For whatever reason, summertime often gets left out of the seasons of love. Fall is a time of cuddly hand-holding, and winter has been dubbed the season of cuffing. Summer, however, often ends up being the season of: “oh my god it's so hot stop touching me!” It's also the season of tacky patriotic decor, sunburns, and sand in unmentionable places – to bring up only a few of the key highlights. When there is a romantic dimension to summer, it's usually under the guise of “Summer Love,” which is defined not so much as a healthy romance, but more so as a remorseful memory to haunt your barcalounger years. Basically, it's a total bummer for anyone over the age of 19.
And yet, summer is the most fun season! It's a time for blooming trees, ripening foods and flowers of all kinds, beaches and water and sunburns – plenty of things that are suitable for romance. So, before you prepare for a fall and winter full of pumpkin spice everything, and crackling fires, and hot cocoa under blankets, consider some of these awesome summer dates to make the most of a season so often lost to romance.
1. Pick Something Together
Enjoyed by lovers everywhere, a quintessentially romantic date idea for the fall season is to go apple picking. But actually, there are a lot of fruits and berries growing in the summer months, too! In many parts of the U.S., you can take your pick of pickable goodies, like peaches, cherries, blueberries, strawberries, boysenberries, raspberries, figs… the list goes on and on. The point is, it's a fantastic date idea. After spending the day in the joy and fragrance of a berry patch or orchard, you can go home and make a pie (or muffins, or a crumble, or whatever).
2. Do Something Together You Used to Love to Do as a Child
No season is so full of nostalgia as summer. For most of us, we all have a summer activity that we used to enjoy as a kid, and, I swear, is waiting to be rediscovered. For me, its mini-golf. Man – did I love mini-golf when I was a kid! But for you, maybe its go-carts, or fishing, or slip-n-slides, or a water gun fight. Whatever activity brings you child-like joy, you can make it more special by sharing it with a person you really care about. So grab your partner and relive the past. Take a stroll down the toy aisle, visit your local arcade, or simply take a run through the sprinklers. Embrace the vulnerability of your childhood joy, and find a way to share it.
3. See Fireworks Not on the 4th of July
Fireworks are stupidly romantic. Think about it: it's dusk. You're sitting next to each other. It's a warm night. And the sky is on fire with color. That's amazing. Unfortunately, the 4th of July is NOT super romantic. You probably just ate a lot of hotdogs. You are with a crowd of other people. You very likely have been drinking in a belly-full-of-burps kind of way. So, the solution here is simple – find OTHER fireworks and watch those with your partner. Be thoughtful about it. Scout out a spot beforehand. Pack a blanket. Bring some drinks or other refreshments. Light a citronella candle to keep the bugs away. Make it special.
4. Pack a Picnic and Get Into Nature
Rather than fixing your significant other a special meal at home, change up the venue! Maybe you can find a field full of wildflowers. Maybe you have a park you like to hike in. Maybe there's a lake with a view nearby. Whatever it is, to be surprised with a meal in a special place is the kind of thing that turns a utilitarian meal into a memory. And besides, food tastes better outside anyway.
5. Play a Sport Together
Summer is a time for sports of all kinds, and breaking a sweat together is definitely romantic. Don't worry about keeping score, however. The goal is for it to be fun! If you don't regularly play sports as a couple, this is an opportunity to explore each other in a totally new way. Spend the afternoon flexing your Frisbee Golf skills. Learn from your partner how to play their favorite sport. Or share in an activity neither of you have tried before! Whatever you end up deciding to do, it's s a great way to spend a summer afternoon getting sweaty together.
6. Spend A Rainy Day Inside Doing Inside Things Together
The opposite of the above is enjoying one of the best things summer has to offer: a soaking, rainy, thunder-filled day. If ever there was a time to lounge in front of a movie, or play hours of old video games, or pull out a bunch of board games, or waste an afternoon on a jigsaw puzzle – a rainy summer afternoon is the best possible backdrop.
7. Volunteer Together
Even though being a grown-up means we're no longer off for the summer, this season still seems slower than the rest. Which means, if you are the kind of person who likes to give back, the long days of summer are a golden opportunity to do some charitable work. Volunteering is an enriching activity to share with your partner, and the summer offers lots of opportunities to do so. Summer programs for kids require extra volunteers, rising temperatures means an increase of visitors at homeless facilities, and animal shelters get their highest volume of animals in need. It's an ideal time to join hands and help out.
8. Hang Out with Animals
Speaking of animals: summer is a great time to hang out with them! Animals are adorable and being around them makes us happier. And aren't dates supposed to be happy events? Find a petting zoo, or a regular zoo, or an alligator farm or a goat yoga studio. Because hanging out with four-footed friends is a terrific way to connect your favorite two-legged person.
9. Go Stargazing
Stars: now showing every night in a sky near you! The night sky is definitely underrated and underappreciated, especially when it creates a such a romantic date night backdrop, at no cost to you. For most the year, it gets pretty chilly when the sun goes down. But not in August, when the darkness begins to show up earlier and earlier in the evening and the stars are brightest in the middle of the night. It's one of few times when you can lay out a blanket on a wide, open field at 3 AM and stare up to see meteor showers and trace out constellations (The Perseid Meteor Shower peaks every year in the beginning of August––perfect timing to enjoy the night skies).
10. Treat Yourself for a Day
It's nice to live in luxury, if only for a day. A Saturday in the summer can turn into a chance to live life in a way you don't always get to. An afternoon with someone you really like is a great time to do something that's a little expensive and a beyond your norm. It's a chance to rent a convertible, or book a staycation at a nearby resort for the night, or whatever posh, stylish, and over-the-top thing that you would never ordinarily treat yourself and your date to.
…One Final Note
The main thing about each of these dates is not just to do them, but to do them thoughtfully, intentionally, and with forethought. You can't really call it a date if you just end up staring at the sky for 30 minutes in the dark. You have to plan it out. Put a blanket in the car and pack a thermos of cocoa, then wake up your date as a surprise in the middle of the night to go stargazing. Or make a lunch reservation to end up at if you rent that convertible. Whatever it is you decide on, the point is to do it with the intention of celebrating your relationship, whatever stage it's in.