Valentine’s Date ideas to help romance blossom

Staff Report

Lisa Amador owns and operates Santa Barbara Matchmaking.
Photo contributed

With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, many people typically search for activities that will make the celebration special, whether they’re in a long-term relationship or contemplating a first date.

Lisa Amador of Santa Barbara Matchmaking offers this list of ideas to keep a romance going or to help it blossom.

Outdoor and Nature Dates

– Stand-Up Paddle Boats: The Sailing Center has built a launch pad from their dock so you can explore Santa Barbara Harbor, Stearns Wharf and East Beach. Find their info at

– Segway Tour: Riding a Segway along the beach or down flower-lined streets might get your relationship rolling.

– Duck Boats: Climb aboard Santa Barbara’s amphibious tour vehicle for a 90-minute land and sea adventure. Look at

– Camping: Santa Barbara County offers two camping parks at Lake Cachuma and Jalama Beach, and state campgrounds dot the Central Coast as well.

Photo by Michele Wassel, Island Packers
A romantic Valentine’s Day could include a day trip of whale watching and a hike around the Channel Islands with Island Packers.

– Whale Watching: Santa Barbara is a great spot for whale watching and taking a day trip to the Channel Islands for some awesome hiking trails. Log onto

– Santa Barbara Zoo: The zoo cares for rare, beautiful and endangered animals including lions, giraffes, penguins, elephants, gorillas, California condors and many more. Log onto

– Santa Barbara Botanic Garden: Walk together along a meadow, through a canyon and redwood forest, and along ridge tops that offer sweeping views of the Channel Islands.

– Lotusland – The remarkable collections of exotic plants are a personal expression of Madame Ganna Walska’s penchant for the dramatic, the unexpected and the whimsical. Log onto

– Sea Center: This building on Stearn’s Wharf inspires a passion for the natural world — and maybe for each other? Admission also pays for a same-day visit to the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. Log onto

– Chumash Painted Cave State Historic Park: The walls of this small cave contain some of the finest remaining rock art created by Chumash Native Americans.

Wine and Dine Dates

– Santa Barbara Wine Tour: The drivers at Sammy’s Limos and Tours are experts at making a wine tasting experience the best it can be. Log onto

– Wine Tasting in the Funk Zone: Artists, winemakers and up-and-coming chefs have taken up shop in aged warehouses and forgotten scuba shops.

Try a delicious wine and chocolate pairing at Grassini Family Vineyards in Santa Barbara.

– Wine and Chocolate Tasting: Grassini Winery has teamed up with Jessica Foster Confections to create the perfect wine and truffle pairing. Log onto

Romantic Dining Options

– Holdren’s Steaks & Seafood Restaurant: Voted as the best steakhouse in Santa Barbara for seven straight years. Go tot

– Belmond El Encanto Hotel: Dine in the elegant dining room or delight in a romantic dinner under the stars.

– Toma Restaurant and Bar: Santa Barbara’s most romantic waterfront restaurant.

– Wine Cask Restaurant: Enjoy shared plates al fresco on the patio lounge or nestle up in front of the fireplace.

– Boathouse at Hendry’s Beach: After a stroll on the beach, stop at the Boathouse for exquisite dining and ocean views.

For more ideas and information, call Santa Barbara Matchmaking at 805-699-5650 or log onto

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