Alternative Valentine's Day date ideas

Heart to Please

Alternative Valentine's Day dates
Photo: David Croxford

Psst. It's me, Cupid. Yeah, Eros, himself. I don't mean to drop in on you unannounced like this, but I saw you making your Valentine's plans at that swanky restaurant and I thought I'd tell you… you're missing the target. With the candles, the champagne, the overpriced dinner bill and the thousand other couples doing the exact same thing.

I mean, I know I'm mythically old, but that doesn't mean I have to be BOW-ring.

How about you hit a real bullseye this year and do something that's a little less uninspired and a little more heroic, like these alternative dates-fit-for-a-deity.

Rock Climbing
You'd move mountains for them. We get it. But would you climb them? For the couples who get bored sitting still for too long (how many courses does this prix fixe dinner have, anyway?), go right to the heart of your relationship with a test of strength and trust at Volcanic Rock Gym in Kakaako. The best part? Instead of all the pretense of a best-behavior night at Chez Whatever, you'll get to experience the bond and adrenaline rush that only comes with sharing a nerve-wracking experience — talk about an aphrodisiac. $15 for a day pass, website.

Alternative Valentine's Day dates

At first glance, camping seems perfect. You, the moon, a tent, and your beloved, alone in the unbridled romance of the wilderness like your own little Moonrise Kingdom. Swoon. But the reality? You'll have unpleasant guests: mosquitoes, backaches, questionable sleeping bag odors. Thank goodness someone invented "glamping," an ingenious blend of glamour and camping that takes the "no thanks" out of nature. Try Treehouse Vacation's North Shore bungalow, a cozy 250-sq.-ft. loft encased in foliage with a wee-sized deck and ocean views. Just bring the bare essentials, because this adorably dreamy little property has boards, kayaks and other resources at the main house. $159/night with a three-night minimum, website. Photos: Courtesy.

Outdoor Picnic
If there's one thing about Valentine's Day that you are totally on board with, it's eating. But if you'd rather pass on the pristine tablecloth, hovering maitre d' and dressy, spanx-imperative getup, then pack your meal to go. Try an epic hike along Hawaii Loa Ridge, where you can see all the way down the Honolulu and Windward coasts. Then, when you're on top of the world enjoying that priceless view, pull out some fine cured meats, high quality French breads, a bottle of vino and your spoils from the cheese section at Whole Foods. There's no question, this "table" for two is one of the best in, or out of, the house. Click here for more great picnic ideas!

Beer Tasting
Wine and champagne may be the classic Love Day libations of choice, but why try to shove beer lovers into a flute-shaped box? Take a cue from Grease and throw stuffy and classic out the window for something casual and, in our opinion, way more fun. The beer tastings at Waikiki Wine Closet are especially perfect if beer and your babe go together like rama lama lama ka dinga da dinga dong. Nothing says romance like checking your bow ties at the door and being your own comfortable beer-sipping self with a Valentine who's the Sandy to your Danny (or vice versa). $40 tastings plus pupu, Fridays, 6-8 p.m., website.

Astronomical Discovery
You love pointing out Orion's Belt, the Big Dipper, and… uh… Cassiopeia's somewhere… Okay, so you're a little rusty on your astronomy. Play the adorably nerdy card with an educational trip to Jhamandas Watamull Planetarium at Bishop Museum. Impress your brainy date with a thirst for knowledge or relive old field trip days with giggly hand-holding in the dark. After the show, weather permitting, you'll get a chance to go up to the observatory and do some serious stargazing (sure, you know where Orion is, but can you spot the object of his affections, the Seven Sisters?). Open with daytime museum admission or, for flexible Valentine's week planners, catch evening shows with a more adult crowd on the first and third Saturdays of every month. $6 admission, website.

Alternative Valentine's Day dates

Krav Maga
If the thought of a lovey-dovey Valentine's Day makes you want to punch someone, look into Krav Maga, an Israeli martial art designed for real-life situations against armed and unarmed attackers. At Hawaii Krav Maga, you and your loved one can release pent-up aggression by learning street-fighting self-defense techniques based in Muay Thai, kickboxing and wrestling. Who knows? You may find yourself practicing some of those moves later on, say, in the bedroom… $20 for drop-ins, Mondays and Thursdays, 7-9 p.m., website. Photo: Courtesy.