My husband and I enjoy taking a night once in a while and doing something as a couple. Life gets in the way sometimes, and we decided before we ever got married that we wanted to designate time specifically to spend with each other, instead of getting caught up in the whirlwind of work and chores. We like to call these our “date nights.”
I realize that is not an original name. But, this time together is special to us. However, living in a rural area, there have been times where we had trouble deciding what we wanted to do. So, I got to thinking. Why don’t I create a list of some fun, inexpensive, rural date night ideas! This way, you do not have to rack your brain for ideas like my husband and I do!
Please, keep in mind that not all of these will be everyone’s cup of tea. But, these are some great starting points for anyone who lives in a rural area!
Go for a walk of hike.
Pennsylvania has some beautiful state parks full of hiking trails, and I would guess that other states have a similar system in place. Even outside of the state park system, there are trails in various forests and paths in parks throughout the country. Not only does this provide an opportunity to communicate, but also an opportunity to enjoy nature and get some exercise!
While you are out enjoying nature, why not take along a picnic lunch? It does not need to be anything extravagant, a sandwich and chips would be sufficient. It would just add a little something extra to your adventure.
If you are looking for information about some Pennsylvania State Parks, you can check out the DCNR website. I am also in the process of visiting and writing about as many state parks as possible! So far, I have written an introductory post, and a post about Presque Isle State Park in Erie. There is also a video on my YouTube channel about Shikellamy State Park.
Go for ice cream.
In the summer, this is a weakness of mine. My husband and I try not to eat ice cream too frequently, but once in a while, we like to enjoy a cone of chocolate soft serve! We have an ice cream shop about five miles from our house, so this usually serves as a quick date for us!
Go fishing in a pond.
I am not a big fan of fishing in a creek or river. I like to put a bobber on the line, throw it in a body of still water, and reel it in when the bobber starts moving! Other people baiting my hook is preferable! Sitting in a chair with a fishing rod in hand while the line is in the water is relaxing, and serves as a great bonding experience!
Drive around back roads.
This is probably the simplest date ever. I love exploring new roads. We are fortunate enough to have a lot of back roads around the area to explore! If we had highways, I would not be nearly as adventurous! When driving on back roads, every road leads to somewhere, and it is simple to turn around if absolutely necessary.
One of our favorite things to do is look for deer in the fields. It really is that simple! We usually go when it is still daylight, but occasionally we go at night and scan the fields with a spotlight.
If looking for deer and other wildlife is not your cup of tea, you could also drive around until you find a nice place to watch the sunset. Or, just drive, without a plan, and enjoy each other’s company.
Attend truck and tractor pulls.
This is one of our favorites! A local county holds tractor pulls 3 or 4 times each summer, along with a few local fairs. If you’ve never been to a truck pull, people bring their trucks and tractors and pull a weighted sled down a dirt track as far as they are able. There is a lot of noise and a lot of diesel smoke, but those are some of its charms!
At the last truck pull we attended, a man I graduated high school with took his truck to pull. (To truly illustrate our “small town” atmosphere, we bought our house from this man’s grandparents!) I posted a video on my YouTube channel of his pull, which you can watch here. I kept filming after he was off the track, so you could see the work that the tractors do between pulls.
Use gift cards for dinner.
We have about two restaurants within five miles of our home. Beyond that, we need to travel a fair distance in any direction to go out to eat. We try not to make a habit of eating at restaurants, first to save money, and second so that it does not become commonplace.
Depending on the restaurant chosen, meals can be quite costly. This is where the gift cards come in handy! If you and your spouse exchange Christmas or birthday gifts, or if your family gives gifts, gift cards to local restaurants are a great thing to ask for! It is like getting a date night in a tiny box!
Watch a parade and visit a carnival.
During the summer, several local towns hold firemans’ parades and carnivals. My husband and I enjoy watching the parades. Usually, all of the local fire companies bring some of their trucks, owners bring their classic and antique cars, businesses use these parades as a promotional opportunity, and farmers bring their tractors. Tractors are my husband’s favorite part!
The carnivals are small, with several different food stands, some games, and a few rides for the kids. Most of the charm is talking to people you haven’t seen in a while!
Generally, the carnivals have hamburgers, hot dogs, sausage, soup, pizza, funnel cakes (these are super popular!), and ice cream. Some have specialty items that are specific to that carnival, but overall, most of them have the same foods.
My favorite stand is the Cake Wheel. The concept is simple. Place a quarter on a number, the people in the stand spin the wheel, and if the wheel lands on your number, you win a cake! In fact, I run a cake wheel at one of the last carnivals of the summer.
Kayak down a creek or river.
I have only been kayaking three times, but it is so enjoyable! I have gone on a lake, a creek, and a river. It is relaxing, and a great way to get some exercise and a suntan!
We do not own kayaks, so we have rented or borrowed some each time we have gone. So even if you do not own any, there are options of how to get kayaks to use.
If you’ve never gone kayaking before and are not sure where to begin, check out this post about tips for your first kayaking trip.
Go to a sporting event.
Whether it be a Minor League Baseball game, or a high school football game on a Friday night, small sporting events are not super costly. In fact, my husband and I could get into one of our local high school football games for under $10! This makes for a relaxing night out, and you might even get to see some stars in the making!
We are fortunate to have the Little League World Series venue in Pennsylvania. Each August, some of the best eleven and twelve-year-old baseball players in the world come to play and find out who has the best Little League Baseball team! I am hoping to write a post about this event in a few weeks, so stay tuned!
Visit a miniature golf course.
Whenever my husband and I take a trip somewhere, we try to find a place to play miniature golf. It is a little competitive between us, but definitely not to unhealthy extremes! There a few different places around home that we can go mini golfing if we wish. Our favorite is Knoebels Amusement Park. There are a variety of obstacles throughout the eighteen holes, which make if fun, exciting, and most of the time comical!
Go to the drive-in movies.
We are fortunate to have a drive-in movie theater that reopened last summer not too far from our house. My husband had never been to the drive-ins before, so last summer, when “Secret Life of Pets” came out, we went over. We took my husband’s truck and set up lawn chairs in the bed, facing the movie screen. We sat up higher than all of the other cars and had a great view!
Drive-in movies are usually less expensive than going to a regular movie theater. And they generally show two movies per night; they even have triple features on special occasions!
I would recommend bringing a battery-powered radio to listen to the movie. Your vehicle radio would work fine, but having a dead battery when you go to leave would be a rotten end to a date night!
I hope you find these helpful if you ever get stuck and cannot think of something to do! Are there any rural and inexpensive date ideas that you and your significant other enjoy? I would love to hear about them, so feel free to comment!