7 Amazing Al Fresco Dates

Charm a new love with one of these creative outdoor adventures.

By Analise Pendergast

ow that the days are long and the nights are warm, why not let the big sky and the fresh air add a touch of romance and adventure to your summertime soiree? Whether you’re a confirmed city slicker or more of a backroads fan, enticing locations for an outside-the-box date are sprouting up everywhere you look.

The perfect place for a great outdoor date could be as close as the city park or as high as a mountain peak. When it comes to planning a summertime date to
It’s a perfect place for a proposal to ‘take this thing to the next level.’
remember, the key words are: get out there!

Park it
“An arboretum or botanical garden is my favorite place for a great outdoor date,” says Eric of Washington, D.C. “It's quiet, remote, yet within easy reach of the busy downtown area. You usually don’t even need a car to get there. Explore the trails together, or find a place to sit and listen to the leaves rustling in the wind — maybe a shady bench or a gazebo. It’s a perfect place for a proposal to ‘take this thing to the next level.’”

Make a splash
“Get out on the water,” Teri of Northfield, MA, says. “It’s not too hard to find a place where you can rent a canoe or kayak and go for a paddle. Bring a picnic and make a day of it. Or maybe take a sunset harbor cruise on a riverboat. Being out on the water always feels romantic to me — whether it’s on a serene lake up in the mountains or a cozy harbor on the bay.”

“Let’s eat outside”
according to Anton of Atlanta, GA, dining al fresco is the perfect summer date. “I hate smoky cafés and clubs, so my favorite dates are bound to be outdoors. Having drinks and dinner on the terrace at a sidewalk café, watching the world go by, pretending to be fashion makeover pros and reinventing the unsuspecting passers-by, laughing uproariously and making plans for later — that’s my idea of a wonderful date.”

Music under the stars
Check your local listings for an outdoor concert — while any type of music will do, classical has a way of boosting the romance factor for many couples. Then try this advice from Laura, a classical music fan from Manhattan: “Bring a linen tablecloth, a bottle of fine wine (don’t forget the corkscrew like I did once!), and elegant edibles, like a soft French cheese, juicy grapes and a fresh baguette. Make a beautiful picnic on the green, listen to Debussy and kiss under the stars.”

Head uphill
“For me, it’s all about fitness and being with someone who loves the outdoors as much as I do,” explains Ed, a Los Angeles resident. “A great date idea is
Bring a camera and some lemonade, then spend the afternoon at the top of the world together.
to grab my new crush and head out of town to the nearest, nicest outdoor hiking spot, preferably with secluded trails, romantic waterfalls and a stunning view from the top. Once we’ve reached the pinnacle, we can sit, refuel with the gourmet goodies I’ve packed and revel in the fun of having worked up a good, healthy sweat together.”

Rent some wheels
If you live near a big park, play tourist and rent a cool kind of cycle to ride together. “In Golden Gate Park, near where I live in San Francisco,” says Matthew, “you can rent these crazy lowrider bikes, four-wheel bikes with surreys on top — and some scooters, too. Yes, you feel kind of silly pedaling one of these contraptions on a date, but it’s good, healthy fun. It’s a workout but it always gets me and my date laughing.”

Take a ski lift in summer
Not all outdoor dates have to involve athleticism, though. If you live near a ski area, try this fun idea suggested by Ronnie of Burlington, VT: “Ride the gondola to the summit (as many resorts let you do during summer). You and your date can take in the amazing views and crisp fresh air without incurring sore muscles and blistered feet. Bring a camera and some lemonade, then spend the afternoon at the top of the world together.”

Analise Pendergast thinks the ultimate outdoor date combines several of the above ideas: A picnic by a lake with classical music playing.
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