Summer Date Ideas

Men's Dating

11 Best Summer Date Ideas (Active, Foodie & Over the Top)

Hunt Ethridge

Written by: Hunt Ethridge

Hunt Ethridge

Hunt Ethridge is the co-founder and CMO of the as well as senior advisor and board of directors at other firms. He has been featured in well over 100 media sources and currently "coach on record" for most of the top matchmaking firms in the U.S. and internationally. You can follow him on Instagram or Clubhouse.

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Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

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Summer is always an exciting time. Everyone is a little happier, you can do more activities outside, and romance is definitely in the air. This is when you should break out of your dating shell and do some exciting things. Forget dinner and a movie. Get your date and go explore the awesomeness that summer brings.

Here are my top 11 summer date ideas:

Active | Foodie | Over the Top

Active Dates (#1-5)

I’m a big fan of the activity date. I think doing an activity with someone tells you more about them than does casual conversation over tapas. Plus, you’re exploring the world. You create new memories, get your dopamine and serotonin levels up, and just interact with the world, in general.

1. Head to the Beach

Let’s start with a classic summer date — go to the beach. In the continental U.S., there are approximately 125,000 lakes, 95,000 miles of coastline, and 3.5 million miles of rivers. That’s not even counting all the ponds, streams, creeks, waterholes, hot springs, or waterfalls. Wherever you live, there’s some sort of water nearby.

Water has a soothing effect on the nerves. Somehow it’s relaxing to just about everyone. Taking walks along rivers, canoeing in bays, soaking up the sun on beaches, or paddle boarding in pristine lakes will relax you and give you both some wonderful time in the outdoors. Bring a picnic, ride your bikes, or just chill out listening to the sounds of the waves.

2. Water Parks

Water parks aren’t just for kids. As we get older, sometimes we feel the need to put childish things behind us. I think that’s BS. It should be time for more childish things because we can afford more and more freedom.

Pre-baby, my wife and I would find ourselves in lines for haunted houses, water slides, or learning centers. Fun things to do are all around us, and the only reason we don’t participate is that we feel too old. Screw that — water parks are a freaking blast. You and your date will have a riot letting go of the adult world and having some innocent fun.

3. Camping

From roughing it to glamping, there are various levels of camping, so you’re sure to find a version you like. It doesn’t have to be you vs. nature, with no one around, just you hoping the bears don’t show up. You can rent a cabin, get an RV, or even go deluxe camping complete with a butler.

Photo of a couple camping

Camping is a relaxing date activity, and you could even go glamping if you’re not into the outdoors.

Many couples embraced #vanlife during the pandemic, and that means a lot more fun under the sun.

Whether you’re in a tricked-out van or a luxury RV, what matters most is that you get out into nature and breathe the fresh air. On some camping trips I’ve gone on, we had to catch and eat our own food, and other times we could order pizza on our phones. There’s something for everyone at every price point in the great outdoors.

4. Local Events

Most cities have a boatload of events that happen during the summer. I have dating coaching clients who live in cities of over 250,000 who still complain about not having a lot to do. That’s just lazy talk. All it takes is a few minutes of Googling to come up with dozens of ideas.

A good search of your town’s event listings will find local wine tastings, artist showcases, nature/history walks, and concerts. People tend to fall into the routine of just meeting for drinks, and they get lazy when it comes to coming up with ideas. But don’t you want to stand out? Go hang gliding in California, apple picking in Michigan, beer tasting in Colorado, shooting in Sheboygan, or whatever else you can find.

5. Road Trips

Ah, the summer road trip. Windows down, music cranked, the open road. What’s not to love? The road trip is as American as apple pie. You can go anywhere and do anything. However, most of us don’t. Whether it’s the hassle of planning or lack of imagination, I feel as we get older, we forget about road trip opportunities that broaden our horizons.

Road trips don’t need to be anything long or detailed (though, those are fun as well.) Just find something an hour or two away from you. It’s not the distance you go — it’s the change in mentality you get from changing locations. I live in New York City, and one to two hours in any direction gets you completely out of the city and into a whole different world. So load up your cooler, get your GPS going, and see what the open road has to offer.

