Dating can be a total blast. Rather than wasting your time watching another TV show together because you can’t think of anything better to do, why not use one of these ideas to throw some spice in to your love life?

Use the tag cloud on the right to sort through this list of ideas and find the one that’s appropriate for the kind of date you’re trying to plan.

Enjoy the list (in no particular order). Let us know if you have a good idea and we will list it here!

Also, be sure to check out our new list of Valentines Day date ideas!

Dallin and Katie

Simple date ideas

It can be pretty comical (and impressive) to see what kind of clothes you can get at a thrift store for $5. Pick out outfits for each other (or for yourself) using no more than a pre-set budget ($5 is plenty), then wear the outfits to do one of the other date ideas (bowling, ice skating, etc)

Drive ins are often old and run down but that’s a lot of the fun! Make sure you bring a truck or a big SUV (cars just aren’t as fun) and a lot of pillow/blankets. You can buy pizza or food and drinks elsewhere and bring it in to avoid using the snackbar (expensive, too). These are the cheapest movies around!

Again they don’t happen all of the time, but when they come you don’t want to miss them. Air force bases put on the best shows, and often times there are planes parked on the ground that you can walk around and look in. A good chance to get up close!

They have these all of the time too, if you’re watching for them. Just wander around and ask car owners about their ride — they get all excited and love to tell you. Then if you’re not really impressed, you can go away and make fun of them!

There are all kinds of races — pick one that you will both like. I went to a 1/4 mile racetrack nearby once. It was a little pricy, but one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen (as someone who didn’t grow up around those kinds of things).

Only in places like Arizona, but spring training baseball games happen for about a month in March and are cheap and fun sporting events!

Laughing is what dating is all about. I’m not a funny guy, so I like to go to comedy clubs to get the laughter going. Once your date is in the mood, you can keep him/her laughing and smiling all night.

Obviously this is for halloween time, but carving a pumpkin can be great fun. Definitely invest in a “pumpkin carving kit” at a local grocery store because they are cheap and have lots of tools that make it MUCH easier than using your kitchen knife. You can also look on the internet for jack-o-lantern patterns that will make you a pro that can win any design contest!

This is best for groups of people, but nowadays everyone knows someone with a projector that can be hooked up to a DVD player or computer to show a movie outside. Make sure it’s not going to rain, then throw up a big white sheet on the side of your house and project your movie on to it. Don’t forget sound!

Planetariums range in coolness. Some have sweet star and laser shows, others are just boring unless you’re really an astronomer. I suggest looking in to it though — Most colleges/universities have some sort of planetarium and reasonable prices.

If you like learning, the local science center will fascinate you. They can be a bit pricy to get in, but it’s good for a few hours of entertainment and a whole lot of conversation starters.

Home made ice cream is actually really simple to make. You can make some recipes without an ice cream machine — I remember my sister and I roll a can back and forth to mix it up and freeze it. Check out this site for great ice cream recipes.

Watching TV is so boring for me, but watching the DVDs is downright addicting. If you can find a show that you both like, it will spark lots of conversation and give you something to look forward to.

I think every family has a card game they like to play. Check out rules of card games over at pagat.com to learn the rules of just about any game you can imagine. This is another great way to see your date in action.

This sounds ultra dorky and I certainly wouldn’t recommend it for a first date, but playing computer games is fun and free. Set up a simple network, and unless you’re in a serious relationship where you are just “hanging out,” you’ll probably want to keep it to short games like Starcraft.

Only the right kind of girl will play with fireworks with you, but it can be great fun. Ladies, if you really want to see your man excited, take him to play with fireworks!

Of course it has to be a holiday or special event, but don’t miss this opportunity to get a free date!

I had an “ah-hah” moment when I realized I don’t know the state I’ve lived in for 10 years. There are LOADS of cool places that are less than a day trip away where you can go, have a picnic, take a camera and get to know your date the whole time

I know some of you are probably offended by my calling these “little known” sports, but every region has them. Around here, not much Lacrosse is played so it’s fun to go and watch (you can sit really close to the field) and cheer (there aren’t usually a lot of other fans) and you get to see some people who are very passionate about what they do (they have to be! nobody else cares!)

I discovered roller derbies by accident, but it is totally hilarious. It’s a race where these hard core girls (often dressed gothic) race around and knock each other down. I’m not sure how the rules work, but it’s a full contact sport and lots of fun to watch!

This goes without saying but it’s one of my favorites. If your date is boring or if the conversation sucks, you can just watch the game! But it’s usually the perfect length where you can decide whether to go out to eat after or to drop them off early!

A quick search on Google will show the nearby ice rinks (we even have one in Phoenix!) Skates are always available for rent. Just make sure you aren’t trying to go during kiddie-skate night or anything (Ice rinks tend to have a lot of events) and make sure you dress in layers because you’ll be cold at first and THEN hot. If you pick the right place, this can also be a very romantic date.

This is a step up from the previous date idea. Skate parks or roller rinks sometimes have an admission (although some are free) and it’s a better/safer environment than a park or the street.

