With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, we wanted to mix things up a bit. Instead of flowers and candy and teddy bears, we suggest packing a bag, finding a new place on the map and going on a romantic scavenger hunt. The next 5 magical locations have proven to inspire twitter pating moments and are just plain fun to explore. They are also perfect places for scavenger hunts.
Now, while we haven’t gone out of our way to hide trinkets under rocks in theses places, we have found hidden hot spots and memorable activities that every star struck lovebird will enjoy. What is even better, these hunts can be enjoyed at different times of the year, not just on Valentine’s. If you are near one of these locals, we challenge you to a hunt. If not, we challenge you and your sweetheart to make your own scavenger hunt and share it with us.
Good Luck and Have Fun!
Pssst. If you aren’t a big fan of scavenger hunts, don’t worry; these hunts are more about slowing down and enjoying life than racing to find buried artifacts. They’re also really easy.
Half Moon Bay, California
If you dream of walking hand in hand down empty beaches, sipping on dark chocolate gelato milkshakes, cracking open fresh oysters or kayaking under a bright full moon, Half Moon Bay is a haven waiting to be explored. Start your trip with this scavenger hunt and then continue the adventure on your own.
- First, check in to a private room at the Point Montara Lighthouse Hostel (reservations will need to be made in advance). Set your bags down and take a walk along the deserted beach that the hostel owns. Take a photo of your toes in the sand.
- Rent two bikes from Bike Works and ride along the Coastside Trail. Keep your eyes peeled for hawks and other bay creatures. Snap a shot of your bikes with your favorite coastal landscape in the background.
- Grab something to eat and something sweet at Caffe Mezza Luna.
- Roll down the windows and drive down to Año Nuevo State Park, where miles of trails along the coast are easy to walk and full of majestic wildlife. Take an elephant seal tour (reserve ahead of time) and snap a selfie with a 5,000 pound critter in the background.
- Take a drive between Año Nuevo and Half Moon Bay and find a lighthouse overlooking the coast. Have someone take a photo of you in front of it.
- Stop in Pescadero and search out Harley Farms Goat Dairy. Here, you’ll find award-winning goat cheese. Try three different flavors and take a photo of your favorites.
- For dessert, indulge in a slice of unbelievable olallieberry pie at Duarte’s Tavern. Take before and after photos of the dish and be amazed at how hard it is not to lick the plate clean.
- Pick up a tandem kayak or two single kayaks at the Half Moon Bay Kayaking Company and paddle across the bay under the light of a full moon. Get extra corny and fold your hands into hearts and take photos under the moonlight.
- Head back to Point Montara Lighthouse and make two cups of hot chocolate in the public kitchen in the main house. Take the hot chocolate back to your cozy room and watch the sea grass dance in the moonlight through your window.
This scavenger hunt is best carried out in late summer, when the days are warm enough for sailing expeditions and the nights are cool enough to encourage trees to start changing color. This is the time of year when apples are ripening and cider production is in full swing. Take a couple days to finish the hunt and then find new treasures on your own.
- Start at the downtown Burlington Farmer’s Market, where fresh produce and handmade treats are abundant and ripe for the picking. Chose something for breakfast and a few snacks that will last through the morning.Take three photos of things that you didn’t expect to find.
- Rent two bikes, or a tandem bike, from Local Motion Trail Center, then get ready for your new favorite bike ride. This 26 mile round trip ride takes you on bike friendly paths along Lake Champlain, through quiet neighborhoods, into forests and out onto the lake itself.
- Bring five dollars each for the bike ferry at the end of the trail. This ferry will take you to the other side of the trail, where you can continue to an island, where the trail ends. Snap a few images of the journey on the ferry.
- Cider is king in Vermont and Citizen Cider has made a name for itself in the short time it has been in business. Ride straight to Citizen Cider in downtown Burlington and try their menagerie of hard ciders. Take a short video of the bubbles rising up from the center of the tasting glasses and then photograph your favorites.
- Lake Champlain Chocolates is just a few doors down from Citizen Cider. Make your way over there in the afternoon when they have tours and chocolate bar making classes available. Take a tour, try some chocolate, then put an apron on. Lake Champlain Chocolate’s new extension, South End Kitchen, hosts chocolate bar making classes on a regular basis. Join in the fun and make a bar for your sweetheart. Document heavily.
- There are lots of strange and wonderful art pieces scattered across Burlington. Find and document a sculpture made entirely from recycled products.
- The afternoon is also a great time for sailing lessons and there isn’t a better place to learn and play than the Community Sailing Center. Put any doubts to rest, change into a swimsuit, get wet and have fun. Take photos of each other laughing and being silly – Bonus points if your camera doesn’t get wet in the process.
Yes, this is the view that everyone enjoys at the Red Agave Resort.
If four-wheeling through a dusty wilderness is your favorite cup of tea, we have the perfect romantic weekend for you in Sedona, Arizona. Investigate historic heritage sites in the middle of the red desert, roast marshmallows and make s’mores by an open fire, count shooting stars from outside your room and listen to live music play as you discover real southwestern cuisine.
- Before the day gets hot, rent bikes from the Bike and Bean and explore the red rock wilderness, but not before stopping at The Hike House for a map and a smoothie. Stop along the trail and film each other as you conquer the more challenging parts.
- Rent a Jeep Wrangler when you arrive in town or set up a Pink Jeep tour and have a morning Jeep adventure in the wild red rocks. Take a photo of yourselves in the off-roading warrior before and after your adventure to see how much dirt you accumulated.
- Trek out to two of Sedona’s many heritage sites and learn about the incredible history of people that lived on the land before settlers arrived. Take a photo of a favorite pictograph and make a guess as to what it meant.
