30 great outdoor dating ideas for summer
Attend an outdoor concert
Good music sounds even better when you have the chance to hear it outside in the open air. Many parks, wineries and even zoos now host outdoor concerts, and there are a number of major concert venues that are designed to take advantage of their natural settings and spectacular views. Check your local listings online.
-- By Sharon O’Brien
Share a romantic picnic dinner
Picnic. Good. Romance. Good. Put them together and you’ve got the ingredients for a really great date. Pack a picnic basket with a good bottle of wine and your favorite easy-to-eat foods; grab a sturdy blanket that is big enough to comfortably accommodate you both yet small enough to ensure a little intimacy; and arrange to finish your dessert just in time to watch the sunset with your hands free.
Watch a baseball game
There’s a reason baseball is called America’s pastime. Whether you’re watching a team from the major leagues, the minors or just the local high school, there is something about the smell of the grass, the feel of the sun on your back, and the taste of a hot dog with mustard that can transform the most lackluster afternoon into a perfect day.
Step out on a gallery walk
Many small and mid-sized towns now hold gallery walks—one night each month when art galleries stay open late, serve wine and finger food, and invite people to wander from one showcase to another and discuss the art they see. In larger cities, different neighborhoods may each have their own gallery walks on nights that don’t conflict.
Tour the Japanese garden
Summer is a wonderful time to tour your nearby Japanese garden. Many varieties of flowers, plants and ornamental trees will be in bloom—their images reflected in the pond where colorful koi circle silently. Stroll hand-in-hand through the garden, enjoy the serenity it offers, and meditate on where this date could lead.
Video: Choosing a date location
Rent or borrow a couple of kayaks, a rowboat or a sailboat—whatever makes the most sense considering your experience and ability—and spend the afternoon or early evening exploring local waterways. Moving slowly through the water in a wind- or human-powered craft will reduce your stress level, give you and your date a chance to talk, and increase your chances of spotting some wildlife.
In many places, the return of summer also heralds the return of the local farmers markets. Go early to get the best selection of local fruit, vegetables and other produce. While you’re there, sample local honey, preserves and baked goods, and check out all the different handicrafts. Take your treasures back to your place and put together a nutritious lunch.
Build a sand castle
If you live close enough to a sandy beach to make it a day trip, head to the shore and spend the day beachcombing and building sand castles. If a quick trip to the beach isn’t possible, then find a park or school with a sandbox, bring your own water to wet down the sand, and build a sand castle that will delight the kids when they show up the next morning.
Have a barbecue for two
Summer is prime barbecue season. It doesn’t matter whether you’re using an old charcoal grill or a shiny new gas model, just mix up some marinade, lay in a good supply of your favorite cold beverage, and cook up a little romance in your own back yard.
Take advantage of the nice summer weather to tune up your bikes, dust off your helmets and get back out there. Make a date to do one of your favorite rides or try a new one that promises great scenery and enough challenge to get your blood moving. Pack a lunch in your panniers and make a day of it.