10 Fun Outdoor Dates You Haven't Tried (But You Should!)

A good chunk of the summer has passed by and chances are, you and your guy have gone through most of your summer date ideas. You can only beat the heat in a movie theater so many times before your wallet – and your motivation to go out in the first place – take a hit. Even though summer has some scorchers that call for indoor dates only, you won’t regret getting out once in a while and enjoying the fresh, warm summer air! (Especially when the semester comes around and you’re stuck in the library studying).

So, what’s a collegiette to do when she’s looking for fun (and romance) in the sun? Here are 10 outdoor date ideas that will take your summer lovin’ to the next level:

You’ve Tried: Playing Mini Golf
Now Try: Batting Cages

Mini golf is a classic summer date that shouldn’t be discounted! It’s a great activity to do if you want to chat with your guy. However, if you’re looking to spice things up a bit, why not try a batting cage? This may intimidate some collegiettes but it has all the awesome parts of mini golf: a little competition, time for talking, and low cost. If you and your guy are at different hitting levels, you can start simple with a slow pitch or kick up the speed a little. And if you really love it, you could make it a regular date activity by joining a couples’ softball league. Briana from the University of Missouri-Kansas City says "It's always fun to do things together that aren't typical dates or include a lot of people. Being in a co-ed softball league is a good way for [me and my boyfriend] to meet a lot of people and interact in a different dynamic. Not only is the game super fun, but also it's definitely a plus to see each other and hang out in an active group setting. And he gets to help me learn how to throw, which I've never done before!"

To find a batting cage in your area, try Yelp.com. Just type in ‘batting cages’ in the search box; the site will recognize your location and show you the nearby cages!

You’ve Tried: Laying Out At the Beach
Now Try: Beach Bocce Ball

You might not have heard of bocce ball, but if you spend a lot of time at the beach, you probably have seen someone playing it. It’s sort of like bag toss– there’s a small ball that represents a target and each player throws different color balls, trying to get them to land closest to the target. Easy enough, right? Bocce beats lying inactively on the sand but doesn’t require strenuous activity. It lets you and your man have a bit of healthy competition and an even healthier bit of flirting, plus it will force you to move around the beach and if you get hot, you can just take a dip in the waves. An added bonus: if you’re out with another couple, it’s easy to modify the game so that you can play in teams or add players!

You’ve Tried: Going On a Picnic
Now Try: Camping

Want to really put your relationship to the test? Find a nearby camping site (many of them have free or cheap admission) by researching online and plan an overnight trip. If neither of you has camped before, there will be some challenges: setting up the tent, building a fire, and battling the buggy night. But, camping has all the fun of a picnic with the excitement of being away on a mini-vacation. And if the sound of an owl hooting makes you jump in the night, you’ll have your man there to comfort you!

You’ve Tried: Paddleboats
Now Try: Kayaking

Paddleboats make for leisurely fun, but if you’re looking to cover more ground, kayaks are the answer! Many rivers will have daylong kayak rentals so you and your love can have fun that lasts beyond a few hours. There’s lots of scenery, you can pack snacks, and it’s a great upper-body workout... what’s not to like? However, kayaking also requires some serious teamwork for balancing and steering. Be prepared to work together and refine your communication skills!

You’ve Tried: Going to a Park
Now Try: Visiting Your Old Playground

Who said that your playground days were over? You may be too big for some of the playground tunnels and slides at the nearby park, but you’ll never outgrow the swings and jungle gym! If you live by the playground you went to when you were growing up, visiting can bring up a lot of old stories you probably haven’t shared with your guy before. You can wow him by recounting how you used to be the four square queen! Ally from the University of Illinois loves this ‘retro’ date. “This probably sounds random,” she says, “but one of my favorite things to do with my boyfriend is go to my old elementary school playground, especially when the sun goes down. The little kids that play on it during the day are asleep so we usually have the whole place to ourselves. Swinging and monkey bars just never get old!”

