Netflix and chill can return in the fall.
After months of perfectly executed indoor dates—as creative and exciting as they may have been—now that the sun is out, the weather is warm, and you can probably feel the last seconds of summer slipping between your fingers, you might be wondering how to take things outside. Fall will be here before you know it, and the long days of summer will be a memory. So, if you and your partner(s) have been dating inside for the past few months, you might be wondering how to take your love affair outdoors. Maybe you’ve already done the requisite picnic in the park, and you’ve upped your daily walk game to include sunset strolls. Well, we’ve got a few date ideas that are pretty simple but way more fun.
Before we launch into our list, let’s chat for a second. There’s still a coronavirus pandemic, so dates that you have at home (and virtual dates if you don’t live together) are probably your safest bet. If you do head out into the world, make sure you’re wearing a mask and maintaining at least six feet of space from other people. Doing these things might seem small, but they are a major line of defense against getting and spreading the coronavirus.
Now that we’ve addressed the risks involved, let’s talk dates! Fresh air is good for you, and it’s fun to dress like you’re leaving the house. Below, you’ll find eight fun date activities that you can do while maintaining social distancing.
1. Check out a drive-in movie.
Many places around the country are turning parking lots into drive-in movie theaters. So pile in the car (pack some snacks) and hang out together. The actual movie offerings might be limited, but it’s more about the journey than the cinema. It’s a fun retro experience, and it’s a great way to see a movie away from your couch without the inherent risk of a crowded movie theater. You can check out the Driveinmovie.com directory for theaters in your area, but be sure to Google for options that might have popped up more recently.
2. Find an outdoor museum or sculpture garden.
Many museums around the country are closed due to the coronavirus, but some open-air museums are accepting visitors on a limited basis. If you’re in New York state, for example, you might check out Storm King Art Center, an art museum that’s almost entirely outside. If your local indoor museum is large, like The Philadelphia Museum of Art or the Metropolitan Museum of Art, you might walk the perimeter or hang out on the iconic steps for the afternoon.
3. Explore your local botanical garden.
While indoor museums might not be open yet, many botanical gardens accept visitors on a limited basis. While you probably won’t be able to spend all day there, you can secure a timed-entry ticket and take a romantic stroll. Make sure to check your local botanical gardens before heading out, as there are likely special procedures in place due to COVID-19.
4. Create a DIY paint-and-sip party.
Have you already done the picnic thing? Turn your outdoor picnic into a paint-and-sip party. This sounds way more complicated than it is. All you need is a painting set ($19, Amazon), beverages, and an outdoor location. Maybe you both want to paint the same thing and compare artistic prowess, or maybe you want to be individually inspired by your surroundings. Either way, this is a cute and creative way to spend time outdoors. You can even do this in your backyard if you have space.
5. Organize a walking tour.
Even the smallest towns have history, so it could be fun to get on Google, look up some things about your community’s past, and create your own walking tour. If you’re absolutely convinced that there’s nothing worth walking toward in your town, see if there’s interesting history or architecture nearby. Or, if you’re feeling nostalgic, create a walking tour of your favorite memories together—walk by where you met, or stroll through the park where you said, “I love you.” Try to remember small, overlooked memories that you can relive together, and turn your boring town into your very own Hallmark movie.
6. Consider a late afternoon bike ride.
Bikes are one of the hottest items during this pandemic and, whether you own or rent one for an afternoon, they are a great way to spend time together. Where you bike is entirely up to you, but we suggest a nature preserve or path that doesn’t have you riding alongside cars. Plus, you can stop and take in the awesome scenery (which turns a strenuous physical activity into a romantic moment).
7. Find a zoo—preferably one with a drive-through safari.
If you’re looking to spend an afternoon with animals, check out whether your local zoo is open. Since many zoos are predominantly outdoors, the institutions have opened their gates to visitors (at a reduced capacity). An even better option? See if there are any wildlife preserves or safari experiences that allow you to interact with animals from your car. Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey has a drive-through safari, and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park has private cart tours. Either option is a fun way to spend some quality time outside of your house. If watching Tiger King has you skittish about the quality of your zoological institutions (we get it), feel free to do a little research before you go.
8. Do an outdoor scavenger hunt.
An even more interesting way of exploring your city might be to plan a scavenger hunt that takes you all over town. There might be a local company that creates elaborate scavenger hunts for parties and teams, but if you are looking to go a little bit more DIY, there are online scavenger hunt sheets that you can use. You can do a scavenger hunt at the beach (early in the morning before it gets crowded) and look for shells. Or one of you might plan a scavenger hunt for the other that leads you to a romantic outdoor spot. If you’re feeling into the idea but don’t want to take on a big project, a yard or neighborhood scavenger hunt is great too.
Written Patia Braithewaite.
This article originally appeared on Self US.