Summer. Toes in the sand, sun-kissed skin, dresses, sandals, eating on the patio, BBQs, beaches . . . the happy season is here! Summer 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 to 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 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.”1
For many individuals, emotional connectedness is necessary to generate sexual desire, another important aspect of any long-term committed relationship. 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 those who did not.2 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 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 an excellent 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.”3
- Higher quality relationship — when couples engage in fun activities outside the typical dinner and movie date, they build a higher quality bond.4 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.”
29 Fun 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 29 summer date night ideas:
Hiking makes the soul smile. We have discovered a ton of fantastic hiking trails in our area. We grab some water, 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, nature, or 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 fantastic 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 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 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. Grab a bag and a stick and volunteer to clean up some local area — wear gloves for extra safety.
7. Historic Stroll
We walked downtown once and realized there were little plaques every few houses sharing the home’s history. Learning about our city’s past, walking together, and seeing historic buildings was cool. Stroll around your town for a summer date night idea and be a tourist in your 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 be fun — you get to talk along the way and have a destination to go for a walk in the area or have a picnic. Exploring a new place is exciting. Another idea is to test-drive your dream cars!
This is my favorite day date idea with my husband. Bike to the beach, bring a blanket and rest together before biking back home or to your car. Check out some local bike trails, too.
14. Scavenger Hunt
These are super fun. 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 with many stores. It felt almost like Boston. It was a beautiful day — the kind of day that brings instant joy.
Have a photoshoot at the beach, a park, or anywhere. Go during the “magic hour,” 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 pictures 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 has food samples 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.
21. Play Mini Golf
Take a stroll back to the younger years of dating and head to the mini-golf course! A good helping of healthy competition with some ice cream afterward is the perfect ingredient for a great date night!
22. Have a Bonfire Night
Gather the ingredients for your favorite fireside snacks, such as s’ mores and the like, grab a blanket, and head outside for a bonfire. Cuddling, star-gazing, and watching the fire dance is pure romance.
23. Make Homemade Ice Cream After Bedtime
Put the kiddos to bed and enjoy some good old homemade fun! Homemade ice cream is the BEST and so fun to make together. Grab your favorite toppings and have an old-school ice cream social, just the two of you.
24. Go on a Picnic
Make a great take-along dinner or grab food on your way, take a walk somewhere special, just the two of you, or find a place with a beautiful view and have a picnic. Enjoy the scenery and the company!
25. Buy Tickets for a Concert You’re Both Excited About
An outdoor concert is so fun and is the proverbial gateway into summer. There is something about listening to your favorite band under a blanket of stars that is so romantic. Grab your tickets, your favorite cold beverage, and a folding chair!
26. Start a Water Gun Fight
A water gun fight is an entertaining summer date for the whole family. Grab your super soakers, maybe some food coloring to add a fun twist to the water, and head outside. The kids will love it, and the memories will last a lifetime!
27. Watch a Movie Under the Stars
Some communities offer a movie in the park night, but if not, set up a homemade projector and pick your favorite flicks. If you’re feeling social, invite the neighbors to join. Otherwise, cuddle up with some popcorn and enjoy!
28. Find a Local Farmers Market
Head to your local farmers market and spend the morning perusing what unique items are there. It is an excellent opportunity to buy locally and support small businesses. Plus the fresh food is delicious!
29. Discover Summer Fairs and Festivals
If heading out for a night on the town sounds good, research local events and enjoy carnival sweets! There always seem to be various festivals going on in the summer. Find one that suits you and enjoy a night out!
These are just a few ideas for summer date nights that are fun and easy. If you’re looking for even more inspiration to spice up your date night, we recommend playing the game It’s a Date!, which has tons of fun, scratch-off date ideas.
Spending time with your loved ones and creating special summer memories doesn’t have to be elaborate plans. Just filling up some super soakers and heading outside makes for a great time. Take the kids and the dog for a walk and watch them laugh and play while you watch from the sidelines, soaking up every minute of fun and sun! So, when will your next date night be? Do you have any other summer date night ideas to add to the list?