Looking for new ideas for date night? Or are you meeting someone for the first time and want to plan an outdoorsy adventure? Whether you’re on date number 500 or date number one, with 27,000 acres of parks and trails, Three Rivers is full of scenic ways to spend a romantic afternoon or evening. Here are 10 ideas:
1. Go geocaching.
If you’re looking for adventure, try geocaching, the game where you literally hunt for hidden treasure. You may not find a pot of gold, but it’s still fun! All you’ll need is a GPS unit and coordinates and off you go. Geocaches are hidden in many of the parks, and you can check out the geocaching website to find coordinates. Don’t forget to bring a pen so you can sign the logbook once you find the geocache, plus a little treasure of your own to leave in the cache for the next person to find.
2. Gaze at the stars.
Pick up a guide to the night sky from a library or bookstore, or download an app on your phone. Grab a blanket and some bug spray and let your minds get lost in wonder. For less light pollution, choose a park further out from the city such as Cedar Lake Farm Regional Park or Crow-Hassan Park Reserve.
3. Find the tunes.
Bring a couple of chairs and head over to Silverwood Park for one of their free outdoor concerts during Silverwood OnStage, which runs through mid-September. Save some time to get a beverage or treat at the café beforehand. And if the date goes well, take a walk on Silverwood’s poetry or sculpture trail afterward.
4. Go for a paddle.
Rent a boat or bring your own and paddle your way into each other’s hearts. Three Rivers offers kayaks, canoes, paddleboats, rowboats and stand-up paddleboards through September at select locations. Adapted boats are also available. Or you can sign up for private or group lessons together.
5. Spark the romance with a picnic.
What’s more romantic than an easy afternoon picnic? Bring a blanket, some finger foods and sparkling wine or soft drinks. Then find a scenic spot by one of Three Rivers’ many lakes to nibble your hors d’oeuvres and watch the boaters go by. For literary lovers, pack a couple of books. May we suggest something about nature?
6. Bike to dinner.
Three Rivers has 240 miles of off-road bike trails. Several trails go through towns with plentiful restaurant options, such as Cedar Lake Regional Trail, Lake Minnetonka Regional Trail and Dakota Rail Regional Trail. Stop for a bite or a beverage in Excelsior, Victoria, Hopkins or other towns along the trails.
7. Take a hike.
With its extensive trail system and range of topographies and wildlife, there are countless ways to enjoy the parks while hiking. Bring your binoculars for close-ups of birds other wildlife. Or make it an artistic date by capturing the trail with photos.
8. Sign up for a guided tour.
If planning isn’t your thing, Three Rivers hosts guided tours year-round. Sign up for a hike, meet the barn animals at Gale Woods Farm or join a moonlit paddle. Browse the calendar to see what sparks your interest.
9. Play a game.
Keep the mood light with an outdoor game. Bring bocce ball, croquet, a Frisbee or another lawn game with you, or rent equipment at one of the parks. For a longer adventure, play a round of golf, footgolf or disc golf.
10. Practice archery.
Engage in Cupid’s favorite pastime with the ancient practice of archery. If you have your own equipment, both Carver and Elm Creek parks have archery ranges. Or you can sign up for a class.
Mary is a volunteer blog contributor who has been participating in Three Rivers Park District activities for many years, as both a volunteer and participant. She enjoys camping, hiking, skiing, biking, kayaking and canoeing. Mary is also a poet; her chapbook, Between the stars where you are lost, is available from Finishing Line Press. You can find her online at MaryChristineKane.com.
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