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12 Best Outdoor Date Ideas in 2024

There's something for everyone, whether you like to stay active or relax in the sun.

Planning a date can be stressful, regardless of whether you're in the early stages of dating or gearing up for a big anniversary. Dinner and a movie is a go-to option for many, but we often forget about planning something romantic in the open air. If you're looking for the best outdoor date ideas in 2024, our experts have you covered.

"Venturing outdoors with a new flame or long-time partner can ignite sparks of excitement and deepen emotional connections," Martha Tara Lee, DHS, relationship counselor and clinical psychologist at Eros Coaching, tells Best Life. "The open air and natural surroundings create a canvas for shared experiences, fostering intimacy and exploration. From the thrill of trying something new to the serenity of nature's embrace, outdoor dates offer a dynamic backdrop for creating lasting memories and strengthening bonds."

Wondering how you and your date can explore the outdoors together? Read on for experts' top 12 recommendations.

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Go paddleboarding or kayaking.

couple paddleboarding
LightField Studios / Shutterstock

When it comes to outdoor activities for you and a date, experts say that you can't really go wrong with kayaking or paddleboarding.

"Find a local place where you can rent one if you don't own or can't afford one and try it out," sex therapist Jackie Golob recommends. "It's super relaxing, grounding, and always so fun to see what fish, turtles, and other nature we encounter that's nearby."

For an extra romantic touch, consider timing your trip with the sunset.

"Explore a nearby lake or river by kayaking or canoeing during the golden hour," Lee suggests. "Paddle together as you witness a breathtaking sunset reflecting on the water, creating a serene and picturesque outdoor experience."

Take a scenic walk.

older couple walking dog – Yuri A / Shutterstock

There's no reason to overcomplicate your dates if you don't have to—and why not get active at the same time?

Kara Francis, marriage and divorce coach, recommends taking a stroll to enjoy the cherry blossoms this spring or bringing your four-legged friends along to explore a new hiking trail.

Even better, a walk or hike isn't limited to the time of year: Get outside in the summer sun, crisp fall air, or even on a chilly winter day.

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Explore a botanical garden.

Brooklyn Botanical Gardens

If you want to get out in nature but aren't feeling up to a strenuous walk or hike, Barbie Adler, founder and president of luxury matchmaking firm Selective Search, advises planning a trip to a botanical garden.

"As with a hike, you get to enjoy the beauty of nature alongside your date, but you get to do it at an even more leisurely pace, allowing you to really savor each moment and making space for engaging conversation," Adler says, also recommending scheduling a picnic before or after to "keep the mood high and the conversation flowing."

She adds, "These gardens often feature special events and performances as well, so keep an eye out for any activities that might add a little extra excitement to your date."

Head to the farmer's market.

older couple at the farmers market
Hero Images Inc / Shutterstock

Also on Adler's list of outdoor dates is a trip to the local farmers' market.

"Farmers' markets are a fun, versatile date option. In addition to fresh produce, many local markets feature arts and crafts, hot meals, and live music," she points out. "Whether you're just enjoying browsing the stalls or grabbing a meal and sitting down to enjoy some music, there is always plenty to do and see."

You can also tailor your visit to suit your interests.

"If you or your date is a foodie and you really want to get creative, you could treat it as an opportunity to purchase fresh ingredients to cook for them later on in the day," Adler says. "This twist on the traditional dinner date is sure to impress."

Plan a beach picnic.

beach picnic
polinaloves / Shutterstock

The beach is a great spot for a date, as it's generally free or affordable to visit. The shore gives you the opportunity to swim, stroll, or just soak up the sun. But if you want to go beyond your typical beach day, Lee suggests planning ahead and having a picnic on the sand.

Even better, consider going later in the day to avoid the crowds and truly enjoy each other's presence.

"If you're looking for a more romantic outing, you can try going later in the evening, when the weather has cooled down and the crowds have dissipated," Adler shares. "Ending your first date with a sunset over the water is sure to create a memory you will cherish for a long time."

RELATED: 50 Irresistible First Date Ideas That'll Immediately Break the Ice.

