16 Summer Date Ideas That Won't Crimp Your Budget
Summer is just around the corner and with it comes plenty of opportunities to spend time with that special someone. But you don't need to spend a lot of money to impress your favorite gal or guy. These low-cost summer date ideas are equal parts fun and romance -- the perfect combo for a day spent in the sun or an evening under the stars.
Related: Free Summer Events in All 50 States
Playing in the park was fun as a kid -- and it's still fun for a carefree and cheap summer date. Go prepared with a kite, a Frisbee, a football, baseball mitts and a ball, a blanket for lounging, snacks, sunscreen, bug spray, and plenty of water.
Forget the local pub -- it can wait till the weather turns chilly. Instead, head out to the fair or a festival for a merry summer date. Take a spin on cheap rides, play games, sample food and drinks, and enjoy being out and about holding hands.
Want to attend a summer festival but can't afford the admission? Volunteer at the event. Helping set up or sell merchandise can be rewarding and fun. When the shift is over, you can catch the headliner or get in the next day for free.
A farmers market is a healthy and cheap place to spend a few hours on a summer date. Treat your eyes and stomachs to fresh local produce and homemade goodies, and people watch for entertainment. Buy what you need for a romantic dinner, then head home and whip up something delicious to share.
Many communities host summer movies in parks and on lawns, which can make for particularly romantic summer date when the right movie is playing. A local drive-in is a fine alternative and can provide more privacy. It may be a blast from the past, but it's a nice change from the run-of-the-mill megaplex.
Athletic types can rent bicycles and take a ride. Some communities have rent-a-bike programs and others, such as Denver, offer biking tours of the city. If no such program is available in the area, improvise. Use your own bikes or borrow from friends to explore the city on wheels. Or, head to a state park and take a hike instead.
In addition to fairs and festivals, many communities host summer concert series -- often for free. Pack some snacks, maybe a bottle of wine, and a blanket to cuddle up for a delightful and romantic summer date.
If a summer concert isn't happening, hit up a local bar with a patio. Chances are there will be a band, a solo act, or open mic night if you go at the right time. Take in the scene and enjoy a cold one.
Instead of the typical dinner out, go cheaper and opt for dessert out. What better way to celebrate summer than with an ice cream treat? Or, stop by the local pastry shop and snack on sweet delicacies. As the capstone to this summer date, choose a place with a patio and linger as the sun sets.
Pack a cooler, grab some poles, and head to the nearest fishing hole. In today's fast-paced world, a slow day of fishing is a chance to catch up and relax in each other's company.
Find a spot with a view and watch the sunset together. Once the stars come out, search for constellations and identify them using an app or book. Make a game of it: Whoever finds a specific star, planet, or constellation -- or the most of all three -- wins.
Turn up the volume on a favorite playlist, roll down the windows, and hit the road. Find some scenic back roads to explore and see where the day takes you.
Fourth of July isn't the only summer occasion with fireworks displays. Check the calendar, find a good spot (hint: the top level of a parking garage is a good bet), and gaze at the spectacle. Take along some sparklers and chilled beverages in a cooler to make it more fun.
Even if you aren't really ready to take the next step and move in together, it can still be fun to hit up some open houses. It's free and you can get to know each other better by comparing likes and dislikes.