GIVEAWAY: Beep, beep! V-Day plans yet? We’re teaming up with Escape Campervans to help you plan your next solo, partner, or bff’s romantic escape into nature. Win a 3-day van-cation + $250 in camping credit by following @escapecampervans + @hipcamp, sharing a story about falling in love in–or with–nature using #HipcampEscape before Feb 9, and spreading the love! 💕
Dump the restaurant reservation and head outside; dating just got dirtier. If you’re a lover of the great outdoors and want to share that passion with your special someone, you’ve come to the right place. Below is a compilation of the seven best badass outdoor date ideas for you to steal. No matter the skill level, we’ve got you covered from nature newbies to seasoned pros. There’s always something to do outside, and someway to make it romantic, so lace up your boots, bring your camera, and get ready to impress.
Photo by Jesse Morrow
There’s nothing quite as rewarding or beautiful as a hike in nature. Pair that with a date, and you’ve got a match made in heaven! Show your partner you’re down-to-earth with a romantic hike. Try to identify bird calls and find cool walking sticks for each other. Take a page from British artist Andy Goldsworthy and see who can create the best work of natural art along the trail! Don’t forget to pack healthy delicious snacks and do your research: waterfalls, overlooks, and wooden bridges all make for EXCELLENT photo-ops; everyone’s going to be writhing with envy as they scroll through your photogenic adventure.
Editor’s note: How to find a great place to go hiking on Hipcamp: filter your search by activity, and select “hiking.” You can narrow your search for a total of fifteen different activities on Hipcamp. Happy trekking!
Photo by Joleen Willis at Pinecrest Campground
Proven in the book “Blue Mind,” by Wallace J. Nichols, being near or in water can make you happier and healthier, so that’s why we recommend you take a first date kayaking. Show off how calm and collected you can be, or dare to impress with stronger currents. Bring your own kayak or use a rental, just remember the safety rules! Kayaking or canoeing may seem like a walk in the park, but get ready for some roadblocks: this workout is good test of communication and trust. Grab your wetsuit, put your phone in a ziplock bag, and turn on that Little Mermaid “Kiss the Girl” charm! Head to the water with your person and unwind as you paddle your way to a second date for sure.
3. Spelunking, AKA Caving
So you may not have access to a cave readily, but here’s the argument as to why you should look into a future trip: spelunking. Cave exploration is, to put it bluntly, BADASS. Explore the stalagmites and stalactites, and maybe even finally learn the difference between the two! (Report back if you do, I’m always confusing them!) Strap on your headlamps and tighten up on those cables because you never know what’s around those tight corners. Depending on where you go, zip-lining, rappelling, even underwater diving is all a possibility! This is the ultimate unusual outing, and your date won’t be likely to ever forget the experience!
Photo by Peter Amend at Sequoia National Park
Is there truly anything better than sitting by a campfire with loved ones while you toast some marshmallows? We didn’t think so either. After the non-stop grind of the “real-world” you and your S.O. deserve to unplug and unwind by going on an epic camping trip. Pack the tent and delicious food, just don’t forget the wine. What makes camping so perfect is that you can tailor your experience to your needs. Not a fan of tents? Take a trailer, deck it out with some twinkle lights, and you’ve got a glamping dream. Spend your mornings hiking, soaking in some much needed vitamin D, or taking photographs of your beautiful new home. At night, you can cuddle up, stargaze, and maybe tell some spooky stories. Camping is an intimate and relaxing vacation that is a perfect alternative to booking a hotel room. (Hint: Hipcamp has the easiest way to find the perfect spot to explore.
Editor’s note: Check out the bottom of this post for a list of badass Hipcamps 🙂
Photo by Madison Kotack at Jug Handle Creek Farm
Rest assured, geocaching is still a thing, and it’s something you should DEFINITELY try. It’s time to unleash your competitive side and show your partner who’s boss with a geocaching scavenger hunt. See who can find the treasure first, leave goodies behind, or even add other items to your list, ideas are never-ending! Charge up your phone, download the app, and get to work: turning dating into a fun game takes the pressure off, leaving you a relaxed but excited adventurer, working together to look for buried treasure.
Photo via Green Wedding Shoes
Much like a fine wine or cheese, the drive-in movie theatre just gets better with age. It’s a classic date move that needs to be shared with everyone at least once. There may be fewer drive in lots now, but that just makes the whole experience more special. If you can’t make it out, turn your backyard into a homemade (and more intimate!) drive in. Line your car with cozy blankets, pillows, and of course, lots of snacks to munch on. Whether it’s a never-before-seen flick or a fan favorite, cuddling up with your date as you share popcorn is the an awesome romantic night outside.
7. Animal Shelter
Photo by Kelly Flournoy at Chanslor Ranch
Perhaps the favorite of the list is visiting a local animal shelter. Most shelters will be incredibly grateful for the help you and your S.O. want to give. Take puppies out for a long walk, keep cats company, or cuddle up with some fluffy bunnies; barring potential allergies, there’s really nothing wrong with a day spent at the shelter. Call your local shelter for more information and opportunities, if all goes well, this may turn into a tradition! These babes need some loving too, and what better way to share the love, than with the ones you love. Just know there’s a 99.99% chance you won’t walk out empty-handed.
Still got love on brain? Read more stories about finding romance in the woods.