Dinner and a movie is boring. Spice up date-night with a casual picnic hike, Boulder City's odd charms and a paddleboarding adventure at Lake Las Vegas.
While couples in other parts of the country trudge through snow to overcrowded restaurants, you can dine al fresco. Pack a romantic dinner and head for First Finger Trail, an easy hike with a big payoff just outside the park at Red Rock, so you can put your admission fee toward a bottle of wine. Sunset is the perfect time to enjoy this gentle climb, which offers a close-up view of Fossil Canyon before U-turning and running out to the edge of a ridge. Spread out a blanket as you ogle views of crimson stone on one side and city lights on the other. From town, take West Charleston Boulevard to the Cowboy Trail sign on the left, park and get hiking.
Boulder City stroll
This charming small-town blast from the past makes for a perfect getaway. Head straight for a glass of wine at Milo’s Cellar (538 Nevada Hwy., 293-9540) before winding your way to Arizona Street, where 1933 meant heyday, not mayday. Just behind the Boulder Dam Hotel you’ll find the kitsch-filled thrift shop Goatfeathers Emporium, with wares as odd as its name (1300 Wyoming St., 294-7760). Curving back onto Arizona puts you in front of a weirder and more interesting antique shop: Sherman’s (1228 Arizona St., 293-1818), which sells everything from suits of armor to 1960s porn. But the real jewel of the block is the Historic Boulder Theatre (1225 Arizona St., 293-3171), once the only air-conditioned building in town. End your travels across the street at the Dillinger (1224 Arizona St., 293-4001), where the contemporary cocktails and fare make you happy to be in historic Boulder City right now.
Stand-up paddleboarding at Lake Las Vegas
From a distance, stand-up paddleboarders often look like they’re walking on water—gliding calmly right at the surface. For under $40, you can join them at Lake Las Vegas, where Paddle to the Core offers classes teaching the basics of the sport or challenging fitness programs like the paddleboard dash, pilates and even yoga. Board rentals are available for returning students. After drying off, grab a taco and a margarita at Sonrisa Grill to reward yourself for the exercise—and relaxation. Paddle to the Core, 101 Montelago Blvd., 567-6128. Sonrisa Grill, 30 Via Brianza #100, 568-6870.
Desert trail ride
A lot of people think desert horseback rides are for tourists. Those people have never been on one. Hitting the trail on horseback allows you to do something that’s rare while hiking, running or mountain biking: look up. With experienced cowboy guides and steeds that know the way, you can gawk as long as you want at the majestic mountains and Technicolor sunset. The dinner ride includes down-home victuals and a slice of homemade apple pie for dessert. It’s difficult to think of a bad date that ended with pie. Wild West Horseback Adventures, 2470 Chandler Ave., 792-5050, $160 sunset dinner ride.
Kiss by Monster Mini Golf
Take the putt-putt experiences of your childhood to a whole new black-lit level with this Paradise Road indoor course featuring real Kiss paraphernalia, glow in the dark golf balls and the music of you-know-who blasting over the speakers. Grab dinner nearby afterward at Origin India or Ferraro’s, because putting through a platform shoe, up the longest tongue in the world or around a giant bass guitar to the tune of “Rock and Roll All Nite” is hard work. 4503 Paradise Road, 558-6256, $15 per person.