Study after study tells us people are happier when they spend money on experiences rather than things, on living rather than having. One report in particular from Mintel found that in the coming five years, total spending in the U.S. will grow by nearly 22 percent with the greatest gains to be found in non-essentials like vacations and dining out. Yet year after year more than half of both men and women purchase chocolates for a significant other, and more than 61 percent of men purchase flowers. Maybe this year instead of the standard, you can surprise your loved one with a romantic getaway – if even for a quick night.

Here are a few ideas to bring a little romance to your Valentine’s travel, some that don’t cost a thing:

Enjoy the sunrise

Chances are you catch a glimpse of the sunset each day, from your car on the commute home or your office or home window. While sunsets are certainly beautiful, there’s something terribly romantic about enjoying the first rays in the morning. And how even more romantic to enjoy them on the white sands of a beach, hand in hand with the one you love most.

Act like a kid

Childlike activities and play can spark the production of oxytocin and serotonin, which help you feel good and act young. What better place to feel like a kid with your partner than the sunny shores of the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk, where a carnival, old-time atmosphere beckons childhood memories. After you kill it in Skee Ball, head over to the nostalgic Peaches Corner for a milkshake for two.

Share a meal

We’d be remiss not to include a romantic meal on our list of must-do Valentine experiences. Some of my favorite romantic spots in Myrtle Beach include The Library Restaurant, which was named one of the most romantic restaurants in the U.S. by OpenTable, and Gulfstream Café, where you can catch both the sunrise and sunset along the intracoastal waterway.

Do something he or she loves

Both men and women agree they are truly touched when a spouse is thoughtful. On your next getaway, make sure to plan something that he or she would enjoy. If it’s culture she loves, we recommend Hopsewee Plantation or Brookgreen Gardens. If it’s adventure he craves, test his speed at the NASCAR Racing Experience. If relaxation is what you have in mind, we like the calming waters of Ripley’s Aquarium. If music is more to your liking, we always enjoy House of Blues. Whatever it is, Myrtle Beach is bound to have an option, if not a couple, to choose from!