7 Fun (And Cheap) Summer Date Ideas

I grew up in Vermont, where you pretty much can’t go outside for six months of the year because it’s so cold. Like, you can’t breathe, cold. Like, your boogers freeze in your nose, cold. It’s a rough half year, but the one thing that makes it all worth it is how beautiful the summer is in comparison. We’re talking perfect, rolling green countryside speckled with farms and lakes and “camp,” which is what we call the small summer cabins that Vermonters have. And you can bet one thing is on the mind of my fellow northerners when the warm weather rolls around: Fun summer dates.

Romance is definitely in the air when we emerge from our layers and layers of wool and fleece and snow pants, shyly showing off more leg than anyone has seen in what seems like forever. After being cooped up for so long, we’re all dying to get outside, get some sun, and get a little action, preferably all at once. It’s a heady time of year, for sure, and one that I always look forward too.

So, yeah, growing up in that freezing environment and being basically broke for most of my life means that I’ve come up with some pretty great, totally affordable ideas for summer dating that you don’t have to be from Vermont to appreciate. Check out these seven.

1. Buy A Kiddie Pool And A Six-Pack

Who can afford a grown-up sized pool? Not me! Instead, go grab a kiddie pool, a six-pack of your favorite craft brew, a sexy swim suit, and spend the afternoon relaxing together. Bonus points if your hangout spot is hidden from the neighbor’s eyes so you can get busy.

2. Go Hiking And Camping

This is a little bit too outdoorsy for me most of the time (I’m more of a “enjoy nature from the path” person) but I’ve been known to do a bit of camping in my day. Most states have parks or mountains that are open to the public for a solid hike and a overnight. Or, if you’re feeling a little less adventurous, find a local campground and pitch your tent there!

3. Have A Picnic

I think I love the idea of picnics more than is rational, but probably because I picture a perfect 1950s scene with a vintage basket and a beautiful, full skirt dress. But even if you don’t have full Mad Men regalia, picnics are a great way to spend a romantic afternoon. Go get some tasty finger food treats at the local gourmet shop, grab an old blanket, and post up somewhere picturesque.

4. Find A Swimming Hole

Are swimming holes just a Vermont thing? We’re really, really into them here. Do some googling to find out if there are any good swimming holes near you and get ready for a refreshing afternoon of diving into mountain-cold water and sunning on the rocks.

5. Rent A Lakeside Airbnb

If you feel like treating yourself this summer, there’s nothing more lovely than a lakeside cabin. I can personally spend hours (days?) browsing quaint cabins on Airbnb and I can tell you that there are definitely affordable options out there. Take a look — you might be surprised by what you find.

6. Go On A Mini Road Trip

Road trips are such a quintessential American past time, aren’t they? Pick a place that’s not too far from home but is different enough from where you live and hit the open road with your love. This one is equally fun if you find a cheap hotel to stay in before setting out or if you just head out and trust destiny to find you a place to sleep.

7. Go Canoeing

I have strong, beautiful memories of canoeing around the lake with my high school boyfriend. (Well, to be fair, he canoed and I looked at the water.) Drifting along in a canoe is hella romantic and can absolutely be combined with any number of the ideas I’ve listed above. What are you waiting for? Summer won’t last forever!

Images: Fotolia; Giphy (7)