Check out these 9 cheap or free date ideas! A happy marriage is built of friendship. Friends hang out together and do friend things. “Dinner and a movie” is a great date! I love it. But sometimes you don’t have the time, money, or it’s getting a little stale. Take a look at these 9 ideas and try something a little different.
Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are my own. This post contains affiliate links, which means I make a small commission at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
1. Fly Some Kites
Grab a cheap kite and head to an open space. A field, park, or even the street you live on will work. You don’t need a ton of room, just a little wind.
This date is great for showing your silly side a little. It’s hard to be super serious while trying to get a bright, triangular picture of a Unicorn to lift off and hover in the air. You’re waving your arms and running like a crazy person and not watching where you’re going.
It’s a ton of fun and so satisfying when you finally get it up there.
Once you get it flying, now’s a good time for some friendly banter and joking.
Here are some goofy octopus kites you might like.
2. Go to a Scrapyard
This one is great but you have to find a scrapyard or metal yard that’s open to the public. We’ve lived in places where they won’t let you in, so call first and make sure.
Even if “tools, metal, and machinery” aren’t your thing, it’s always an adventure walking around a scrapyard.
There are all kinds of things you might never see anywhere else in your regular life.
There was an entire school bus that was ripped to shreds. I saw a shopping cart that was crushed into a cube. Metal filings were dumped in a huge pile and it was so beautiful and weird-looking in the sunshine that I tried to take a picture of it but it just didn’t do it justice.
You and your date will be pointing things out to each other and saying “Oh, woah! Look at that!”
And you know there’s gonna be stuff that even Joanna Gaines wouldn’t pass up. You just have to look around and find the treasure. I found some brass circles that I can’t wait to clean up and hang on the wall. They just look so “farmhouse” and solid.
Be prepared to get really dirty so wear some work clothes and have some fun!
3. Find a Flea Market
If you like garage sales then you’ll like flea markets. When we lived in the mountains of North Carolina, there were zero thrift stores. It was the weirdest thing. But there were flea markets everywhere!
Some are nicer than others but you’ll always find interesting things to look at.
You might find an awesome, vintage sewing table or a tiny set of ceramic piglets.
The flea market we live by is like a permanent carnival with amusement rides and concession stands everywhere!
4. Catch Some Tadpoles
Even if you don’t like fishing, tadpoles are fun and easy to catch. You don’t usually need any special skills and it’s another great opportunity to let your guard down and get a little mucky. You’ll slide around in the mud and water and maybe even fall over. But that’s all part of the goofy fun.
Put on some bug spray, junky clothes you don’t mind getting muddy, and grab a net. Anywhere there’s water, you’ll find tadpoles and frogs. If you’re really lucky, you might even catch a turtle.
Often you don’t even need a net for tadpoles because they’re all clustered together in a puddle or crevice. Just reach in and scoop some up. Try and see if the legs are forming yet. It’s weird and fun 🙂
When we lived in Florida there was a park near our house with a pond. And every year the edge of the water would be full of tadpoles and the tiniest toads we’ve ever seen. They were as small as my pinky finger nail. And they were everywhere!
It might seem like a silly activity that would be best suited for a small child. But what better way to bond than to bring out the inner child in both of you and have some childish fun?
5. Go Geo-Caching
What is Geocaching?
Geocaching is like a treasure hunt. Other people have left little containers in random places all over the world. You can use a GPS locator or an app on your phone to find their location.
Sometimes they have little toys inside. If you take something from the capsule, you have to leave something. Often there’s a little scroll of paper that everyone has signed and dated to show they found it.
You’re not supposed to take the capsule. Just find it, then put it back for the next person.
We’ve found 4 or 5 of them by accident just by adventuring around in the wild.
There was one in an abandoned oven, one in a tree hole and another in a tree stump. We found one recently that had a fake mouse attached to the top and was tucked into some tree roots.
