Ladies, when was the last time you stood in front of your closet for hours picking out the perfect outfit, or breaking out those killer stilettos (never mind that they made you walk like a baby deer)? Or guys, maybe you actually took the time to shave your neck beard. Ah, the good ole’ days. We don’t know about you, but these days “date night” is more of “sweatpants on the couch night”.
Like any spark that has turned into a slow burning ember, sometimes you gotta’ poke at it a little bit to get the fire going again. Here are some date ideas in the Carson Valley that take out all the guess work. Enjoy each other as you date your way through the list. Nothing can make up for forgetting your anniversary, but these definitely come close!
Bonus Points: Leave your phones at home unless you’re photographing that perfect memory!
Take a journey inside the verses of a country song! Put a mattress in the bed of your truck, drive out to the Pine Nut Mountain Range (or any other remote area in the valley) and watch the sunset nestled up with your better half. We know, it seems so simple. Don’t overthink this one, sometimes simplicity is exactly what we need in this complex world.
Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to cruise around the dirt roads in order to choose the best vantage point and get your “bed” set up before nature serves you the day’s grand finale. Bring pillows, blankets, snacks, and a Bluetooth speaker and/or leave your radio on low in your truck for ambiance (careful though, dead batteries are not romantic). Don’t have a truck? Hakuna matata, you can still sit on the roof of your car or bring fold-up chairs, all things are possible with a little ingenuity. Don’t worry, the sunsets are so worth it.
This date is the perfect way to slow down, unplug and enjoy each other. Just like Johnny and June.
Bonus Points: Tell her she’s even more breathtaking than the view or, if you’re musically inclined, break into serenade!
Just because the sun goes down doesn’t mean the night has to end! The lack of artificial light in the valley makes it a sweet spot for stargazing and, perhaps, maybe a little gazing at each other as well. Once dusk gives way to inky darkness, watch together as the stars fight each other for space in the night sky. Summer nights treat us to a twinkling Venus, Scorpius, and the pattern of stars fondly referred to as the Summer Triangle. Of course there are always the Dippers, North Star and a very crooked looking ‘w’- better known as Cassiopeia, which can be seen year-round.
Don’t know any constellations? Well, hey! There’s an app for that! Whether you are a star-nerd like us or just want to take a big gulp of relaxation, nothing says romance quite like a night under the stars.
Bonus points: Fellas, did you know you can name a star after your beloved? If you plan ahead, you could really do this one up right.
Is there anything more invigorating than a hot air balloon ride?? Balloon Nevada offers breath-taking rides over the Carson Valley, where atmospheric conditions happen to be perfect for ballooning with your soul mate! Take an early morning flight (trust us, it is worth that horrendous alarm clock) and treat yourselves to a romantic sunrise and spectacular views of iconic Jobs Peak, the Sierra Nevada, the Carson River and so much more. Sometimes the balloons are even able to get high enough to peek over the mountains to see Lake Tahoe. If you look carefully, it is not uncommon to see wildlife roaming the valley below. After touching back down, celebrate taking your love to new heights with a champagne toast! Post flight, the Overland offers bottomless mimosa brunch on Saturday and Sunday from 10am-2pm that’s sure to please. Woodett’s Diner is another favorite breakfast spot. There is no better way to start the day than a blissful mix of exhilaration, romance, and a killer omelet.
Bonus points: Upgrade to the morning VIP flight for a personalized flight!
Hold on, gents, hear us out. We know you might not be super thrilled to go shopping on your date, but let us spice it up a little bit! Antique shops and quaint boutiques are sprinkled all throughout the area like Red Barn Antiques, Fresh Ideas, Cheshire Antiques, and Especially For you, just to name a few! To make it a little more fun, set a spending limit of, say, $30 or so and separately pick something out for your mate. You can pick something that reminds you of them, brings up a fond memory, or has to be worn for the rest of the day (the more outrageous, the better!). Or, maybe you make up a gripping past for your purchase and present it to your partner in your best History Channel rendition. Get creative, set your own parameters and enjoy the hunt!
Bonus points: Go to lunch at one of the many delicious restaurants after your adventure and adorn your new purchases.
Kinda like dine n’ dash, only more legal! David Walley’s Resort in Genoa is the absolute definition of a relaxing, romantic night. It checks all the boxes: gorgeous scenery, luxurious mineral baths and a rich and fascinating history, all of which will settle on you with the steam of the hot water.
Back in 1860, a fellow with the same name discovered what may have been even better than gold in Nevada’s first settlement: a hot springs. After having himself a soak, David decided to buy the property and began charging 50 cents a bath. This was obviously quite the stroke of genius, as the iconic Pony Express was in operation and riders would sometimes stop to soak away their aches and pains (saddle sore, anyone?). By 1862, a lavish resort was built and the rest as they say, was history for David.
A New Yorker, no less, we are eternally grateful for David’s entrepreneurial spirit, which brought us this incredible date night experience! Soak in one of the five naturally fed mineral hot springs and take in the views of the Sierra Nevada along with the therapeutic and restorative benefits from the natural minerals in the water. Temperatures range from 98 to 104 which, like Goldilocks said, is just right for any season.
