19 Cheap Outdoor Date Ideas For When You’re Strapped For Cash

With summer here, dating activities are at a premium—especially inexpensive or free ones. Leave the cell phone behind (or in your pocket and to only be used for photo opps) and take in one of the date ideas below (as well as each other). And the best thing is, I tested these all out for you, so can guarantee they make for a great time. Here are some great cheap outdoor date ideas:

1. Water sources – lakes, rivers, etc. Go swimming, fishing, sailing—or buy a S.ip ‘N Slide and bring back your youth!

2. Hiking & biking. Even if you don’t own your own bikes, someone you know is bound to have one!

3. Romantic walk (ice cream cones optional).

4. What’s better on a summer night than a storm? So, now’s your time to take a walk in the rain.

5. Gardening. That’s right, plant some flowers together. In a few months, as they bloom, you can see how much your relationship has, too.

6. Free outdoor concerts. With summer here, what cities don’t have free concerts at every turn?

7. Outdoor movies. Though I’m not a fan of movie dates, per se (since you can’t talk to each other), many cities show old movies outside in the summer, so find a favorite to enjoy together, but then follow it up with something more social later!

8. Picnics. The more scenic, the better! And you can always move it inside if it rains! Also, come up with a picnic theme—not just sandwiches, but use your imagination!

9. Pitch a tent… even in your backyard. I wouldn’t suggest this for a first date, necessarily, but once you and your partner have a rapport and trust each other, what better way to get close?

10. Star-gaze. I live in L.A., but I don’t mean the celebrity variety. Take a drive outside the city, put down a blanket, and look up at the sky together.

11. Beach. Lie in the sand and talk, swim, eat, or play beach or paddle ball. But don’t forget the sunscreen!

12. Road trip. Just get in the car and go, even if you don’t have a destination in mind beforehand.

13. Sporting events. Go to a Little League game or a Major League one. No matter where you live, there’s endless games going on, so go find one. (Hot dogs and beer optional.)

14. Apple or fruit-picking. I know in California, there are many farms where you can go pick your own produce, which is even more fun and unique than going to the farmers market. Plus, these are usually a bit out of town, so it’s like you’re going on a mini road trip, too.

15. Go on a guided tour of your city (bet you’ve never done so!) or one of those specific ones (like the Mob Tours in Chicago). Or, create your own. Grab a map, plot out a course of action, and be a tourist for a day.

16. Test-drive cars. Like a dream house, everyone has a dream car they’d buy if money were not an issue. So, why not go try one out?

17. Rent a fun car. Going to Vegas? Instead of driving one of your cars, rent a fun one, like a convertible, and enjoy the journey as much as the destination.

18. The park. Be a kid again and go on the swings, monkey bars, rings, climb a tree, you name it.

19. Flea markets and garage sales. There seem to be a ton in the summer, so why not go find a vintage jacket or rotary phone at one near you? (It’s also a great opp to buy each other a souvenir to mark the occasion.)

Photo by langalex