Stuck on date ideas?
Tired of reading the same lists with the same ideas?
That’s why I’ve created this gigantic list of every summer date idea that possibly think of. The best part is that they don’t require a lot of money, making many accessible to almost anyone.
Read on to learn 80 best summer date ideas that are free or cheap.
80 Best Summer Date Ideas That Are Free or Cheap
Take some time scrolling through this list, considering what both you and your partner would enjoy doing together.
#1 Visit a Museum
Even if you’ve been to the museum before it can be different with a partner. Explore new exhibits and see what they’re interested in.
#2 Have a Picnic
Pack some drinks and food and find a spot to sit down. Picnics are somehow made better when you have a proper picnic better. You can probably pick one up for cheap at your local thrift store.
Get your lunch or few a few snacks ready and lay out a blanket. You can set the mood with some music played through Bluetooth speakers.
#3 Midnight Picnic
Another version of the picnic is the midnight picnic. This adds another level of romance to an already-cute date.
Set the vibe with slow music and battery-operated twinkle lights.
#4 Wine and Cheese Picnic
If you don’t want to pack lunch, you can simply bring your partner out for a casual wine and cheese picnic.
Select a few different types of meats, cheeses and cracks. Add additional foods, like pickles, vegetables and dips to create a full charcuterie board.
If you want to bring wine on your picnic, make sure you’re in a city where you’re allowed to have open alcohol in parks. Or find a place out of public view.
#5 Have a Walk
Walks seem basic but they make for great first dates. Action tends to lessen your nerves. Plus, you can comment on things happening around you. This means silence and pressure to talk are less likely.
#6 Go for a Hike
Whether you’ve hiked before or not, walking can be a great activity to bond with our partner. Since they’re
#7 Go Kayaking
Kayaking is one of the best Summer Date Ideas That Are Free if you know someone with a kayak. If not, they may be cheap to rent in your location. You might paddle away to an island and have a picnic.
#8 Questions Game
Sit down with your partner with a drink or snack and take turns exchanging questions.
You can have a prepared list or choose from a large list of questions to ask your date.
Ask each other the same questions or different ones, it’s up to you.
This is a great activity to learn about your partner and get closer.
#9 Go to the Beach
Over course, one of the best summer date ideas that are free is going to the beach. Pack your bathing suit, a towel, sunscreen, water and meet your partner on the way.
#10 Wedding Crash
If there’s a wedding going on near you and it looks fun, see if there’s a way to join the party. Bonus points if you get free food and drinks without getting kicked out.
#11 Explore Your City
Summer is tourist season—so why not be a tourist in your own city? If there are attractions that you haven’t seen in years, visit them again with your date.
#12 Try The Questions for Love
Have you heard of The New York Times’ Questions That Lead to Love? It’s an article that details 36 questions to ask your partner. By the end of it, you’re supposed to have more love for them.
Make it a date by asking these questions over a drink or during a romantic midnight picnic.
#13 Rent a Local Airbnb
If you don’t have money or time for a big vacation, see if you can find an Airbnb just a few hours away for a reasonable price. If you want, look for places near lakes or nature centers so you can spend time outside enjoying the summer.
If there’s an aquarium near you, they can make fantastic date ideas for rainy days and romantic summer nights.
#15 Go to a Flea Market
Warm summer weekends are perfect for shopping at the flea market. Whether you’re shopping for garden vegetables or antiques, it’s fun to experience the vendors with your date.
#16 Make Dinner
Try a new recipe with your partner and have fun working toward a goal together.
#17 Go Fishing
Get a rod and some bait or tackles and head to your nearest lake. Since finishing can be boring, it can be a great time to talk and get close with your partner.
If your partner is creative, decide on a craft to make together. If you’re stuck, search “Summer Crafts for Adults” on Pinterest to get ideas.
#19 Go to a Paint Night
Check out your local paint night. Even if you’re not an artist, research shows that partners who attend paint nights experience a boost of oxytocin—the love hormone. Interestingly, the highest boost was seen among men.
#20 Make a Tree House
If you have a backyard, ask for your partner’s help in making a treehouse. This is a great project you can keep returning to. Look to Pinterest for aesthetic inspiration.
#21 Outdoor Yoga
During the summer, many yoga classes are offered outside. See what’s available locally and bring your partner.
