Are you an outdoor adventurer? If not, now might be the time to try something new. November 17th is National Take A Hike Day. This is the perfect excuse to plan an extra-special outdoor date with that extra-special someone. Whether it’s your first date or you lost count long ago, there are plenty of reasons to take your romance outside.

Adrenaline-Fueled Love

I’m not sure if it was the waves crashing up against the shore, the sand tickling my toes or the yummy man holding my hand, but by the second date with my now husband, I was hooked. This guy clearly knew how to have fun, and it usually meant heading outside and experiencing the world with me in tow.

Our dating adventures were just that – adventures. We did everything from climbing Mt. Rainier to crabbing in the Puget Sound to kayaking in the Newport Harbor. We headed out on ski trips with the singles’ ministry at our church, raced down mountains on bikes and drove tractors on the farm.

Although I don’t generally consider myself boring person, I never thought of myself as a daring adventurer until Tim gently nudged me to live a little more courageously and embrace all life has to offer instead of hiding behind a computer. In all honesty, the exhilaration (and perspiration) we experienced together on our dating adventures intensified my emotional and relational connection to this man who was pursuing me.

According to a recent study, I’m not alone in feeling like our escapades drew us closer. There is evidence that suggests that first dates with a heightened sense of danger increase romantic feelings among couples. Now, this isn’t the type of danger where you get mugged or hit by a car, but more the kind of excitement you feel when trying something new and an adrenaline rush of pleasure and nerves wash over you. It’s the feeling of skiing down a mountain or mountain biking on a narrow trail. It’s an emotional rush far beyond a typical sit-down dinner and movie date.

So, if getting out of our comfort zone and heading outdoors helps build romance, what are you waiting for?

A Great Way To Learn About Your Date

Spending intentional time getting to know someone means giving yourself plenty of opportunities to know a person in different elements, and the outdoors is a perfect venue because its unpredictable – just like life. Be sure to note how the other person operates under stress, what they find funny and how they approach situations where they are facing an obstacle. Watch how they respond when they get cold or tired or hangry. Who are they when the oxygen grows thin? (Apparently, I get a little whiny at sub-zero elevation).

One of the blessings I experienced during our adventure dates was watching how my future husband treated me when no one was around but the fish, the sea and a crab trap to pull off the bottom of the ocean.

Inspiring Outdoor Date Ideas

If you want to ramp up the adventure with your special someone, try one of these outdoor date ideas.

  • Hike together: What better way to celebrate National Take a Hike Day than putting on your hiking boots and hit the trails for a fun fall date. Try signing up for a group hike if you are inexperienced, or start with some basic hikes and as you get more confidant, explore the wild together by getting away from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Hiking builds our spiritual connection with the created world and our environment as well as providing a quiet space to promote relationship.
  • Go on a picnic: A picnic is more than eating a meal; it’s a state of mind. To me, a picnic represents the desire to slow down and enjoy the company one is with while simultaneously appreciating the natural beauty around us. Picnics can be as simple as packing a lunch and eating together outside at the park or more elaborate as your relationship progresses. I fondly remember one chilly November evening when Tim surprised me with a walk on the beach. I followed a trail of candles along the shore that ended in a picnic of chocolate-covered strawberries and champagne, flowers, cuddly blankets, music, bridal magazines and a photographer all waiting to capture my surprise and show off my twinkly new engagement ring. Did I say mention much I love picnics? So, pack up a basket of goodies with something warm to drink and find a quiet spot with a beautiful view. You never know where a picnic will take you
  • Go sledding: If there’s snow on the ground, try sledding with your sweetheart. Remember when you were a kid and you cruised down a snowy hill racing your friends? Your cheeks were bright red and you laughed uproariously the whole way down. Now, picture yourself cuddled up next to a cute guy or gal with arms snuggled tightly around you as you tear down a hill together. Sounds like a great way to connect and build a lasting memory together. And how much fun will it be to go warm up by the fire and drink hot cocoa together when you are all done?

There are so many entertaining things to do outdoors during the upcoming holiday season – live nativity performances, picking a spruce at the Christmas tree farm, ice skating, snowboarding, skiing, tubing, walking in the woods, ice fishing, etc. That means you don’t have to limit your outdoor excursions to National Take a Hike Day. Find any excuse to take your dates outside and enjoy the beautiful world we have been blessed with.

You may also be interested in 3 Important Questions To Ask Yourself When Out On A Date

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