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64 Small Town Date Ideas (Including Group Date Ideas)

Fun AND inexpensive small town date ideas (including group ones)? YES. You can even enjoy the small town winter date ideas section all year round.

Soooo…you live in what you affectionately refer to as “the boondocks”, and you're in desperate need of some small town date ideas to impress your partner.

couple in a small town on a bale of hay, text overlay "64 fun small town date ideas (cheap, too)"

Good on you for making date night a priority – most marriage and relationship experts suggest making date night a weekly ritual in order to keep the spark alive in your relationship, to encourage communication, as well as to continually add to your bond by remaining apart of each other’s current lives.

But going to dinner and the movies each week could easily add $100 to your monthly budget (with a babysitter).

And if you live in a small town? Well, fun small town date ideas seem hard to come by.

I’d like to offer up some fun and inexpensive date ideas as alternatives that will help keep date night in your budget (in other words, money should not be the reason to ax date night with your partner or spouse – frugal dating is where it's at!).

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49 Fun Small Town Date Ideas (Country Date Ideas)

Looking for things to do in a small town with your beau?

I've got tons more creative date ideas that are perfect for small town and country dating.

1. Teach Your Date How to Drive Stick Shift

One of my favorite dating memories was when a boyfriend of mine took me out on a (really) back road in the small town where we lived, and taught me how to drive stick shift.

2. Complete an Escape Room, at Home

For a fraction of the cost of going to an Escape Room, you guys can solve one from a box. Here's an Escape Room in a Box: The Werewolf Experiment to check out.

3. Do a Power Outage Date Night

The Dating Divas have come up with a really cool Power Outage Date Night (complete with free date night printables). Basically, lights and phones are OFF, romance is ON.

4. Search for a Beer/Wine/Spirits Tasting

Find a vineyard, distributor, or restaurant that has wine or beer tasting, and you will be in for a treat. This sophisticated pastime typically is quite cheap, and even free in some cases. Create a memento by taking a pad of paper or journal with you so that you can keep track of the wines you taste and how you like them.

5. Go to a College Theater Production

Don’t have the money to shell out for the theater or symphony? Try your local college or university. You can call the school directly, or look for flyers and pamphlets around campus.

6. Go to Free Zoo and Museum Days

Most zoos and museums have at least one day a month that is free of charge (it may be in the middle of the week, in which case you can meet one another straight from work). Take advantage of this day. Instead of trying to cram in the entire museum or zoo, focus on one wing at a time over several months/several free days.

7. Listen to a Reading before a Book Signing

Check out ads at your local library, coffee store, and bookstore to find out when a favorite author is in town. Ahead of time, read parts of one of their book out loud to one another (borrow from the library if you don't already own one).

8. Pick Fruit from a Farm and Bake a Pie Together

Cooking classes are super trendy right now and a lot of fun for dates. However, they are super expensive! Instead, locate a farm to pick and purchase fruits together, and then take your bounty home to use in a recipe you've picked out ahead of time. For us, we pick strawberries together each year at a farm about 45 minutes away. Then, I bake my grandmother's Strawberry Shortcake recipe! The end result is wonderful, and the intimate time in the kitchen will be worth it.

9. Meet at a Coffee or Tea Shop

On a rainy Saturday or lazy Sunday afternoon meet up with one another at a coffee/tea shop and order your favorites. You can print out free conversation starters for couples, read each other tidbits from your books and newspapers, listen to the Serial Podcast together (one earbud for each of you!), or even bring along a board game to play.

Psst: here are 17 more coffee shop date ideas to check out.

