Valentine's Day is right around the corner. While it can be tempting to take the predictable route with a dozen roses and a box of chocolates, we encourage you to get creative - especially in a place like Wilmington, NC. Our beautiful seaside city has many fun, unique, and romantic opportunities to show your beloved how you feel. Below are five of our time-tested and romance-approved choices. Check them out and see which one you fall in love with first!

1. Dinner at the Little Dipper. Sure, a fancy dinner out may seem traditional - at first. But when you take your signficant other to the Little Dipper, dinner will never be the same again. This restaurant offers a unique, nostalgic, and fun experience you won't find anywhere else. Yes, that's right - fondue! The Little Dipper menu includes premium meats, fresh seafood, vegetables and homemade sauces for dipping, with sweet dipping options for a sumptuous dessert, too. This restaurant is very popular for Valentine's Day, so you'll definitely want to make a reservation.

2. Book a romantic harbor cruise on the Cape Fear River. Wilmington Waterways offers two different options for Valentine's Day revelers. The first is a dinner cruise on February 13th, which includes live acoustic music and a four-course dinner during a 2-hour cruise. The second option is an afternoon cruise on February 14th, which features mimosas and sweets over the course of a 90-minute outing. Reserve your spot now, before they fill up!

3. Explore Masonboro Island. This uninhabited barrier island is one of Wilmington's best kept secrets. With 8 miles of pristine, untouched sands, it's only accessible by boat. For a memorable date, rent kayaks or stand up paddleboards, or hire a water taxi to take you to this slice of paradise. Pack a picnic and some bubbly and gaze out over the ocean. If conditions are right, you might even see a pod of dolphins frolicking in the surf!

4. Dinner and a show at TheaterNOW. TheaterNOW offers a unique spin on this classic combo. Each live performance includes a show and a 3-course meal, often with a choice of two or more entrées (one of which will always be a vegetarian option). Their shows typically run 2 hours with breaks for food course service and doors open for seating 1 hour prior to show time. This is a perfect date night idea for Valentine's Day, but space is limited - grab your tickets now!

5. Spend the night at a beach house. Wilmington is known for the many beaches that are just a short drive away. Why not treat yourself to a night in a beach house right on the water? There's nothing more romantic than waking up to the sound of crashing waves and going for a long walk on the beach. Whether you're traveling from afar or live right here in town, a beach house is a great opportunity to indulge and pamper yourself, and Network Real Estate has plenty of beautiful rentals to choose from. Best of all, the fact that Valentine's Day occurs in the off-season means it will be easier and cheaper to book the beach house of your dreams. Check out our offerings in Carolina Beach and Kure Beach and start dreaming.

We hope this list helps you plan a great date for you and your sweetheart. Happy Valentine's Day!