25 Summer Date Ideas That Won't Crimp Your Budget

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LOVE IS IN THE AIR

Summer brings plenty of opportunities to do something with that special someone besides dinner and a movie. And you don't need to spend a lot of money to have a memorable time with your favorite gal or guy. These low-cost summer date ideas are equal parts fun and romance -- the perfect combo for a day in the sun or an evening under the stars.
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WATCH THE PLANES

Head to the closest airport and find a place to watch the planes come and go. If you can't find a good spot nearby, the top of an airport parking garage usually works. This is a chance to fantasize about where you'd like to go on a romantic getaway.
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EAT AT A FOOD TRUCK

Go for a cheap meal at a local food truck. Use a free app like Roaming Hunger or Street Food Finder to locate one to try.
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PICK BERRIES

Enjoy the bounty of summer produce: Go to a local farm and pick your own berries, then come home and make a dessert to share.
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BACKYARD CAMPOUT

You don't even have to leave your yard for this one. Set up a fire pit and roast some marshmallows or make s'mores. Dig out sleeping bags and a tent (if you have one) and sleep under the stars.
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TAKE A DRIVE

Turn up the volume on a favorite playlist, roll down the windows, and hit the road. Find some scenic back roads to explore and see where the day takes you.
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TAKE IN A FIREWORKS DISPLAY

Fourth of July isn't the only summer occasion with fireworks displays. Check the calendar, find a good spot (hint: try the top level of a parking garage), and gaze at the spectacle. Bring along some sparklers and chilled beverages in a cooler to make it more fun.
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PLAY IN THE PARK

Playing in the park was fun as a kid -- and it's still fun for a carefree and cheap summer date with someone young at heart. Go prepared with a kite, a Frisbee, a football, baseball mitts and a ball, a blanket for lounging, snacks, sunscreen, bug spray, and plenty of water.
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ATTEND A FAIR OR FESTIVAL

Forget the local pub -- it can wait till the weather turns chilly. Instead, head out to the fair or a festival for a merry summer date. Take a spin on cheap rides, play games, sample food and drinks, and enjoy being out and about holding hands.
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VOLUNTEER AT AN EVENT

Want to attend a summer festival but can't afford the admission? Volunteer at the event. Helping set up or sell merchandise can be rewarding and fun. When the shift is over, you can catch the headliner or get in the next day for free.
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HELP OUT IN THE COMMUNITY

There are many other ways to volunteer all summer, such as coaching a kids' sports team, walking dogs at the local shelter, helping spruce up public parks, or taking part in a Habitat for Humanity project. Check local listings to find an opportunity you will both enjoy.
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BROWSE THE FARMERS MARKET

Treat your eyes and stomachs to fresh local produce and homemade goodies at the farmers market, and people-watch for entertainment. Buy what you need for a romantic dinner, then head home and whip up something delicious to share.
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GO TO AN OUTDOOR MOVIE

Many communities host summer movies in parks and on lawns, which can make for a particularly romantic summer date when the right movie is playing. A local drive-in is a fine alternative and can provide more privacy. It may be a blast from the past, but it's a nice change from a run-of-the-mill megaplex.

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GET MOVING

Athletic types can rent bicycles and take a ride. Some bike-friendly cities have rental programs or offer biking tours. If no such program is available, improvise. Use your own bikes or borrow from friends to explore the city on wheels. Or, head to a state park and take a hike instead.
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WORK OUT

Many cities have a variety of cheap outdoor exercise classes in the summer. An outdoor yoga class would be just the way to relax and enjoy a Saturday morning together.
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GO GEOCACHING

Geocaching is the ultimate scavenger hunt. Using a smartphone and GPS coordinates, participants search for hidden objects. Just sign up for a free Geocaching account and download the app. Then pick a geocache near you and start hunting.
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ENJOY LIVE ENTERTAINMENT

Many communities host summer concert series -- often for free. Pack some snacks, maybe a bottle of wine, and a blanket to cuddle up for a delightful and romantic summer date.
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CATCH SOME TUNES

If a summer concert isn't happening, hit up a local bar with a patio. Chances are there will be a band, a solo act, or an open mic night if you go at the right time. Take in the scene and enjoy a cold one.
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MINIATURE GOLF

Miniature golf has been a classic date activity for years. Prices are generally reasonable, and players who hit a hole-in-one on the last hole are often rewarded with a free round.
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GRAB DESSERT

Instead of the typical dinner out, go cheaper and opt for dessert out. What better way to celebrate summer than with an ice cream treat? Or, stop by the local pastry shop and snack on sweet delicacies. As a capstone to this summer date, choose a place with a patio and linger as the sun sets.
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GO FISHING

Pack a cooler, grab some poles, and head to the nearest fishing hole. In today's fast-paced world, a slow day of fishing is a chance to catch up and relax in each other's company.
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STARGAZE

Find a spot with a view and watch the sunset together. Once the stars come out, search for constellations and identify them using an app or book. Make a game of it: Whoever finds a specific star, planet, or constellation -- or the most of all three -- wins.
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GO TO THE ZOO

Many zoos are free and most others offer free or discount days, making this an affordable outing even without a membership. Spend the day visiting the animals together and share experiences such as feeding a giraffe.
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GO FAUX HOUSE HUNTING

Even if you aren't ready to take the next step and move in together, it can still be fun to hit some open houses. It's free (and there's sometimes free food), and you can get to know each other better by comparing likes and dislikes.
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HAVE A PHOTO SHOOT

Choose a picturesque location and set up an outdoor photo session. Make it goofy or romantic. You can even pick up some cheap props at a discount store.
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GO GARAGE SALING

Make a day of bargain hunting at local garage sales. You may find super-cheap treasures and even some good props for your photo shoot.

Raechel Conover

Raechel Conover has been a staff writer for Cheapism since 2010. In that time she has written hundreds of stories and review articles for the website, many of which have also appeared on Yahoo, MSN, TIME, The New York Times and various other websites. She also played a key role in developing the Cheapism blog and served as the blog manager for a number of years.

Now with three young kids she remains a regular contributor to Cheapism.com. She's a self-confessed shopaholic and frugal mom, always scouring the clearance racks for deals, utilizing local resale websites, and stacking coupons. When she isn’t writing or deal hunting, she can be found taking full advantage of free community activities and events with her husband and children.

Raechel has a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Communications from The Ohio State University. Based in Dublin, Ohio, Raechel also does freelance writing work and social media consulting for local companies. 

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