5 Creative Date Ideas

Plan the perfect night out (or daytime excursion) during the month of romance with these unique ideas your sweetheart is sure to love.

1. For a first date: If you prefer to keep it light and casual, go strawberry picking together at Farmer Mike’s U-Pick in Bonita Springs, which will host a festive Valentine’s Day Chocolate-Covered Berries special during the first two weeks of the month. And don’t forget to return for more berries during the farm’s Strawberry Festival later in the month.

2. For music enthusiasts: Enjoy a twist on the traditional dinner and a show with Gulfshore Opera’s Valentine Taste of Opera celebration on February13. Hosted at Shangri-La Springs in Bonita Springs, the evening will begin with an intimate cocktail reception and a three-course dinner of organic, locally grown food, followed by a concert of romantic music and famous opera scenes performed by Gulfshore Opera’s five professional artists-in residence.

3. For hopeless romantics: When in search of a picturesque backdrop, you can’t beat Naples’ stunning sunsets aboard the Sweet Liberty catamaran. While sunset cruises are available for public excursions of up to 44 people, we recommend renting it for a two-hour private charter. “Our sunset cruises are our most popular trips,” says Susan Chaplin, captain and co-owner of the company. “They make a perfect date night. We often have proposals and even intimate weddings on our boat, and guests are welcome to bring a bottle of wine and a picnic basket on board.”

4. For the adventurous: Snuggle up aboard Island Hoppers Airplane Tours for a bird’s-eye view of the Paradise Coast. Twenty-minute excursions include glimpses of the mangrove islands and backwaters of Rookery Bay National Estuarine Reserve, while 40-minute tours soar along several beaches, from Marco

Rudi Ruby,Hunt Slonem

5. For art lovers: When planning a daytime date, what could be better than brunch and a leisurely stroll? Third Street South offers a plethora of delicious  options. Stop in at Jane’s Garden Café for a mimosa and the lobster eggs benedict, or the bourbon vanilla Belgian waffles, if you’re feeling especially sweet. Walk it off with a tour of nearby art galleries along Third Street South or 12th Avenue. Perhaps you’ll find a new painting to gift your sweetheart at Harmon-Meek Gallery, which will feature solo exhibitions for three talented artists in February. Finish your stroll with a scenic view at Naples Pier, just a few blocks away.

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