Foodie Dates (#6-8)

Food occupies a special place in the summer. I’ve never eaten a hot sausage with peppers and onions in the winter time. Likewise, an cup of hot cocoa in June just seems weird. It’s like summer has its own cookbook and recipes. Like DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince said, “As I think back, makes me wonder how the smell from a grill could spark up nostalgia.”

6. Food/Wine/Beer Fests

I love me some food festivals. Once it gets nice out, it seems everyone wants to showcase their food. All over the country, tents are set up, grills are sparked, and pizza ovens turn mobile. It’s a great time for top names, local foodies, and total amateurs to get people excited over classic favorites or new twists.

Photo of a food festival

At a food and/or beer festival, you can learn about your date’s tastes.

The best is when the festival offers a lot of samples or tastings from a lot of local vendors. Niagara on the Lake has an Icewine festival that tempts people out of the cold. Everything goes down better when the festival has some craft beer or local wines to accent your food pairings. Find a local food festival and gorge yourself.

7. Outdoor Restaurants

While common in Europe, Al fresco dining only really got started in the US, particularly New York City, in the 1990s. Before this time, there was really no desire to sit outside and witness the grit, dirt, and questionable characters of the city. You wanted to be inside, shielded, and taken care of.

As the city changed, so did the dining landscape. Now you can’t walk a block or two without navigating around bistros, pop-up restaurants, and beer gardens. Also, many towns that have struggled the last few decades are finding that, if you throw a few tables outside near a river or park, people will come and you can start revitalizing your town around that nucleus.

8. Food Truck Rallies

In big cities, food trucks and street food have a culture all its own. Whether it’s dirty water dogs in NYC, Argentinian empanadas in Miami, or Seattle fish baskets, the food truck scene is intense. They even have award ceremonies for the best.

If you don’t live in a city with as many options, you can still get carry-out food and go and sit somewhere outside and enjoy. Summer is a great time to people-watch and chill with your chili.

Over-the-Top Dates (#9-11)

Summer is the best time to go to excess. If you’re the extreme type, this is the season for you, and if you’ve got some money to burn, so much the better. Create some amazing memories and impress your date.

9. Cruises

Whether you’re a landlubber or a seasoned sailor, cruises of all sorts — from river cruises up the Mississippi, to international cruises, to boozy sunset cruises, to weekend cruises along the coast — await you. It’s very hard to be stressed when you have a drink in your hand, your feet up are up, and you’re watching the beautiful scenery pass by.

Photo of a couple on a cruise

It’s hard not to have a good time with your date when you’re on a boat, you have a drink in your hand, and you’re watching the sun set.

It forces you to slow down, talk more with each other, and see some things that you’ve never seen before. Plus, you get to sing Lonely Island’s “I’m On a Boat!”

10. Rent a Convertible

While driving with the windows down is great, driving with no top is the best. As the old adage says, sometimes the journey is the destination. Lots of car rental places have convertible options. Yeah, it’s gonna cost more, but you’ll definitely remember it.

One of my favorite memories is driving over the Intercoastal to South Beach in a convertible, top down, and a beautiful woman behind the wheel. Also driving at night, with the stars out, lightning bugs blinking, and cicadas chirping, is a soul-easing experience.

11. Hot Air Balloon Rides

With the fairer and warmer weather here, going up in a hot air balloon should absolutely be on your bucket list. Many states have are hot air balloon festivals with dozens or hundreds of brilliantly colored and oft-times hilariously shaped balloons taking flight.

If you can’t find a balloon festival in your area, look for local companies that will take you up. You can do champagne and sunset trips, relaxing afternoon trips for a group, or, if you’re really extreme, bungee jumping off the balloon over a lake. That’s a memory you’ll keep forever.

Make Sure You Make the Most of Summer!

Every year we look forward to summer, and every year we feel like we didn’t do enough to enjoy the season. Definitely don’t overschedule yourself, but make sure that you don’t just nap and chill. Realize that the leaves are already starting to turn.

While these are all great activities to do with someone, they are also great opportunities to meet someone if you’re single. Everybody wants to spend time with a beautiful babe or tanned dude, so most people are more open to chatting and hanging out. Take a few chances, explore your world, and have some sweet summer fun.

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