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15 Free Date Ideas in California

15 Free Date Ideas in California

Take advantage of the state’s offerings, the great weather, and our list of free date ideas—you’ll never have to struggle again.


5 min read

June 05, 2021

While winter is all about staying indoors and cuddling by the fireplace, the warmer summer days in the Golden State beg to be filled with outdoor adventures. And California is filled with so many opportunities to spoil your S.O. with unique dates, so there's always something new to explore. Take advantage of the state’s offerings, great weather, and free date ideas, and you’ll never struggle to find something to do for a summer date night again. Impress your date with these awesome ideas.

Fun Free Date Ideas in SoCal

Everyone is born to chase sunsets, and California is the best place to view the most spectacular ones.

1. Watch the Sunset at a Romantic Beachg

From crescent-shaped coasts to breathtaking hidden coves, the Golden State has it all when it comes to romantic beaches. Whether you’re looking to make a good impression on a first date or searching for the perfect proposal spot, you can’t go wrong with choosing the beach. The Santa Monica Pier is a popular sunset viewing spot, but Sunset Cliffs Natural Park in San Diego is a unique place to see the last bits of light disappear into the horizon.

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2. Go Surfing at your Favorite Spot

If you and your partner are surfers, then this fun free date idea is a no-brainer. From beginner-friendly spots like Venice Beach to coveted secluded beaches like Pyramid Cove, Los Angeles spoils you for choice with surf destinations. Pick your fave, polish your board, and get surfing—there’s nothing quite like making surfing memories together on a romantic date in L.A.

Chicano Park is a landmark cultural destination as a piece of living art and as essential San Diego Chicano history.

3. Plan a Walking Mural Tour of Chicano Park

San Diego’s oldest Mexican-American neighborhood happens to be a treasure trove of colorful murals. Go on a walking tour to discover street art and take lots of pictures with this cute, free date idea. Follow up your fun date by getting a quick bite from one of Chicano Park’s many authentic Mexican eateries.

4. Take your Next Favorite IG Picture at the Exposition Park Rose Garden

Is there anything more romantic than strolling through lanes of roses on a free date in L.A.? This cute outdoor date in SoCal features a seven-acre sunken garden, four gazebos, multiple statues, a central fountain, and, of course, hundreds of roses that'll fill the air with romance. We have a feeling someone’s getting their first kiss here.

Cute Free Date Ideas in NorCal

Plan a picnic at Billy Goat Hill and you'll see panoramic views of Bernal Heights Hill, Noe Valley, and Glen Park in the distance.

5. Have a Picnic at Billy Goat Hill

Located in the Glen Park neighborhood of San Francisco, this modest park is an ideal spot for a picnic. You’ll have spectacular city views, seclusion, and a first-class seat to watch the stars at night. Take the wooden stairs and the steep dirt path to arrive at a lookout point for expansive views of Downtown S.F.

6. Explore San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park

Golden Gate Park features a number of bucket-list worthy San Francisco attractions you should check out at least once. The urban park encompasses more than 1,000 acres of public grounds, so you can only imagine the abundance of activities here. If you haven’t been yet, go on an outdoor date and explore the park with your S.O. 

Want to impress your date big time? Take them to Twin Peaks Lookout for jaw-dropping views of S.F. and beyond.

7. Enjoy the views at Twin Peaks Lookout

There’s something about lookout points that send sparks flying on dates. Sure, it might be played out, but no one can deny the appeal of a free date night idea that involves going to a coveted spot, listening to music, and sharing snacks. Looking for inspo on where to go in the Bay Area? The famous Twin Peaks Lookout never disappoints.

8. Go on a Secret Swing Hunt

The secret swings of San Francisco are not-so-hidden gems we see all over our social media feeds. For a fun, free date idea, plan a scavenger hunt to these Instagrammable locales, snap a few pictures, and get swingin’ over the beaches and city skylines. Don’t mention the locations though—keep them a secret. 

Free Date Ideas at Home

They say couples with full stomachs are often the happiest. Put on your apron, take your cutting board out, and prepare dinner together.

9. Make Dinner and Dessert Together

Nothing says “I love you” like cooking and baking your special someone’s favorite dish. Does your partner like soothing soups and tasty vegan dinners? Or maybe healthy dishes followed by fresh summer desserts? Cook together and get to know one another through your palettes for a free date idea at home.

10. Have a Classic Movie Night

All you need to make this date happen is a projector, plain white sheet, snacks, and a good movie. Voila, you have a free date idea at home that seems like it's straight out of a Nicholas Sparks novel. If you have a backyard, take your date outside so you can be under the stars. If not, planning this date in your living room can be just as fun.

Want to go on a hot air balloon ride? Or travel to the most obscure places in the world? Make a list of all the things you want to do together.

11. Create a Bucket List of “Firsts” Together

Everyone has dream destinations and activities they’d like to cross off their bucket list one day. So, combine your dreams and make a joint bucket list of “firsts” to try together. Is there anything more romantic than picturing yourselves sharing all your goals and accomplishments?

Free Outdoor Date Ideas

A simple romantic date night is a lovely picnic, lots of snacks, and a side of stargazing at the most beautiful spots in the Golden State.

12. Watch the Stars on a Clear Night 

California boasts a number of ideal stargazing spots scattered all throughout the state. Camp out overnight and admire the twinkling lights for a romantic free date night idea al fresco. From NorCal to SoCal, these scenic spots will take your breath away. 

13. Introduce Each Other to your Favorite Hiking Trails

If you’re a hiker in the Golden State, chances are you already have a favorite trail. Whether you realize it or not, your choice of hiking trail can say a lot about who you are as a person. From coastal trails to mountain hikes, you and your date have a lot to unpack while exploring this free outdoor date idea.

Bask in the glory of nature with your one and only by your side at the many wildflower fields in California.

14. Check Out Wildflower Fields

Peonies, poppies, sunflowers, and wildflowers—California’s beautiful flower fields are slices of paradise on earth. Go on a scenic drive looking for fields of wildflowers or get up-close and check out the colorful gems on a hike. Either way, you’ll have yourselves a fun free date idea you won’t forget anytime soon.

15. Volunteer Together at a Center

Whether you’re volunteering virtually or taking an in-person opportunity, helping out at a charity you care about can be a great bonding experience. Choose a cause you’re both passionate about and you'll get a free outdoor date idea in addition to doing a good deed. We can’t imagine a better combo.

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