By Brittany Rust, Crosswalk.com
There is something so special about summer not captured any other time of the year; we feel renewed and energetic! At least I do, as the winter chill lifts and those hot nights settle in. I want to be out more—exploring, absorbing, enjoying--the few months of the year that the days are longer. With that, there is no one I’d rather spend time with than my handsome husband.
Research shows time and again that those married couples who date regularly, and furthermore, try new activities together, tend to have more meaningful relationships. A study published by Indiana State University in 2014 showed that couples who engaged in new experiences together on a regular basis had more romantic relationships long-term. Bottom line—get out with your spouse this summer and have fun together!
The ideas below for summer date nights will encourage time together that will hopefully create lifelong memories.
Getting out with your spouse and breathing in the fresh air does wonders for the soul! It creates opportunity for deep conversation, laughs, and great sights along the way. You could even take it a step further and make a camping trip out of it. Conversations and s’mores around the fire have been some of my favorite memories with my husband! Not sure where to hike? Download the AllTrails app for suggestions.
2. Sunset Picnic at the Park
Who doesn’t love sunsets, picnics, and parks, especially when combined?! This can be a very romantic date that’s also gentle on the wallet. Fill a backpack or tote with some cheese and crackers, fruit, and light sandwiches, and head to a nearby park. As the sun sets you can enjoy a light meal and as night descends, enjoy some stargazing.
3. Baseball Game
One of America’s favorite pastimes! One of my most memorable dates my husband ever took me on was to a local minor league baseball game on a summer night. I’m not really all that into baseball itself but the energy of the crowd, the cracks of the bat, and the lights piercing the warm summer night sent good vibes my way and it was a blast!
4. Local Festival
This is a true favorite of mine, whether it be music, art, or food. Take a look at some local online calendars or search Facebook events to find local festivals going on around you. Peruse the works of local artists while enjoying an ice cream cone, take in the sounds of local musicians, or nibble your way through food stands from nearby restaurants. You’ll have a blast!
Having grown up surrounded by lakes and rivers, few things represent summer to me like fishing. If you already have some fishing poles (or even buy some cheap ones at Walmart), this can be a very affordable date. Go find a nearby lake, pond or river and have some laughs as you both throw lines into the water and wait for the bait to catch!
6. Stay-In Movie
This is a good one for all the movie lovers out there! Grab a Netflix movie, order some take-out (our go-to is Indian!), and build a pallet or get creative with a makeshift fort on the floor. This is a great date in that won’t break the bank.
7. Books & Coffee
This date is great for a rainy day; I’ve tried it a time or two. Head to a Barnes & Noble or locally owned bookstore, grab a cup of coffee, and explore books together. A fun idea: grab some travel books and dream about places you’d both like to explore. Another suggestion: buy a devotional book for couples and read the first day together right there, and let it lead you into meaningful conversation.
8. Painting Class
One of the latest crazes sweeping communities across the country are local painting classes for couples. I haven’t done this yet but you believe it’s on my list! Find a local studio that offers couples classes--a teacher guides you and your date through a painting process, each person working on one side so that when complete and put together, forms one piece of art for your house.
9. Dress Up & Go Out
The classic date night, but it must be said! I don’t know about the guys but most girls love getting dressed up and going out to a good restaurant, whether it’s a favorite or someplace new! Maybe you can surprise your date with a note letting them know to be ready in their favorite dress by 6 PM and take them on a surprise night out.
10. Day Road Trip
Is there someplace within a three-hour drive that you’ve been wanting to visit? Maybe a waterfall you want to see, or an apple orchard you’ve been wanting to visit. Maybe it’s a little town dotted with antique stores and family restaurants. Plan a day trip somewhere close and have a blast as you drive with the windows down, laugh at childhood stories, and explore places you’ve never been together.
11. Farmers Market & Dinner
How fun would it be to go to a local farmer’s market, taste the best resources of your hometown, and pick out ingredients for a creative dinner in. With your finds you can plan a fun night in with yummy food and great conversation.
12. Treasure Hunt
Plan a fun and romantic treasure hunt for your loved one around town. You can come up with little notes and clues that guide you and your date through town, exploring the sights and infusing the relationship with romantic vibes. You can also leave little gifts along the way, such as chocolate, gifts cards, and flowers!
13. Happy Hour & Urban Walk
Happy hour at local restaurants provides great prices and deals on food! Find a spot with an outdoor patio or seating area, order a bunch of appetizers off the menu, and enjoy the company over good food. When your stomach is full, walk through the streets as you hold hands and explore the sights around you. My husband and I have done this many times and always had a great time!
14. Progressive Dinner
My husband did this for me once on my birthday and I had such a blast! Pick three places you either adore and/or have wanted to try and plan a course at each restaurant. Appetizers at a tapa place, main course at another restaurant, and dessert somewhere sweet. Through it all you can walk and talk, hold hands, and decompress from the week.
15. Backyard BBQ
A favorite for me on a summer night! Head to the grocery store and pick up some meat, fruit, and potatoes, and head home for a BBQ out back. Cooking together can be a fun activity and sitting outside to enjoy the summer smells and sights can be the perfect way to spend a summer night.
The date night ideas are endless, and your own city offers unique suggestions for you and your date. Have suggestions you’d like to add? Leave a comment below!
Brittany Rust is a writer, speaker, and has the privilege of serving on staff at Red Rocks Church in Denver, CO. She and her husband Ryan make their home in the Rocky Mountains, pursuing outdoor adventures, great food, and memorable stories together. Her website brittanyrust.com aims to supply encouraging resources for the world-wearied believer.
Publication date: May 17, 2016