11 (Mostly Cheap) Summer Date Ideas That'll Help Turn Up the Heat

Updated 05/17/18

It isn't all that surprising that summer is the season that's so often associated with romance. Sure, winter has the coziness factor, and fall and spring share the common excitement of change, but summer is different. In these few middle months, when the days grow longer and feel lighter, it almost seems like relationships get the chance to reignite their spark. And since plans are inevitable for this time of year, it's also the perfect occasion to think of something special to do with your plus-one.

But wait! Don't assume that you have to pull off anything big. As great as a classic summer vacation would be—like, say, to Europe or across the country—a simple date or two will do just fine to create a warm memory. Here are 11 date ideas to consider whether your love is new or familiar.

summer dates ideas
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1 Month

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Go for a picnic: This is a simple and budget-friendly way to get to know someone while also enjoying the weather. Choose a time that won't be too hot—like the late morning or afternoon—and bring along a blanket and a bottle of wine to share. You can either head to a local Trader Joe's for food, or you can stroll around a farmer's market.

See a comedy show: There's a lot of pressure to be funny when you're first starting to date. Take a night off and allow some actual comics to share your spotlight. The Upright Citizens Brigade in Los Angeles and New York has shows under $10, so you can grab dinner, too.

6 Months

summer dates ideas
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Buy tickets to an outdoor movie: There's something about watching a classic film under the stars while surrounded by a bunch of other people who love it too. This is an especially fun idea if your partner hasn't seen a movie you adore. Our vote goes to Cinespia in Los Angeles, which projects its selections at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.

Find a free outdoor concert: Public parks often turn into concert venues in the summer, which means that you have an easy excuse to impress your plus one with this simple and easy plan. It doesn't matter if it's a bad cover band of the Beatles, either—you can make it fun.

Plan a bike tour: If you and your significant other are solid on two wheels, then plan a date around a personalized bike tour. This can include stops at your favorite restaurant, scenic areas, or where you first met.

1 Year

summer dates ideas
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Watch an outdoor play: It's safe to say that you did a fair amount of binge-watching this winter. So, why not spend a few hours staring at a live show instead? Community theaters often host budget-friendly options throughout the summer, but if you happen to be in London, Regent's Park Open Air Theatre is best.

Take a cooking class: What was the one dish you and your partner always ordered in when it was too miserable to go outside? Find a class where you can learn to cook it for yourself, and then spend the rest of the summer perfecting your skills.

Head to a baseball game: Are you coming down with something? Hm, that's funny—it seems like your date has it, too. As much as we love a night game, a baseball game in the middle of the day is even more fun to watch. Play hooky if you can and find a seat in the shade to enjoy this easy-to-chat-over sport.

Long-Term

summer dates ideas
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Go glamping: If the colder months were particularly busy, reconnect with your S.O. on a glamping trip. We've been eyeing Ventana Big Sur for months, but a simple tent filled with a few comforts will get the job done.

Learn a water sport: Depending on where you live, learning a water sport together can be something you and your significant other practice until fall. It could be surfing, water skiing, or even scuba diving—as long as it's a challenge you want to take on together.

Go to a carnival: The nostalgic rides and sweet eats are worth heading to a carnival on their own, but it's also a lot of fun to beat your long-time partner in a playfully competitive game, too.

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