#22 Make a Summer Dessert
If you have a local market, pick up a fruit in season. Then make a dessert with it while your partner helps. For example, pies are hard to make—making it a great 2-person project.
#23 A Good Deed Day
Choose a nice day and walk around your city doing nice deeds for people. You can make a list beforehand so you can prepare. Examples include:
- Paying for coffee for the person behind you
- Anonymously paying for a random table’s meal
- Leaving coins around
- Leaving scratch tickets around
- Assisting if it looks like someone needs help
- Handing out packages to homeless people
- Complimenting people
To gamify it, see how many you can do in one day.
#24 Watch the Stars
Where you have a backyard or need to go to a park, bring blankets and romantically stargaze with your partner.
#25 DIY Paint Night
If you don’t have a paint night near you or don’t want to spend the money, have a DIY paint night date instead. Pick a painting tutorial on YouTube (I recommend Painting with Jane). Look at the notes to see the colors she used. Then, head to the dollar store and pick up similar colors, a canvas and some brushes. Follow the tutorial with your partner and see how it turns out.
#26 Have a Campfire
If you have a backyard or public space where you can, start a fire and roast some marshmallows. If you like horror, have a few ghost stories ready. Or just drink some beer and talk.
#27 Sample Foods or Drinks
Prepare a food sampling for your partner. This could include any food or drink they like:
#28 Have a Themed Night
Pick a country and make the entire date around it. For example, let’s say you choose Italy. You could dress in similar styles, cook Italian food, make Italian dessert and watch an Italian movie. If you’re up for it, you could even learn a few words of the language.
#29 Go to a Festival
There’s so many festivals during the summer, it can be hard to choose. Pick one and plan to attend with your partner.
#30 Spa Night
Even in the summer, sometimes you just need a night in for self-care. Have your partner join you for face masks, foot baths and massages.
#31 Outdoor Mini Golf
Outdoor mini golf can be a fun way to connect with your partner while catching some rays.
See what volunteer opportunities exist near you and help out with your date.
#33 Create a Couple Bucket List
Create a bucket list of things you want to do with your partner. If you plan to be with them forever, list things that may seem out of reach now, like a vacation or buying a house.
#34 Have a Fondu
Choose whether you want to have a cheese or chocolate fondue. Then, buy ingredients to dip in it.
#35 Christmas in July
In a gift-giving mood? Choose a day in July and make it Christmas again.
#36 Create a Summer Bucket List
To narrow your bucket list down even further, what do you hope to do with your partner this summer? Make a list of fun date ideas.
#37 Visit a Small Town
If you want to visit somewhere new for the day, pick a small town near you. Drive out and explore small shops or cafes.
#38 Go to an Escape Room
Work with your partner to solve clues and release yourselves from the room.
#39 Play Cards
Pull out a deck of cards, pick a game and see who wins. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also learn a new game using YouTube.
Go on a canoe adventure with your partner. Portages are planned ahead of time and involve overnight stays. Make sure you pick a route that’s easy if you’re a beginner.
#41 Go to a Baseball Game
Whether it’s a major one or just a local league, it’s fun to root for the same team.
#42 Go Skinny Dipping
If you have a private lake near you, why not skinny dip?
#43 Make Sangria
Choose red or white wine. Look up a sangria recipe or make your own. With your partner’s help, prepare the fruits and let it steep. Taste your create together and enjoy it on the patio or on a picnic.
#44 Food Truck Frenzy
If there’s a spot in town where all the best food trucks go, take your date and sample new foods.
#45 Have a Summer Couple Photoshoot
Want to capture the memories of the summer with your partner more formally? Plan a photoshoot. What will you wear? Where will you have it?
Make sure you have a tripod prepared, set your timer and strike your best pose.
#46 Visit a Waterfall
See which waterfalls are in your area and visit with your partner. Bonus points if you find one you can swim in.
#47 Relax in a Tube
If you’re near the water, put a tube in the water and just relax.
#48 Watch an Outdoor Movie
Some cities host free outdoor movie nights that everyone can attend. Pack a blanket and snacks and go with your partner.
#49 Water Balloon Fight
Fill balloons with water and challenge your partner to a duel.
#50 Go to a Pool
If you have access to a pool, take your partner for a splash. Some hotels allow you to buy day passes to use their facilities.
