit trail to reach the 13,063 foot (3,981 m) peak, home to the southernmost glacier in the Northern Hemisphere, or take an easy walk to a forest of bristlecone pines, some of the oldest living things on earth. A ranger guided-tour of Lehman Caves offers another magical experience for visiting couples.
Park (Sharon Long/Share the
As the nation’s most visited national park, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is known for its diverse landscape, abundant wildlife and mountain culture. And for adventurous couples, visiting a scenic waterfall, hiking the Smokies or taking in the breathtaking beauty of fall colors are sure to spice up the romance. The most popular time for weddings is in the fall, when the park is beautifully decorated with nature’s seasonal display.
Historic, rustic and charming, the Timberline Lodge is a wonderful mountain getaway with plenty of recreation options for those who share a passion for the outdoors. While the lodge is a popular location for weddings, there are some scenic locations in the Mt. Hood National Forest that offer stunning beachside backdrops for matrimonial ceremonies like Lost Lake Resort, Mirror Lake and Frog Lake. Check out our spotlight article about Timberline Lodge and surrounding attractions for more details and to start planning your romantic outdoor adventure.