With dinner, drinks and an activity afterward, going on a date can be a budget buster. During the cooler months of the year, you can get away with calling Netflix at home in your jammies a date, but not so much during Summer.
Long, hot days can lead to endless possibilities when it comes to summer date ideas…and a hefty price tag. But summer dates don’t have to cost an arm and a leg; whether you’ve been with your boo for years or you just swiped right on Tinder, here are my top six affordable summer date ideas that won’t break the bank.
Take a Hike
A great summer date idea is using the Great Outdoors to your advantage – literally take a hike, but with your date. Almost all trails are free to hike, unless you’re in a National Park, where you may have to pay a small fee to access the trailheads. Pick a trail with a rewarding view from the summit or one that has gorgeous flora along the way. Getting outside and getting active together is something you can’t do when the weather gets colder, so enjoy this summer date while you can!
Date Essentials: reuseable water bottles ($10-$20), snacks ($10)
Total Cost: $20-$30
Picnic in the Park
Ok, I know this one sounds like it has been overdone, but hear me out! There are so many wonderful, free things that go on all summer long in public parks. My fiancé and I hit up our local park almost every weekend for an outdoor movie night, concert or festival. We pack the perfect picnic basket (well, we pack the perfect free grocery store reuseable tote!) with easy, inexpensive snack foods like hummus, nuts and crackers and our favorite $10.00 bottle of wine (if it’s allowed, always check park rules first) and enjoy each other’s company. The only money you’ll spend is the cost of admission, if any, to the park event, and your snacks.
Date Essentials: snacks and beverages ($20), blanket ($0), basket or tote ($0)
Total Cost: $20
Here at BLINQ, we love giving back and paying it forward. That’s why volunteering together is such a great summer date idea! Technically this is a date that can be done year-round, but there are so many volunteer opportunities during the summer months. Whether it is planting a tree or volunteering locally, you and your date will build up all the feel-good vibes knowing you’re doing a good deed, and that kind of positive energy is never bad on a date. Plus the only thing volunteering costs is your time, making it one of the most affordable (and altruistic) summer date ideas out there. Need some help getting started? VolunteerMatch will help you find the perfect volunteer opportunity for you and your date!
Date Essentials: an open heart and a good attitude
Total Cost: ZERO DOLLARS!
Go Back to School
Just because it’s Summer doesn’t mean school’s out completely. Summer dates are a great way to visit your local museum, or take a day class at the local community college. Often courses are discounted in the summer to increase attendance during the offseason. My fiance and I are meganerds, so we use summer weekends to visit nearby historical sites and monuments, which are almost always free or available for a small donation. Since most of these sites are free to the public; they’re an inexpensive summer date idea, with the added bonus of learning something new with your date.
Date Essentials: admission passes (if any), digital camera
Total Cost: $0 (depending on whether there is an admission fee)
Put on Your Mittens
If you’re like me, your thermometer probably reads 95 degrees or higher right now, so you probably think I’m crazy for suggesting that you break out your winter gear. But so many things are cheaper in their off-season. So think about winter activities you might be able to do in the summer; a perfect summer date idea is going on an ice-skating adventure in an indoor skating rink. They’re more common than you might think, especially if your town has a hockey team nearby. While everyone is stuck in traffic going to that overpriced beach town during high-season, you and your date will heat things up as you cool off on the ice.
Date Essentials: Rink fees ($5- $15 per person) and warm socks!
Total Cost: $20 – $30
Hop a Bus
I saved the best for last – my favorite Summer date idea! Take the bus, train or monorail to a nearby town and spend the day playing tourist there. All it will cost is the price of your ticket, and you’ll have hours of fun exploring the shops, restaurants and activities a new town has to offer. You’ll be surprised at the treasures you’ll find just in the next town over.
Date Essentials: Bus fare and guide book ($10)
Total Cost: $20 – $30
The best thing about each of these summer date ideas is that you can spend as little or as much as you want – it’s really up to you and your date. The most important thing to remember is that you’re spending meaningful time with someone you like.
Need more ideas? Check out our Romantic DIY ideas for every budget and these tips for fun and frugal date nights that are applicable all year long! And as always, don’t forget to stock up on summer date night essentials at BLINQ.com.