20 Summer Dates Under $20

It’s summer, which means your brain has officially shut down, causing your list of date ideas to be in danger of becoming thoughtless and boring. Add to that the fact that your summer job has yet to start or your unpaid internship isn’t exactly bringing home the big bucks, leaving you with no money to have any extravagant date nights with your boyfriend. Where’s a romantic collegiette to take her boyfriend out? Bowling and miniature golf? Been there, done that. Long, aimless drives? Not until gas prices go down or you win the lottery. Read on for a list of HC’s fun and unique summertime date ideas under $20.

Celebrate a Random Holiday

Who says you need to wait until the 4th of July to celebrate a summer holiday? Choose one (or five!) from this list of nonsensical celebrations, and throw a private party for just you and your beau. On July 17th, visit your favorite ice cream shop in honor of National Ice Cream Day, or take part in National Kool-Aid day on August 12th by making a few jugs of Kool-Aid and surprising all of your friends with a glass.
Cost: $5 to $10

Volunteer Together

Get to see your boyfriend’s softer side by bringing him along to do a good deed. Plenty of organizations offer perfect-for-summer opportunities to volunteer. Sign up to clean a nearby beach, lead a class at the local rec center, or plant some trees for a newly built house. Together, check out volunteermatch.org to find an option in your area that fits both of your interests.
Cost: Free!

Throw a Game Day

Channel your inner 5-year-old, and gather a handful of other couples to participate in a fun-filled day of old-school games. Grab the Super Soakers (or water balloons) and a white t-shirt (but with bikini top underneath) to drive your guy absolutely wild for an all-out water fight. End the day by challenging the gang to a game of truth or dare. Everyone will forget about all the stress from summer jobs and internships while appreciating the simple and silly games from childhood.
Cost: $10 to $20 for one or two Super Soakers, or $3 for balloons

Go Garage Sale Hopping

Spend a lazy Saturday morning treating each other to little gifts for no reason at all. Hop onto Craigslist to look for listings, and drive to the nearest residential area, park the car, and start looking for signs. Allow for a budget of $10 each, and make it a competition to find the best hidden treasures for each other. At the end of the day, set up a gift-exchange and present each other with your great finds.
Cost: $20

Listen to Music in the Park

A short set of soft, summertime tunes will put you and your guy in the mood for a perfect, romantic evening. Visit the websites of large parks in your surrounding area, and you’re bound to find the dates for a slew of free performances this summer. Make sandwiches ahead of time, pack a blanket, and lay out for a relaxing afternoon.
Cost: Free!

Play Video Games

Even if you’re not into video games, your boyfriend may be a huge gamer. Let him teach you! Grab a controller one evening, and ask him to show you how to play his favorite game. Chances are, he will be impressed. Once you’ve gotten really good, challenge him to a competition. He’ll love that you are trying to learn about what he loves, and you may even learn to actually love gaming as much as he does!
Cost: Free

Camp Out in the Backyard

Nothing screams summer like a camping trip. Instead of driving miles to a different location and spending the night with screaming children, pitch a tent in your backyard and enjoy a night of silence with your guy. Don’t have a yard? Your living room will work just fine! Since you’re saving on the cost of staying at a campsite, splurge on some goodies: marshmallows, candy bars, bottled soda and a deck of cards.
Cost: $10

Visit a Museum for Free

Grab your guy and your nerdy-chic, black-rimmed glasses, and take some time to appreciate art. As a student, your school ID can often score you a free or majorly discounted entrance. Some museums don’t charge any visiting fees year-round whereas others offer free days once a month. Google the phrase “free museum days in [your city]” to discover the ones near you.
Bonus: Are you a Bank of America cardholder? Take part in the bank’s Museums on Us® program and get free access to a wide range of museums across the country on the first full weekend of every month.
Cost: Free!

Check out the Library

Sure, you’ve just ended the school year during which you spent countless hours in the library, but hear us out. Take your guy to the library and head straight to the dating and love section. Peruse the books for some new bedroom material, and go ahead and make out against the stacks while you’re there — just be careful not to get caught! On your way out, grab a CD of mood music, and head home to test out your research.
Cost: Free!

Go to a Food Festival

Now that food trucks are popping up in cities across the nation, it’s easy to find a festival to attend. Search Google for some summertime food events in your area. You and your guy will be able to sample plenty of different dishes and desserts (most range between $3 and $5) without breaking the bank. Scan through the list of festival participants before you arrive, and create your plan of attack. That way, you can maximize the money you spend and not miss out on anything.