You can download a geocaching app and get started on your treasure hunt! Click Here for a video about geocaching. This link sends you to an official geocaching website and you can sign up for a free account and app.
6. Play With Fire
***Always check with your local county for regulations on firepits, burn bans, and fire safety tips.***
You don’t even have to leave your property for this date!
Grab a firepit for your backyard and roast some hotdogs and marshmallows. That takes care of dinner and you get to cook it outside! Use paper plates and you don’t even have to do the dishes. Bonus.
There’s something special about sitting around a fire as the day comes to a close. Fresh air and nostalgic food goes a long way to recharge your batteries. Reminisce, sing some songs together, talk about what you loved about each other when you first met.
7. Drive-In Movie
I’ve only been to a few drive-in movie theaters in my life and I loved it! Everyone is excited like you’re at the fair. Especially if there’s a concession stand somewhere. Most people were sitting on the hood of their car. So fun! Go get a snack and a drink and enjoy the atmosphere.
A big bonus about these types of theaters is that they often show fun movies that you’ve probably already seen.
Why is that a plus?
Because it doesn’t matter if you hear and see everything. You can have a conversation or make funny comments about the movie itself and you’re not missing anything.
I like going to regular movie theaters but I do miss being able to talk and comment. You’ve got that freedom back at a drive-in theater.
8. Forage Together
We love finding things to eat outside. Sometimes they taste awful but most of the time it’s surprisingly good.
*** To be on the safe side, we don’t eat things that look really similar to anything that could harm us if we misidentified it. We stay away from mushrooms for this reason. Just make sure you have a clear picture of the plant, fruit or leaf shape of whatever you are trying to eat so you can identify it correctly.***
We’ve lived in really different climates and places. From Florida to Idaho. Everywhere we’ve been, we discovered things to try. We’ve found Pindo Palms, Beautyberries, Dewberries, Mint for hot chocolate, Garlic, Onions, Pecans, Mulberries, Cactus Fruit, and so much more! It’s always fun to see what’s in season and what’s edible.
There’s a great Youtube channel and blog called, Eat the Weeds. Green Deane has extensive knowledge of the outdoors and a great sense of humor. He shows you what to look for, how to use what you forage, and he often has recipes. Here’s a video about foraging in your neighborhood.
Bob Hanlser is another great resource for learning about foraging food, specifically in Texas. Here’s a video about finding food in the wild in late spring.
Do a little research, pick some things, bring them home and figure out what you can make from your wild ingredients!
9. Walk to Some Food
If you love dinner as part of your date, why not combine a stroll with some delicious food?
When I was pregnant with our first baby, Nathan and I were still in college and had very little money. Every now and then we had enough to treat ourselves so we headed over to the taco bus.
That’s right, it was a bus. The kitchen was at the back. They had cleared out the benches and installed long, wooden counters running down the length on either side. This was genius because we were in Idaho so being outside was a miserable experience for 8 months of the year. (I know a lot of people love the snow but I like it in moderation) This way you could eat delicious taco truck food and be out of the elements too.
If you’ve got a taco truck anywhere near you, take a walk with your date and get some Tacos Al Pastor. It’s seasoned pork in a corn tortilla with onions, cilantro and lime juice. It’s our favorite.
Dating is important
Make kindness and respect your foundation. And care for each other in your actions as well as in how you speak. Life’s not a sitcom where one spouse makes biting “comical” remarks as the other takes it and is labeled the “loveable idiot” of the marriage. A marriage like that becomes unbearable and does not last.
Whether you’ve been married for 50 years or this is a first date, make friendship your goal.
Find moments to be genuine and a good listener.
Try to use sarcasm sparingly. Don’t worry about saying something funny or clever. Humor comes more naturally, and is more enjoyable, as you get more comfortable.
Remember to have fun and I hope this list inspired you for your next date!
Let me know in the comments what interesting dates you’ve been on!
Don’t forget to pin it!