Let’s face it. The dinner-and-a-movie is outdated. Netflix and chilling is cliche. And drinking the night away gets old. If you’re a fan of the outdoors, none of these dates will wow you. You’ve tried them, and you’re looking for something more gratifying.
Years of scientific research agrees. Happy couples don’t go on the same stale dates. They look for new, exciting opportunities to explore their love. Studies show us that the happiest couples seek novelty, excitement, and mutual interests. For the nature lover, that doesn’t scream couch potato.
Straight from relationship science, here are eight of the best outdoor date ideas.
8 Science Approved Outdoor Date Activities
Here are the best outdoor dates that will leave a lasting positive effect on your relationship.
If you have a day
Try some of these quick treats.
Go hiking, mountain biking, cycling, climbing, rafting, swimming, surfing, canyoning, ice skating, skiing, or snowshoeing. Challenging or fun date activities are the super highway to passion. Grab your sweetheart and climb the tallest mountain you can find. No, really. Studies have shown that couples who share exciting activities are happier in their relationship and feel more in love. Ooh, la la. No wonder so many people get down in the outdoors.
Plan a romantic picnic outdoors- a park, a lake, the woods, the beach. Anywhere you can dine in peace. You can make your favorite meal together, on a grill or over a fire. Or, order out and bring it with you. Some foods, like chocolate, are considered aphrodisiacs, so don’t skimp on the dessert. Studies show your brain processes romantic language faster when you’re eating sweets. Feed your lover chocolate covered strawberries, then whisper sweet nothings into their ear. It’s a recipe for success.
Get worked up
Go skydiving or bungee jumping. Adventurous dates that induce fear or raise your heart rate are great for romance. And not just because they make you look like an invincible badass. Being scared or excited works to your advantage in other ways. Studies have shown that people confuse the source of arousal. It goes like this: your date starts breathing heavy because they just jumped from a plane (imagine that). Their heart rate is up, and they are pumped! But their subconscious mind convinces them that they’re worked up because you’re a sexy beast. Knowledge is power.
If you have a weekend
Give in to these extended indulgences.
Rent a treehouse for the weekend. That’s right, an actual treehouse. Maybe you were the lucky kid with an awesome treehouse. Perhaps you were the weird kid who snuck into that kid’s treehouse when nobody was looking. Whatever, no judgment. Tap into your inner kid and rent a romantic treehouse for you and your boo. Studies show that couples who do things together are happier in their relationship. Some treehouse rentals are non-assuming or rustic, and some are extravagant. Most vacation rental websites have treehouse rentals. The point is to plan a romantic week in a secluded location where you can have sexy times.
do something new
Take a sailing course. Sailing is a relaxing experience and a dying recreational skill. Boats are expensive, but boat rentals are more reasonable. Besides, how cool would it be to say, “we took sailing lessons last weekend, what did you do?” And if you decide to sail around the world with your sweetie, you’ll be one step closer. Science has shown that couples who try new things together are happier in their relationship. Most sailing schools offer weekend courses, with more comprehensive lessons. The weekend courses provide more downtime, for romance (wink, wink).
Who doesn’t love a scavenger hunt? Geocaching is a treasure hunt for adults with a GPS. (It’s also a great way to brush up on your GPS skills.) You register on the geocaching website, find caches near you, and report your success. The variety of caches adds a layer of mystery to the game. You and your date work together to solve puzzles. Science shows that couples who share challenging activities are happier in their relationship. You can geocache in a day, but it’s more enriching if you make a weekend of it.
If you have a week
Splurge on these well-earned holidays.
Go camping or backpacking. Is there a destination you both want to visit? You’ll have to rely on each other for safety, shelter, entertainment, and companionship. But don’t worry, studies show that being in nature makes people happier. So you should get along famously. There’s nothing more romantic than bathing underneath a waterfall or soaking in a hot spring. If you get bored, ask your partner these 36 questions that are meant to create closeness. Divide and conquer, take breaks when you need to, communicate, and leave room in your pack for a few special items (love notes, food or wine, toys, whatever). And here are some tips for great outdoor sex.
Take a road trip together. Cue up the playlist, toss your luggage in the back and see where the open road takes you. Locking yourself in a small compartment with your love is an excellent way of testing your threshold. Make sure you schedule time for fun; check out some roadside attractions or play road trip games. Or sing K-pop until one of you becomes certifiable. Science has shown that couples who travel together are happier than couples who don’t. And they’re more satisfied with their relationship. It’s okay if things get tense, it’s an opportunity to get to know each other.
What are your favorite outdoor date ideas? Tell us in the comments.