- When your stomachs start to growl, head into town and scout out the Oak Creek Brewery. Order a beverage and Wicked Pickles, then take a photo of the looks on your faces when you bite into them. You are welcome.
- Take a jaunt through Tlaquepaque and take photos of live musicians, local artwork, ducks swimming in the creek and one of the village’s beautiful fountains.
- Check in to a studio or chalet at the Red Agave Resort, where acres of desert landscape are accessible right from the resort’s backyard. Cool off in the pool or warm up in the spa and look for wildlife.
- In the evening, the resort host may come out to start a fire in the designated fire pit. If this happens, ask them for s’mores ingredients (which are kept at the office at all times) and set out to make the perfect s’more. Document heavily with photos.
- Try local wines or tequila-based cocktails at Elote Cafe and then sample their authentic southwestern menu. Photograph a favorite dish. Bonus points for buying their cookbook and trying a recipe at home.
- Take a trolley to downtown Sedona to find live music, red dirt t-shirts and other strange treasures. Photograph the strangest thing you find.
Oregon Wine Country
While Oregon may be a little too soggy for a scavenger hunt in February, it is a beautiful place to explore in the summer time, and if you like wine, Harris Valley is all the more magical. Just a few miles past Philomath, Oregon is a valley where the busy outside world has been forgotten and the only things that matter are good food, good wine and good company. Be sure to pack two large bottles of water and snacks for this adventure.
- Start by finding Harris Bridge Vineyard, a small vineyard just before the historic Harris Bridge that is so beautiful you won’t want to leave. Taste the wines, enjoy a cube of cheese or two and then take a tour of the property. Have someone take a photo of you on the bridge.
- Stretch your legs and walk up the quiet road a ways. The dirt road twists and curves through the grassy meadows and forests in Harris Valley. You may come across goats and sheep, wild lavender and friendly honey bees. Take a few minutes to enjoy the sun shining through the trees and the smell of dew evaporating off the blades of grass.
- Along the main road through the Beazell Memorial County Forest, surrounding Wren, Philomath and wine country, are handfuls of hiking trails. Find one and see where it takes you. Document six small things that catch your eye along the trail (snails, ferns, bird nest, etc.).
- Next, quench your thirst at Cardwell Hill Cellars, a winery that has been perfecting pinot noir since 1983. Using sustainable farming methods, Cardwell Hill Cellars has become known for its salmon-safe protocols and environmentally sound practices. Take a tour, taste a few varietals, admire the giant oak bar in the tasting room and enjoy the company. Document heavily.
- Just a hop, skip and jump around the corner is Lumos Wine Company and tasting room. With a wide selection of wines, tasty cheeses, spreads, fresh baked breads and live music, this rural tasting room is the perfect place to relax. See how many butterflies you can count on the flowers around the balcony. Extra points if you can catch one of camera.
- After a flight and a few goat-cheese covered bread slices, take a walk through the vineyard. A trail on the left hand side of the property will take you all the way down to Marys River, where the cool water will wash away any resemblance of stressful daily life. Take photos of the journey down to the river and combine them together into one photo.
Schedule a trip to Boston in mid June and give this scavenger hunt a whirl. In June, the sun has come out to stay, flowers are in full bloom, artists are showing off their works, chefs are gathering new inspiration and Boston is gearing up to host summer visitors. This hunt will take more than a day, so take your time and enjoy.
- Buy two tickets for the New England Aquarium and spend the first half of the day exploring its impressive aquatic habitats. Learn about the different penguins living on the first floor. Try to find an African penguin named Plumb Pudding and take a photo. Find the electric eel habitat and listen to it as it searches for snacks. Ask a caretaker about the resident octopus and its special skills. Snap a shot of Murtle, the 90-year old sea turtle, in the ocean aquarium.
- Take a sail on Liberty Fleet of Tall Ships, located next to the New England Aquarium. Sip cocktails and snack on cheeses and breads as you sail across Boston Harbor on a traditional schooner. Film each other pulling up the sails and steering the ship.
- Set out to Little Italy on a quest to find the best gelato. We suggest Caffé Vittoria for their show-stopping maple gelato, but it’s up to you to find your fave. Find a winning gelato and take a photo of each other enjoying it.
- Find an old book at Trident Booksellers and Cafe, Boston’s oldest and last remaining independent bookstore. Take a photo of the books you found and if there is a reading from an author, join in and take a photo of the event.
- Hop on a ferry and aim it toward Spectacle Island, a garbage dump-turned beautiful nature park. Fly a kite together. Search for relics of antique ceramic bowls in the sand. Kayak around the island. Grab a snack and picnic under the trees at the top of the island where the view of Boston Harbor is spectacular.
- Test your trivia knowledge, listen to fine tuned piano music or sing along with the rest of the crew at Jacob Wirth restaurant. Indulge in traditional German cuisine and share a sausage or apple crisp a la mode with your sweetie. Ask for a photo with the entertainer of the evening.
- With an empty stomach, hitch a ride on the subway over to South End and get ready for a Bites of Boston food tour. This tour will introduce you to South End’s hidden and delicious culinary world. During the journey, snap photos of the following:
- A tiny gourmet sandwich
- A mini fountain replica
- A yarn bomb
- A collage of white statues
- A wheel of Maggie’s Round
- While in South End, take yourselves on a self-guided South End Garden Tour. There are 16 community gardens spread out across the small area and each are open to the public during the month of June. Browse local vegetables, sit on green grass surrounded by flowers and buzzing bees, watch artists work with organic inspiration, and learn about the histories behind garden. Find something unique about each garden and document it.
- Bonus. Register for a Paint Nite experience in the city where it all started. Lead by a talented artist, you and your date will have a chance to drink alcohol while painting a specific scene. Document the journey.