Now that summer time is in full swing, it's time to take advantage of the longer days and warm weather and spend some time outdoors. Here is a fun suggested itinerary for you do on your next date & outing (with the option to span the entire day). Be warned - you just might have your date swooning over you by the end of the evening ;)

Morning Hike/Walk

As the day begins, what better way to wake up and feel revitalized than to go for a morning jog, walk, or hike? Take your date for a stroll around the neighborhood, or head down to the local coffee shop for a quick pick-me-up – then head over to the nearest trail for a leisurely walk or more intense hike, depending on your activity level. The earlier you do this, the better, as you will be able to afford some quiet and private time to hold hands, take in the crisp morning air, and enjoy the scenery without the heat of the mid-day sun or presence of other hikers. If you didn’t already eat breakfast, bring some snacks and juice to eat on the trail. To better convey how you prepared you are, bring a light jacket or blanket – so if it gets chilly, you can be the chivalrous one to put that jacket around your partner. While hiking, find opportunities for physical contact – help your date down a steep hill, walk on the outside ledge so that they feel safe, offer them water and rub their shoulders or back if they start to feel tired. Make sure to check in with them from time to time on how they’re feeling.

Lunch/Mid-Day Break

Following an invigorating walk, you can either head back into the city, or find a quiet place near the trail to have a picnic. If you opt for the picnic, make sure you bring food that’s prepared in advance and beverages that’s chilled, along with utensils, napkins, and trash bag. Find a peaceful spot under a tree, by a body of water, or overlooking something scenic (depending on your location) and put down the blanket over a flat surface. Make sure it is comfortable before inviting your date to sit down. Use this time to recharge and connect with your partner. You guys are sharing a simple meal in the middle of a beautiful location – let yourself be immersed in the moment and environment, while being attentive to the person sitting next to you.

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If you decide to head into town, use this time to switch gears from the peaceful setting and explore the liveliness and action of an urban area. In the summertime, you will often find festivals and local fairs during the day – take this time to explore and play – it will help to build on the existing connection while taking the focus away from the other person and allow you to focus on something external, especially after spending a lot of 1:1 time together. Sample different foods, walk through booths and shops, and participate in an activity together. Working through a task (however big or small) will help promote a sense of teamwork and bonding by working towards a common goal. Cherish this time to get to your partner’s tastes and how they operate in a relaxed and lively setting. At some point, especially once you get a sense of what things they might like, buy them some trinket or small item from the venue and surprise them with it. Their face will be sure to light up. Even if you don’t know what they like, you can demonstrate small tokens of appreciation by buying flowers or a treat, especially after walking around for a while.

Make sure not to over-do it on the physical activity – check in often to make sure your date is comfortable, and pay attention to their body language. If they look like they are ready to leave, ask them about their schedule or plan for rest of the day. Even if both parties are having fun, make sure to find times for breaks, especially if no one’s eaten yet. At this point, you may choose to continue onto a more formal meal or part ways.

Afternoon Activity

If things are going great and there is still time left in the day, use the afternoon as an opportunity to unwind and take a breather, especially if there was a lot of physical activity in the morning. You can either choose to find another scenic or natural location (different from the morning) – such as a beach, lakefront, café, or go somewhere indoors – such as an arcade, movie theater, mall, or bookstore. The change in setting will give you an opportunity to learn about a different side of your date – perhaps their more serious or intellectual side, or what their tastes are in books/movies/music. Continue to build upon the existing connection in a more cerebral capacity.

Evening Romance 

If you still hanging out at this point - give yourself a pat on the back for getting this far. As  you slowly ease into the evening portion of the date where dinner is a given - there is no better time than now to really build on the romantic connection and establish intimacy. While it seems like the proper thing to do is to have a nice dinner at a fancy restaurant, you can create similar romantic atmospheres without breaking bank. Depending on the person, it may not make sense to simply seek out the most expensive or over the top restaurant - you may run the risk of acting confident, arrogant, or showing off your money. If you have already spent a good portion of time together, you may want to take into account their tastes/preferences at this point - for example - if they mentioned that they are a fan of sushi - find a local sushi joint or bar - this will show them that you were paying attention and considerate of their preferences.

Otherwise, kick off or end the evening with some appetizers or drinks at a local wine bar or lounge. Find a place that has a warm ambiance with comfortable and lounge-y seating, or at least plenty of couches or bar stools that will allow you to sit next to each other in a close setting. Make sure not to over do it on the alcohol - buy something light, share a flight, or sample on different wines and finger foods. Even if you do not drink, sharing a dessert or beverage at a cozy lounge or bar is better than going to a crowded or brightly lit cafe. Continue to put the focus on your partner (and not on indulging yourself) to create romance and add "icing to the cake" that has been made during the day. Take advantage of the dim lighting, close proximity and friendly exchanges to flirt, build tension, and have fun. If you've already spent a significant portion of time together, you should be fairly relaxed and comfortable to touch, share food, and tease each other a little bit, without going overboard. You want to establish chemistry and allow for future opportunities of increased intimacy without going too far. 

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By the end of the day, if you have successfully executed on the above and created a comfortable, attentive, and fun environment for your date, you will have not only shown them a great time but established a strong emotional connection and learn something new about your partner. Whether you are just casually dating, meeting someone new, or in an existing relationship, making the effort to plan a great date will go a long way in building romance.