Unique Date Ideas on a Budget

Updated on November 21, 2019

Budget-Friendly Date Ideas

This list will start off with the cheaper options and go up in price. I tried to keep all ideas under $50 however, depending on your location the prices for each idea may be higher. These ideas are good for couples who are just starting out or have been together for years.

This is in no way a complete list of budget-friendly date ideas but I hope it gives you some ideas and new experiences to try. Have fun!

1. Water-Gun or Nerf Gun fight $0–$12

If you don’t have water guns you can buy some at the dollar store or get them for cheap at a local superstore. Leave a filled water gun on a kitchen counter with a note saying you have the other water gun and the game is on! The loser will have to buy dinner or you can come up with a fun prize for the winner.

If you don’t or can’t use water guns in the home you can also try Nerf Guns and have a paper or use a whiteboard to keep score. This is a fun idea for active couples who don’t want to dish out money for laser tag.

2. Neighborhood Tour $0–$20

Whether you live in a small town or a big city most everybody knows of a part of their town they haven’t been to. Find a part of town that you’ve never been to or haven’t had time to explore and take a tour. This is a good idea if you have a large downtown you can explore and discover cool unique shops and restaurants.

If you live close enough to walk to this part of town, you might not need to spend any money. Otherwise, you’ll just need to pay for gas and food if you decide to eat out, or you can bring food from home and have a picnic.

3. Go Apple or Fruit Picking $4+

This date idea will rely on the seasons so do your research before deciding on going fruit picking. Check local farms and see what their seasons are and the best times to go. This can be a super fun and frugal date as you will be picking your own food to take back home. Some of the things you can pick from farms are apples, peaches, strawberries, raspberries and more! Most of these places have low admission fees or just allow you to pay per pound on the items you’ve picked.

Days later you will still have physical memories of the date as you snack on your favorite fruits, or use them in a dessert after a nice dinner. You will also have the gratification of knowing you helped support your local economy and community.

4. Explore a New Town $10–$20

Small towns are all over the USA and usually aren’t terribly far from where you live. If you want a date that you can make into a day trip, then visiting a new small town can be a great idea! Just pay for gas and food if you are planning to eat out and this can be a budget-friendly day adventure. Maybe bring some extra spending money if you find a cool shop and want to buy a souvenir.

If you aren’t sure what towns are near you, you can always look on google maps and find small towns and find ones that are closest to you. One fun thing about this date idea is that you can find special stores or diners that can be a go-to place for future dates. You’ll also be helping to support a local community, even if it isn’t yours specifically.

5. Go Stargazing at a Planetarium $5–$20

If you are lucky enough to live close to a University with a planetarium you can usually get into shows or stargaze for a low admission fee. Other locations may cost more to visit planetariums but most all of them should have free or low charge days. If you don’t have access to a planetarium or just can’t afford the admission fees you can always stargaze for free.

You will need to find an open area that you can access at night away from city lights. Please don’t trespass and be safe if you choose to do it this way. If you have a pair of binoculars or even a telescope bring it along and have a nighttime picnic! Lay on your back and look up at the stars while you cuddle with your partner and point out constellations.

6. Visit a Weird Museum $7–$20

There are weird fun museums all over the US you just have to know where to look. Some of them are creepy and twisted, others are funny and entertaining, but that’s what makes these fun! Some of them are free to enter while others have a small admission fee. Some of the more well known weird museums are:

  • The International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland ME, $7 admission.
  • The New England Maple Museum in Pittsford VT, $5 admission.
  • Porter Sculpture Park in St. Montrose SD, $8 admission.
  • The Museum of Edgar Allan Poe in Richmond VA, $9 admission.

Here's a list of 26 Weird Museums across the U.S..

7. Escape Room Challenge $15–$25

This escape room craze is still a hot attraction and a great idea for a date or even a double date. Because of the popularity of these attractions, they are starting to pop up all over the US and they are relatively cheap and have different levels of difficulty.

This date activity is a really great way to build a strong bond and trust with one another and helps us to remember to communicate. You and your partner will have to work together to look for clues and solve puzzles in order to unlock the door and escape. It’s something you will be talking about for months or years later, and it might become your new date idea.

8. Rock Climbing Gym $17–$25

If you and your partner are physically active people, or if you two love the outdoors but want a safer activity, a rock climbing gym would be a great place for a date. The colorful interior, the adrenaline, and the high energy make this a fun and exhilarating date idea. It’s a good way to challenge yourself and have fun and friendly competitions with your partner of who can climb faster or higher up.

Most of these gyms have a low-cost day pass but this will depend on the gym and your location.

9. Go on a Haunted Tour $10–$45

If you and your partner love all things spooky and paranormal then a haunted tour date is for you. Haunted locations can be found all over, almost every town big or small, has some urban legend of a haunted house in the area. Some of the more famous spots will offer tours and these can be a fun way to get some paranormal evidence and bond over a shared belief. Most tours don’t cost a fortune, but this also depends on the location. If you want to rent a room in a haunted hotel then it will cost more than a simple day tour through a haunted house.

Some of the more popular haunted tours are:

  • The Salem Witch Walk in Salem MA, $13 per person.
  • Chattanooga Ghost Tours in Chattanooga TN, $15 per person.
  • Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia PA, $14 per person.
  • The Vilisca Axe Murder house in Vilisca Iowa, $10 per person.

If you want a bigger list, here's a list of 13 haunted tours.

10. Try a Locally Owned Diner or Restaurant $10+

This date goes along well with exploring a new town and the local diners or restaurants usually aren’t too expensive. Even if you just go in for a drink, shake or a light lunch, these little gems can quickly become your favorite place to eat.

If you don’t or can’t get to a new town, searching for local restaurants in your town can be fun too! You’ll be helping out a local business and community. These independent restaurants often times have better food and more unique options than other big chain establishments. This is a good option for a first date or a date night for a couple who’s been together for years. While this can be considered a more traditional dinner date, adding the aspect of it being a local restaurant and a new place for both of you gives it an exciting twist.


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