February 14, aka Valentine’s Day, presents an opportunity to show your special someone just how much their love means to you. Traditionally, that involves buying a bouquet of roses, finding a large, heart-shaped box of chocolates and taking your partner out to a candlelit dinner. But what if you want something non-traditional, or perhaps even unconventional?
What if you’d rather think outside the box this year and do something unexpected?
If you’re looking for a few suggestions that defy the norms of a traditional date, we’ve put together an unconventional Valentine’s Day activities list highlighting some of the most engaging, affordable and eccentric day trips NJ has to offer this February.
Unconventional Valentine’s Day Ideas
Put a Spring in your Step
Details: When you think of trampolines, you can’t help but associate them with children; however, most of New Jersey’s many enjoyable trampoline parks are fit for people of all ages. While it is extremely thrilling to loft yourself into the air by means of a tightly stretched spread of taut fabric, trampolines – including the ones found at all trampoline parks – offer several health benefits as well. So while you’re bouncing around on this holiday of love, you’ll be happy to know that you’re also building your stamina and coordination, while improving your agility and balance.
More info: Read our roundup of the Best Trampoline Parks in New Jersey.
Throw Hatchets (Not at Each Other)
Details: Many relationships generate healthy tension. And what better way to relieve that tension than to hurl sharp, cartoonishly dangerous hatchets at wooden planks? If your interest is peaked, Stumpy’s Hatchet House in Eatontown is America’s very first indoor hatchet-throwing venue. The facility offers a fun and relaxing time for couples; while you spend a couple hours tossing hatchets, Stumpy’s allows you to BYOB and even order some take-out, so you’re covered on all fronts. (Please drink responsibly, especially when projectile axes are involved.)
More info: Read this preview of Stumpy’s Hatchet House.
Don’t Mock the Wrist Protector
Details: Bowlero North Brunswick offers a ton of fun every day of the week — from bowling and laser tag to food and drinks. The venue boasts 82 bowling lanes, most of which come equipped with comfy seating and offer full-service for your eating and drinking pleasure. The establishment also offers a quaint arcade for people of all ages, and as much laser tag as your heart desires. For those looking to cool off after a few rounds of toppling pins, Bowlero also has a large full-service bar that is open until midnight.
More info: Check out this preview of Bowlero.
Indulge in Some Ice-Capades
Details: Winter is not yet over, and many New Jerseyans are still suffering through the bitter cold. Fortunately, this cold provides the area with some added perks, one of which is outdoor ice skating. The state encompasses a number of great outdoor skating rinks and ponds, many which are even suitable for children (if you’re looking to bring the kids along with you on your date). Ice skating outdoors is an exhilarating and affordable experience, but don’t forget to dress warm!
More info: Read our roundup of The Best Outdoor Skating Rinks in New Jersey.
Details: Some Valentine’s Day activities aren’t suitable for children, and visiting a brewery is one of them. For adults 21 years of age and older, New Jersey is home to several-dozen different craft breweries that are open on Valentine’s Day. They offer samples and tours for various sized groups, whether you’re with your significant other or a few friends. The Garden State is quickly becoming a hub for what are called “hop heads,” so what better way to spend your unconventional Valentine’s Day than at a quaint microbrewery?
More info: Learn about the state’s best breweries with our original Brew Jersey series.
Drop-in & Paint-your-Own Pottery
Details: Sure, your refrigerator and shelves are likely full of neat artwork and DIY crafts made by you (or your kids), but that shouldn’t keep you from spending a romantic evening creating your own pottery to add to your collection. NJ houses a number of pottery studios that welcome guests to just drop in whenever they’re open — no reservations required. Pottery studios are a great place for making original, functional works of art. Many of these establishments are even suitable for children.
More info: Read our roundup of The Best Pottery Studios in NJ.
Tour a Historic Mansion
Details: Valentine’s Day can often be a day of fantasy; so to indulge in this magical holiday, we recommend taking a tour through one of New Jersey’s many sprawling estates. This is a special treat for history lovers, as these notable properties allow you to dive back in time and explore some of our state’s most important moments and figures in history. A few of these buildings date back to the 18th century and still encapsulate the remarkable essence of their time.
More info: Check out these 5 New Jersey Mansions Open to the Public.
Details: For the sporty couples who love to take to the rambling courses when the weather warms, you don’t need to wait a month longer — Fairfield’s Clubhouse offers golf fanatics a place to practice and play in a virtual environment all year round, including on Valentine’s Day. The facility comes stacked with six full simulator bays, which feature the highest quality in virtual golf technology. Each bay can accommodate up to four golfers and includes a personal flat-screen television. You can bring in your own food and drinks, or order in to get the most out of your experience while you’re teeing off at one of the system’s 30+ courses.
More info: Here is an extended preview of The Clubhouse.
When Millennials Say “Dinner Theater…”
Details: If you’re looking for a traditional Valentine’s night out with an unconventional twist, visit Fort Lee’s new iPic theater. The idea behind the incarnation of the iPic theater was to deliver a superior movie-watching experience to film-lovers around the globe. Fort Lee’s iPic offers “Premium Plus Seating Pods” in pairs of two or groups of three, which possess full-leg reclining seats and courtesy pillows and blankets. Each pod pairing also includes a table for dining and personal service call buttons for ordering food and drinks. You must reserve seats in advance, so make sure you plan ahead.
More info: See how Best of NJ’s opening week trip to iPic theater turned out.
Walk Toward the Light
Details: For many, the siren call of the shore can be heard no matter what time of year it is. For those taken in by the ocean’s beauty, we suggest taking a trip with your significant other to one of the state’s distinguished lighthouses that adorn our beaches. These massive structures tower over sandy dunes along the Atlantic, and provide relaxing and historic day trips for anyone nearby. Some lighthouses even allow you to scale their lengthy interior.
More info: Let us illuminate your path with a roundup of great NJ lighthouses.