Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, which means it’s time to start planning something special for the lucky guy or gal in your life. This year, skip the tired old dinner reservation and surprise your sweetie with a completely unique date idea. Here are 10 great Alabama date ideas guaranteed to sweep your partner off their feet. 

(Elyton Hotel/Facebook)

Plan a staycation in your city

Sometimes the ordinary can be extraordinary—it’s just a matter of shifting your perspective. Play tourist in your own city by booking a hotel room and spending a day as a visitor might. Indulge in room service, hit up all the museums and attractions you normally drive right by, and finish the night by checking off a place on your restaurant bucket list. In Birmingham, try the Redmont Hotel or Elyton Hotel, both located downtown, for a glamorous evening. In Huntsville, we recommend the 106 Jefferson, and in Mobile, there’s no place more iconic than the Battle House Renaissance

Have a progressive dinner

Why choose one restaurant for a special occasion meal when you can choose three or four? Draw out your evening by planning a progressive dinner that has a little something for everyone—a favorite or sentimental eatery, a place you’ve always wanted to try, and a spot that’s known for its atmosphere. You can start with appetizers and a cocktail somewhere, then move onto another restaurant for your main course, and finally a third for dessert and a night cap. 

(Spa at Ross Bridge/Facebook)

Relax with a couple’s spa day

If your significant other deserves some R&R, plan a couple’s spa day for the two of you to enjoy completely uninterrupted. Between facials, couple’s massages, and luxury soaks, you’ll have time to focus on one another in a stress-free environment. Choose a spa near you, or splurge for a day at one of the state’s most-visited spas, including the Spa at the Grand in Fairhope and the Spa at Ross Bridge in Hoover. 

Try your hand at pottery 

There’s something special about learning a new skill with your partner. Sign up for a ceramics class, where you’ll have the opportunity to roll up your sleeves and create something entirely your own with nothing but your own two hands and some careful guidance. If you live in Birmingham, consider a class from Red Dot Gallery, Prodigal Pottery, or at MAKE. In Huntsville, try Designbyhart Pottery Studio

(Southern Balloon Journeys/Facebook)

Take a hot air balloon ride

For a truly unforgettable Valentine’s Day that will have your partner’s heart quite literally soaring, book a hot air balloon ride with Southern Balloon Journeys. The company based out of Alabaster will take you and your loved one on a flight over towns and farmland in central Alabama. Rides typically start in early morning or late afternoon and last about an hour, so get ready to see some spectacular sights and make some memories. 

Take a romantic train ride

There’s nothing more nostalgic or cinematic than a scenic train ride. And when you’ve got your honey sitting next to you and a glass of wine to sip from, there’s nothing more ideal for Valentine’s Day. At Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum in Calera, you can book a couple of Sweetheart Special tickets, which includes a short rail excursion to Ozan Winery & Distillery, where you’ll have a trackside tasting of Yella Hound Spirits followed by a romantic walk to the rustic winery tasting room, then a wine tasting, and a ride back to the train depot.  

Go to a drive-in movie

Kick it old school with a drive-in movie at Grand River Drive-In in Leeds. Pack out your car or truck with pillows and blankets, then cozy up for a double feature under the stars. The drive-in is even offering a special Valentine’s Day package on February 10 and 11 that includes two movie tickets, two mini golf vouchers, a cheese or pepperoni pizza, and two drinks for $40. 

(Bellingrath Gardens and Home/Facebook)

Stroll around the stunning Bellingrath Gardens & Home

Think outside the box and take a step back in time with a tour of the 65-acre garden and grand estate home of Walter and Bessie Bellingrath in Theodore, Alabama. The 15-room, 10,500-square-foot home was built in 1935 and is decked out in décor and furniture from its heyday. The expansive grounds and gardens are large enough that you could spend a day and not see it all. From the conservatory and the great lawn to the live oak plaza, mirror lack, rockery and river front pavilion, there’s plenty of room to roam. You’ll feel like the whole place was reserved for you and your partner. 

(Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Tourism/Facebook)

Hit the beach 

February may not be the first month you think of when considering a beach getaway but hear us out. There’s something to say for having the beach all to yourself without the crowds or oppressive summer heat. Throw in a beach bonfire, some cozy blankets, a bottle of wine, and s’mores, and you’ve got the recipe for an unforgettable date night. Gulf Shores and Orange Beach offer plenty of condos and beachside bungalows where you can hole up for a relaxing weekend amidst the salty shores. 

Go on a river cruise in Montgomery

You’ll have to wait until a little after V-Day for this date idea, but we promise it’s worth it. Starting in March, you can take your date on a Friday night dinner cruise via Montgomery’s famous Harriott II Riverboat. The experience includes a two-hour cruise on the Alabama River and a three-course dinner, including salad, a main course, and dessert. Watch the calm waters glide beneath your boat as you sail off into the sunset on a romantic evening ride.