10. Outdoor Movie

Many cities and towns sponsor outdoor movies for free. If this is not the case, locate an outdoor movie theater (hint: scroll down once you get to this website). Bring your own snacks, pop the seat back, and tune into a fun night. Or create your own outdoor movie night at home: a projector and some Hallmark Hall of Fame movies are a winning combination

11. Dessert and Coffee

Who says you have to go out for dinner? Meet your partner for a piece of cheesecake, cupcake, or a shared ice-cream sundae and some coffee in the afternoon, or go out to your local cupcake boutique/cheesecake/chocolate factory after a homemade meal. Paul and I recently did this; we met each other after work at the Chocolate Bar, and had a magnificent piece of pumpkin cheesecake, followed by some great conversation.

12. Witness Rare or Annual Migrations/Nestings

Whether it is the turtle nesting season in Florida/Texas, the bat migration, or the monarch migration, take the time to borrow some binoculars and experience these timeless acts in nature as a couple.

13. Take a Placard Walk Through History

Drive to the historic district of a nearby city or town, park, and grab a map from the local tourist place. Walk around the area locating placards and read them out loud. You will learn the historical significance of buildings, walkways, and moments in time that you normally would just drive past.

14. Eat Dinner in Your Yard

After we got back from our 5-year anniversary trip to Cozumel, I realized something that was missing in our lives — eating outdoors. For my next date night (my husband and I switch on planning date nights each week), I cooked us some fish tacos, had a table set up outside, and lit a few tiki torches around it. Talk about setting the mood!

15. Eat Snacks on the Beach

I can't tell you how many times I've simply packed up a blanket, a cooler with a few snacks and drinks, and headed to the beach for an afternoon with my love!

Psst: here are other cheap picnic date ideas.

16. Do Karaoke

True, there are not karaoke stations around every corner like in Japan, but you can certainly find them (bars sometimes host one karaoke night a month). This is a really fun activity, and certainly will help break down any barriers you may have.

17. Movie Tourism

Find out if any movies have been filmed around the area where you live or even a few hours from where you live. Rent the movie and watch it as a prelude to finding the various locations on a walk/bike/car trip. Take turns taking pictures of one another as you act out the various scenes.

18. Dollar Movie Theater

You will be watching older movies, but it beats watching them on your small television at home! Do a google search for “dollar movie theaters”; I found one right on Westheimer called Windchimes Dollar Cinema 8 where tickets are $1.50 each.

Hint: here are 9 dollar store date ideas. Don't knock it 'til you try it!

19. S'Mores in the Backyard

For one of our date nights, I set up a nice sitting area around our outdoor fire pit with two chairs and a small plastic table. I put everything we needed for s'mores, and after our 1.5-year-old went to sleep, I invited my husband out for a fire and yummy dessert! That was inexpensive, and memorable.

20. Graffiti Crawl

Lots of graffiti is ugly, and poorly executed. But you know what I recently found out? There's also lots of beautiful pieces of art-as-graffiti (such as here in Houston). Take the time to map out 4-5 different pieces of graffiti art to drive by, or get out and take some awesome photos together.

21. Hike to Nature's Show

Do you live remotely close to a waterfall, ravine, canyon, river, or any other of nature's beauties? Take your partner on a hike to explore and discover the outdoor treasure together.

22. Chase a Food Truck

Check out RoamingHunger.com, which pinpoints the specific food trucks that are coming to locations near you, and the times they'll be there.

23. Spin Tales

Grab a box of story dice, and use them to create a story between the two of you. Careful — this can cause eruptions of giggles and snort-laughing! Great for coffee shop dates, cuddling up around a fire, or for some pillow talk.

24. Attend a Free Intro Yoga Class

Lots of yoga studios have a 1 or 2-week free pass for people who are not members. Grab two of these, a pair of mats, and two towels and take a yoga class together. Turn this into an at-home yoga date with DoYogawithMe.com, or Yoga with Adriene videos.

25. Donuts with Your Spouse

Surprise your spouse with a box of donuts at work in the afternoon, mid-morning, or even for lunch.

26. Tour a Factory

There are hundreds of factory tours that are free or cheap, across the U.S. (use this site to find ones near you). You'll both learn something new, plus many give away free samples at the end.