Book a hot air balloon ride.

couple in hot air balloon basket
Wedding and lifestyle / Shutterstock

This one is not for the faint of heart, but if you want to take in some incredible views, a hot air balloon ride may be right up your alley. According to Natalie Rosado, LMHC, founder and owner of Counseling With Natalie, this is a great option for a fall date.

"Book a hot air balloon ride to enjoy the autumn colors from above. This can be a thrilling and romantic experience," Rosado, who is also a mental health expert at Sanity&Self, shares.

Find an outdoor concert.

couple dancing at outdoor concert
Drazen Zigic / Shutterestock

If you and your partner enjoy music and dancing, seek out an outdoor venue this summer or fall.

"Another great outdoor date idea is attending an outdoor concert. Many outdoor concerts are free or low cost so it's a great way to get to know your date while also being economical," Nicole Moore, relationship expert, love and relationship coach, and body language expert at Love Works, says.

Enjoy a local festival or carnival.

older couple riding bumper cars
Ground Picture / Shutterstock

Summer is high time for festivals—and who doesn't love a flirty ride on the Ferris wheel or challenging your S.O. in a carnival game? Keep an eye on the local events calendar to see if one is headed your way in 2024.

Even if rides aren't your jam, seasonal festivals often have local vendors and food stands that are fun to peruse with your partner.

"Attending local arts, music, and crafts festivals is a wonderful way to add some culture to your date. They provide the added excitement and thrill of being exposed to new experiences alongside your partner," Adler says. "Dancing along to live music, trying food you've never had before, and browsing through crafters' stalls gives you plenty to talk about and can help you learn about each others' tastes and preferences while potentially creating new ones along the way."

Festivals often continue through the fall, so you can plan dates ahead for spooky season.

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Have a bonfire.

couple sitting by a bonfire
XiXinXing / Shutterstock

Especially when the air starts to get chilly, few things are more romantic than sitting with your loved one by a fire at home or on a camping trip.

"Host a cozy bonfire in your backyard or at a nearby park, roasting marshmallows and making s'mores together," Lee suggests. "Snuggle up under blankets, share stories, and enjoy the warmth of the fire as you embrace the autumn chill in a romantic setting."

Head to the water.

Senior couple toasting champagne on sailboat vacation
AlessandroBiascioli / Shutterstock

If a beach day isn't in the cards this summer, experts recommend seeking out any kind of body of water within driving distance. According to Moore, water isn't just scenic, but also has a calming effect that can "induce comfort and intimacy" and make it easier for you and your partner to connect.

"Whether the coast, the lakes, or even natural springs, book your days in and around the water," Tammy Shaklee, certified matchmaker and founder of H4M Matchmaking, tells Best Life. "Make a reservation to float the river with friends. Or rent one of the vintage boats to tour around the small lake near you."

If you and your partner enjoy indulging in a cocktail or two, Danielle Desir Corbett, affordable luxury travel and personal finance expert and host of The Thought Card podcast, recommends looking into a boozy river cruise.

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Face off in an obstacle race.

couple competing in tough mudder race
Pavel1964 / Shutterstock

Fit couples may want something a bit more adventurous, which is why Corbett recommends challenging each other in an obstacle race.

"Obstacle races like Tough Mudder and Spartan Race offer an exciting opportunity to test your teamwork and fitness," Corbett says. "These adrenaline-inducing activities will not only get your heart pumping but also give you a chance to bond, cheer, and support each other, making your relationship stronger."

Head to a drive-in movie theater—or set up your own.

drive in movie theater
Shutterstock / BAZA Production

If you're lucky enough to live near a drive-in movie theater, this outdoor date venue perfectly pairs nostalgia and romance. But if an actual theater isn't an option, there's no reason you can't take it into your own hands.

"Embrace the classic charm of a drive-in movie or create your own outdoor cinema experience. Set up a projector in your backyard, or find a cozy outdoor spot under the stars for a nostalgic movie date," Bretton Key, PMP, founder of Date Jar, suggests.

Abby Reinhard
Abby Reinhard is a Senior Editor at Best Life, covering daily news and keeping readers up to date on the latest style advice, travel destinations, and Hollywood happenings. Read more
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