Reservations filling up for Valentine’s Day on the Coast. Here’s some dinner and event ideas.

Candlelight, champagne and chocolate definitely say “Happy Valentine’s Day,” but this year just how and when to celebrate in South Mississippi is less certain.

The Coast has fine dining restaurants offering special menus and plush hotel rooms and suites for those who want an overnight getaway with their valentine. The shops are filled with valentine cards, dozens of red roses, chocolates in a heart-shaped box and sparkling jewelry.

But with Feb. 14 on a Thursday this year, do sweethearts dine out on Valentine’s Day, make it a weekend celebration — or both? Whatever the decision, reservations are filling up fast, with some restaurants fully booked and concerts already sold out.

Make it an experience

Visit MS Gulf Coast has ideas for a memorable Valentine’s Day, such as dinner with a view at one of the waterfront restaurants or a sunset dinner cruise. For a relaxing experience, casino spas offer couples massage and gift certificates. Or go out on the town, exploring downtown shops and cafes by day and hitting the dance floor at night.

For those who decide to wait a day, country and gospel singer Josh Turner will heat things up at IP Casino in Biloxi when he takes the stage on Feb. 15. “The Guess Who” are at Golden Nugget Biloxi that weekend and Penn & Teller will draw laughs at the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino. Go for romance with My Friday Valentine Feb. 15 at Hard Rock Casino Biloxi or rock out Feb. 16 with Lifehouse, “Hanging by a Moment.”

Crash Tony N’ Tina’s Wedding at Scarlet Pearl Casino. Guests participate in the ceremony and reception, complete with Italian food, dancing and an engaging cast of characters. The comedy dinner show is at 8 p.m. Feb. 15 and 1 p.m. and 8 p.m. Feb. 16.

See a special “Cupid & Psyche” exhibition at Walter Anderson Museum of Art in Ocean Springs that connects the romantic and mythical sides of Valentine’s Day. A 6 foot tall, hand blocked Cupid print is on display for the first time since it was damaged during Hurricane Katrina, along with rarely seen paintings of Anderson’s wife. Those who can’t make it on Valentine’s Weekend can see the exhibit through March 30.

Sweet somethings

More than 50 million roses are given worldwide, according to The Holiday Spot, and about 1 billion Valentine cards are exchanged each year.

Dinner and a movie is a popular date, and new at the movies for Valentine’s Day are “Alita: Battle Angel”, an action/adventure, “Isn’t It Romantic,” a comedy, or “What Men Want,” a romantic comedy and the answer to “What Women Want.”

Coast Candymakers at Island View Casino will be hand-dipping strawberries in chocolate and selling a dozen in a heart shaped package for $10. The treat is only available on Feb. 13-14, and only while supplies last. Or sweeten the deal by indulging in an evening of chocolate Feb. 14 at Island View Casino, sampling a variety of hand-crafted chocolates. Admission is $25.

Boomtown Casino Biloxi will floor your valentine with Death by Chocolate and red velvet 6-inch heart cakes. They’re available in the gift shop through Feb. 14, for $9.99, along with chocolate-dipped long-stem strawberries for $4.99.

The ultimate gift may be a weekend escape at a beachfront hotel. IP Casino has a variety of romantic hotel packages that include dinner at Thirty-Two restaurant at the top of the tower, along with rose petals and champagne. Trip Advisor puts White House Hotel in Biloxi atop this list of 10 most romantic getaways on the Coast, where couples can tream themselves a sweetheart package that offers dinner off the Valentine’s menu at Cora’s Restaurant along with a king room or suite. Treat your Valentine to the Rock Star Experience at Hard Rock Biloxi. Or choose one of the Valentine romance packages at the Beau Rivage and take time to browse through the shops and feast at one of the restaurants.

Valentine dinners

White Pillars in Biloxi, like many restaurants in South Mississippi, will provide a special menu for Valentine’s Day and through the Valentine weekend. Chef Austin Sumrall and his staff will set the mood with flowers, “Candlelight for sure,” said Eric Sykes, event director, along with champagne and chocolates for those who choose them. Sykes said he hasn’t heard of anyone who is planning to pop the question during dinner on Valentine’s Day, but said engagements have happened before.

Among the other choices are:

Magnolia House by Kelly English at Harrah’s Gulf Coast will wine and dine, complete with a 3-course menu and Jordan Chalden playing smooth jazz

At IP Casino Biloxi, Thirty-Two will offer a six-course wine dinner, featuring Gerard Bertrand wines for $95 per person. Tien and Bayview Cafe also will feature Valentine’s menus and among the offerings at Back Bay Buffet that night will be snow crab legs, seafood Newburg, Biloxi seafood boil, frog legs and smoked duck.