27. Spouse Speed Dating

The Dating Divas have set up a really fun date night for you both — speed dating your spouse. You'll definitely uncover details of each other's lives you didn't know before!

28. Go for a Swing at Your Local Park

One of my most cherished memories of dating my spouse was when we weren't married. We were in Oklahoma together, and after dinner went for a walk down to the swings in the local park. Yes — we swung, and it was lovely! Not only that, but it had rained earlier, and there were tons of bullfrogs out croaking and hopping about. To this day, we call this our Bullfrog Walk and think on it fondly.

Here are other cheap park date ideas.

29. Compete in Pub Trivia Night

Lots of pubs have trivia nights. It's free to participate in (you just pay for your drinks and any food you get). What fun you can have competing against other teams of couples!

30. Tailgate at a Local High School's Football Game

It's MUCH cheaper to go to a high school football game, and you can even pack your own food and tailgate, if you'd like!

31. Go on a Haunted Ghost Tour

Either buy a local ghost book, or get one out from the library. Make a map of at least 3 different locations you want to drive by or visit. Read the tales out loud on the way there.

32. Go to the Gym for an Evening Session

Our gym offers 90 minutes of free babysitting, so you better believe every so often we take our little one, drop him off, and spend 90 minutes together working out, stretching, and talking. Sometimes, we just hang out at the cafe!

33. Play at the Arcade

Does your local movie theater have an arcade section? Find an arcade area at another business — way cheaper than going to a barcade — and show up with $10 in quarters. Have at it!

34. French-Fry-Sauce Tasting Contest

Each of you gets $15.00 to shop for ingredients to make the best french fry dipping sauce you can. Then, you taste test afterwards and vote on whose is the best! You never know — you could create a family-treasured recipe for generations to come.

35. Play Pudding or Play Doh Pictionary

My husband and I played a round of pudding Pictionary with our 2-year old, and we also played a round of Play Doh Pictionary on a date night. Honestly, I laughed so hard during it that I snorted! Hadn't done that in years.

36. Take a Ferry Ride

There's a ferry ride about an hour from Houston (also, you can take the free ship channel tour), and it's absolutely lovely. When I went on it last, we saw dolphins! Not to mention pelicans and lots of seagulls.

37. Take a Church Couple's Class

We go to an amazing church, and one thing they offered married couples was a 6-week evening class to better your marriage. Not only did they offer childcare for it, but for just $25 for the full six weeks, we also got catered food! What an amazing opportunity that was (that also served for our date nights for six weeks in a row). Check out your own church for opportunities, as well as local churches.

38. Write Down Your Couple's Story

Go to a local coffee shop one evening a week, several weeks in a row, to complete a couple's project — to write down your couple's story. Buy a beautiful diary for the occasion and a nice pen (acid-free would be best, so that this lasts the generations). How did the two of you meet? What were each of you first drawn to? What obstacles did you face in coming together and how did you get around them? Don't leave out the juicy details!

39. Buy two Bingo Daubers and Go to Bingo Night

I hadn't gone to bingo night since I was a teenager…but I went just two years ago and I have to say, it was entertaining (psst: the people watching is pretty fun, as well)! You can get two bingo daubers and treat the two of you to some cheap concession stand foods.

40. Go to a Revolving Sushi Bar

These are so cool — and the nice thing about them that helps with the cost? You pay by the sushi. So, you just pull off the sushi you want, eat them, and hang out together while watching a revolving sushi belt the rest of the time. Perfect date night!

41. Babysit Someone Else's Kids, Together

I know, I know — on the surface, this doesn't seem like a cool date night. But if you DON'T have kids? It's actually really fun. Not only that, but you get to see your partner/spouse in an entirely different way. (Pssst: you're also doing all of us parents a service by helping a couple get some much-needed alone time together. Kudos to you!).

