10 Active Date Ideas for Parents

Jan. 5, 2017

Sick of the old dinner-and-a-movie routine? Get some much-needed adult time with these 10 active date ideas.

Reservations at your favorite restaurant? Check. Waiter knows your name? Check. You order "the regular"? Check. Suddenly, it hits you: Your date night is getting a little tired. (Probably because you are, too!)

If this sounds like you and your partner, you're not alone. Many parents find themselves in a creative rut when it comes to their date ideas because their innovative energy is spent caring for the kids, says licensed relationship counselor David Sheets. "By the time you head out the door for your date, you're running on creative fumes," he says. "So it's natural to default to your comfortable dating routine."

The solution? Shake things up -- and get active. Claudia and Dave Arp, the authors of over 30 books, including "10 Great Dates to Energize Your Marriage," give their take on the best ideas for more active outings for parents. 

> And don't forget to post a date night job ASAP so you can lock down a great babysitter ahead of time!

Here are 10 energetic date ideas to get you moving as a couple:

1) Take a Hike

"For a really great hike, and if you're in good condition, consider an all-day hike," says Dave Arp. "Wherever you hike, get ready for some good exercise and conversation," he says. He also recommends taking your conversation deeper as you walk. "If you made a map of your marriage journey so far, what would it look like?" he asks. Discuss the (mountain) highs and (valley) lows of your relationship as you walk.

2) Go to a Concert

Remember late nights of jumping and swaying to your favorite band? Return to your musical roots by going to a concert in your area. You can find the closest shows and buy tickets online. If you're up for a high-energy night, get tickets close to the stage where the crowd is really moving.

3) Dance

Dancing can have many benefits for your relationship. "Music and movement can relax even the most stressed person," says Sheets. "Stay home, take a lesson after work or let loose at a wedding -- it doesn't matter. Just make it a priority to dance."

4) Run Amok

Break out those running sneakers and sign up to run (or walk) a 5K together. Many towns and local running clubs host 5K events throughout the year -- especially around the holidays. Look online for an event in your town and sign up! If you're feeling really adventurous, try competing in a mud run -- an outdoor, mud-filled obstacle course.

5) Night Skiing

Locate the nearest ski resort and find out when their lifts close. You'll be surprised to find that most resorts keep their slopes open until about 10 p.m. If you're feeling particularly daring, take a private snowboarding lesson together.

6) Volunteer

Showing compassion by serving supper for those less fortunate or finding a volunteer activity you both love is a great way to form a new connection with your partner. It's healthy for you both to see this compassionate side of each other.

7) Skate

From ice skating in the winter to roller skating in the summer, it's a great excuse to get in some hand-holding and burn off some steam. Most rinks stay open late into the evening, making it a perfect weeknight activity. Don't worry if you wipe out -- just pretend it was the beginning of a jazzy trick.

8) Get Your Game On

After a stressful day at the office, plan to play hard together. "If exercise and dating are both important to you," says Sheets, "combine them." Avoid treadmills and weightlifting machines, and go for a game like tennis, so that you can enjoy watching your partner strategize. Many indoor sports clubs offer year-round basketball and squash courts, and many outdoor tennis courts are illuminated for night matches.

9) Plant a Garden

Reap what you sow, together! Every week, spend time caring for your seedlings while you work side by side. After you harvest your herbs, veggies and flowers, use them on a your next date night by cooking dinner together with these ingredients.

10) Go to Fitness Classes

Most fitness clubs let you drop in on evening classes without committing to the program. Alternate between spinning, kickboxing, yoga and Zumba. Don't be surprised if it becomes your new shared hobby -- the endorphins can be addictive.


"A great date is more than dinner and a movie. A great date is when you really connect," says Claudia Arp. "So for a great date, try something you both enjoy doing, where you can also carry on a conversation." Sheets agrees. "Dating is crucial when you have kids," he says. "And getting off the couch will always take your relationship to the next level."

Want more ideas? Try these 8 Date Night Ideas for Tired Parents.

Bethany Johnson, a professional writer from Washington, D.C., specializes in the quirks of family life and relationships. When she's not writing, Bethany and her husband raise both free-range chickens and free-range children on their organic farm in the suburbs.

Tips and stories from parents and caregivers who’ve been there.

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