This guide to dating in the outdoors will prepare you for the rigors of the college outing club dating scene. If you are looking to make it to that second date, follow my advice and steer clear of my five worst ideas. Hopefully one of my better ideas will get you not only a second date, but also an adventure partner for the weekends. Lastly, if you fail to take my advice and still have a great time with one of my bad ideas, you should give yourself a pat on the back. Your date is a keeper for sure!
The 5 Worst Outdoor Date Ideas:
1) Ice climbing
Some days ice climbing would actually make for a great date. However, you must first ask yourself a few questions. Is the temperature in the single digits or lower? Is the approach over an hour and all uphill? Does your date have rock climbing experience? Will your date have to borrow gear from you or share poorly sized boots and gloves? If you answered yes to any of these questions, prepare yourself for a short day with a long, silent car ride home.
2) Multi-pitch rock climbing
Like ice climbing, this can be a great date if it is with the right person. General rule of thumb: if it is his or her first time on real rock, a three pitch classic (aka sandbagged) route at the Gunks is a bad idea. Nothing sparks frustration and screams heard ’round the crag like your current and never again climbing partner/date fully weighting a rope for the first time as they dangle 200 feet off the ground.
3) Skiing Pow
You’ve been skiing since you could walk. Your date came to New England for college and is from Texas. It has been dumping snow all day and night, adding up to the deepest storm of the season. No matter how patient you are, and regardless of how endearing your date’s constant falling is, I guarantee that the powder turns will win out. If they really like you, they’ll understand right?
4) May Picnics
Specifically picnics in the hills of New England or the Adirondacks. The snow has finally melted and it is getting warm out, so you decide to hike up to your favorite overlook and have lunch. But wait, it’s black fly season. Instead of enjoying a peaceful afternoon of conversation and getting to know one another, the 3 minutes you actually sit still are spent being dive bombed by tiny blood sucking creatures. Lesson learned: unless your preferred fragrance is DEET bug spray, hold off on the mountain picnics until the black flies are dead.
5) Roadies going mountain biking or dirt riders converting to pavement
You both like to bike, great start! Unfortunately, 83% of roadies are scared of roots and that 15-mile singletrack loop is going to be more than anyone bargained for. Conversely, don’t underestimate a mountain biker’s ignorance when it comes to sandy corners and staying on your skinny tire bike. I’ve still got the scar from road rash that put an early end to my first and only biking related date.
The 5 best outdoor date ideas (sometimes dates in the out of doors actually work well!)
1) Going to the rock gym
So not exactly outdoors, but close enough! This can be a risky date, so be sure that you have the patience and teaching skills required. Go into it with an expectation that your lovely date will be crushing V6 by the evening’s end and you will be sorely disappointed. But if you both have clear expectations that the date is to try out climbing, not master it, it can open up the door to more future adventures.
2) Apple picking
Another relaxing activity that gets you outside with plenty of time to connect with nature and with one another! You would be hard pressed to find a better way to spend a crisp fall afternoon. And the best part is that if it goes well, you can arrange for another date to bake a pie with all those apples you just picked.
3) Full-moon snowshoeing
There is something about the tranquil setting of a landscape blanketed in white and shimmering in the moonlight that just makes for a perfect date. Looking at the stars and watching your breath rise into the pale moonlight will soften anyone’s heart. Additionally, the gentle rhythm of the snowshoes moving through the snow means that you don’t have to fill the whole time with conversation.
4) Stand-up Paddle Boarding
This is a more adventurous option, but still doesn’t require too much technical expertise. It is active without being strenuous. Plan the date for a hot summer day, when swimming and hanging out in a cool lake is the best option around, and you have all the ingredients of a great date.
5) Hot Springs
This is a pretty foolproof date. It is both relaxing and romantic. There is plenty of time for conversation and you aren’t spending half the date teaching some new technical skill. The injury risk is also very low. Oh yeah, and you get to start out the date half-naked. The one downside is that hot springs are few and far between.