Best Summer Date Ideas: Day Trips

Day trips for just the two of you, whether it's your first date or the fortieth.

Best Summer Date Ideas: Trip Dates

An occasional change of scenery is good for the soul—and your relationship. Studies have shown that traveling with your significant other and experiencing new situations together can bring you closer as a couple. Stepping out of your usual routine also gives you the freedom to relax, play, laugh and really connect with each other. But you don't have to wait for a long weekend to get away. Whether it's your first date or your fortieth, you can easily take your romance on the road with our picks for the country's best day trips. 


#41: Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture; Pocantico, NY
Home City: New York
Distance: 25 miles
Perfect for: Foodie couples

Located north of Manhattan, the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture is a mecca for locavores. The 80-acre sustainable farm cultivates local, seasonal food and lets you see just where it comes from, through tours of its livestock pens, planting fields and greenhouses. You and your sweetie can also wander along the woodland trails, watch animals grazing in open pastures and help gather vegetables and eggs. Once you've worked up an appetite, you can share a romantic dinner at the award-winning Blue Hill at Stone Barns restaurant, which serves "farmer's feasts" using fresh ingredients from the day's harvest.


#42: Catalina Island
Home City: Los Angeles
Distance: 22 miles
Perfect for: Beachcombing couples

Even though it's just 22 miles from LA, Catalina Island feels more like Capri than California. The intimate isle boasts soft white sand beaches, colorful marine life (including dolphins, sea lions and flying fish) and every Los Angeleno's dream: no traffic (cars are banned on the island so residents and visitors get around on golf carts). The clear blue waters surrounding Catalina Island also make it an ideal destination for snorkelers and scuba divers.

#43: Starved Rock State Park; Utica, IL
Home City: Chicago
Distance: 93 miles
Perfect for: Outdoorsy couples

Couples can connect with nature—and each other—at Starved Rock State Park. Forests of oak, pine and cedar trees fill the 2,630-acre park, which also contains 13 miles of hiking trails, 18 canyons, sparkling waterfalls and sandstone bluffs with sweeping views of the Illinois River. Day trippers can also go fishing, take a ride on a paddlewheel boat or just sneak off to a secluded spot for some private canoodling.


#44: Galveston, TX
Home City:
Perfect for: Architecturally-inclined couples
Distance: 54 miles

A trip to Galveston is a trip back to the grandeur and elegance of the Victorian era. Horse-drawn carriages take visitors through the island city's streets, which are lined with dozens of historic 19th-century homes and mansions. One of the most popular is Bishop's House, a striking Victorian castle decorated with intricately carved ornaments, stained-glass windows, rare woods, bronze dragons and even a fireplace lined with pure silver. In downtown Galveston, the Strand National Historic Landmark District has one of the largest and most well-preserved concentrations of Victorian architecture in the country, along with museums, art galleries and antiques shops.

#45: Zip Line Tour at Historic Banning Mills; Whitesburg, GA
Home City:
Distance: 48 miles
Perfect for: Thrill-seeking couples

An increase in adrenaline has often been linked to an increase in attraction, and Historic Banning Mills can get hearts racing in more ways than one. The property's exhilarating zip line course features the world's longest continuous zip line (at a half-mile long) and dozens of sky-high suspension bridges and tightropes. Couples who really want to up their attractiveness can take on the adrenaline-pumping "Big Daddy" zip line, which reaches heights of 200 feet and speeds of up to 60 miles per hour.


#46: Mount Vernon; Mount Vernon, VA
Home City:
Washington, DC
Distance: 16 miles
Perfect for: History-buff couples

Sprawled across 500 acres, Mount Vernon is the former plantation home of George Washington and still looks very similar to the way it did when the first president of the United States lived there. The mansion features original furnishings owned by the Washington family, while the farm breeds animals similar to the ones Washington had (roosters, mules, oxen) and Colonial millers in the reconstructed gristmill grind corn into meal and wheat into flour just as it was done more than 200 years ago. Not that interested in Washington? You and your paramour can bond as you explore the estate's bucolic gardens, forest trails and wharf overlooking the Potomac River.

#47: Sterling Vineyards; Calistoga, CA
Home City:
San Francisco
Distance: 73 miles
Perfect for: Oenophile couples

The romance begins as soon as you arrive at Sterling Vineyards. A serene aerial tram ride travels over lush trees and a waterfall to the Mediterranean-inspired winery, which sits atop a 300-foot knoll and is reminiscent of a Greek monastery. After being greeted with a glass of wine, lovebirds can take a self-guided tour of the winemaking process, stroll through the art galleries and toast each other on the outdoor terrace while taking in breathtaking panoramic views of Napa Valley.


#48: Fort Worth Stockyards Historic District; Fort Worth, TX
Home City:
Distance: 39 miles
Perfect for: Wannabe cowpoke couples

Smitten city slickers looking for a piece of the Old West can spend the day at the Fort Worth Stockyards. A former livestock market, the district now celebrates the cowboy way of life through live rodeos, daily cattle drives and western-themed shops, restaurants, bars and nightclubs. There are also walking tours, trail rides and the Rodeo Zone, where cowboys and cowgirls-in-training can learn the arts of roping, barrel racing and mechanical bull riding.

#49: Museum of Glass and Tacoma Glassblowing Studio; Tacoma, WA
Home City: Seattle

Distance: 33 miles
Perfect for: Artistic couples


There's nothing hotter than playing with fire, and the artists-in-residence at the Museum of Glass do just that in the Hot Shop, where you can watch them create stunning masterpieces from molten glass. Inspired, you and your date can then head to the Tacoma Glassblowing Studio to melt each other's hearts while melting your own glass and blowing and shaping it into pieces of art.

#50: Garden of the Gods; Colorado Springs, CO
Home City: Denver

Distance: 65 miles
Perfect for: Active couples

Colorado is famous for its amazing ski slopes and snow conditions, but the outdoor action doesn't stop once summer arrives. One of the state's most stunning attractions is the Garden of the Gods, a public park featuring towering red sandstone formations that are more than 300 million years old. The steep, Salvadore Dali-esque rocks are perfect for rock climbing (which is permitted) and provide a beautiful backdrop for twosomes who want to hike, mountain bike or take a horseback ride along the 15 miles of nature trails.