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NEITHER CHOCOLATE NOR flowers are the key to this woman’s heart. Sleeping under the stars—now that’s my love potion. Over the past seven or so years with my now-husband, driving up to a site for an overnighter has fanned the sparks in our relationship, from our first outing in Central California—complete with a naughty game of poker—to watching a sunrise over a Utah canyon. Each trip helps us reach new peaks, as individuals and as a team. Of course, outdoor getaways can become nightmares without proper communication and prep. (How many couples have gone off the rails over a stubborn campfire?) But if I’ve learned anything, it’s that tension eventually melts away once the flames are in full force, letting you bond over the beauty of your surroundings. So for rugged romance without regrets, follow this tried-and-tested guide to car camping. Then sit back and let nature do the rest.

(Published in the May 2017 issue of Sunset)

Tents for two, couples camping, romantic camping, Sunset magazine, Serena Renner