Now that everyone’s shrugging off their heavy coats and boots and literally coming out of hibernation, it’s the perfect time of year to get out there and meet someone new or give your current relationship a much-needed breath of fresh air. And unlike eternal winter, springtime’s always gone before you know it, so here are a few easy and romantic ideas to make the most of this fleeting, fun season.

Spring Date #1: Stop to smell the flowers
Nothing captures the romance of spring more than strolling hand-in-hand through a public garden bursting with colorful, sweetly scented flowers. Although cherry blossoms are in full bloom from mid-March to the end of April, this is also prime time for you and your date to soak in the sunshine and take in an eyeful of tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths, too. To find a public garden tour in your area, check out this national listing online.

Spring Date #2: Serve up a refreshing strawberry cocktail
Strawberries are one of the first fruits of the season, and whether you pick up a few pints at the grocery store or pick them yourself at a strawberry farm (www.pickyourown.org offers a nationwide listing of berry farms), why not put them to good use and throw a strawberry Bellini party? To whip up this fizzy Italian cocktail, Mario Batali, Food Network star and author of Molto Italiano: 327 Simple Italian Recipes to Cook at Home, recommends combining two cups of pureed fresh strawberries and one bottle of Prosecco (sparkling white wine) in a pitcher. Stir to combine, and then serve in fluted glasses to your single friends while hosting your next mixer (or to that special someone on date night).
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Spring Date #3: Try lawn bowling
Move over, badminton and croquet, because bocce has steadily become one of the most popular games in the U.S. — with more than one million players involved in the sport, according to the U.S. Bocce Association. This laid-back game of lawn bowling is great one-on-one or with a group of friends, and you don’t need a fancy court: any small patch of grass will do. A variety of sets for all skill levels is available online at bocceballsets.com; also, some public bocce courts will let you rent the necessary equipment on-site (log on to ibocce.com for a list of public courts available throughout the United States).

Spring Date #4: Go bargain hunting
Now that the weather’s warmed up, flea markets and yard sales are popping up everywhere. Grab a date and head out for a leisurely afternoon spent browsing for old treasures, just like Taylor Swift. Even if you don’t find anything worth keeping, you’ll bond over all the weird things you’ll see for sale (velvet Elvis painting, anyone?). Find where-to-go info for flea markets nationwide at greatfleamarket.com, sign up for notifications and search for nearby estate sales on estatesales.org, and gsalr.com is a great resource for mapping out yard and garage sales in your area.

Spring Date #5: Take to the trails for an invigorating bike ride
If you want a date that’ll get your blood pumping, why not expend some energy and enjoy the beauty of the outdoors from your bike? Grab a helmet and visit pedaling.com to find recreational bike trails in your area as well as bicycle shop listings, safety information and trail descriptions.

Spring Date #6: Let your love grow
This spring, don’t be afraid to get a little dirty with your date — by trying your hand at gardening. Even if you live in a small apartment in a sprawling urban city, community gardens can always use a helping hand with planting, weeding and watering their fare. Check out communitygarden.org to find one in your own neighborhood, or pick up a few basic supplies and potted plants or seeds at the local nursery or home supply store. Then, you can work together to create a blooming window box or backyard vegetable garden to cultivate together.

Spring Date #6: Go camping
Winter’s chill is gone and summer’s heat hasn’t yet set in, so if you and your significant other enjoy spending some serious time outdoors, spring is the perfect time for a camping trip. Make it a just-the-two-of-us romantic getaway or invite a few single friends and go on a group adventure to get some sparks flying under the stars. Roast marshmallows over a fire, snuggle inside a sleeping bag, take long hikes in the woods — just be aware of any animals waking up from a long winter’s nap! Visit thecampingsource.com for a listing of national campsites, along with helpful travel tips and packing essentials for your trip.

Spring Date #7: Fly a kite
You probably haven’t touched a kite since you were a child, but brisk spring winds and clear skies equal great kite-flying weather. Grab an inexpensive model at a toy store and head out to a wide-open space, like a park, field or beach. When you bring your date along, untangling those inevitable knots can actually be kind of fun! Beginners can find kite-flying tips at windpowersports.com.

Spring Date #7: Plan a picnic
Now that luscious springtime produce is in season, it’s a great time to check out your local farmer’s market. Grab a basket with your partner and make your way through the bountiful stalls. Load up on fresh fruit, cheese and baked goods, then find a scenic spot to spread out your blanket and dive in. Don’t forget to bring drinks and utensils! Use the USDA’s search engine here to find a farmer’s market near you.

Spring Date #8: Set your sights on the stars
According to astronomers, spring is the best season to spot the Big Dipper as well as a host of other constellations. And you have to admit, there is something pretty romantic about sitting together under a night sky that’s bursting with stars. For a map of the springtime night sky and where to spot the major constellations, visit Space.com, or find the top 100 skywatching events listed by date here.

Lisa Cericola is a Brooklyn-based writer who has written for Cosmopolitan and First for Women. Springtime is her favorite season.


Article courtesy of Match.com.