When summer rolls around, everything seems to slow down a bit—work, school, and the everyday hustle of life. This usually means a little extra time off, and a lot more quality time for you and your partner.
But this also means higher expectations.
Maybe in the winter, you could get away with one date every week or two, whereas the rest of the time was spent happily watching reruns of your favorite show in bed. But as the weather turns and the days get longer, there’s an eagerness for romantic adventures and outings all summer long.
Unfortunately, your wallet can’t always keep up with that kind of lifestyle.
Here are four date ideas that will scratch that romantic summer itch but won’t blow through your savings before the leaves begin to fall.
#1: Picnic in the Park
Literally, who doesn’t love a picnic? They’re cute, they’re woodsy, you look stunning in the golden-hour light, and you get to feed each other grapes and chocolate-covered strawberries, Roman emperor style (or is that just in the movies?).
All you really need is a blanket and a romantic spot. Then stock your basket or cooler full of cheese, crackers, some cured meats, fruit, maybe a bottle of wine or sparkling juice, and a little something for dessert.
It doesn’t have to be nearly as fancy as they make it look on screen.
#2: Cook Dinner Together
If you’re not interested in picnicking or finding the perfect restaurant for your date, you can’t go wrong with staying in and making a meal together. Cooking together promotes collaboration and intimacy. Plus, you end up with a delicious meal (if everything goes according to plan).
Depending on your mood, you can find food and drink pairings that will spice things up (literally and figuratively) to create a unique and exciting date night.
#3: A Fitness Date
Summer is the perfect season to pick up an outdoor fitness hobby with your significant other. Spending time in the sun will increase your overall happiness, and sweating together will strengthen your bond.
Going for a hike or a run together is a great bonding activity that hardly costs you anything. If you’re looking to take your date to the track oval, you might want to pick up a pair of track flats and spikes. Otherwise, you can find a nearby trail and aim for something a little more off-the-grid. Either way, don’t forget your moisturizer and sunscreen.
Some people say camping isn’t their speed. More likely than not, they just haven’t shared a tent with the right person yet.
While this date idea involves a little more than an evening outing or day at the beach, you can still find tons of ways to make a weekend trip super affordable.
If you don’t own a tent and can’t borrow one from your most outdoorsy friend, you can always go old school and inflate a mattress in the back of your truck or SUV. This cuts down on setup time and the potential for fighting over which layer goes on top and how do you connect the poles and who forgot the dang spikes. Ahem. Anyway.
Most of what you need to really enjoy your camping trip probably exists somewhere in your basement or garage, or you can find them for cheap, like:
- Towels – You don’t need fancy beach chairs or those massive inflatable palaces to enjoy a day by the water. Sure, those are pretty awesome (especially the ones with the cup holders), but they can also feel like overkill when it comes to spending simple quality time with your partner.
- Card games – Card games are some of the best ways to pass the time when you’re winding down from a big hike or day on the water. They’re beyond easy to throw in your beach bag or backpack and pull out when you get bored.
- Easy-to-make food – If you don’t have a portable barbecue or stove, you can always rough it and roast your hotdogs over the fire. But if you’re only going for a day or two, you can also get by on items that don’t require cooking or refrigeration, like cereal, bread products, fruit and vegetables, and trail mix.
And if you do decide to get a little freaky outdoors, just remember to stay safe and watch for bears!
Get Started On Your Next Date Night
More than anything, the perfect date relies on showing your partner you care. These four budget-friendly date ideas provide a great starting point, but anything that makes your significant other feel loved will be a successful date.
Simple is always good (but chocolate-covered strawberries are better).