12 summer date ideas that are free or nearly free

Finding time for a summer date night can be challenging for parents. But we still need quality time together and summertime is the perfect time for some free date ideas you’ll love!

Whenever I hear the word “summertime,” I immediately hear the George Gershwin song in my head: “Summertime and the livin’ is easy.” 

But I’m guessing Gershwin didn’t have kids. Or he at least wasn’t in charge of them. 

Summertime is busy and hectic with kids at home. So, I’ve got the best summer date ideas for parents that you can do at home while your kiddos are asleep or otherwise occupied. 

My husband and I have learned we have to be intentional about ways to connect, especially during summer months. And this summer, with the cost of everything on the rise, coming up with some free summer date ideas is a great plan. 

You can connect, even without a babysitter or spending money. There are plenty of opportunities to have a great date if you just learn how to spot them!

Summer date idea #1: Sit outside. 

One of the more simple summer date ideas is to sit outside together on nice summer evenings after the kids are in bed. The great outdoors — even from your own porch or patio —  is a great place to unwind and reconnect with one another.

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When our children were babies and toddlers, we’d take the baby monitor outside with us. Once they were older, we knew they could come and find us, but made sure to mention that if they don’t see us, then to look on the porch or patio.  (It was the back patio at our old house and front porch at our new house.)

Having time to sit together and just reconnect after a busy day of life is nice. Pick a night and plan 30 minutes to an hour of just sitting together and talking.

Agree that you’ll stay device free and really focus on one another.

Don’t miss these free 55 conversation starters for Christian couples to get the conversation flowing!

Summer date idea #2: Find a series to watch together.

A fun date idea you can do in your own living room is watch a good movie or TV series together. Many shows go to repeats during the summer, so it’s a great time to binge a series together after the kiddos are in bed or whenever you have time together. 

You can find all sorts of ideas online or your favorite streaming service. If all else fails, re-watch a series or movie together. 

Either way, focus on finding something you both like, put down your phones, snuggle up and watch together. Add in your favorite snacks and you’re good to go!

Summer date idea #3: Eat a cold treat together.

If you can find a babysitter or if your kids are old enough to be home alone for an hour, go out for ice cream together. Going out for ice cream is one of the fun summer date ideas, because ice cream goes great with warm weather. 

Plus sitting and chatting while eating a sweet, cold treat is a fun way to spend time together. Ice cream (or fro yo) doesn’t cost as much as going out to dinner. For $10 or less, you can eat get a cold treat.

And if you just can’t find a sitter, then plan an ice cream date at home — without your kids. During naptime or after bedtime, sit at your table with homemade ice cream sundaes or other frozen treats.

Either way, having a cold treat together is a good time to reconnect and remember why your spouse really is your favorite person!

Summer date idea #4: Go for a walk together, and hold hands.

My husband and I are very much fair weather folks. He doesn’t handle heat well and my skin doesn’t get along well with the sun. 

But, find one of the nice summer days and go for a walk together. Walk around your neighborhood during your kids’ naptime. 

Take a stroll along a nature path or hiking trail nearby and let your kids explore (if they are old enough and it’s safe to do so) while you and your husband meander slowly behind them. 

A local park is also a perfect place for this if you have the kids along. You can walk and talk while the kids play on the playground nearby.

It can be the perfect summer date idea if you hold hands to connect physically and emotionally! 

Summer date idea #5: Color together.

If you have kids, chances are really good that you have some art supplies around. A cute summer date idea is to hang out together and color one evening after the kids are in bed. 

My husband does some really great coloring with markers and shading. I, on the other hand, am much more basic. I use crayons and just color princesses. 

It doesn’t matter what you’re coloring, though. What matters is that you’re spending time together. Sometimes doing a mindless task can be a better time to talk and connect than sitting facing one another. 

Summer date idea #6: Tackle a project together.

This sound suspiciously like work, but my husband and I enjoy having time to be productive together and do tasks that have been hanging over our heads. One of the best things is you can get tasks accomplished while also having extra time with your spouse to improve your relationship. Win-win!

Recently, for example, my husband and I spent a couple of hours working together on hanging wall decor in our home that we’ve needed to do for three years. Our kids were too worried about getting roped in to work that they both disappeared to their rooms and occupied themselves. We had a great time working and laughing together. 

Just be sure to keep a good attitude about it and be willing to accept some unsolicited advice that could come your way. (I’m not saying that happened to me over the weekend, but I’m also not saying it didn’t!)

Summer date idea #7: Go geocaching together.

Geocaching was super popular a few years ago, but it still around now. If you can get some kid-free time, download a geocache map and head out together to find some geocaches. 

Take your vehicle or, to make it a completely free date, combine it with an excuse to bike ride together. The longer days of summer lend themselves well to getting out in the evening during warmer weather and doing things.

Geocaching is one of the fun summer dates you can go on, because it also creates memories every time you drive by local landmarks or other places you found geocaches.

Summer date idea #8: Play a game together.

This is perhaps my favorite summer date idea. Plan a game night date night for after the kids go to bed. 

My husband and I love to play games together. I’m not at all a night owl and am definitely more of an early bird. So for post-bedtime game nights, I tend to like short and easy games rather than longer ones. 

Whether it’s a video, card or board game, playing games together can be a great way to spend time together and enjoy a cozy night in. Bonus points if you add in some good food or affectionate prizes!

If you’re looking for a little competition along with fun ways to connect, hop over to printable date night games and activities for couples with some free downloads!

Summer date idea #9: Go for a drive together.

This one isn’t completely free because you’d have to spend money on gas, but sometimes a drive on country roads near your house can be a great summer date idea. 

Roll down the windows if you want and let the wind blow through your hair, listen to music together or just chat and catch up. You might end up finding new things in your area you didn’t even know about. 

If your kids are small and will sleep in the car, make naptime mobile one afternoon and hit the road. Otherwise, you would need a babysitter or have kids old enough to be home alone for an hour.

Summer date idea #10: Read a book together.

I’m a huge fan of books. Read a fiction book together or listen to the audio version together. (Don’t overlook your local library as a great and free resource for these!) 

You can even read on your own and then talk about it like your own book club. Nonfiction books on relationships or any other topic you’re interested in are also great for summer date nights. 

Summer date idea #11: Check out the sky.

Neither of you have to be an astronomer to have fun looking at the stars together. Download a stargazing app, spread out a blanket in your favorite place in the yard and marvel together at the galaxy.

Summer is a great time to take advantage of the beautiful weather and find clear skies with warm temperatures. And nighttime is even better for outdoor activities on hot days.

Summer date idea #12: Go to a free concert.

This one does need a babysitter if your kiddos aren’t old enough to be home along. But another one of our summer date night ideas is to go to a free concert.

Check out a nearby park or other popular venue to find free concerts in your area. Pick one that sounds good for you two and enjoy the time together listening to music and remembering what it’s like to not always have to be mom.

About the Author: Stacey A. Shannon

Stacey A. Shannon is a freelance journalist and blogger who has been published internationally. She's also a Christian, a wife and a mom of two school-aged children. She started Families with Grace in 2019 to encourage Christian moms as they create homes filled with grace, love and faith.

Be sure to get the FREE family devotion book, "Finding Grace at Home: 7 Days of 5 Minute Devotions for Families." It's a great way to help your family draw closer to each other and to God.

Motherhood can be lonely. You weren't meant to go on your motherhood journey alone. Connect with Stacey and other Christian moms like you in the private Facebook group, Moms with Grace!

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