42. Play HORSE at Your Local Outdoor Basketball Court

When was the last two you just shot some hoops? Play a round (or 10) or HORSE, and talk to each other.

43. Become a Mall Rat

Well, for an evening, anyway. Things to do at a mall besides spend tons of money? For starters, many jewelry stores will actually shine your jewelry for free. Also, some malls have massage chairs that are $1/minute. You can get some food at the food court without spending a fortune, and walking around is always fun! Finally, here's a mall scavenger hunt you can do, as a date night!

Psst: you can also do a scavenger hunt at the bookstore — here are bookstore date night ideas.

44. Go to an Outdoor Market

Whenever we go to an outdoor market, we learn so much! About local produce, new foods that are available, new DIY projects, etc. It's fun to browse around, and we usually end up buying a few things as well. Fun to sample also — like cheeses and homemade lotions!

45. Look for Local Film Festivals

We actually scored $20 tickets to see two movies sat a local film festival, PLUS, free s'mores bar social afterwards. Totally worth the night out!

46. Head to a Chili Cook-Off

You can find some great cook-offs with reasonably priced tickets. It's a wonderful way to putz around together, eat samples to your heart's content, and get outside for an afternoon.

47. Search for Opening Parties

If you can find an opening night or opening party for a restaurant/hotel/store/etc. then you might just score a fun night out for very cheap. These events are meant to get the word out about an establishment opening up, and to let potential future customers sample the goods. Search in your local area on Facebook or Google.

48. Go Pokémon Go Hunting

Download the Pokémon Go app (for iPhone and for Android) on your smart phone. Head out with your partner for a long walk, and see how many Pokémon you can catch!

49. Subscribe to a Date Box

Did you know there are date box subscriptions that cost between $7.99-$40.00+ that you can subscribe to? It's a once-a-month date night sent straight to your door, with everything you need to have spark some romance with your partner. My husband and I have personally reviewed several date box subscription services here.

Here's an example one:

Crated with Love‘s boxes include themes like The Honolulu Heist Date Box, Our Vegas Variety Show Date Night, and a Zombie Apocalypse Date Night. (Hint: Go through my link and get $5 off your first box with coupon code “FRUGAL”.).

flatlay on white background crated with love subscription box review

Next up, one of my favorite ways to date someone in a small town.

Psst: here are tons more date night ideas!

5 Cheap First Date Ideas in a Small Town

I devoured stumbled upon an episode of The Bachelorette the other day.

It was one of the hometown date nights, where the last remaining contestants get to go to the bachelorette's small, hometown to meet her family + get an idea of her history.

It got me thinking about how this type of date night is applicable to just about everyone (well, except if you both grew up in the same town together).

Especially for people looking for small town date ideas (I grew up in a one-redlight town myself, so I understand).

For example, my husband grew up in a town in Texas, and I grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania. There's ample opportunity for us to have some cheap + interesting date nights that will also reveal more about who we are and how we got that way.

Not only that, but it can make for some really cheap date nights (without skimping on meaning). Several of these are great cheap first date ideas, as well!

Let me give you guidance for how to kickoff your own hometown date night, just like they do on The Bachelorette (minus the whole weekly, mood-killing, voting-someone-off-the-show ordeal).

Hometown Date #1: Go through Old Photographs at Your Parents' Home

Paul's parents periodically host a family get together where they cook a delicious meal on a Sunday and everyone comes over for a few hours. One of these times, his parents pulled out old photo books. No one had ever seen these photos (at least  not the spouses or kids), and so it was super fun to go through these memories and hear the brothers and their sister talk about the back story.

I even got to see a photo of Paul's infamous high school sweetheart, whom I've heard about but didn't have a visual on!

Your Turn: The next time you'll be in your hometown, call your parents ahead of time and ask them if they have any photo albums they can bring out to show your loved one. Chances are, they'll enjoy the memories as well. Videos? Even better.

