POST 50
11/14/2012 08:26 am ET

4 Easy-To-Plan Date Ideas

By Jackie Dishner

Bored by dinner-and-a-movie dates? Our blogger offers out-of-the-box ideas that won't stress you out.

Want to avoid the "dinner and a movie" routine, but worried about planning your upcoming date? Whether it’s the first or several dates in, planning carries with it at least little natural anxiety. What if she doesn’t like my idea? What if I don’t like his? With a little help, you can make the most of your time with a new romance by having on hand a few ideas to get you started. And what if one of you doesn’t like what the other has in store? Well then, move on to the next in line. With these date ideas, at least the planning’s easy-going -- even if your partner is not:

Honey Fest

With this idea, you don’t have to worry about last-minute calls. Be spontaneous and suggest a festival. I met my date recently at what was being billed as the First Annual Honey Festival (pictured above). Sponsored by The Boulders Resort in Carefree, Arizona, the event proved to be a simple way to address a call from my guy who was just returning home from his morning bike ride with his buddies. Everything you might need to be entertained is right there: food, wine, live music, art, craft booths, and more. Festivals, which occur in every state on just about every weekend, make a great place to take—or meet—your honey.
Find a festival in your area.

Museum Trip

Art, history, science, music, the military. If you decide to get cultured or learn something new on your next date, a trip to your nearest museum can do the trick. Planning might require only a single question. Does he like art? Does she like history? If you’re both into music, for example, there might be a museum visit in your near future, weekday or weekend. Better yet, cultural venues often have on-site restaurants so you can take the tour (guided or not) and grab something to eat afterwards. Before you leave, you can even shop for souvenirs and take home a pleasant reminder of time well spent.
Find a museum in your area.

Outdoor Adventure

Nothing spells fun like the outdoors. For your next date, consider a bike ride or a hike on a local trail. If neither of you own a bike and you don’t live near a rental facility, hiking takes nothing more than a sturdy pair of shoes for your feet, a little sunscreen, and hat to shade your skin, water to quench your thirst and maybe a granola bar or two for sustenance. Should something go wrong—a slip on a rock, for example—an outdoor adventure can be a great way to determine how compatible you both are. After all, you want to know that you’ll both be there to help each other back up.
Find a hiking or recreational trail in your area.

Walking Tour

If one of you is visiting the other from out of town, an easy way to entertain your date might be to take him on a historic walking tour. Generally offered free through your local or regional historical society, the tours offer a fun way to get to know someone by introducing them to your hometown’s history. In some cases, historic re-enactors may charge for a guided tour at specific times on weekends. Otherwise, you can simply follow the map on your own. Look for walking tour pamphlets at your state and local tourism centers or convention & visitor bureaus.

Extra -- Do lunch!

If nothing else appeals to you, but you really do want to avoid that same old routine, offer to have lunch. If you’re getting together during the week, lunch provides a sweet break during your workday. If it’s on the weekend, you can both prepare something to bring for a picnic in the park. Or, you can agree to meet at your nearest lunch counter and reminisce about days gone by. Another benefit of meeting for lunch means you won’t be staying out late, which saves your evening so you have time to visit with the grandkids.

Jackie Dishner, grandmother to three toddlers and author of Backroads & Byways of Arizona, writes from Phoenix, Arizona, mostly about food & wine, lifestyle and travel. You can find more of her work at http://bikewithjackie.blogspot.com.

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