There are a lot of reasons why Autumn is the perfect season for dating in Australia. Nothing says snuggling like crisp weather and a cozy fire. You don’t have to worry about nerves and steamy summer temps making pit stains in your new shirt, and you can slip into your strappy stilettos or boots without watching for cold sidewalks or even snow.
Yes, Autumn has it all — and there are endless ways to make it romantic. Whether you’re looking for tips to help you spice up your long-term relationship, or you need solid advice for impressing a blind date, here are 10 of our best Autumn date night ideas guaranteed to deliver a great time.
Have a Scary Movie Night
If you love a good haunting but you’re not up to visiting a haunted house, you can still enjoy the best scares of the season at home. Gather a mix of classic and new horror titles, build a fire (or light a few candles) and grab some popcorn and wine for a low-key movie date night.
To make movie night truly unforgettable, take it outdoors. Jason Fitzpatrick at How-To Geek offers a comprehensive guide on throwing the ultimate backyard movie night. It requires a little tech-savvy, and you’ll need a projector to get the best quality, but setting up a cool outdoor movie theater is easier than you might think. Fitzpatrick says you can score an affordable projector on Craigslist, or purchase a cheaper model online. You can easily rig up a screen using blackout cloth or a bed sheet. Choose a night with a full moon to set the ideal atmosphere for a fear-filled evening of scary movie fun.
If you’re feeling nostalgic, you can also look for a drive-in movie theater in your area. According to DriveInMovie, an internet database for drive-in theaters, there are about 330 drive-ins left in the United States. As the site states, “Drive-ins remain popular with many because they provide a romantic and nostalgic alternative for watching movies under the stars.” Some have even adapted to the times and now offer tantalizing menus and gourmet treats you won’t find at indoor cinemas.
Take a Hike
Autumn is one of the best seasons for heading outdoors. Cooler temps, fewer bugs and bursts of stunning foliage make it easy to plan a date night to remember. Hiking trails, bike paths and even scenic waterways are a fun and affordable way to take in nature with a loved one.
Hiking Trails - You don’t have to look hard to find amazing hiking trails in the United States. All Trails lets you enter a location to find parks and trails near you — or anywhere in the world. If you live in the Pacific Northwest, California or New Hampshire, you can even check out one of the trails on National Geographic’s list of most mind-blowing hiking trails. You never know, you might get so inspired by nature that you’re inspired to turn up the heat with your date. If you do, here’s our guide to outdoor sex.
Before you buy matching his-and-hers backpacks, however, assess your date’s hiking skill and comfort level when it comes to the great outdoors. You don’t want to plan a hiking date if your significant other’s idea of “hiking” is searching for their car in a crowded mall parking lot.
Bike Paths - There’s a reason that old song “Bicycle Built for Two” is still hanging around after more than a century. There is something inherently romantic about rolling along on two wheels beside someone you love. Bicycles force us to slow down and enjoy the view — and the people riding with us. You can choose a more adventurous route, such as a rugged mountain bike path, or something a little more relaxing like a meandering trail through wine country. Here’s a list of romantic bicycle rides to get you started.
River and Water Tours - According to the National Ocean Service, 40 percent of Americans live directly on the shoreline. Even if you’re not part of this demographic, you probably live within driving distance of a major river or lake. If you and your date are adrenaline junkies, you can try your hand at one of the whitewater rapids courses listed by Where Traveler. If you’d prefer to leave your helmet at home, you can book a relaxing river cruise instead. Travel Channel’s list of river cruises includes a paddleboat trip down the Mississippi River and a 12-night cruise along the Hudson River with views of some of the most spectacular Autumn foliage in North America.
High on love but low on cash? No worries — nature’s got you. If you’ve got a way to get out of town (and away from the city lights), all you need for a memorable Autumn date night idea is a warm blanket and a picnic basket. Humans have looked to the night sky for inspiration since, well, forever. What could be more romantic than lying on your back next to your date, gazing up at the stars?
And no need to worry about that D- you got in high school astronomy class. Brian Voo at Hongkiat lists 10 free astronomy apps for stargazing. Boost the romance factor by packing some fresh fruit, cheese and wine to share. (Just make sure to check your area’s laws on open containers first.)
Visit the Pumpkin Patch
Pumpkin patches aren’t just for kids. Bennett says skip the grocery store pumpkins and plan a date around hunting for your own. “Why buy a pumpkin to carve or display when you can go pick one yourself with your partner? Walking through the patch finding the perfect pumpkin can be very romantic and it won't cost much.”
Many pumpkin patches also sell Autumn staples like candy apples, cider and treats like cookies and pies. When you get home, you can carve your pumpkins together while you sip cider and indulge in your favorite Autumn treats — next to a roaring fire, of course.
Hit the Hay
Hayrides. Hay (or corn) mazes. Photo ops while sitting on hay bales. Hay is just about everywhere you look during Autumn, visiting a local farm or Autumn festival is a fun and romantic change of pace.
This is also where living near a small town can pay off. Some of the biggest and most popular Autumn festivals take place in the Midwestern heartland, where large farms and entire towns host Autumn celebrations. And these aren’t fly-by-night pumpkin patches and quaint corn mazes, either. Many large Autumn festivals offer high-quality entertainment, from big name musical groups to cuisine prepared by award-winning chefs. You can also pick up handmade clothing, crafts and home decor from talented artisans.
Check your community’s local paper or go online for information about upcoming festivals. You can also take a look at this Fodor’s guide to the best Autumn harvest festivals in the United States to see if one is happening near you.
Board a Train
Aside from commuter routes in major metropolitan hubs, train travel doesn’t get much notice these days. However, trains have long been associated with romance and glamour. In their heyday, train cars were outfitted with luxurious fixtures and painted in warm, inviting colors. As Katherine Rodeghier of the Chicago Tribune writes, “There’s something sensual about the sights and sounds of repetitive motion, calming and lulling us into a romantic mood.”
Train travel is so conducive to romance, the Napa Valley Wine Train offers an entire tour called “Romance on the Rails.” If Napa Valley isn’t quite within your reach, Amtrak has several romantic getaway packages. Max Grinnell at Huffington Post also lists several romantic train trips throughout the U.S. offered by a variety of rail carriers.
Check Out a Wine or Beer Tasting
The rise of microbreweries and local vineyards means you don’t have to live in California wine country to enjoy what the grapes (or brews) have to offer. Walking among the barrels or sampling vintages is a romantic way to celebrate the harvest and spend time with your partner. The American Winery Guide is a free resource with information on wineries located all over the country.
If beer is more your style, you’re in luck. According to the Brewers Association, craft beer made up 12.5 percent of all beer sold in the U.S. in 2016. Its popularity means there are a growing number of opportunities to sample unique offerings in every state. Gear Patrol offers a list of the 25 best craft breweries in America.
Throw an Adult Costume Party
Fancy something a little naughtier for a Autumn fun date idea? Halloween is the perfect excuse to play dress up. You can invite friends over for a fun and more laid back costume party, or you can spice things up by making it a racy adult-themed affair. Fortunately, it’s easy to find flirty and sexy adult costumes online. Make it fun by choosing legendary lovers throughout history. Ideas include Antony and Cleopatra, Napoleon and Josephine, and Tarzan and Jane. (Literary history on that last one.)
Dressing up can also be a fun way to explore the kinkier side of sex. Many people feel less inhibited when they put on a costume. When you look the part, it’s easy to slip into another role — and slip out of your comfort zone. Check out our beginner’s guide to kink, and be sure to remember the ground rules and guidelines when it comes to more adventurous sex like BDSM. You’ll also want to grab your free sample of ASTROGLIDE before you party.