You’ve Tried: Going To the Pool
Now Try: Slip ‘n Slide

Speaking of ‘retro’ dates… there’s lots of fun to be had during a day at the pool, but why not shake things up by breaking out your old Slip ‘n Slide? You’ll get some exercise, you’ll get some sun, and you’ll definitely get wet and avoid being overheated. And, with a little searching through your shed or garage, you may be able to turn it into an all-out water fight. “Last week my boyfriend and I decided to look through his house for all his old water guns and his Slip ‘n Slide,” says Danielle, a student at the University of California-Los Angeles. “We found a bunch of water guns and invited over some friends to have a huge water fight in the backyard. We split into guys vs. girls teams and the goal was to stay as dry as possible (which obviously was impossible to do). It was a blast and I felt like a little kid again!”

You’ve Tried: Going Downtown
Now Try: Going to Your State Fair

If you’ve explored every boutique and ‘mom and pop’ restaurant in the small town you live in OR if you’ve gone to every bar and tourist attraction in the city you live in, it might be time to leave town! Most states hold their state fairs in the summertime, and usually they’re more than worth their entry fees: yummy food, amusement rides, art showings, and talent shows are only a few of the draws. Be sure to bring some money though, as ride tickets and funnel cakes can start to add up. But it will all be worth it when you can say you shared a kiss at the top of a Ferris wheel!

You’ve Tried: Hiking in Nature
Now Try: Creating Nature

Going for a hike offers two perks for the price of one: it’s in a picturesque setting and it’s a great workout. Definitely hike with your guy if you haven’t already! But if you have and are starting to get a little tired of the beaten path (literally), why not take the natural inspiration and turn it into a summer-long date idea by creating a small garden? Becca from Clemson University fully endorses this green-thumb date idea: “My boyfriend and I made a budget and then each picked out a vegetable that we love to eat. We went to a local nursery, got all the tools needed to grow our vegetables and then planted the seeds. Over the course of the summer, we had a daily thing to do together when we’d water or weed our plants. It was an unusual idea but so great when the summer was over and we got to enjoy the fruits (or in this case vegetables) of our labor!” Having something that you and your guy are mutually responsible for and work on together will be really rewarding when the bulbs start to bloom. Plus, it will give you a glimpse of how well you two work together (which is especially helpful if you’re trying to gauge how serious the relationship is and/or where it will go in the future).

You’ve Tried: Laying Out Under the Stars
Now Try: Becoming an Amateur Stargazer

It’s awesome to lie out together and watch the stars come out at night (and if you’re lucky, to catch a shooting star–perhaps to make a wish for lasting love!). But if you and your guy are getting bored of ‘just looking,’ it’s easy for you to educate yourselves about what you’re actually looking at. It’s a simple concept, but learning something together will create a shared experience that you can bond over. If you’re ever going through a rocky relationship patch, the two of you can break out your star charts again and get back in touch with happier times. Check out these apps (made especially for amateur stargazers) if you need a starting point:

With a little practice, you’ll be quizzing each other on constellations in no time!

You’ve Tried: Watching a Sunset
Now Try: Watching a Sunrise

Getting up at the crack of dawn may sound like a chore, but it can have benefits! If going out in the heat sounds like torture to you, try getting up early and catching a scenic sunrise – it’s always nice to start the day with romance! It may take some prodding to get your guy to agree, but once you’re out there, you’ll both be glad for it. Emily, a junior from the University of Missouri, didn’t regret being an early-riser for a day: “My boyfriend and I both like to sleep in, but one day we challenged ourselves to wake up early and watch a sunrise. Honestly, it was way more beautiful than any sunset I’ve ever seen. Plus it was nice and cool out so I didn’t have to worry about feeling like a sweaty mess. Afterwards we went and got breakfast. It was the perfect way to start my day.”

What are you waiting for, collegiettes? If you’re feeling out-of-the-box, give these dates a try and let us know how they go! Have another alternative date idea? Tell us about it in the comments!