40 Fun and Creative Date Ideas to Heat Up Your Love Life This Summer

Betcha haven’t thought of these.

By Caitlin Clark

A great date is always in vogue, but there’s something about the summer that makes planning a get-together even more exciting. It’s a season of embracing informalities, of wearing less makeup, dressing for pure comfort, and spending as much time as possible outdoors. Your dates should be a reflection of that. So, to help you cut down on the anxieties of planning, we dreamed up some cute summer date ideas to carry you and your partner (or any kind of relationship you find yourself in this season) through the warm months ahead.

Whether you’re looking for a low-key date night in, an experience you’ll never forget, or something a little more creative, we’ve got you covered. Let the summer dating adventure begin.

Feature image by Kristen Kilpatrick.

Shani Van Breukelen and husband_cute summer date ideas
Image by Michelle Nash

Chill Date Ideas

Plan a movie night outside. Summer is the season for drive-ins and movies in the park. Pick a flick you’ll both be into, grab your favorite theater snacks, and enjoy the big screen in the great outdoors.

Host your own movie marathon at home. Switch off showing each other the classics that make up your personal DNA. Your partner gets to veto exactly one of your choices (fair is fair).

Buy a plant together. It’s not exactly getting a dog together, but you’ll both reap the health benefits and have something green to show for it.

DIY Whether you live together or separately, select a task from your (likely long) list of home to-do’s you’d like to tackle and get to it! Or, simply do a quick internet search for creative projects and have fun getting your hands dirty.

Go antiquing or thrifting. You never know what you’ll find when going vintage shopping, but that’s the joy of it. Take your partner along for the ride, and maybe find a one-of-a-kind piece you’ll always cherish.

Attempt to make each other’s favorite cocktail. Then play truth or dare—you’re bound to learn something.

Try a pottery or candle-making class. Go the experiential route, and show your partner you’re good with your hands.

Have a pizza cook-off. Win or lose, you’ll get two pies out of it.

Or try your hand at a sweet, made-from-scratch pie. Intimidated by pie crust? While you can always take on the challenge together, a puff pastry version is delicious in a pinch. Oh, and this no-bake option is easy as, well…

Visit a winery or brewery. Consider this the educational version of meeting at a bar.

Ask The New York Times’ iconic 36 questions that lead to love. I’ve known (and heard of) multiple people who literally married a partner they did this with, so proceed with caution when it comes to this powerful questionnaire.

Practice presence, as a couple. On the topic of going deep and building connection between the two of you, these 24 prompts were designed for exactly that. Turn off your devices and tune in to one another. A better sense of intimacy lies ahead.

cute summer date ideas_Mahina Garcia on the beach
Image by Jenny Sathngam.

Adventurous Date Ideas

Take a salsa dancing class together. Salsa dance communities are almost always solid. You may just end up with a lifelong hobby.

Take each other’s favorite workout classes together. Even if it’s Crossfit—that’s the rule.

Be tourists in your town for a day. Now is your chance to finally check out that fun restaurant or coffee shop your friend said was way too touristy to be cool.

Get high together. Not like that (but no judgment!). Rent a hot air balloon, try bungee jumping, or go skydiving. It’s a bit of an intense date move but you’ll never forget it.

Order off the menu for your partner. There may be no experience more adventurous than letting someone else choose your meal.

Do a tarot reading together. Whether or not you believe the future really is in the cards, a great tarot reader knows how to create a fun, vulnerable, and memorable experience.

Take a hike. Or a bike ride. Or go rollerblading. Just get those endorphins going.

Camp under the stars. Charming vintage trailer resorts, yurt communities (like The Local Chapter), and luxury camping destinations have finally gotten the glow they deserve. Better yet: There’s probably one just a short drive from where you live. 

Catch a sunrise. As far as cute summer date ideas go, this one could be rolled into a camping situation, but setting an intention to watch the sunrise together can be done from anywhere.

Plan your next adventure. There’s plenty of fun to be found in planning and prepping for your next vacation or trip. Dream big or go home.

Spend some time on the water. Whatever your sport or activity of choice—whether it be kayaking, canoeing, paddleboarding, or windsurfing—rent some boards or pull out a pair of your own. Cool down and heat things up, all in one fun afternoon.

Jessie DeLowe in Santa Barbara_cute summer date ideas
Image by Michelle Nash

Romantic Date Ideas

Book a staycation. Even the hottest hotels tend to run summer specials. Pick a spot with a chic pool and spa so you’ll never be tempted to leave.

Or create your own staycation at homeJust make sure you have two excellent robes.

Take a cocktail class together. Master the art of Aperol spritzes (or this hot-for-summer drink) for pool days, or learn how to perfect your partner’s favorite barside order.

Plan a picnic. Get your favorite local meal to go, then set the scene with blankets, your drink of choice, and a playlist in a cute park. Looking to go homemade? These picnic recipes won’t let you down.

Try your hand at taking a fancy bath together. Pick out some luxurious bath salts, light your favorite candle, and settle in for an intimate soak.

Shuck some oysters. The aphrodisiac (perhaps not scientifically proven, but we still like the idea) comes with its own hands-on activity. Depending on where you live, you may even be able to find an expert to guide you.

Read excerpts from romance novels or erotica—or write your own. This is a group date trope on The Bachelor for a reason. It has the potential to be equal parts silly and totally hot.

Find your favorite rooftop. Pick a local bar or restaurant with the best views of your city. While dinner and drinks might not be the most original idea, is there anything more romantic than taking in the sunset from a few stories up?

Attend a movie festival. Building on the outdoor movie idea above, this can be as informal or as big as you’d like. If you’re a movie buff (and craving a trip to NYC), the Tribeca Film Festival is a summer fave. For the casual viewers out there—myself included—most cities host small, local (re: less expensive) festivals themselves. Roll out a blanket and pour the rosé. A romantic evening awaits.

Heather and Bryant_cute summer date ideas
Image by Lauren Riboldi

Impromptu Summer Date Ideas 

Pick out vinyl for each other at the record store. There’s no greater win than accurately identifying a song (or album) your partner loves.

Go open house hunting. Indulge your wildest real estate fantasies, and — if you’re not currently living together—learn a little something about your partner’s future home goals. 

Get pedicures together. A couple’s massage is fun, but it’s nearly impossible to talk to each other. A pedicure may the one luxurious spa-day treat that pairs well with great conversation.

Walk your city’s botanical gardens. Forever in bloom, the charms of a botanical garden are hard to resist.

Go antiquing or thrifting. You never know what you’ll find when going vintage shopping, but that’s the joy of it. Take your partner along for the ride, and maybe find a one-of-a-kind piece you’ll always cherish.

Team up for pub night trivia. One of you is a pop culture aficionado. The other is a history buff. Together, you’re unstoppable.

Start a two-person book club. Read independently, then set a date to share your thoughts. You’ll both be able to chime in on the hottest read at your next friend gathering.

Brainstorm an (accessible) bucket list. Sure, writing out all the many things you want to do together before you kick the proverbial bucket can be inspiring, but why not make things a little more immediate and write down all the things you can do right now. Once your lists are ready, share them, reflect on them, and select one that you want to get after in the very near future. The time is now folks.

What’s a cute summer date idea you’re planning with a partner? Share it with us below.