Baby, it's cold AF outside. But guess what? That doesn't mean you can't plan a super cute, Instagram-worthy date. While you may be longing for romantic picnics, pool days, and other warm-weather activities, the truth is that there are so many outdoor winter dates to try during the pandemic that are equally fun and romantic. The best part is, most of them are pretty budget-friendly, too — so you can let your wallet recover after all that holiday shopping.
The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention still maintain its health and safety guidelines for slowing the spread of the coronavirus, which include avoiding hanging out in indoor spaces as much as possible (especially those that aren't well ventilated). In part, this is because it's much harder to stay 6 feet apart while indoors. This is both to protect you and your partner, as well as those around you, since COVID-19 can be easily spread by people who don't have symptoms, and therefore, don't even know that they're infected.
One easy way to reduce your risk of contracting or transmitting the virus this winter is to plan outdoor dates — which allow you to enjoy some QT while also staying safe. So, don your warmest coat and gloves, and get ready to make the most of the chilly season with these easy peasy ideas.
Do some window shopping.
Strolling around downtown and scoping out the window displays can actually be a laid-back way to bond on a winter afternoon. Plus, you can use this opportunity to drop some not-so-subtle hints about what you really want for Valentine's Day. Or, you can make a game out of it, and take turns selecting one thing you'd want out of every store window and explaining why it's your pick.
Head to the beach.
Who says you can only hit the beach in the summer? If you happen to live close to the coast (or a lake with a sandy stretch), bundle up, and either go for a stroll or spread out a blanket to enjoy the scenery. Or, if you're feeling extra playful, kick off an epic snowball fight.
Have a winter picnic.
Picnics aren't only for warm weather. You'll probably want to bring along some cozy blankets to drape over you, and maybe a portable table and chairs since the ground can be super cold and damp during this time of year. Don't forget to pack thermoses of hot cocoa, coffee, or tea and warm comfort food like butternut squash soup or three-bean chili.
Do a seasonal scavenger hunt.
Scavenger hunts provide a unique way to soak up the local winter scenery while also challenging your observational skills. You can either print out a ready-made list online or make your own, including common items like wreaths, icicle lights, and UGG boots.
Go on a hike.
Hiking in the snow may require wearing a few extra layers, but it's well worth braving the colder temps to enjoy the gorgeous snowy views. Not only will you get some fresh air with your boo, but you'll also have the chance to get the blood flowing and the endorphins surging — which is much-needed during these darker, drearier months.
Snowshoeing demand a lot of coordination and is pretty simple to pick up — making it an ideal choice even if you're only on a second or third date. You can either invest in a pair of snowshoes or rent some locally, and if you're both beginners, you and your date could sign up for a class to learn the basics. Then all you need to do is locate a scenic trail nearby and before long, you'll be literally walking in a winter wonderland.
Spend the afternoon sledding.
It doesn't get any more nostalgic than sledding. So, grab the toboggan or a couple of one-person saucers and hit the hills for an adrenaline-packed afternoon. The best part? If you share a sled, you have an excuse to get cozy.
Build a snowman couple.
It's time to harness your inner child. Rather than just building one snowman, try making a couple. Let your partner try to capture you while you build a snowman that resembles them — and you're bound to share a few laughs while you marvel at your creations at the end. Just don't forget to snap a pic for IG.
Go ice skating.
Is there anything more romantic than holding hands while you glide around an outdoor rink or frozen pond together? You definitely don't have to be a pro to enjoy this activity — in fact, giggling up a story every time one of you falls can be a powerful way to bond. You could also sign up for lessons if you're really eager to sharpen your skills together.
Build a bonfire.
Live near a park or beach that allows bonfires? Voilà — you've got the perfect winter date activity. After you've assembled your fire, you can snuggle up next to it and watch the sun set while taking turns swigging from a thermos of hot mulled wine or spiked cider.
Do some snow graffiti.
Did you know that fluffy white snow serves as the perfect canvas? All you need is some spray paint or spray bottles filled with food coloring and a healthy dose of creativity to enjoy this unusual winter date activity. And if you really want to take things up a notch, you can make cardboard stencils to create specific letters, words, and images. After, take a step back to admire your amazing masterpieces.
Do a winter photoshoot.
Let's be real — your Instagram feed could use some fresh content. Luckily, winter offers prime backdrops for some like-worthy pics. Whether you walk around your 'hood and snap some snowy selfies, or head to a local park or attraction for some artsy shots, you're guaranteed to make some new memories while capturing the beauty of the season (#nofilterneeded).
Visit a farmers market.
Beets, Brussels sprouts, grapefruit, and pears — these are just a few of the fruits and veggies that are in season during winter. So, if you have a local farmers market that operates during the colder months, plan a date to go check it out. Better yet, bring along a recipe that you'd love to try cooking and see if you can get all of the ingredients there. Not only is local produce fresh and nutritious, but buying it is a great way to support the nearby agricultural community.
If you're dealing with some serious cabin fever this winter, a camping trip might be just what the doctor ordered. So, pack up a tent and plenty of snacks, and power off your devices to enjoy some quality time in nature. If you happen to have a yard, you don't even have to trek very far — and that way, you can head back inside to sleep or use the bathroom. Whether you roast marshmallows, tell spooky stories, or just snuggle up in your sleeping bags, camping will surely be a nice break from everyday life in quarantine.
Have a cocktail throwdown.
Who can make the tastiest slush-style cocktail? The only way to find out is to bring some spirits, syrups, and liqueurs outside for a mixology competition. Just be sure to grab the freshest white snow for your concoctions. SnowMosa, anyone?
Volunteer to walk dogs.
There's a good chance that your local animal shelter needs some volunteers to walk their dogs during the chilly months. If you love spending time with furry friends, there's no better reason to brave the cold. Plus you'll get the warm fuzzies from knowing you're doing a good deed.