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Roller Coaster Therapy in 2 Sunny States

I’ve never had a knack for romanticism. Or gift giving. Or even delivering well-timed compliments. For me, Valentine’s Day may as well be called “the day before the week that I can buy really cheap candy.” But for those who have neither a date nor a taste for drugstore chocolate, Valentine’s Day can be a bit of a stress-fest. That’s why I’m renaming the 15th of February “roller coaster therapy day.”

If you think about it, it’s a perfect post V-Day solution. Instead of the ups and downs of a long-term relationship, you get the twists and turns of a 70mph roller coaster ride. Butterflies in your stomach? Sweaty palms? Yep. It’s like all the adrenaline of a first kiss plotted out over 4,000 feet of track. And in the sunny states of California and Florida, you can find great thrills even in February. Here are a few of my favorites:

 

10 Valentine’s Day Dates in Las Vegas

Editor’s Note: Think you know all there is to know about Las Vegas? Read our Vegas series this week as we celebrate a city that continues to reinvent itself year after year.

Love is patient. Love is kind. And sometimes, love is a shotgun wedding at the Graceland Wedding Chapel. Not that you have to get Elvis involved. Try out one of these 10 Valentine’s Day dates in Las Vegas, and let the romance begin:

1. Break out the bubbles at Reliquary Spa.
At Reliquary Spa, relaxation goes way beyond a bottle of bath gel. Opt for the $300 “Couples Package” for a fun mix of dirty dancing, crisp champagne, and muscle-melting Swedish massage.

The Return of the Native: A Vacation in Books

There are a thousand ways to approach a place. Some travelers pore through guidebooks as if studying for a test. Others dive in blind, equipped with nothing but a toothbrush. Some arrive ready to settle in. Others arrive ready to leave. And still others never arrive at all. They return.

For me, return is a desert word. It invokes the sere, scrub-strewn wasteland of the western Mojave where I grew up. The yip of coyotes in midnight congress. The lip-splitting heat of the Santa Ana winds. Return is the union of a thousand frozen frames of memory, each linked to that single returned-to place, and each uniquely warped by distance. Because you can’t return if you’ve never left. Right?

G.K. Chesterson once said: “The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.”

Cruise Lines Ramp up their “All-Ages” Offerings

It wasn’t all that long ago that the height of cruise entertainment was shuffleboard. For kids, I mean. Ship-bound adults have always had the mercy of tequila sunrises and pulp fiction, and the grind of the nine-to-five has given them an exceptional appreciation for doing nothing at all. The sun decks, the whirlpools, the languid lunch hours and the dress-up dinners–these were the domain of the adult cruiser.

Kids got shuffleboard.

The Skies Are Friendlier Than You Think

William Golding could have penned last Wednesday’s scene at JFK. A blizzard raged across the runways, planes circled without landing, and passengers turned savage over increasingly-long delays. The storm’s arm wasn’t a short one either. With over 7,000 cancelations owed to the post-Christmas snow, travelers as far as California were feeling the delays–and the pressure was on for airline employees.