Is your summer date night about as predictable as a rom-com? Dinner. Movie. Repeat next week?
It’s time for a plot twist. And a good one! Summertime lends itself to all kinds of fun dates, whether you’re newly dating, in a long-term relationship or married. (If you fall in the latter categories, learn how the 2-2-2 rule helps keep relationships sizzling.)
Ready for a memorable date night? Here are 21 date ideas to add to your romantic repertoire.
1. Go Stargazing
Pull out the telescopes and the blankets and spend the night gazing up at the stars, wishing upon any falling ones, of course. To really get this right, see if there’s a designated dark sky park or community near you. These places are prime stargazing spots because they’re not as affected by artificial city lights. In a typical city, you can see about 500 stars on a clear night, according to the National Park Service. But in a dark sky area, you can see a star-studded night sky with more than 15,000 visible twinkling stars. Also, your local library just might rent you a free telescope.
2. Rent A Paddleboard
Stand-up paddleboarding is gaining popularity, and is a low-impact sport that’s perfect for cooling off on hot summer afternoons. You can usually find rental shops at most watering holes. Paddle around the water and burn up to 500 calories per hour, or try striking some yoga poses on your board. Some cities even offer twilight paddleboarding.
3. See An Outdoor Movie
We were a little tough on the whole movie idea in the intro. But taking your movie night to an outdoor cinema is a game-changer. Think outside of the parks on this one. Cities like Denver do a bike-in movie night. And others do showings at pools, so you can float in the water while watching a movie on the big screen. For example, one movie theater in Texas had viwers watch “Jaws” while floating in the water.
4. Go To The Farmer’s Market
Go for the fresh produce. But stick around for the live entertainment, beer garden and demonstrations, which are becoming more common at Farmer’s Markets.
5. Hit Up The Comedy Club
Don’t wait for your favorite comedian to come to town. Check in with your local comedy club to see if they have a new talent night. Tickets are cheaper, and you could discover an up-and-coming star.
6. Soak In A Hot Spring
Sure, you could simply relax in a hot tub. But even better? Soaking in geothermal hot springs. Here are five of the best hot springs in the United States.
7. Find A Lazy (Or Wild) River
Water parks are certainly fun in the summer. But if you’re looking for a low-cost day date, seek out a river for tubing or lazing the day away. You can find inflatable tubes at a sporting goods store to make for a smooth ride, or use an old tire tube.
8. Compete In A Fun Run
From mud runs to color runs that blast you with chalk, there are plenty of fun runs that can add elements of entertainment to race day. Sign up for one of the runs (you can walk them, too!) and start training with your significant other. Need a little incentive? Working out together can increase your emotional bond and create more happiness in your relationship, according to scientific studies.
9. Camp In A Unique Spot
If you’ve gone tent camping before, try something new. In the West, for example, you can spend the night in a secluded fire tower, starting at $20 a night. Throughout the country, park services rent yurts and tipis.
10. Go To A Brewery
Breweries are fast becoming community gathering places. Not only can you listen to live music and play cornhole, but more breweries are offering unique entertainment—including swing dancing, book clubs and trivia. Many breweries even offer yoga. Come for a workout, namastay for a beer?
11. Volunteer Together
Spend time together while helping others? Win-win. Some ideas: Sign up to help build a home with Habitat for Humanity, check with your local animal shelter to see if dogs need to be walked or volunteer at a local homeless shelter. You can find a database of volunteer opportunities at All for Good.
12. Order An In-Home Massage
Melt away stress with a couple’s massage. Even better, have the masseuse come to your home and set up. You can order in-home massages with Zeel.
13. Play Tourist In Your Own City
Whether it’s a well-known tourist destination or a quirky hidden travel attraction, explore your city like a tourist would and snap photos. The best part: You can go at an off-peak time and miss out on all of the traffic.
14. Do Karaoke
For some inspiration, here are 40 of the biggest duets of all time, courtesy of Billboard. Of course, “I Got You Babe” a la Sonny and Cher makes the list.
15. Go Back To College
From interesting lectures to film screenings to free museums, college campuses offer up all kinds of free entertainment. Plus, in the summer, it might just feel like you have the campus to yourself.
16. Scout Out A Free Concert
Summertime concert series are popular at parks, botanic gardens and shopping centers. Just bring a picnic and you’ve got a weeknight summer date that’s surprisingly cheap.
17. Go To A Trampoline Park
Trampoline dodgeball, anyone? Sure, the trampoline gyms that have been popping up over the past few years are popular kid hangouts and birthday party spots. But they’re also fun. In fact, some have adult trampoline dodgeball tournaments.
18. Enjoy A Progressive Dinner
Got a long list of new restaurants you want to check out? Start with drinks at one; grab appetizers at another; a main course at the next and dessert at another. Bonus: You’ll get to take breaks in between courses, going for a walk. Or, if your city has a bikeshare system, that’s a fun way to move between stops.
19. Play At An Arcade
Wax nostalgic for Pac-Man, pinball machines and low-tech video games at a hole-in-the-wall arcade, preferably one that sells cheap beer and is near a pizzeria, too.
20. Play Mini Golf
Playing 18 holes in the summertime might not be for everyone. But practicing your putting game amid kitschy decorations like bubbling volcanoes and babbling brooks? That’s more like it.
21. Spend A Night At The Ballpark
Take your date out to the ballgame and root, root, root for the home team. Pro tip: Consider minor league games, too, because they can be major fun.