Romantic Adventures

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If hiking to a spectacular overlook, warming up in stunning blue waters, cozying up in a hammock or around the campfire, or simply escaping the rigor of daily routine is your idea of romantic, then consider these special moments from the Share Your Story adventure writing contest as you plan your next getaway.

Some of these locations often inspire proposals and are also popular picks for wedding sites. For those seeking a matrimonial destination, keep in mind you will need to check with local managers for special permit requirements for wedding events or gatherings.

Whether you’re headed out on an adventure with someone special for the first time, hundredth time, or simply being one with nature, these destinations are sure to make you fall in love with your public lands.

Discover special places to create memories with your loved ones

"Never Rush Through the Narrows"

Zion National Park

A woman places a ring on a man's ring finger after proposing to him a narrow canyon

Zion National Park (Loraine Corona, Share Your Story)

“Never rush through the Narrows” is always good advice, but when the perfect proposal shot is on your mind, time is of the essence. In this charming and amusing story, Loraine C. relates the tale of her proposal – to her long-time boyfriend, Evan.

Evan adores being in nature and values taking his time to take photos and enjoy the serene views. This is a lovely trait when time is on our side, but he had no idea we had a rock to catch.”

Enjoy the rest of Loraine’s clever adventure here and get inspired to plan your own surprise for your loved ones in the great outdoors!

"A Mom's Story - Marshmallows and Memories"

Wayne National Forest

Two tents and hammocks with rain tarps are set up at a campsite in the woods

Wayne National Forest (Amanda Dunwoody, Share Your Story)

“Romance” can mean a lot of things to a mother of three. But for Amanda D., it’s taking time off work to spend a few warm days and nights in the forest with her family.

“Watching the kids chase butterflies, hold hands, sing songs, and cheer each other on when they were tired on a hike (like when Gloria took a tumble on the trail) made it all worth it. They took the dog for walks around the campsite. They asked for more marshmallows a dozen times each day. Uninhibited by what anyone else would think or say, they were free to be kids and have fun.

…It’s these moments we hold onto. They say that when your kids are young the days are long, but the years fly by. Days after returning to work, it seems that this recent span of time in the sun is still at my fingertips. The heat, the buzz of nature, the darkness of the woods at night; all still humming through me.”

Get ready to pack up your kids, your pets, or your friends after reading the rest of Amanda’s memorable camping story!


Mt. Hood National Forest

Eight women pose for a photo with their backpacks and poles before setting out on a wilderness trip

Mt. Hood National Forest (Marcia Filicetti, Share Your Story)

Is there a better way to celebrate your gal-entines than hiking through wildflower meadows, rivers, and lush forests? Marcia F. shared her empowering story documenting a 45-mile (72.4 km) backpacking trip with her sister and six newfound sisters through the Mt. Hood Wilderness.

After reading her story, complete with singing, crying, laughing, and only a little drama, you’ll be ready to gather your gal-entines, pal-entines, or valentines for a day hike or backpacking trip – depending on the strength of your bond!

“I love these strong, beautiful, amazing sisters!”

"Lifelong Friends Hike the Canyon & Face the Future Together"

Grand Canyon National Park

Two women pose for a photo after a long hike up to a viewpoint overlooking a vast canyon

Grand Canyon National Park (Connie Mitchell, Share Your Story)

50 years of friendship is a relationship worth celebrating. Connie M. and her best friend have been through it all – from kindergarten carpool lines to navigating adulthood to beating cancer. They charted a bucket-list adventure through the Grand Canyon, backpacking down into the canyon on the South Kaibab and Bright Angel Trails, and made memories to last a lifetime.

“The hike itself was otherworldly. Nowhere else in America can you literally travel through time, hiking past layer upon layer of rock and seeing how the Earth's crust changed over millions of years.

Celebrating at the El Tovar Lodge post-hike, I turned to my friend and said, ‘All the grit, perseverance and strength you just showed in the canyon will get you through whatever comes next.’ And it did. A year later, she's cancer-free and living her best life, and we both have memories of a lifetime to look back on.”

"Proposal 12 years in the making"

Muir Woods National Monument & Yosemite National Park

A man and woman take a selfie with her engagement ring after their proposal

Yosemite National Park (Carlos Arroyo, Share Your Story)

If you had twelve years to plan a proposal, how would you do it? Carlos A. shared his heartwarming journey with his wife and family that began twelve years ago and yet is only just beginning.

Making up for lost time, Carlos planned a long-awaited trip to explore California’s best – Muir Woods National Monument, Tahoe National Forest, and Yosemite National Park, to name a few destinations. At Yosemite, Carlos knew the moment to pop the question:

“…With the rocks and water as our backdrop…she turned around and jumped around to see me on one knee holding the ring I should have given her 12 years prior. She is my rock, my love, my soulmate.”

"Saying 'YES'"

Grand Canyon National Park

A woman hiking takes in the view over a vast canyon

Grand Canyon National Park (Anna Wiktorowicz, Share Your Story)

Solo trips are romantic in their own right – oftentimes, you will find yourself more in tune with nature and with your true self than ever before. Sometimes, as Anna W. learned, saying “yes” may open the door to new adventures, new people, and new discoveries.

Anna had a short day hike planned down the Kaibab trail of the Grand Canyon, leaving early in the morning to be “back for delicious breakfast.” On the way to the trail, she heard other hikers speaking Polish – her native language – and took the leap of faith, introducing herself. At first, it seemed they would all go their separate ways, but they reunited on the trail and the rest of the day came to Anna by surprise. Ice cold lemonade, California condors, and sunrise on the trail were all unexpected wonders.

“If I hadn't stopped to say hello, I would miss making new friends and most importantly, I would miss walking the whole trail and seeing the beauty of it all. Saying ‘yes’ opened up my world.”

"Love on Top"

Yosemite National Park

A woman in a colorful windbreaker stands with her arms wide on a rocky mountain summit

Yosemite National Park (Carolynn Jimenez, Share Your Story)

Outdoor experiences bring out the best in us – love and gratitude being two of these virtues. After a year of training, Carolynn and her partner were finally summiting Yosemite’s Half Dome, when fear nearly turned them around.

Carolynn’s partner leaned into the camaraderie of other hikers nearby, who all encouraged her to ascend the cables with a chorus of “‘Girl power! You’ve got this! You’re so strong!’”.

Reflecting on this experience, Carolynn wrote: “My eyes welled up with tears of gratitude that turned into joy and relief as we reached the top. I let myself cry tears of happiness. I looked down at the valley floor roughly four thousand feet beneath us, and I reminded myself of how hard I had worked to get here and all that it took: the gentle encouragement from someone I loved, the kindness of strangers along the trail, the trust in myself each step of the way.”

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