Yes, it’s hot outside, but there are still plenty of ways to get out and enjoy the last few weeks of summer, including such classics as a picnic, a bike ride, or a concert in the park. But if you want something a bit more unusual as you try to impress your date and set the stage for romance and connection, here are some outdoor dates that’ll let you showcase your creativity by designing a totally unique (and memorable) experience.
1. Get on the ball. Take in a game, any game. An athletic event is a terrific dating experience. Even if you don’t know all the ins and outs of the sport, you can enjoy just being a part of an energetic crowd, while still having time to sit together and talk. For example, there’s probably a minor league baseball team playing near you this weekend. The tickets are cheap, it’s a fun atmosphere, and there’s a decent chance you’ll each take home a cap or a bobblehead doll as a memento from your date.
Or go see a high school football game. Depending on what region of the country you’re in, you and your date might get to experience passion like no other as you watch a whole community rally around the exploits of a group of sweating teenagers. Or, for an event sure to produce all kinds of laughs, meet for a Saturday-morning breakfast, then take in a peewee soccer game, where you’ll witness the adorable hilarity of a dozen five-year-olds trying to kick the exact same ball at the exact same time.
2. Travel with a theme. Plan a “progressive” date, moving from place to place, each one connected by a theme. For instance, you could choose golf as your theme and begin with a round of putt-putt. Then head to a public golf course and spread out a blanket in a sand trap and enjoy a picnic. (Hint: Schedule your dinner late enough that most golfers have already gone home; a golf ball size welt would help your date remember the evening, but not in the same way a bobblehead doll would.) Then settle in for some laughs with a golf movie such as Caddyshack. If you’re up for it, wear golf clothes for the evening; after all, everyone looks their best in a pair of plaid knickers and a hat with a fuzzy ball on top.
3. Go inside out. Grab an extension cord, move your television and couch onto the lawn, and watch your favorite show or movie outdoors. Set up TV trays, nuke some popcorn, and “stay in” under the stars. And for that extra-special ambience, turn on a sprinkler and set up a flood lamp to create some Vegas-style dancing waters. Or pull your hibachi stove over near the couch (not too near!) and light up some charcoal. Nothing says romance quite like a glowing pyramid of briquettes.
4. Give something back. Find an organization committed to something you both believe in, and volunteer your time together. It might involve working with your hands, serving food, assisting with animals – whatever. This can be a great way to enjoy each other, help others, and establish certain priorities as part of your growing relationship. Be sure to make this experience fun. Pick up doughnuts or burritos on the way, and save some time afterward to go for coffee or ice cream and debrief about your time together. Talk over the most meaningful and funny moments of the day, and congratulate each other for extending your date time beyond just yourselves.
5. Go for a “pic-knickknack.” OK, so maybe the name for this date’s not so great. But the idea is to combine a picnic with a hunt for knickknacks. Find a local flea market or farmers market where you two can stroll together, people-watching and trolling for strange and interesting hidden treasures. If you like, you can inject some competition into the date. Wager $5 on who can discover the most bizarre home furnishing. Or maybe the last one to find Elvis paraphernalia has to buy the kettle corn. Or, to be even more elaborate, you could design a scavenger hunt beforehand, agreeing on a list of sought-after items. Then afterward, settle down curbside for a sausage on a stick, an ear of roasted corn, and some fresh-squeezed lemonade. None of this costs much money. All that’s really required is a bit of effort and creativity. So go on, get out there before the weather turns chilly, and enjoy the outdoor possibilities.