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13 summer date night ideas for the ages

By Maya Khamala

They say summer is the season of love. This is hardly surprising, considering the warmer weather, and the sun on your face. Also does anyone else feel like they somehow have fewer obligations this time of year? 

Maybe you’re dominating the dating apps with your hunger for a fair-weather fling. Or perhaps you're just getting to know a new but promising love interest who makes you weak in the knees. Or—maybe things with your SO are heating up fast and finally getting mad serious. Orrrrrrrr….. maybe you’ve been together for many years, but you still understand the raw sensuous power of a little prancin’ and romancin’.

Whatever the case may be, know this: there’s no shortage of stellar summer date night ideas out there—the trick is having a well-vetted inventory of fun and adventurous schemes at the ready should the opportunity to wine, dine, or entwine present itself.

Consider the following 13 summer date night ideas the next time you and your consort of choice are ripe for a night out.

1. Go to the drive-in

If you’re lucky enough to have a good ol’ fashioned drive-in close by, check their program, stat. There’s no better spot to nuzzle up and catch a movie against the backdrop of the setting sun and the starry sky, babe. Plus, you can bring your own snacks! No drive-in, no worry: many local parks air outdoor movies in the summertime. Or, if you've got a backyard, get creative with a projector and an old sheet! Hot tip: scary movies elevate your heart rate, which can increase feelings of attraction and love.

2. Surf ’n turf

It might not be the best first date (or maybe it is), but who says you can’t snag a cozy beach chair and fake a mini honeymoon? In other words, don your fave swimsuit and hit the beach if you have access to one—otherwise, find a lake, or a local pool—whatever brings you waterside! If it’s nighttime, skinny-dipping might be on the table (!), and if it’s daytime, remember that getting active is beneficial to romantic bonding: think kayaking, paddle boarding, surfing, or even a water aerobics class.

3. Life’s a picnic

Here’s a golden excuse to dust off that picnic basket. Venture as far as that clifftop lookout you’ve been wanting to take someone special, or as close as your own backyard, or the local park. Need inspiration? Try these portable picnic side dishes on for size—you’ll get some co-kitchen time with your beloved in the process. Nothing spells romance like winin’ and dinin’ in the cool grass—with good company.

4. Light a fire

If you’ve got a backyard—and fire laws allow—get busy building a beautiful bonfire together. Otherwise head to a campsite (maybe even make a weekend of it!). Then, all that’s left to do is pull up a chair or blanket, make some s'mores, spear some sausages, and pour a round of whiskey. Oh, and making out is allowed too.

5. Stargaze

Grab a blanket, and find a dark spot with a starry view, whether it’s a hilltop, a rooftop, or the roof of your pickup. Laying out under the night sky seeing what constellations you can find can be an incredibly romantic experience. For a bit of help spotting planets, stars, and constellations, download a stargazing app like SkySafari, Star Tracker, or SkyView.

6. Go dancing

Whether at a nearby class, a bar, a club, a local park, or in the privacy of your own living room, why not get all dressed up for the fun of it and surrender to the rhythm of the beat, I ask? You can dance fast and furious, or soft and slow—as the mood strikes thee. 

7. Fill up your cup

If you’re both lovers of wine, consider taking a trip to a local tasting room or a vineyard for a mini-vacay. There’s nothing quite like a palate-pleasing assortment of fine wines and cheeses to get a pair of paramours laughing and feeling the buzz of summer. Alternatively, make it an at-home date with an at-home delivery service!

8. Go for an aimless drive

Nothing like two lovers headin’ nice ‘n slow down a winding road. Nowadays, it sometimes seems that the art of "going for a drive” is all but lost, but you can always bring it back! Hop in the car, cue your favorite tunes, and take off. Whether it turns into a road trip or not is up to you.

9. Sungaze

Beauty is everywhere, if we slow down long enough to see it. And what better reminder than the sun? Head to the beach, the roof of your apartment, or any scenic outlook, snuggle up, and wait for the sun to rise, or set, as the case may be. Holding hands while sungazing can help you be present in the moment with your partner, which can only strengthen your bond.

10. Eat on a fancy restaurant patio

Get dressed to the nines and go out to a schmancy restaurant for dinner—you know, the kind you have to make a reservation at, way in advance. Order a bottle of champagne, because YOLO. To take full advantage of hot weather, be sure you’re seated on a patio, or better yet, a rooftop terrace!

11. Take a hike (or a bike)

Embrace the wilderness with your date by finding a scenic hiking/biking trail near you. There’s nothing like traveling through gorgeous landscapes together, while encouraging one another. Not to mention, if one partner is outside of their comfort zone, this gives the other a chance to show their protective/guiding/nurturing side.

12. See an outdoor concert

Summer is undeniably one of the best times to see your favorite bands perfume in outdoor venues. Especially in the wake of strict pandemic regulations, there's always someone amazing passing through town, so check your local listings—along with the weather forecast.

13. Visit an amusement park or a state fair

Be forewarned: funnel cake is mandatory and so are turkey legs, fried oreos, cotton candy, and caramel apples. Or at least one of the above. Let’s face it: life gets heavy real quick. Visiting an amusement park or county fair can help couples—be they new or old—remember that they love each other’s company, and that they know how to have fun together. Sometimes, all that's needed is the perfect setting. 

Make the most of summer lovin’ with one (or all) of the above ideas to inspire you, and you can’t go wrong. Get that heat, lover! <3

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