Cheap Summer Date Ideas

Summer is right around the corner, which means seasonal businesses are starting to open back up. You and your significant other (SO) can start going on fun summer dates instead of being cooped inside from the cold and snow. However, you don’t want to break the bank, especially if you’re a student on summer break. Here are 12 cheap summer date ideas for you to try.


  1. Picnic. You could picnic during the day or under the stars and this date idea is one of the cheaper ones on this list. You don’t need a picnic basket to have a picnic. Grab some food out of your fridge (sandwiches, chips, fruit, etc.), grab a blanket or towel to sit on (optional), pick a spot and you’re ready to go.
  2. Mini Golf. When I lived in Florida mini-golf was my go-to date idea. It’s fairly cheap and is a good way to kill time, especially if you suck at golf. In New Jersey, mini-golf isn’t as common since half the year the courses are covered in snow. However, mini-golf is a good summer date night idea. Golf Link has a database of over 1,600 mini-golf courses, making it easy to find one near you.
  3. Drive-in. I absolutely love the drive-in. You get to be comfortable in your own car, don’t have to share an armrest with a stranger and can bring your own food, saving you a lot of money. The is cheaper to go to than an actual movie theater with tickets at $10 each compared to the nearby AMC’s $12.50/ticket. The drive-in has a snack stand too, which is cheaper than buying food at a movie theater. I recommend packing snacks you already have at home. My boyfriend and I tend to buy a pizza and bring it to the drive-in with us (not the cheapest food choice but so, so delicious). If you’re unsure if you live near a drive-in theater, check out Their website lists nearly 5,000 drive-ins nationwide and makes it easy to search for one near you.
  4. Bowling. Some bowling alleys run promotions during times when business is slow, usually during weeknights. A bowling alley near me has $0.25 bowling on Tuesday and Thursday nights from 9:30 to 12am. This alley in particular charges you a $6.75 cover charge for “Quartermania” but this deal lets you and your SO play multiple games for cheaper than normal cost. Look at bowling alleys near you to find the cheapest promotion.
  5. Hiking. One of the cheapest options on the list, hiking doesn’t cost you anything more than the cost of driving to the trail. All Trails is a good website to look for hiking trails near you. Its database has over 50,000 trails and includes maps and reviews from hikers. They also have an app, which might come in handy if you get lost on the trail.
  6. Swimming. If you live near a lake, beach or pool, this idea is certainly cheap. I live in Northern New Jersey so going to the beach is expensive between gas, tolls and paying to get on the beach. However, I live in a lake community and my yearly dues allow me to swim with guests whenever I choose. If you don’t live near a body of water, try looking up a swimming pool near you. MapMuse has a database so you can search for a swimming pool in your city.
  7. Cook dinner together. You’re most likely going to cook anyway, so why not do it together. If your SO isn’t good at cooking, take this opportunity to teach them a thing or two. Remember that cooking together requires patience, so I recommend starting before you get hungry.
  8. Netflix marathon. Okay, okay…this might be a  date idea you use during the winter, but put a summer twist on it by watching your movie outside. You could use a projector to make your own movie theater or just watch it on your computer. With your $7.99/month subscription to Netflix (or more if you choose a more expensive plan), you can kick back and relax with your SO. Binge watch a new TV-show or pick out a couple movies for a chill night. All you need is some popcorn and a drink to perfect this date.
  9. Split a six-pack. Instead of going to the bar and dropping far too much money on mixed drinks and beer, grab a six-pack from the liquor store and hang out at home. Take this opportunity to try a new beer and catch up with your SO. Gayot has a good list of summer beers that you should think about trying on your date night.
  10. Workout. Not the most romantic or glamorous date night idea, but it’s something that both of you can do together. If you don’t have a gym membership you can create an at home workout together using your own body weight as resistance. Fitness Magazine provides some good partner workout ideas if you’re unsure of what exercises to do.
  11. Go fishing. Buy a box of worms, grab your fishing poles and you’re ready to go. A box of worms costs a few dollars, making it one of the cheaper options on this list (but this idea is only cheap if you already own fishing poles). Fishing can take hours, depending on whether you’re trying to catch a certain amount of fish, or if you just have time to kill. It’s a good time to catch up with your SO
  12. Take a walk. This is definitely the cheapest idea on the list since you don’t need to drive anywhere. It’s not too exciting or adventurous but since the snow is gone you and your SO can enjoy summer’s green foliage and warm weather. Going on a walk, like fishing and drinking beer, is a good time to talk with your significant other. Catch up on how your week was, make future plans or just joke around, either way, you get to spend time with the person you care about.


I’ll be taking advantage of all of these ideas and spending as much time as I can with my man. What do you typically do for dates during the summer? What is your go-to date idea when you’re trying to save money?


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