After two years of living room vacations and endless Zoom calls, singles across the globe have collectively decided one thing: indoor dates are out and outdoor dates are in.
According to our Ambiance matchmaking experts, who recently shared their top 2022 dating trends here, that cozy café or romantic restaurant is being replaced with a pair of hiking boots, a trail ensconced in nature, and a picnic lunch.
It’s a trend, they say, that has boomed off the back of extensive quarantines that left many of us vowing to never again take advantage of the great outdoors. And it’s one that’s being further fuelled by a growing desire to explore the treasure trove of natural wonders in our own backyard.
To celebrate the trend, we’re sharing our five favorite tried and tested outdoor dates that won’t just get your heart pumping for all the right reasons, but give you the perfect excuse to try something new, explore somewhere different, and create lasting memories.
1 The Classic Hike
From gentle trails that loop around a large city park, to exploratory treks that snake their way across rugged mountain ranges, hiking is as fun as it is wonderfully diverse. So grab a rucksack, fill it with some delectable snacks (yes, this means the trail mix with big chocolate bits), and take a hike with your plus one to somewhere magical. Unless you’re both fitness fiends, pick an easy hike that won’t last more than an hour or two (keep some air in those lungs for the conversation) and better yet, select one that finishes in a breathtaking view.
Why it’s great: Some of us find restaurant dates to be a little intense. Doing something physical together is a great distraction and relieves the pressure of maintaining a scintillating conversation. You also get to build a great memory and explore somewhere new.
Pro tip: Brew some fresh coffee before you go (and some home-baked treats) and pack it into a thermos for the post-hike picnic.
Where to find hikes: Visit the state parks and recreation websites in your area or check out comprehensive trail sites such as www.alltrails.com. You can explore trail length, difficulty, and much more to ensure the perfect scene is set for the date.
2 Meander Around A Nursery
Find a picturesque little nursery in your city (preferably with a charming outdoor café attached) and peruse the many rows that brim with colorful flora. Once you’re done, enjoy brunch in the adjoining café.
Why it’s great: We challenge you not to feel good around plants (unless of course, you’ve got allergies) and nurseries are a hotbed of vibrant colors and scents that are bound to enhance those romantic vibes. If you both buy a plant to take home, it also plates up a pretty special souvenir of the date. Lastly, wandering around a nursery will allow you to learn a plethora of fun facts about your date, such as what plants they like and why.
Pro tip: Gain some extra brownie points by purchasing the plant that caught their eye (unless it’s a six-foot-tall cactus).
3 Picnic With A Twist
Find a gorgeous park, pack a picnic blanket (and some food and beverages of course) and take a stroll in nature before setting up a delicious outdoor feast. To make it unique, pack your favorite treat or comforting dish, and ask your date if they’d like to do the same.
Why it’s great: Bringing something from home that you love is a great talking point and you’ll be bound to learn some fun facts about your date. Also picnics – when planned thoughtfully – are laid-back while still being incredibly romantic.
Pro tip: Check the weather before you go! Wind (even slight gusts) can turn a relaxing picnic into a track and field meet that will have you sprinting wildly after anything that’s not anchored down with a rock. Botanic gardens with toilets and lovely grassy areas are a great bet and will ensure the utmost comfort while being in the great outdoors.
Where to find that stunning park or garden: Botanic gardens are often overlooked but offer absolute hives of color and elegance. Follow this link: https://www.thrillist.com/travel/nation/best-botanical-gardens-in-the-us to discover some of the top botanic gardens throughout the States.
4 Stand-Up Paddleboarding
Depending on where you live, or how confident you are being semi-naked in front of your plus-one, stand-up paddleboarding is about as fun as an active, outdoor date gets. Any city that’s near water generally has a plethora of rental options available and the best part about this hot new sport is that it’s beginner-friendly.
Why it’s great: Active dates are all about creating great memories and with stand-up paddleboarding you’ll also be guaranteed a few giggles (depending on how many times you or your date topple over into the water).
Pro tip: Wear a wetsuit if you can and don’t forget to pack a fresh change of clothes for a celebratory drink or meal afterward.
Second pro tip: New to stand-up paddleboarding? Get familiar with the basic ins and outs before you hit the water with a quick beginner’s guide such as this one: https://www.islesurfandsup.com/sup-101/sup-beginners-guide.
5 Indoor Rock Climbing or Bouldering
Ok, you got us. This one isn’t precisely “outdoors” but it is active and it’s also incredibly fun. Climbing gyms are all the rage right now and testing out your hand, eye, and foot coordination in a safe environment is an absolute blast. These indoor climbing centers are also a hive of great energy that is bound to leave you and your date grinning from ear to ear (you might even make some new friends).
Why it’s great: It’s unique, active, and a fabulous option for those who might struggle to bring their conversation ‘A-game’ to a first date. You’ll be so busy concentrating on scaling the wall that you’ll forget to be anything but your wonderful self.
Pro tip: BYO chalk for those sweaty palms.