Valentine’s Day: 3 last-minute B.C. trips for the creative sweetheart

Explore an ice cave, book a night at a Porteau Cove cabin or catch the evening stars during a snowshoe excursion on the North Shore mountains

Time it right and you can capture the Milky Way at Porteau Cove. Blake McIntyre

Life is too short for mediocrity. That is the mantra du jour. We want unique experiences, stunning vistas and bragging rights to sensational adventures. We want to dazzle our mate — and ourselves. For Valentine’s surprises, you don’t need to have it scheduled for Feb. 14 but that’s the perfect date to announce the trip that you’ve booked for spring, summer or just a few weeks ahead.

We’d describe these as awesome, but we are embracing other adjectives that can mirror our newfound escapades: staggering seems a good fit. Choose your itinerary, book the date and then give in to the anticipation. Bonus: You are a star on Feb. 14 when you give the gift, and again when you take the trip.

(READ MORE: Valentine’s Day idea: Surprise your sweetie with a romantic weekend in Victoria)

1. Ice caves

Head-line Mountain Holidays can take you to other-worldly ice caves in the south Coast Mountains. Marc Dionne / Head-line Mountain Holidays

Oh, baby, Head-line Mountain Holidays can take you to other-worldly ice caves in the south Coast Mountains. Think of it sort of as nature’s ice hotel without the chilled vodka and the ice-slab bar. This will have you stepping into a frozen world where light refracts in a way you’ve never seen and bathes everything in hues of blue. You will get to the ice cap on a snow machine and the Head-line website has lots of practical advice about what to wear and what to expect. 

Typical trips are about four hours and custom departure times can be arranged. The trip is for all ages and abilities and prices are from $1,395 per person departing from Whistler. Who wouldn’t love you forever after arranging this?

Photo op: We can only suggest a fully charged battery in your camera, or packing a selfie stick to capture yourself with these unique backdrops.

2. A cabin stay or camping at Porteau Cove

One of the cabins for rent at Porteau Cove.

Imagine in the morning walking outside of your tent — if you’re a die-hard camper — or one of the oceanfront cabins to sip a coffee and check the local seal activity in Porteau Cove. If you’ve never camped or visited here, this should be on your to-do list. Judging by the reservations that book months in advance, it’s no longer anywhere near being a secret. These log cabins with hand-carving were built for BC Parks for the 2010 Olympics and can be your base camp for a romantic weekend from which to explore the beach, bays and walking trails. Heck, you can bring the family for some bonding time.

Shoulder seasons mean fewer people, beach combing, and even a few kayaking tours if you’re game. All you have to pack for the cabins is food and gear. The cabins have everything you need but book quickly — they can be reserved up to one year in advance. There are many spots midweek in the coming months and Valentine’s Day at the time of this writing was open for both cabins. Just saying.

Low season until May 10 is $149 with a minimum two-night booking. Alternatively, you can book for one night for an additional $20 charge. 

Photo op: Like the photo here, time it right and you can capture the Milky Way, or sometimes the Northern Lights.

3. Snowshoeing at Mt. Seymour

You romantic devil: surprise your partner with an evening of snowshoeing at Mt. Seymour. It’s a starry night with a snowy landscape and just enough cardio to get your blood pumping. The daytime crowd thins by sunset so you’ll feel as though you have the mountain to yourselves for a secluded snowshoe tour.

Snowshoeing on Mt Seymour. Insight Photography / Destination BC

This is a seasonal and reasonably priced favourite that takes you through the trails and finishes off with a chocolate fondue and a sparkling beverage that are served while you’re at the hand-carved snow lounge. 

You can book this adventure for Feb. 14 and reserve by 4 p.m. on Feb. 13. But even if this date is fully booked, you can schedule this for another evening throughout the winter. You should arrive about half an hour before the tour departs at 7 p.m.

What you get for $135 per couple is a snowshoe guide, snowshoe rental and a trail pass. If you have your own snowshoes, you get $5 off the price (by credit card only). The tour is about 2.5 hours. 

Photo op: An ice lounge portrait of the two of you: that’s the moment. Or an active shot on the trails.

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