Thursday, August 14, 2008

Friday Night is Date Night! Part III: Dates in the Great Outdoors

We are nearing the end of summer, so now is a great time to take advantage of the warm weather (and gear up for the even nicer weather of fall) and head outside with your honey! Here are a few suggestions for some fun and frugal outdoor dates:

1. Tennis, Basketball, Frisbee Golf- any sport will do! There is something about the teasing that comes with competition that rekindles those flirtatious feelings. Go to your local park and make use of the tennis courts, basketball courts, and any other sport you might like to try! Pair this one with a fun picnic lunch or dinner (see #11 for a great menu and more ideas) or grab a cold treat for dessert. Just have fun and try not to beat him too bad... ;-)

2. Stargazing- It may sound cheesy, but why not get a book on constellations, grab your picnic blanket and a flashlight and find an open field from which to gaze into the heavens? There is something magical about snuggling close under the sparkling night sky, and you could even make it more memorable by picking out your own constellation and naming it together...

3. Go Exploring- This is one I have always wanted to try- get a die (like from a set of dice) and decide what direction each number will represent, like right, left, forward, look up, look down, kiss....Then you go to a "downtown"-type area and at every intersection, take turns rolling the die to see which way to go or look (or whether to lock lips!). You might be surprised at the things you'll see that you might not have discovered otherwise. This would be especially fun if you are new to the area.

4. Walk the Dog- Have a doggy date! If you own a dog, take him/her with you on your next date. Go to some dog-friendly places and just play. If you don't have a dog, go to your local animal shelter and volunteer for dog-walking duty. You and your sweetie are bound to have an adventure, and you'll be helping some furry friends along the way!

5. Batting Cages- This date is not completely free, but it is cheap. Just make sure that you take turns watching each other bat, and of course include as much good-natured teasing as you possibly can. If one of you hits one out of the park (hard to do, but my sweetie did once!), see if you can retrieve it, then autograph it for your biggest fan- your spouse! autographed baseball would also be a great invite for this one...

6. Hiking, Biking, Canoeing- This one is pretty straightforward. Bikes and canoes can be rented, and most state parks offer some pretty cool nature programs like moonlit hikes and evening canoe trips. It's definitely worth checking into!

7. Park Hopping- This could be a one-nighter or a series of dates- get a list of all the local parks in your area and then visit each of them and decide what you like/don't like about them. You may discover places you have never been before, or even just find that there were parts of parks you hadn't explored before. Be sure to find the best picnic spot in each park, and then "stake your claim". Each time you return you can go back to "your spot."

8. Go Back to High School- This is not as traumatic as it sounds! With the fall coming up, there will be lots of high school football games scheduled. Make a date to attend one and relive the fun of those Friday night lights! Get concessions, cheer as loudly and obnoxiously as you dare, and hold hands with your sweetheart.

9. Photo Fun- This one has a wide range of possibilities- grab your camera and get dressed up to take glamour shots of each other. Do a full modeling session- the cheesier the better! Be sure to try lots of different locations as backdrops. If you're camera-shy, then just find things that inspire you and snap away. Then take your camera to a one-hour photo and check out the results together. The best part is that you'll have a fun collection of photos to remember your date by. (note: if there is another couple you can do a double date with, try a photo scavenger hunt- losers buy the winners ice cream, and everyone has a blast looking at the photos afterward!) See last #3 on last week's post Part II: Dates at Home for an idea for what to do with the photos!

10. Heart Attacks- Put together some treat baskets or cookie plates for friends, then put on your ninja gear and sneak it up to their door under the cover of night...ring the doorbell and book it out of there as quick as you can! You can either hide in the bushes to watch their reaction or one of you can be the getaway driver. I've heard that adrenaline can mimic the feelings of falling in love...

11. Picnic With the Works- If possible, choose a designated spot ahead of time and hide some items close by. The advanced preparation will show your sweetie how much you care. Include sparkling cider, champagne glasses, candles (remember, safety first!) and even a portable music player to set the mood. For a simple yet elegant menu, try chilled chicken salad on crescent rolls (keep these separate until it's time to eat), grapes, and spreadable cheese (NOT Cheez-Wiz, please!) on crackers. If you're more culinarily (yes, I just invented a word) inclined, then do a full 3-5 course meal! Just make it romantic and special, and you will be bound to have a night to remember.

Check back next Friday for Part IV: Indoor Dates!

Have you tried any of the dates in the series? Do you have any more fun date ideas to share? Leave a comment!


  1. Great article! I really appreciated the breakdown. Although I've gone through this process in the past, your wonderful article caused me to re-think some things and re-apply the principles to the GAS MONSTER we all are facing.
    Many thanks!!!

  2. I LOVE #10 - Heart Attacks! Sounds SUPER fun! We will definitely have to try that one!

    Thanks for the great ideas!


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