8 Dates to Surprise Your Girlfriend for Valentine’s Day

You and your girl are a little bored of the standard dinner at a restaurant date, and you've seen every good movie that's already out. You want to celebrate Valentine's Day somehow, but you really don't want it to be cliché. You want a date that fits your personalities, one that will really wow her this year. Never fear—there are plenty of unique and adorable options you and your girlfriend can plan for this Valentine’s Day.

1. Surprise her with a night under the stars

This may be on the colder side depending on your location, but if you grab as many blankets as possible, you can make it work. Surprise your girl with a night underneath the stars. If you're both over 21, you can bring along a nice bottle of wine or champagne to toast with.

To add even more romance to the night, you can make your girlfriend a jar filled with a year’s worth of notes. Yes, that makes 365 notes, and it will probably take hours and really prove how much you care.

Macey Lavoie, a recent graduate of Westfield State University, got one of these jars from her girlfriend last year. "It was one of the best gifts I've ever received, because it's a homemade one that lasts an entire year," she says. "It reminded me every day how much she loved me."

If you’re crafty, you can switch up the notes so that some are memories, some are coupons she can redeem, some are things you love about her, and some are memories you’d like to make in the future. It’s really only your own creativity—and patience—that limits you.

Bring the jar along with you and give it to your girl while you're cuddled up with some bubbly under the night sky.

Related: 7 Adventurous Date Ideas

2. Host a singles’ dinner party

Just because you and your girlfriend are committed doesn’t mean Valentine’s has to be a romantic thing. Especially if you’re both not into the holiday, and you have a lot of single friends, you could plan a party for all the single people out there as an alternative.

Last Valentine's Day, Macey and her friends hosted a singles' party on February 14th. "I've never thought of Valentine's Day as a purely couples day, because we don't usually celebrate other forms of love. It's good to shake things up and celebrate your friends, too."

All you need to host a singles party is the space, some basic snacks and beverages, and a group of your closest friends. You can rent comedies and spend the entire night laughing, or you can pull out a board game like Crabs Adjust Humidity or Pictionary.

3. Plan a photo shoot

Unless one of you happens to be a photographer, it’s probably rare to get a decent picture together. Instead of going out to dinner, use your money to hire a photographer and plan a couples’ photo shoot on location or at a studio. This way, you’ll also have lasting keepsakes to remember the day by.

You can make a photo shoot into even more fun by planning to use props. Make some DIY photo booth props and bring them along with you, or bring a bunch of confetti and glitter and throw it into the air as the photographer is snapping shots.

4. Have a romantic scavenger hunt

Surprise your sweetie by planning an elaborate scavenger hunt, especially if you make the clues based on your relationship.

You can use a scavenger hunt in a variety of ways. One way would be to plan a more elaborate hunt, where the clues physically take you to some of your favorite memories together, like the location of your first date, first kiss and where you met. Depending on location and transportation, this could be difficult, but would be a night to remember, to say the least.

The other option involves staging the scavenger hunt in a specific location, but making sure the clues mentally transport your SO back in time. Use the clues to remind her what you love about her, and to paint the picture of your favorite memories together.

A scavenger hunt requires a little forward planning, so it's not an ideal date if you're pulling this together last minute. You can have the hunt end at a specific location, such as a restaurant, to end the date with a nice meal together. Dinner won't feel cliché after you've spent the day traversing the city in search of clues.

Pro tip: You get bonus points if you're able to make your clues rhyme!

5. Take her on a picnic

This one may be a little difficult in February depending on where you live, but if the weather’s bad, you can always make it an indoor picnic.

You can plan the picnic according to your tastes. When Desiree Costa, a first year at the University of Massachusetts Law School, went on a picnic date, she chose an abandoned lighthouse and brought along desserts, sparkling wine and a picnic basket. She also made a DIY glow jar because the picnic was planned for after dark. She also prepared questions for her and her date to pick out of a mason jar and ask each other, because it was early in their relationship.

"Some questions were casual, like 'What is your favorite color?'" she says. "Some were deeper, like 'Where do you want to be in ten years?' I thought it was fun because it was definitely a more out of the box and intimate way to get to know each other." If this isn't an early-relationship date, you can still use this idea but make the questions a little trickier, like a game of Would You Rather.

If you're not into sandwiches or cooking, you can turn the picnic into a fun twist by ordering Chinese food or sushi and bringing that along with you instead.

You could even make a blanket fort after and spend the rest of the night snuggling!

6. Plan to not have a plan

One of the most romantic dates you can go on involves no pre-planning whatsoever. Depending on you and your SO’s transportation situation, hop in the car, get on the bus/train, or start walking, and just make it up as you go along. You might end up finding a cool event that you had no idea was happening!

Chelsea Schroeder, a freshman at Bowling Green State University, says that her perfect date was spontaneous. “[We were] driving around at midnight, not knowing where we would end up and going through multiple drive-through’s,” Chelsea says.

Let serendipity choose your date for you, and see what adventure comes to life.

7. Go to the bookstore together

If you’re both into reading, a bookstore date is a great option. Take your SO to your favorite local bookstore. You can offer to buy her a book that she wants, or the two of you can choose a book and read it together over the course of several weeks.

"I'd love being taken on a date to the bookstore," says Macey. "I think a date to the bookstore is original. Not many people do that. It also lets us share our love of books. Plus, I know I've found the right person when they're just as interested in going to the bookstore as I am."

There's nothing more romantic to a couple of book nerds than sharing the same fictional world for a little while.

8. Go ice-skating

Ice-skating isn't something you can usually do year-round, so Valentine's Day is the perfect time to put on some skates and hit the local pond.

Kristen Kraemer, a recent graduate of Rutgers University, says that she and her now-husband went ice-skating for their first Valentine's Day together. "We were in college, so I thought it was really cute that he had planned something fun and different," she says. "He didn't tell me where we were going."

If there's snow on the ground, you can also turn an ice-skating date into a snowball fight afterward. It'll definitely leave the two of you laughing and begging for mercy!

Think outside the box this Valentine's Day and make your new annual tradition to do something you've never done before. If you're both adventurous, why not go skiing, cave-diving or mountain-climbing? If you're travelers, you can save up for a romantic getaway. If anything is certain, it’s that your Valentine’s Day won’t be boring this year.