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Adventure, Travel / February 5, 2017

8 outdoorsy spots to pop the question

Written by: Brad Shannon

We don’t know what your relationship status is. And we definitely don’t want to pressure you into anything you’re not ready for. It’s not like we’re your parents or anything.

But if you do plan to get down on one knee in the near future, we recommend doing it in one of these eight spots. Providing you have an outdoorsy partner, that is.


Wavecrest Open Space, California

On the way to the bluffs and the beach, visitors pass through a "hall of trees" that's right out of Tolkien. Photo by Esther Herrington.

Hikers often spot whales and harbor seals from the bluffs above the shore. Photo by Esther Harrington.

This 206-acre area offers flora, fauna, and incredible views of the coastline around Half Moon Bay. 

Take your pick of a secluded spot along the great hall of trees as you approach the coastline from the east, find the perfect spot along the bluffs overlooking the ocean with amazing views, or make your way down to beach and crashing surf via Blufftop Coastal Park on the north end of the area.

The beach is accessed by a flat trail less than a mile long. It’s best hiked in the summer, when the weather is best and wildlife is most active (visitors can often see whales from the bluffs).


Mackinac Island, Michigan

Highway M-185: the only American highway that doesn't allow motor vehicles. Photo by mackinacislandgal.

Mackinac's Arch Rock is stunning any time of day, but is best seen around sunset. Photo by Lisa Hall Wilson.

This island resort town is a pretty nice place to visit for any reason. The 3.8-acre island in Lake Huron is almost completely free of motor vehicles, giving it a quiet, peaceful feel. 

For a proposal, we recommend a sunset trip to the scenic Arch Rock. But any trip to the perimeter of the island (done on rented bicycles, of course) is sure to be worthwhile.

Take the ferry (another proposal option) from St. Ignace or Mackinaw City or fly in. In winter, snowmobile or travel the ice bridge. Summer is nicer, but much more crowded. Pick a weekday. 


Outer Banks, North Carolina

The elevated boardwalk to the Bodie Island Lighthouse. Photo by Ken Lund.

The sandy shores of Pea Island Wildlife Refuge. Photo by davynin.

These barrier islands stretch 130 miles just off the coast and offer something for just about everyone. Visit one of five lighthouses, charter a fishing boat, or rent kayaks to go look for dolphins.

We’re particularly fond of the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge, which protects 5,800 acres of habitat on the north end of Hatteras Island.

You’ll want to get out early wherever you go in the Outer Banks—the whole region gets crowded. Avoid travel during the hurricane season (August–October).


Sanibel Island, Florida

Beaches on Sanibel are among the best in the world for collecting seashells. Photo by lnkoretro.

Sunsets are Bowman's Beach are impossibly beautiful. We're talking stock photo pretty (this isn't one). Photo by Marlanne Serra.

Sanibel is paradise. The island offers 25 miles of trail, and several beach spots that can only be reached on foot or by bicycle. It’s also one of the best places on Earth to collect sea shells.

Our pick for a proposal is Bowman’s Beach. But sunsets at Captive are also not to be missed (maybe hit that up the next night).


Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone's Mythic Falls is well worth the short hike. Photo by Thomas Duesing.

Big surprise---America's most iconic symbol of virility is a popular spot for proposals. Photo by Kevin Galens.

We know what you’re thinking(probably)—Yellowstone is one of the country’s busiest national parks. But it’s also huge and offers plenty of opportunities to get off the beaten path.

Consider Mystic Falls, Shoshone Lake and Trout Lake for short hikes to quiet, scenic spots. Union Falls is a trek (15+ miles RT) but worth it.

Summer is prime (read: busy) season. But outside those months, you can get much of the park to yourself… especially on weekdays. Temperatures plunge in the winter, but trails can still be accessed via snowshoe, cross-country skis, and snow coach.


Zion National Park, Utah

The trail to Emerald Pool cuts behind a waterfall. How's that for romance? Photo by Scott Costello.

So far seven people have fallen to their deaths in the Emerald Pools area. But if you step carefully and read the signage, you probably won't become unlucky number eight. Photo by Garielle Cyr.

Zion’s Emerald Pool, to be specific.

An oasis in the desert, this easy two-mile stroll has great scenery to the lower pools. Moderate effort gets you to the middle and upper sections. Take in spectacular views of Red Arch Mountain, Lady Mountain, Mount Majestic and Cathedral Mountain.

Start just across from Zion lodge, 5th stop on the Zion Canyon Shuttle, or take the Kayeta Trail, slightly longer, from the 6th stop. Allow 2-4 hours. Too crowded? Too easy? Try the 2-mile, 21-switchback hike to Angel’s Landing via Walter’s Wiggles Trail.

Go early. Zion is crowded in summer months, when it can be quite hot and water flows are low. Spring and fall are most pleasant, and winters are dry and sunny.

Pedernales Falls, Texas

Bring your swimsuit---the water at Pedernales is impossible to resist. Photo by Satanoid.

Pedernales Falls themselves are really more of a long, tubeable ramp.

This 5,212-acre state park 30 miles west of Austin boasts hiking, camping, horseback riding, swimming, tubing, and fishing. Its signature feature is Pedernales Falls, which is really more of a water ramp (it drops about 50 vertical feet over 3,000 feet of river).

Take your pick of a scenic overlook of the at the north end of the park, or park and take a short-but-rugged hike down to the falls and pick/boulder your way around the interesting limestone landscape.

The park is best visited during wet season (spring) for more options to take a dip in the pools, but beware of flash flood danger. Summer can be very hot—100+ degree days are not uncommon.

Did you propose in a scenic spot? Do you plan to? Email us at [email protected] to let us know!

about the author

Brad Shannon

Brad Shannon is a cyclist, runner, triathlete; soccer coach, player and referee; gear / gadget lover; and storyteller. He’s a fan of dogs and the weather and craft beer scene in northern Colorado. His current favorite item is his 3D-printed Inconel bottle opener.

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