Summer. Toes in the sand, sun-kissed skin, dresses, sandals, eating on the patio, BBQs, beaches . . . the happy season is here! Summertime is the perfect time to get outside, relax, and schedule a (probably much needed) date night with your spouse. Spending time together as a couple is one of the main ways you can show your love for your spouse. It’s a simple, yet powerful, concept. However, a lot of couples, especially those with children, can hit some roadblocks when it comes to scheduling time together. One of those things is the cost of dating. Getting all dolled up for a fancy dinner in a swanky restaurant, perhaps with a chocolate martini nightcap, is always fun. But those things add up quickly!
Luckily, there are quite a few ways you and your spouse can spend time together on the cheap (or FREE!). Spending less money, or even no money at all, brings something special to date night. Instead of enjoying things, you end up enjoying each other.
Benefits of Date Nights
Often, couples think date nights are a luxury, but in reality, they are a necessity. According to Psychology Today, “the initial romantic love relationship lasts less than two years for most couples. Inhibited desire affects one in three couples. Putting date night back into the routine can help couples work as a team to rekindle desire.”
For many individuals, emotional connectedness is necessary to generate sexual desire, another important aspect of any long-term committed relationship. In fact, your marriage is more likely to succeed by having one date night a week. According to one study, couples who had date night once a month stayed together more than the other couples who did not. And the benefits of dating don’t end there! Here are some other benefits of scheduling regular date nights with your sweetheart.
Date Night Benefits:
- Date nights relieve stress!
- Feels great to get dressed up! Nice clothes, makeup, earrings – you just feel pretty.
- Anticipation is the best feeling. I love planning something fun and getting excited for it to come. Especially during days of chaos with our 4-year-old. Something to look forward to.
- A chance to reconnect as friends – the busy day-to-day life with kids and work is exhausting. Date nights clear away all the hustle and bustle, and it’s just you two. Just like when you first dated. We all want to feel young love again, don’t we?
- Sets a great example for the kids – your kids will notice that you love each other.
- Date night is an opportunity to communicate. Communication may help couples “deepen their understanding of one another and the relationship.” Communication is important because “individuals continue to change,” and over time, “as they and their relationship develop, they experience new challenges and problems.”
- Higher quality relationship – when couples engage in fun activities outside of the normal dinner and a movie date, they build a higher quality bond together. Laughing together, experiencing the world together, and having joyful moments together, take the relationship to a new level.
- Date nights may strengthen a couple’s sense of commitment to one another. “Partners who put one another first, who steer clear of other romantic opportunities and who cultivate a strong sense of ‘we-ness’ or togetherness are markedly happier than are less-committed couples.”
20 Free Summer Date Night Ideas
So, how can you and your significant other get out this summer and get some quality date nights without breaking the bank? Here are 20 FREE summer date night ideas:
Hiking makes the soul smile. Since the quarantine, we have discovered a ton of amazing hiking trails in our area. We grab some water, some snacks, and our eco tick repellant spray that works amazingly well (never a tick!). Put everything in the backpack and then hit the trails. Usually, we go with our kid, but just us two would be an amazing summer date night.
2. Free summer concerts
Many cities and towns have free summer concerts – weekly where we live. Bring some drinks and snacks from home, chairs or a blanket, and enjoy the music and the beautiful summer weather for your summer date night.
3. Play a Game
My husband and I love playing cards and I even taught him cribbage. Find a nice spot in your neighborhood, in nature, or in your town to sit and play cards. Heck, even play at home. Grab some snacks and wine or whatever you have at home.
Sitting by the fire and just talking is always fun. Sometimes you can start one on the beach (if allowed) or in your backyard.
5. Visit a Local Farm
We have this amazing farm called Sherwood Farm in Easton, Connecticut. You can buy produce at their farm stand store or pick pumpkins in the fall, but the farm is open to the public year-round. You are allowed to walk the grounds and go visit the animals. They have alpacas, mini horses, cows, goats, sheep, and chickens. We bring old produce from home – carrots, apples, green beans – and feed the animals. It’s such a fun experience – something about animals makes us so happy. They have a big field too so you can bring a blanket and just relax, which is a perfect summer date night idea.
6. Volunteer Together
We’ve noticed a ton of trash at our beaches, boardwalks, and even hiking trails since the quarantine. Grab a bag and a stick and go clean up some local area – wear gloves for extra safety.
7. Historic Stroll
We were walking downtown once and realized there were little plaques every few houses sharing the history of the home. It was cool to learn about our city’s past, walk together, and see historic buildings. Take a stroll around your town for a summer date night idea and be a tourist in your own city.
8. Bridge Walk
My husband took me to the Brooklyn Bridge on our first date – it was so fun! Make sure you are allowed to walk over the bridge and that there is a walkway to be safe.
9. Paint and Leave Kindness Rocks
Grab some of your kid’s paint and some rocks outside. Paint a bunch of rocks and put messages on them like, “Kindness” “You Rock” “Good Luck Charm” “You’re Loved” “Smile – You’re Awesome” etc. and then go to the beach, a park, and/or hiking trails to leave them for people to find.
This is a great adventure. Get coordinates for hidden treasure stowed away by individuals from all over the globe.
Remember dates can be any time of the day so bring lunch from home and head to the beach for a picnic for lunch OR try a sunset picnic.
12. Take a Drive or Go for a Test Drive
Driving in the car can actually be fun – you get to talk along the way and have a destination in mind to go for a walk in the area or have a picnic. Exploring a new place is exciting. Another idea is to go test drive your dream cars!
This is my favorite day date idea with my husband. Bike to the beach, bring a blanket, and take a rest together before biking back home or back to your car. Check out some local bike trails too.
14. Scavenger Hunt
These are super fun and we did a bunch during the quarantine with our 4-year-old. Take the same idea but with an adult twist for a fun summer date night. Bring some to-go cups from home and add some wine or spiked seltzer inside — sip while scavenging. There are a ton of free printables online. Build your scavenger hunt with things in your neighborhood, at the beach, downtown, or on a trail. At the end of the hunt, this can be the place where you have a picnic or stargaze on a blanket.
15. Window Shopping
I love walking down the street and window shopping. One day we drove to New Haven, parked our car, and walked around a section that had tons of stores. It felt like Boston almost. It was a beautiful day – the kind of day that brings instant joy.
Have a photoshoot at the beach or a park or anywhere really. Go during the “magic hour” which is one hour before the sun goes down. The lighting is perfect for photos. You can color coordinate your clothes and bring a tripod or stand to take photos together (just set the timer on your cell phone or camera). Plus take photos of each other.
17. Food Samples
Stew Leonard’s near us in Connecticut or even Costco have food samples to try throughout the store. By the time you are done, you are full like you had lunch!
18. Music Under the Stars
Music ignites the soul . . . within minutes you feel happy. Add in the stars and you have a perfect, free summer date night.
19. Build a Vision Board
Create a vision board and write down your dreams (dreams as a couple) – one of the fastest ways to reach a goal is to visualize it and write it down. Find images on the internet that represent your dreams. Print them out. Take a bunch of magazines and thumb through – cut out any word or image that speaks to you. Get a large white poster board and arrange all the pieces on the board. Then glue. Hang it where you both can see it every day. Take a few minutes to look at each dream on the board, close your eyes, and visualize what that looks like (you in your dream house, driving your new car, cashing a big check, having a healthy baby, etc.).
20. Scan Old Pictures
I love doing this with my husband and it brings up so many happy memories over the last 10 years.
So when will your next date night be? Do you have any other summer date night ideas that are free to add to the list?