Valentine’s Day is just around the corner (Friday, February 14!), and that means the pressure’s on — if you’re still not sure what you and your honey will be up to this year, it’s time to start making a plan.

Fortunately, we can help.

You don’t need to break the bank to enjoy a romantic weekend to celebrate the holiday. Just follow these simple dos and don’ts for a budget-friendly Valentine’s Day you and your sweetheart will adore.


7 Dos and Don’ts for a Sweet (and Thrifty!) Valentine’s Day

Do book a stay somewhere close to home.

Couples who schedule exotic trips far from home for Valentine’s Day are wasting precious time on travel — and spending unnecessarily.

Instead of jetting off to New York or Florida, simply reserve a stay somewhere quaint and romantic that’s relatively close to home. Fortunately, all Michiganders need do is “head north” to find a lovely retreat away from the city.


Don’t worry about making reservations for the actual day of Valentine’s Day.

When it comes to saving money, sometimes compromises need to be made.

While it’s always nice to do something celebratory on the actual day of Valentine’s Day, you can also just as easily celebrate the holiday somewhere in the vicinity of February 14th and call it good.

So, instead of booking your romantic Valentine’s Day getaway on Friday, February 14th this year, consider making your reservations for the weekend before or after. The sentiment will still be the same, and you’ll surely be saving money by avoiding holiday prices.


Do get outside and do something fun that’s off the beaten path.

February in Michigan is notoriously unpredictable — so on February 14th (or whatever day you decide to celebrate), we could have grass showing and the sun shining … or it could be a blizzard.

The point is, if the weather permits, get outside! Winter weather can make all of us feel a bit down and out, but much of this is because we tend to stay indoors for long stretches of time. The White Lake area has tons of fun outdoor activities to get up to. For example:

  • Book your room for February 7-9 (remember, you don’t have to book on Valentine’s Day) and enjoy the Winter Wanderland Festival in White Lake. Winter Wanderland is the perfect place to “wander” around and enjoy delicious food, drink, music, bonfires, ice-skating, and more.
  • Try your hand at the luge. Yes, that luge — the one they do at the Winter Olympics. The Muskegon Winter Sports Complex (MWSC) has its own Olympic-grade luge track, plus training lessons for newbies.
  • Luging not your thing? Ever try going for a walk on top of the snow? The MWSC also has snowshoeing. Give it a try!
  • Visit Lake Michigan — it’s only minutes away from our lakeside inn. Bundle up, and head there for a brisk walk by the waves. If it’s too cold, the lake still provides beautiful views from the comfort and warmth of your car.
  • Go for a walk along the Hart-Montague Bike Trail, or bring your snowmobiles if you ride. The trail is snowmobile-friendly (and 22 miles long).
  • Go snow tubing at Double JJ. It’s the adult version of sledding!


Don’t feel obligated to make fancy dinner reservations in the city.

Unlike expensive city eateries, you’ll find plenty of quaint, cozy, and budget-friendly dining spots in the White Lake area. These restaurants boast delicious meals and cozy settings at reasonable prices.

Here are some Valentine’s Day dining ideas to get you started:


Do dress to impress.

Dressing nice and getting dolled up for Valentine’s Day won’t cost you a thing (pick something from your own wardrobe), but it will make the occasion feel much more special. So, if you’re traveling north for your Valentine’s Day, be sure to pack a nice outfit. Your inn will have an iron for you if you need to press anything before heading out on the town.


Don’t worry about buying flowers and chocolates.

While freshly-cut flowers are certainly beautiful, they can also be pretty pricey. The same goes for expensive chocolates (tasty yes, but also expensive).

Instead, save the money you’d have spent on roses and carnations, and put it toward something you’ll enjoy much more — a wonderful experience. Recent research actually shows that experiences — not things — provide more “enduring happiness.” So, forget the forget-me-nots, and opt for quality time spent together.

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