So you're a bit of an outdoorsman, eh? Well whether you're going on your first or 500th date, variety is the spice of life. You probably prefer hiking over yet another coffee or cocktail date — and we get that. But before you hit the trail again, consider these new ways to incorporate the great outdoors into your romantic life. Use these ideas as a way to soak up the sunshine and watch the sparks fly.
1. Go on a Geocaching Quest
If you aren't familiar with geocaching, imagine modern-day treasure hunting. ("Treasure" in this case is probably a plastic figurine or trading card.) But because little toys are often the prize, sometimes geocaching gets a reputation as an activity purely for kids — and that's just not true. It's also a whimsical excuse for two adults to hop on bikes and explore parts of their city they otherwise might have missed. And since we all know treasure hunting works up an appetite, geocaching naturally lends itself to a casual picnic or a meal at a local eatery. Learn some of the geocaching basics or jump right in on a popular geocaching website and app.
2. Play Tourist in a Nearby Town
Take a day trip outside your city and see something new. Even the smallest town has something unique to offer, so why not tool around on foot or rent a couple of bikes to discover the local flavor? (Maybe even a tandem bike if you're feeling cutesy.) Bikes are nice because you can roll through scenic areas and truly soak them in while covering a bit more ground than if you were just walking. For a more structured adventure, make a list of historical landmarks and find your way to them throughout the day.
3. Let the Lake Do the Work
Humankind has always been drawn to bodies of water. That's because they offer an environment that can sustain life — and romance. There's something about the world's reflection upon the water's surface that inspires awe and tranquility. So visit your nearby lake or river, and set up camp with your date. Once you stake out a good spot, the possibilities are endless: birdwatch with binoculars, teach each other card games, build a fire, sip some wine and get to know each other better. If the weather is nice, you could even get out in the water and paddleboard, canoe, kayak or rent a paddle boat if they're around.
4. Take It to the Next Level — Literally
If you really want to bond over some adrenaline-boosting activities, bring your date rock climbing. Even if it's both of your first times, it's fun to learn together and simple to get started. There are a few different styles of climbing to choose from, and indoor bouldering probably takes the least commitment. But if you're both seasoned pros, why not take it outside to a real rock wall? The drive and hike to your climb will give you plenty of time to chat. Then when you're done, you'll both have a nice endorphin boost to offset any first date awkwardness.
5. Embrace the Evening
It's no secret that the night brings a certain level of romance. So begin the evening by hunting for the perfect spot to watch the sunset. Bring some blankets so you can hunker down for a while without getting chilly. You could even come prepared with a thermos of tea and a playlist full of atmospheric, mellow tunes. Once you're settled in, you can segue perfectly into snacks and stargazing. Feel free to show off your knowledge of astronomy, or make up your own constellations together.
6. Pick Your Own Fruit at an Orchard
One laid-back way to get outside with your date is to visit a pick-your-own orchard. There's something fun about getting to choose which fruit or berry you get to pluck right off the plant. You get to spend time together in a beautiful setting, plus you walk away with fresh ingredients to cook together. There's no better way to cap off your day in the orchard than with a pie- or cobbler-making session.
7. Ready, Aim, Paintball!
Want to really get to know someone? Go paintballing with them. Turns out when you're running around in quasi-survival mode, you can learn a lot about someone and their priorities. Are they a fight-or-flight kind of person? Are they tactical and stealthy, or do they go in brazen and gun a-blazin'? Sure, it's on the extreme end of dates, but it could be a fun way to break the ice or liven things up.
So there you have it — seven outdoor alternatives to your standard bar room rendezvous. Now get out there and enjoy the company of others and some vitamin D while you're at it! This list is far from exhaustive, so share your own outdoor date ideas with us in the comments below!