Doing an unpaid internship this summer? Saving up for winter trip to the Caribbean? Or just not interested in spending a lot of money on dates that could be better used for grocery, college loans, or an eventual down payment on a house?
Well, here are five date ideas that won’t break hearts—or the bank.
1.) A Walk in the Park
Simple as that. The park is free (usually). The only thing you have to pay for is your transportation to the park and the melting icecream cones in your hands.
You can also make this a jogging or running date as well. If you and your date are trying to stay in shape, you can work out together. Just bring plenty of water and sunscreen.
Potomac Park, in downtown Washington DC, circles many national monuments, the Potomac River, and the gorgeous pink cherry trees. Metro, foodtrucks and restaurants are nearby.
For a more secluded summer date, try wandering the over four hundred acre Arboretum. It is more out of the way, and there are not restaurants on the premises, but it is more private and less crowded, so you can pack snacks in case you get hungry.
2.) The Local Pool
The park too hot? Try a cool outdoor pool! Pools do cost money to enter, but usually not that much. It’s even better if you have friend with a backyard pool, your apartment complex has one, or you have a membership to a local one.
The Martin Luther King Junior Swim Center is a great, cheap option in the Montgomery County, Maryland area. Almost like a waterpark, it contains waterslides and a lazyriver, in addition to an outdoor pool. County residents pay six dollars, while out-of-county pay seven (weekday) or eight (weekend).
Have fun! Just don’t get tackled by the police.
3.) An Outdoor Movie Screening
Many cities and towns hold movie screenings on summer evenings once the sun goes down. These are often free to attend.
So bring your popcorn, bring your date…and bring some bugspray so the mosquitos don’t buzz in your ears while you’re trying to listen the main character’s monologue or your date is trying to whisper to you.
DC Outdoor Films has multiple location of movie showings, and multiple nights and movies to choose from. Maryland and Virginia also have outdoor film screenings in multiple locations.
Nothing is more romantic than the traditional lovers’ picnic atop plaid blanket on a grassy field. You open your wooden basket to find a bottle of wine and sandwiches. Nothing spills, no bugs attack, it’s not too hot out. Everything is perfect…
In reality, of course, you should probably opt for a picnic table rather than a picnic blanket, perhaps under the shade of a gazebo, at the local park.
You and your date can each bring a homemade dish to show off your cooking skills. Or you can bring takeout from a favorite restaurant you two love to visit as a couple.
Don’t forget a cooler full of ice. Even if your food is meant to be eaten hot, your drinks need to stay cold, in the summer heat, and so do you.
The Georgetown Waterfront Park, in DC, is a scenic waterside idea. Other sections of the Rock Creek Park system, spanning DC and Maryland, would also work well if you and your date need the shade and cool of a wooded area, like Dumbarton Oaks.
The beach is the quintessential ideal of summer.
If you and your date have been together long enough, pack up a car with swimsuits, towels, sunscreen, and sandals, then find the nearest beach on GoogleMaps, and start driving.
Take turns behind the wheel, if it’s over an hour away. Split the cost of gas. Stop at a reststop, maybe, and have some fast food—just wait a while before dipping into the saltwater once you get to the ocean.
Maybe you’ll stay for an afternoon. Maybe you’ll stay for a weekend.
Either way, the best cheap summer date is a day at the beach full of funnelcake, boardwalk games, and washing the sand off of your feet in those tiny foot showers.