Hometown Date #2: A Place You've Always Wanted to Go

Paul and I both have these places that we wanted to desperately go to as kids but either weren't allowed to or it cost too much. For me, it was Assateague Island near Ocean City Maryland (OCMD). We used to visit there every summer for a week, but never made it to see the ponies on the island. So when my sister got married last year in OCMD, I told Paul the story. He immediately agreed we had to have that on our short itinerary (we had flown in just for the weekend), and we made it happen!

For Paul, it was fully experiencing the annual Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo. So last year we actually scored free packages for tickets, food, drinks, and rides and had such a wonderful time together.

Check, and check!

Your Turn: Share with your spouse (plus listen to them) about places or experiences you always wanted to do as a kid but weren't able to for whatever the reason. On your next hometown trip, make it a priority to experience this together. Your 10-year-old selves will get a kick.

Hometown Date #3: The Make-Out Place

You know…where all the couples used to go when you were in high school? Maybe you never actually got to experience this place yourself, so taking your loved one would be even more momentous in your mind.

Your Turn: Buffer in an extra 10-15 minutes onto the back of one of these other hometown dates to drive out to the make-out place. And, well, have some fun. You might want to bring back memories for some of your high school friends/acquaintances on Facebook by posting an update like, “took the husband to XXX Point.” Don't forget a winking emoticon.

Hometown Date #4: Your Alma Mater

Check out a game at your old high school, roam around the track, or do anything else that's allowed (you might have to get a visitor badge). You'll remember stories and people you haven't thought of in years, and can color in some history for your loved one. Even better if you received an award and it's still hanging up in a glass case somewhere!

Your Turn: Call your alma mater ahead of time and ask them if there's a way you can show your spouse around some of the grounds. Ask them what the procedures are, such as if you'll need a visitor's badge or to check in anywhere. If there's a strict policy against this, ask them when the next home game will be for a sports team and gain access that way.

Hometown Date #5: The Food Joint

Notice that didn't say “A Food Joint?” That's because we're not talking about A food joint. We're talking about THE food joint. For me, that's Harry's Hot Dogs. You can't come to my hometown and not eat one of these infamous dogs. Personally, I make it a cheese dog with everything on it but mustard. My sister likes hers with everything + extra sauce.

The fun thing is that now when Paul and I head home to PA, he doesn't consider it a trip without hitting this place up.

Some other goodies from my childhood that are very unique to the area I grew up in? Amish-made Whoopie Pies (I like the pumpkin flavored ones better than the original, which are chocolate), and/or Philly Cheese Steaks (we tried both Pat's and Geno's, and decided Pat's King of Steaks was for us) for my area in PA.

For my husband, one of the first times we came back to his hometown we went to eat at a Tex-Mex place called Mamasita's. It's what he thinks of when placing a taste for his hometown.

Your Turn: What is your hometown known for (food-wise)? If there's nothing major that comes to mind, think about where everyone goes to hang out to get out of the house (with food), then go there. 

It doesn't matter which of the hometown dates you choose from above. The only thing that matters is that you learn more about one another through the experience. Oh yeah, and that you don't spend a ton of money doing so.

I mean, this site is called Frugal Confessions for a reason, right?

Pssst: looking for at home date night ideas for married couples? I've got 7 for you. 

7 Small Town Winter Date Ideas

It's winter time in a small town…where are you supposed to take your date?

Here you'll find small town date ideas that are just perfect for when the weather takes a turn for the worst.

1. Go to a Fancy Hotel's Happy Hour

Head into the city and hit up a hotel bar's happy hour. You'll likely get to drink and talk in the background of some really gorgeous decorations, or even on a river/bayou depending on location (at a reasonable price).

2. Go to a Local College Film Festival

Do you have a community college near you? They typically hold a few events a year when the public is welcome, such as a film festival. We've seen some really cheap (and definitely unique) movies at college film festivals we otherwise wouldn't have been exposed to.