#51 Go Biking
If you and your date bike, make a day out of it. Bring some snacks, choose a long route and get peddling.
#52 Rock Climbing
Find a rock climbing class and get your blood pumping.
#53 Boat Ride
If you know someone with a boat, ask if you can take it out for the day or rent it for a small fee.
#54 Rent Bikes
If you don’t have a bike, there’s probably somewhere near you that rents them. Plan a beginner’s route and take rests to chat.
#55 Road Trip
Even if you don’t have a destination in mind, going anywhere can be fun with the person you love.
#56 Roller Skating
If you don’t have roller skates, you might be able to rent them at a rollerskating facility near you.
#57 Visit a Garden
There’s probably some glorious gardens where you love—check them out.
#58 Breakfast in Bed
Fresh summer fruits are perfect for a nice surprise breakfast in bed for your partner. Complete it with juice (or a mimosa) and their favorite morning main.
#59 Ice Cream Bar
There’s not a lot better on a hot day than ice cream. Prepare a few flavors of ice cream along with ample topping. Set them up nicely and create delicious combinations with your date.
#60 Outdoor Beer Pong
…Because some nights you just want to go back to (or live in) your college days.
Paddleboarding can be a fun but challenging activity to learn with someone.
#62 Outdoor Concert
Whether it’s a free concert or one you scored tickets to, outdoor concerts bring the type of energy you want to bask in.
#63 Take a Cooking Class
Cooking classes are great ways to learn how to use fresh, local ingredients.
#64 Forest Walk
Forests can feel magical on a summer day. They’re also a great way to cool off. Pick a nature spot or conservation area with deep forests.
#65 Play Badminton or Tennis
Find an outdoor space and challenge your date.
#67 Go to an Amusement Park
If you want to get your adrenalin pumping, take your date on some roller coaster rides at a local amusement park.
#68 Romantic Takeout
If you want to have dinner with your partner, but don’t want to dine out or cook, there’s another option. You can make takeout romantic.
Light some candles and plate the takeout as they would in a restaurant. Dress up and serve it, pretending you’re on a fancy date.
#69 Pick Fruits
If there’s a local strawberry or apple farm near you, go pick some with your date!
#70 Go Camping
Another that tops the list of best summer date ideas that are free is camping. Find a place where you can pitch a tent for the night. Another option is to simply camp in your backyard for the night.
#71 Go Patio Hopping
On a nice summer night, choose an area where there’s a lot of bars and go patio hopping.
#72 Drive-In Theatre
Old fashioned drive-in theatres are so romantic, especially when they’re complete with blankets. Just be aware that the windows fog up when things get frisky.
#73 Water Gun Fight
Get some water guns at the dollar store and see who gets the most shots.
#74 Play 5-Ingredient Chef: BBQ Version
We’ve suggested playing 5-Ingredient Chef in other date idea guides. Like popular cooking shows, give yourself a set of ingredients and challenge yourself to make the best you can out of it. See who comes up with the best creation.
The summer version is a bit different: All foods or desserts must be cooked on the BBQ.
#75 Plan a Vacation
Wish you were on vacation but aren’t? Make a date out of planning a vacation. Where would you go? What would you see? Make a list of attractions you’d visit or places you’d stay. If you want, create a Pinterest vision board.
#76 Have a Smoothie Competition
If you love summer fruit, challenge your partner to a smoothie-making completion. Take turns taking your best shot at a fruit-infused concoction.
#77 Day Drinking
Day drinking isn’t technically a date idea. But sometimes it’s nice to have day drinks on a patio, beach or somewhere enjoying the afternoon sunshine.
#78 Projection Movie Night
If you have access to a movie projector, cast a movie in your backyard. Make the space romantic and cozy with blankets and patio or fairy lights.
#79 Play a Board Game Outside
To make board games less boring, change the environment. Go to the park, lay down a blanket and challenge your date.
#80 Play Bartender
Grab some cocktail mixes or collect few recipes to make. Buy the ingredients necessary and create a signature couple cocktail.
Summary of Best Summer Date Ideas That Are Free or Cheap
Even if you don’t have a lot of money, you can still make the best out of summer. Whether it’s inside or outside, you’ll find an idea on this list that will bring you and your partner closer together.