It’s summertime, and the living is easy — unless you’re trying to plan fun and inexpensive dates for your special someone. You shouldn’t have to take out a second mortgage to take a girl on a nice date, and there is more than just the dinner-and-a-movie combo. Here are a few ideas to try if your dating calendar needs some new life.
1. Take a scenic drive.
One Memorial Day some friends and I were bored, so we decided to just hop in the car and start driving, with no particular destination in mind. We ended up having a fun hike in the woods and ended with the most delicious burritos I’ve ever had at restaurant totally off the beaten path.
So this summer, find some backroads or research a drive along a scenic byway. Pack some tasty car snacks, and make a list of interesting questions or play a game of “Would You Rather?” as a way to get to know your date a little better.
2. Take advantage of free outdoor activities.
Summers in my city offer a ton of free outdoor activities. The art museum has a weekly jazz concert, the baseball stadium offers monthly family movie nights on the giant screen, and the botanical garden has a weekly bluegrass concert series, complete with food trucks and ice cream vendors.
Search your local newspaper’s online calendar to find festivals (last night we went to the International Horseradish Festival, so there truly is a festival for EVERYTHING!), free concerts, farmer’s markets, etc. Plan a picnic lunch or dinner, and have fun exploring your city’s cultural activities.
3. Plan an outdoor movie date.
There’s an episode of “Gilmore Girls” where Christopher plans an epic date for Lorelai. He picks her up in a classic convertible, with carefully hidden movie snacks in the backseat, and takes her to an old barn, where he has her favorite movie projected on the side of the wall. You probably don’t have a TV show-sized budget, but the idea is still feasible. It just requires a little bit of planning ahead.
See if your church, work or library has a folding screen and projector that you could borrow. Pick a throwback movie from your childhood (I’m partial to The Goonies or The Sandlot) and project the movie on the folding screen in your backyard or on the side of your house. You can also rig up a white sheet, if you can keep it from blowing in the wind. Find some camp chairs or blankets to sit on, and enjoy a movie under the stars. Don’t forget the bug spray!
4. Go on a treasure hunt.
Summer is garage sale season, and you can find all kinds of treasures for cheap.
When Tyler and I were dating long-distance, I found an $8 ice cream maker the week before he came to visit. Knowing he loved ice cream, I kept it a surprise. One evening I surprised him with plans to make homemade ice cream, and we experimented with different flavors over the course of his visit. Now that we’re married, we still love making homemade ice cream, and our friends request that we bring it to get-togethers.
So make a game out of garage saling, and see who can find the best item for $10 or the most unusual, most vintage, etc. Then plan a date around whatever you can find. Tip: See if there is an annual neighborhood sale in the wealthy parts of town. Those tend to have less junk and better quality items.
What is your creative summer date idea?
Copyright 2015 Ashley Boyer Hendley. All rights reserved.