Before you slide into a blissful hot spring comatose, have dinner together at the resort’s 1862 Restaurant and Saloon, one of the few restaurants in Genoa Nevada, a fine dining experience with the feel of a mountain lodge. Cozy up together next to the fireplace and enjoy a drink or sit outside around the firepit and take in the views.
Bonus points: Buy her a pretty silk robe to slide into after hot-springing. She will appreciate your attention to detail!
If you’re not into golf, feel free to skip to the next date night. However! If you have got a list of honey- dos that your honey well, hasn’t, this might be the solution. There are four outstanding golf courses in the Carson Valley of varying difficulty levels, though all offer well-kept greens, beautiful views and a dang good time.
Of course, you could just play the game with your partner, however, it is much more fun to up the ante. Make each hole or shot have consequences, like doing the dishes for a week or a foot massage. Remember that leaky faucet you asked him to fix three weeks ago? How about the weeds that have taken the back yard hostage? The sky is the limit here, folks.
If the skill levels are too drastically different to pull this one off, play as a team and hit best ball. Make up fun new names for things like five over par, instead of a birdie for example, call it a coyote. Golf doesn’t have to be stressful, especially if you adopt the “play it as it lies” motto (but you didn’t hear that from us). Who has the best I-just-sunk-a-ten-foot-putt dance moves? Have a good time on this date, this ain’t your ordinary tee for two!
Bonus points: Buy the best, most radical golf outfit you can find and rock it. Think socks tucked into pants and so, so much plaid. Even more bonus points for as many Caddy Shack references as possible. This is one date for our guys to enjoy! If you find it’s to cold outside, take your golf game inside.
Men have been wooing their ladies on picnics for centuries and if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Am I right? For this date though, you will want go above and beyond the normal bologna sandwich and luke warm bottled water rolling around in your backseat. Get yourself a bonafide basket from one of the local shops in town, a blanket of choice, and head on over to Abby Jo’s Cafe Girasole to pick up a gourmet spread. After that, Battle Born Wine & Whiskey should really be your next stop to help fill that basket. With over 3,000 different selections to choose from, you are bound to find something she likes. Lastly, head straight to the Chocolate Shoppe to pick out some bonbons for your bonbon. So far so good?
Now that you’ve secured all of the necessary items, the second ingredient to the perfect date night picnic is the location. This is the easy part because Carson Valley is bursting at the seems with picturesque scenery. If you are up for a hike, Faye Luther Trail has some great spots with a view. Another favorite of ours is the River Fork Ranch Trail System, which offers flat walking and panoramic views of the Carson River and beyond.
Bonus Points: Throw in some battery-powered candles (it is wildfire season, after all), a bluetooth speaker and picnic like you’ve never picnicked before!
Live out your Master Chef dreams by taking a private cooking class together! Located on Main Street Genoa, Sierra Chef is a culinary sanctuary known for their savory dishes, exquisite Italian baking, catering, and classes. Cynthia Ferris-Bennett, the owner and head chef, can teach you how to make any and everything and do it with style! From handmade pasta to sushi and sake, or the perfect combination of street tacos, ceviche and a “proper” margherita (now we’re talking), there is no limit to what you can learn! Italian is her specialty, so check out her classes today to not miss out. After devouring your delicious creation, sit out on the back patio and enjoy a drink, some dessert and each other. The best part? You won’t have to do the dishes.
Bonus Points: Remake the dish you created together a month later and relive your date night all over again or show off your skills to your friends and family!
Enjoy some cold and delicious suds in Minden at the Shoe Tree Brewing Company! With 20 beers on tap, there is something for everyone. Sit outside and enjoy your pints or play a little cornhole (see golf notes for making competition interesting!). You could even bring a board game from home (think jenga or cards), or catch a movie next door at Ironwood 8 Cinemas before coming over. This ain’t your ordinary brewery, they have their own podcast, The Brewcast, and a YouTube Channel. Be forewarned, both will make you thirsty.
Go brewksi hoppin’ or even better, brewski biking, and head on over to Big Daddy’s Bike and Brew. The best part is, they actually have brew, bikes, and skis! This is the coolest mix of hobbies all in one place; bicycles for sale, bike repairs, ski rentals/repairs, beer and wine! That is just the beginning though, with six full- time beers on tap, an awesome outdoor patio, weekly food truck (Thurs-Sat evenings) and live music from time to time, Big Daddy’s has all the fixings for a fun date night. Their barstools even look like unicycles! So ride your bikes on over and have a wheelie good time!
Bonus Points: Do you trust each other? Do a little taste testing and pick your partner’s drink! Second test, search our site for the local hot spot with 31 beers on tap.
What are you waiting for?
Ditch those sweatpants and go enjoy some of these memorable dates in the Carson Valley! Feel free to wash, rinse and repeat this list because there is no such thing as over-dating your significant other. For the hopelessly romantic overachievers, how many of these can you mark off the list? Better yet, check out even more things to do in the Carson Valley that will leave you wanting to come back for more.