This can be a lot of fun. Studies show that exercise gets things moving in your brain and actually (1) give you more confidence and (2) make your date respond better to your … advances! It’s a great way to break the ice.

Go for a ride, but make sure you pick a trail that’s pretty easy (aka flat). You don’t want to embarrass anyone, and you don’t want to ruin a chance to get to know them.

Our favorite is The Settlers of Catan, but there are tons of other good board games and card games that you can use. For a first date, this might be a little better in a group environment but it’s a good way to keep busy if your date is boring.

Not for everyone, but if one of you is an engineer at heart this can be hours of fun. You can even have a competition to see who can make the most creative creation!

This can be expensive, but you can’t really lose as long as you’re seeing someone good. With the right girl/guy, you could go to a cheap punk show for $5 bucks but be careful – not always the best atmosphere!

This was actually our first date! It’s not good if it’s the “only” thing you do all night (you don’t get to talk much while you’re running around in the dark), but it will help break the ice and give a good lead in to something else.

You remember this game from when you were little, right? The one where you knock the ball around through the little metal rings on the grass? The hard part is finding a set. Once you’ve got that, get ready for a trip down memory lane and (again) a chance to laugh and get to know each other.

Guitar Hero is one of our favorite date activities when we don’t feel like going out. If you’re competitive, you can battle for the highest score. Plus even if your date is a total dud, you’ll have a good time jamming out.

Many YMCA, Boys & Girls clubs and Institutes have community rooms where you can play these classic games for free. Bring some friends and have a tournament!

Many cities have arcades like the nickel cade where you can play old school arcade games for dirt cheap. Stay away from places that charge ridiculous amounts for a “premium” experience. Remember, you’re there to enjoy and get to know each other not actually play.

This is good as long as you’re sure you can beat the other person. I’ve been thoroughly embarrassed by Katie many times by making the mistake of taking her bowling. It’s worth a good laugh (especially if you need bumpers like I do)

Pretty self explanatory. The idea here is not to go “all out” but to create some time to laugh and play together. Make sure it’s windy (and if it’s not, you could watch the movie The Kite Runner)

Ice blocks can be purchased from a supermarket or (obviously) made with very little effort. Grab one of these babies and head to your nearest grassy (that’s important) hill and turn it in to a giant slide! It’s a good idea to bring a towel so you don’t have to sit directly on the ice block. And it gets old fast, so have something else planned.

Frisbees are very cheap and yet a great source of fun. If you’re really adventurous, look for a frisbee golf course near your house and give that a try! Also good for small groups of double-daters.
We haven’t documented this one yet. If you try it, please let us know how it went below!

Romantic date ideas

There are few dates more romantic than a planned dinner for two near a local lake shore. You can impress your date even more by having a friend prepare things before hand so as to surprise your date. Act as if you are simply going for a nice walk around the lake. Have your friend rent a table and some chairs and set them up at a spot near the shore that you have previously selected. Have him decorate the table with a fancy table cloth and some candles and any other decorations you can think of. After you’ve sat down with your date, have your friend come out of the background dressed as a waiter in a fancy outfit and have him take your order (You might have only one item on the menu so that your friend can prepare the meal beforehand). Eat and enjoy spending time together near the cool lakeside. If your friend is really talented. He may even come back and play some background melodies for you on the violin.

LDS temples, cathedrals and other impressive buildings can make for a great place to walk around or to sit and talk (at night, they are often very well lit). It’s great for having conversation and talking about things that really matter.

Every state seems to have a small town that is well known for tourism. In Arizona, it’s Sedona where you can see red rocks and check out all kinds of neat little shops and trails. There are others in other places – go look for them!

If you don’t know someone with horses, this can be difficult. You can choose how long you go for and where to. You can also decide whether to ride together or to split up. Great opportunity!

These aren’t too expensive (usually $10-15) to rent for an hour. If you find one that’s open late, you can enjoy a sunset talking and floating around the lake.

Lots of places have christmas lights in December. If you don’t want to drive around and look at them, consider paying to go to a zoo and see the lights. They’re often very well done, and have extra goodies like apple cider, music and entertainment!

Picnics are great for short, eating food, and of course talking. Combine this with another idea like playing cards or a board game! Alternatively, you can do it in a slightly more public place like a park and have fun people watching.

Not quite as much fun, but still doable without a telescope. Make sure you go a LONG ways out of town so that you don’t get the light pollution. When you’re under the stars on a clear night in a remote place, it’s truly breathtaking.

Particularly true at small airports, you can get up close to some really cool planes. You can also sit on the car hood or on the back of a truck and watch the planes take off and land. Very romantic, good chance to talk (also good to combine with another activity like card games)

Drive ins are often old and run down but that’s a lot of the fun! Make sure you bring a truck or a big SUV (cars just aren’t as fun) and a lot of pillow/blankets. You can buy pizza or food and drinks elsewhere and bring it in to avoid using the snackbar (expensive, too). These are the cheapest movies around!

This one was suggested by my grandpa. No, really. Old fashion, but one of the funnest dates I ever went on with Katie was when we got dressed up in “formal” attire, went to a ritzy restaurant and later to a symphony. The entrance was like $35, but the lady at the door thought we were so cute that she let us in free!