3. Do a Genealogy Date Night

Use these free Family Date Night History Printables to do some research together on each side of your family (also, here's my list of totally free genealogy websites to help you start filling in the information). There’s conversation cards and more to make this an actual date night.

4. Subscribe to a Date Box

Did you know there are date box subscriptions that cost between $7.99-$40.00+ that you can subscribe to? It's a once-a-month date night sent straight to your door, with everything you need to have spark some romance with your partner. My husband and I have personally reviewed several date box subscription services here.

5. Go on a Bookstore Reading Date

Go to a bookstore (used or new, or even a library), find your absolute most cherished childhood bedtime story, and each of you take turns reading them to each other. Show the pictures (hint: you'll likely end up purchasing them because you forgot how great they really were!). For me, this was The Monster at the End of the Book, and Could Be Worse. My husband, Paul, had never heard of either of these!

6. Go Antiquing

Map out a cluster of antique shops and window shop on a Sunday afternoon. This is delightful! The conversations you guys will have around the lovely (and, sometimes weird) objects you find are priceless.

7. Take Conversation Starters to Your Local Diner

Maybe you've eaten at your local diner 267 times…but you can make this time special by grabbing a conversation starter deck and whipping them out during the date. You won't believe how much the two of you can learn about each other, and you might just whittle 3 hours away, lost in good conversation. The Life Sutra deck of cards has both conversation starters AND relationship experiments.

Small Town Group Date Ideas

You can mix up your weekly date nights by sometimes inviting out a group of dating couples. Check out these ideas for small town group dates.

  1. Set Up a Wine Paint Night on Your Back Porch: Hit up your local craft store for a set of paints, canvases, brushes, and easels. You'll also want to pick up a few bottles of wine, and choose a paint YouTube video for everyone to follow along with each other, such as this one:
  2. Play the Newlywed Game: The Spouse-Ology game is perfect for newlyweds — and can actually be played with 2-4 couples.
  3. Take the Couple's Whisper Challenge: Ummm…this looks absolutely hilarious. In fact, I think we're going to try it on our next at home date night! It would be seriously fun in a group, as well.

Even if you live in the middle of nowhere, I hope I've shown you lots of cool small town date ideas to keep things interesting between you and your partner. Which are you most excited about trying, first?

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Amanda L Grossman

Personal Finance Writer and CEO at Frugal Confessions, LLC
Amanda L. Grossman is a writer and Certified Financial Education Instructor, Plutus Foundation Grant Recipient, and founder of Frugal Confessions. Over the last 13 years, her money work has helped people with how to save money and how to manage money. She's been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Kiplinger, Washington Post, U.S. News & World Report, Business Insider, LifeHacker, Real Simple Magazine, Woman's World, Woman's Day, ABC 13 Houston, Keybank, and more. Read more here or on LinkedIn.

Bill in Houston

Thursday 2nd of March 2017

Amanda, these are great ideas. While I spent my teen years and on here in Texas, I grew up in a "bedroom community" about 30 miles southwest of NYC. My wife also grew up near Houston. I'd be interested to see her makeout spots, as mine are now west Houston subdivisions.

You mentioned food joints. Back in the 70s, my old home town had a dozen "deli" restaurants that made sub sandwiches. There were some pretty fierce loyalties. The town was then well known for its subs. Most are gone, but my fave is still there.

By the way, I know Philly pretty well and have had both Pats and Geno's. I'm more of a Geno's fan. Speaking of fierce loyalties, my last visit in 2014, we're sitting at a picnic table next to Geno's. Two guys are walking up South 9th street (on the other side), one carrying a Pat's bag. They got the strongest glares from the Geno's patrons, but no one said anything.

Rachel @ The Latte Budget

Monday 27th of February 2017

Love these ideas! We definitely have our favorite hole in the wall date night spot. A few cheap beers and a snack, and we are more than happy!


Monday 27th of February 2017

Thanks! Yay hole-in-the-wall date nights;).