Palace Casino will feature a special Valentine’s dinner at Mignon’s Steak and Seafood for $100 per couple, or order off the a la carte menu.

Carter Green Steakhouse at Island View Casino and Prime Cut in the Beach Tower will feature a special dinner for two for $90. Island View’s Beach Blvd. Steamer’s Valentine’s special is $60 per couple.

Boomtown Casino Buffet has surf and turf, with steamed whole lobster and char grilled steaks on Valentine’s Day for $29.99 and a seafood celebration Friday and Saturday with unlimited lobster, cram and New York strip steak for $32.99, with a $2 discount for a player’s card.

Hollywood Casino Gulf Coast presents a lineup of Valentine weekend buffets, featuring a lobster and ribeye steak buffet on Valentine’s Day for $31.99, or $29.99 with reward card. Those who can’t make it on Thursday night can dig into the all-you-can-eat lobster, crab and steak buffet on Friday and Saturday nights for $34.99 ($32.99 with card) or the Sunday crab champagne brunch.

Saltgrass Steak House in Biloxi will have a special menu Feb. 14-17, featuring Gulf Coast steak and shrimp, Cajun sirloin and special wines.

▪ Newly opened 27th Avenue Bistro by Chef David Dickensauge offers a five-course Valentine’s menu.

The many restaurants at the Beau Rivage are preparing for Valentine’s Day. At BR Prime, diners will choose their champagne and get a glassware set to take home. Jia’s Valentine specials begin Feb. 14 and continue through the weekend and Terrace Cafe will feature a Valentine menu for $65 per couple.

A sweet deal

Those staying home this Valentine’s Day will find snuggling up to a Hallmark movie more delicious with a scoop of raspberry fudge brownie ice cream from Blue Bell or a “Love, Oreo” cookie with a message on them like “Let’s twist.” and Money give this list of other special deals at national franchises:

Chick-fil-a: Get a heart-shaped tray of 30 or 10 Chick-n-Mini sandwiches at participating locations.

Chili’s: Valentine’s Day meal for two is $25, with an appetizer, two entrees and a cheesecake or skillet chocolate chip cookie.

Chuck E. Cheese: Customers get a free brownie on Feb. 14, from 4-6 p.m.

Dairy Queen: Dipped Strawberry Cupid Cake (with chunks of Ghirardelli chocolate) is back at participating locations.

Dunkin’: Valentine’s specialty and heart-shaped donuts are back.

Firehouse Subs: On Feb. 14 only, get a free dessert with any purchase at Firehouse Subs with coupon.

Hard Rock Cafe: Sweetheart Shake for Two on Feb. 14 is made with vanilla vodka, vanilla ice cream, strawberry, lemon and whipped cream, and served with a heart-shaped straw.

Hooters: To “Shred Your Ex” on Valentine’s Day, give a photo of your ex to the waitress for shredding and get 10 free boneless wings with the purchase of 10 wings.

Krispy Kreme: is offering conversation donuts, decorated with Valentine phrases.

McAlister’s Deli: Purchase an adult entrée on Valentine’s Day and get up to two kids meals for free when dining in. Members of their rewards program can also get a free sweet tea that day.

Morton’s The Steakhouse: Dine Your Heart Out Valentine’s Dinner Feb. 9-16 is $59 for 8-ounce filet topped with whole Maine lobster and bearnaise sauce.

O’Charley’s: Date Night Dinner for Two is $13.99 per person through Feb. 17, for dine-in only. Choose prime rib or grilled salmon with a side and an appetizer to share.

Olive Garden: Valentine’s Day Meal to Go for two is $35 with breadsticks, soup or salad, dipping sauce, a shareable entree and a shareable dessert.

Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse: For $49, get Valentine’s Day Surf & Turf through Feb. 17 that comes with two lobster tails and a filet or ribeye.

TGI Friday’s: will be featuring a Valentine’s menu through 19 at participating locations.

Waffle House: The restaurants at 612 Beach Blvd. in Gulfport and 452 U.S. 90 in Waveland are among the locations in the chain nationwide that will celebrate Valentine’s Day by setting the tables with special menus, tablecloths and soft lighting, by reservation.

Mary Perez is the business and casino reporter for the Sun Herald and also writes about Biloxi, jobs and the new restaurants and development coming to the Coast. She is a fourth-generation journalist.