A quick search on Google will show the nearby ice rinks (we even have one in Phoenix!) Skates are always available for rent. Just make sure you aren’t trying to go during kiddie-skate night or anything (Ice rinks tend to have a lot of events) and make sure you dress in layers because you’ll be cold at first and THEN hot. If you pick the right place, this can also be a very romantic date.

Go for a ride, but make sure you pick a trail that’s pretty easy (aka flat). You don’t want to embarrass anyone, and you don’t want to ruin a chance to get to know them.

Religious date ideas

Really old people love it if you come to visit them or to sing to them. They are full of amazing stories, and if they’re old enough, they won’t really care who you are or why you’re there they are just happy to see you! It will make you feel good, and give you lots to talk about.

Missionaries are always looking for help to do service, find people to teach or assitance with any of their volunteer activities. Get in touch with some and offer to help them — it’s very rewarding, and you can see what kind of person your date is!

LDS temples, cathedrals and other impressive buildings can make for a great place to walk around or to sit and talk (at night, they are often very well lit). It’s great for having conversation and talking about things that really matter.

There are always lots of opportunities to serve that can give you an opportunity to see what kind of person your date is at heart. Check out a local food bank, cannary, homeless shelter or any one of 1000 volunteer projects going on at any time

Adventurous date ideas

If you know someone who likes guns, you can easily convince them to take you shooting. There are usually indoor shooting ranges if you live in a place where you don’t have an outdoor range nearby. You can take it one step farther and do some sort of “gun safety” class before shooting as part of the date.

This is another thing that you can do MUCH better now that you’re older. In High School, we’d toiletpaper our teachers houses and people we didn’t like. But it’s a good trick even for people you do like.

This is another big hobby for a lot of people. Flying a model rocket can be done for under $20 (but obviously, some people get much more elaborate). If you are lucky enough to find an event, you can see hundreds of these of varying complexity. But if not, it’s still fun to pick up a starter kit at a hobby shop and build one together then fly it a few times.

If you don’t have access to a remote control airplane (I know I wouldn’t let you fly mine if you didn’t already know how!) you can go to mini-airports where enthusiasts gather all of the time to fly these things. It’s a pretty big hobby for some people, so it’s cool to see what they’ve done with it.

There’s a lot more in hot air ballooning than you would think (they’re harder to fly than an airplane) so it’s hard to get someone to take you up. But if you’re lucky, this can be a really fun adventure. If not, they have hot air balloon events where you can watch dozens of them take off at once.

Lots of people get in to riding ATVs and Motorcycles and camping for days on end at the Sand Dunes. It doesn’t hurt AS bad if you wreck on sand, so there are some pretty crazy people you can watch (or be)

There are lots of cool things to be seen if you’re a tourist outside of your state/country. In Arizona we like to go to Mexico because it’s not too far away and it’s quite a cultural experience.

You probably thought of this one without our list, but here it is anyway. Here in Arizona there are lots of little hills and mountains nearby that can make for a decent 2-3 hour hike

Again, a date that’s probably more for the guy than the girl. You can buy all of the parts you need to build a potato gun for less than 20 bucks (ammunition included!) which is a couple of PVC pipes and an ignition source (like a lantern lighter and hairspray). Good fun — a decent potato gun will go 50 yards. You can find instructions all over the internet.

Rope swings can be great fun. Lots of lakes and rivers have already built rope swings (make sure they’re safe!) but you can build your own pretty easily. It’s especially fun if it’s in to water (you could do it when you go cliff diving)

Now that you’re older, you can probably engineer a really cool treehouse or fort. Wood isn’t TOO expensive, and if you already have the tools, you can make a pretty sweet club house either in your back yard or even out in the woods somewhere.

It takes the right kind of girl to go paintballing with you, and it helps to have the gear, but this can be a highly adventurous and fun activity. And you definitely need a group.

Most places don’t care as long as you’re quiet. It’s pretty easy to stroll in and park as if you are checking in and then sneaking back to the pool area. Have your swimsuit on under your clothes, then just strip down and hop in! Many “ritzy” resort style hotels have some really sweet pools.

Ask around and you can probably find a nearby lake or river that’s well known for cliff jumping. Usually better in a group and definitely a daytime activity. Combine this with a picnic or barbeque and you have yourself a party!

Most people don’t think of this as a date, but it’s great for a group. If you know someone with a boat, you can go water skiing, tubing, wakeboarding, knee boarding, etc. etc. at a nearby lake.

There are rivers of varying speed and rapid-ness just about everywhere. Grab a tube or raft, some drinks and maybe some music and hit the river! Make SURE to bring sun screen.

Every state seems to have a small town that is well known for tourism. In Arizona, it’s Sedona where you can see red rocks and check out all kinds of neat little shops and trails. There are others in other places – go look for them!

Camping is a blast with friends. Be sure you’ve got all the gear you need, and bring along card games, board games, snacks and lots of wood for building a giant bonfire. If you don’t want to camp overnight, grab a campsite (or if you’re in arizona, the desert works fine!) and build a giant fire for a few hours.