Love is in the air this month—and if you’re looking for romantic date ideas that won’t break the bank and allow you to avoid the crowds this Valentine’s day, here are some date ideas that you can enjoy from the comfort of your car.
As a bonus, we’ll also provide some tips on how to level up the experience by preparing your car for the trip.
The Fast Food Drive-Thru Feast
Romantic dates don’t always have to be luxurious or well-planned. And if you and your significant other love to pig out on greasy burgers and chicken nuggets, what better day to do that than on Valentine’s day? Make a list of all your favorite fast-food chains, hop in the car, and hit up all those drive-thrus.
Order as much junk as you want—and don’t forget to grab some sweet treats, too.
From there, it’s just a matter of deciding where you want to park and enjoy your feast. We recommend finding a nearby scenic spot where you can park and enjoy the sights, but even a fast-food restaurant parking lot could work. As long as you’re together, right?
Now, this should go without saying, but make sure your vehicle is in good working condition before your date. After all, you don’t want your romantic night-out to be ruined by some random car mishaps.
For this drive-thru date, it’s essential to have fully functioning windows and cup holders. Replace failing components such as window regulators, window motors, or regulator rails to ensure a smooth drive-thru experience.
The Drive-In Movie
Do you fancy a romantic movie night? Why not try a drive-in theater date? There aren’t a lot of drive-in theaters anymore, but it’s still a great experience if you can find one nearby.
Drive-in theaters have been around since the 1910s and were popular until around the late ‘60s. Although many of them have been defunct for years, there’s still a handful around—you’ll just have to look them up.
This is perfect if you love watching movies together, but are looking to try a different kind of viewing experience. At a drive-in theater, you can bring your own snacks and drinks, and pretty much sit however you want—you can put your feet up without anyone complaining.
If you like this date idea, make sure your car is good to go. A cracked or damaged windshield, apart from being a possible safety hazard, will likely ruin the movie for you and your partner. Replace your windshield to ensure that your date goes off without a hitch.
And here’s a nice-to-have—if your car doesn’t come with heated seats, why not get some heated seat pads for a truly comfortable movie date?
The Campers’ Retreat
If you and your S.O. are nature-buffs, the perfect option for you this Valentine’s day is a good ol’ camping trip. Bring a tent for that legitimate camping experience, but if you have an SUV or van, just set up some sleeping bags in the trunk.
Before you embark on a camping trip, make sure you have all the essentials, documents, and the necessary permits. Keep in mind that some campgrounds are paid while dispersed camping requires campers to be more responsible and self-contained.
Make sure to brush up on camping etiquette and car camping rules before you set off for your date. You may also want to install a roof rack (if you don’t already have one) so you have extra storage space for all your camping gear.
The In-Car Picnic
If you like the drive-thru date idea but would prefer to pack your own food for some healthier options, just pack a picnic and drive to a nice, scenic location.
But as we all know, Valentine’s day falls on the tail end of the winter season. This makes it a bit too cold—depending on which state you live in—to enjoy a nice picnic on the grass. In this case, an in-car picnic is a great option, especially if you live somewhere with snow.
Sit in the trunk and bundle up with some blankets and sweaters to stay warm, plus pack some warming food and drinks—like a hearty soup and some hot chocolate.
In the likely event that it’s too cold to have the picnic in the back of your car with the door propped open, just eat inside. As long as you have a functioning heater for warmth, there’s no reason why it can’t be a comfortable picnic.
If the heat in your car isn’t quite as warm as it should be, get your heater core checked and replace it if needed.
The Romantic Road Trip
Is there anything better than driving cross-country with your sweetheart while jamming to Rascal Flatt’s “Life is a Highway” (or whichever music suits your taste)? Leave the city behind and discover new places, capture Instagram-worthy photos, and make new memories together.
There are plenty of road trip destinations to choose from, but make sure to pick scenic routes that’ll offer romantic sights along the way. Some of the most breathtaking drives include Beartooth Highway in Montana; Appalachian Highlands Scenic Byway in Alabama; Scenic Byway 12 in Utah; and of course, California’s road-trip favorite, Pacific Coast Highway, for some beautiful ocean views.
Long trips require a vehicle that is in good overall condition. Make sure to bring your car to your mechanic for a proper evaluation prior to your trip. Check your fluids, including oil, power steering fluid, transmission fluid, antifreeze, and brake fluid.
Installing or replacing the essential parts you’ll need for your trip will not only give you peace of mind but also ensure a romantic date that neither of you will ever forget.
What are some of your favorite car date ideas?