10 Outdoor Date Ideas To Try This Summer, Ranked By How Outdoorsy You Are

by Annie Foskett

Camping: love it or hate it? You have to pick one, there is no in between, or "sort of like it." Have your answer? Great. Did you pick "love it?" Cool. You're Henry David Thoreau-level outdoorsy and you can start at the bottom of this list of outdoor date ideas. Did you choose "hate it?" Also cool! You're Meredith from the Lindsay Lohan Parent Trap-level not into bugs or dirt, and you can start at the top of this list.

While I am in the latter camp (pun completely intended), I do enjoy being outdoors. On a boat. With a drink in my hand. I guess I'm the type of person glamping was invented for. I enjoy a hike, but I prefer to sleep in an actual bed. I know it would be cooler to be outdoorsy, but I'm just not there yet.

But let's say I meet a cutie-cute man who happens to love spending weekends in the woods and wants to do something outside for a date. I don't need to change for the dude, but I'm definitely going to ask him to stay inside and watch Killing Eve with me, so I should probably make some compromises. Here's my list of outdoor date ideas to try this summer, starting with the least Outward Bound adjacent ideas and moving toward the more adventurous.

Drink On A Boat Somewhere

Oh! Something I can even do in New York City? Something that requires zero contact with dirt or grass? How perfect. Find a boat or docked barge bar in your neighborhood and go grab some steamers and beer for a festive early-in-the-game date. Oysters and pink wine works just as well.

Rent Bikes

Also an activity that takes place outdoors but is relatively low on body-to-nature contact. (Assuming you don't fall.) Rent bikes with your date and find a cool park or outdoor path you haven't checked out before. You might call this a basic idea, but I call it a classic one. Bonus points: play Frank Ocean's Biking the entire ride. Also, pack water.

Picnic In The Park

You may get your white shorts dirty, but you can also bring a blanket! And booze in plastic cups! Find a park and set up a good, old-fashioned picnic. I think this is particularly adorable. Ideas for sustenance: cucumber sandwiches with the crusts cut off, cheese and meats, a baguette. Ideas for libations: a S'well bottle full of margarita or gin and tonic, a Bandol rosé (my new favorite rosé).

Have A Camp Out On Your Back Deck/Roof

This is cute! Set up a tent and sleeping bags out on your back deck or rooftop, and cuddle up for a little outdoor sleepover. Again, minimal dirt, which is my main grievance with the outdoors, but still adventurous. Sleep tight!

Have A Beach Day

I mean, who doesn't love the beach? Whether you head to the ocean or a lake, I think it's OK to plan a beach day on an early day date with someone you've been seeing. You can build sandcastles, read books, ride boogie boards. Or you could get even more extreme...

Go For A Hike

Here we go, I'm upping the outdoorsy-ness. It's up to you whether you want to go on a hiking date that ends at a cute brewery with a great burger, or if you want to spend an entire day scaling the backcountry. (If that's even what you say.) But I do love that this date is fun but also will make you feel fit at the end of the day.

Go Fly-Fishing

If you are comfortable getting into giant rubber pants and standing in knee-deep water waiting for fish to nibble, find you a date who can hang and go fly fishing. This is adventurous, outdoorsy, and I think you can hold beers while doing it. Maybe find a guide?

Take A Surf Lesson

Why not! If you are close to water with actual waves in it, go take a surf lesson with your cutie. It's a challenging, active, and pretty freaking cool thing to do. Highly recommend!

Go Kayaking

Whether on a lake or the ocean (New Yorkers, I wouldn't recommend the Hudson River) kayaking is a blast, and again, decent exercise. If you'd rather go for SUPs (stand up paddleboards) that's always fun, too. Water sports are so hot right now.

Go Full-On Camping

Finally! Get your gear in line, stock up on marshmallows, and find a great camping site to spend the night with your date. Ideally, you save this date for someone you have been seeing for a while, because asking someone to go camping in the woods with you before the fifth date is definitely going to conjure up some suspicions. Of murder. Yes, dating is scary at first. Save this for later. Enjoy the summer!