Inexpensive fall date ideas are a must when you’re on a tight budget—especially if you also have to pay for a babysitter!
Autumn date nights are all about keeping the vibes warm and cozy, whether you stay inside by the fire or venture out and brave the chill.
So here are some of our favorite fall date ideas to help you take full advantage of this gorgeous sweater weather!
20 Inexpensive Fall Date Ideas to Spice Up Your Season
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1. Picnic in the Autumn Leaves
Find a park filled with gorgeous foliage, roll out a blanket, and set up a picnic! Eating out in the open air is a treat.
Picknicking can be as simple as picking up sandwiches and cookies from a local sandwich shop, or as romantic and elaborate as you care to make it.
One of my favorite ways to picnic is to bring a variety of cold foods like seasonal fruits, sliced vegetables, cheeses, salami, nuts, bread, crackers, muffins, cider, coffee, Pellegrino, etc. It feels like a well-rounded meal, but it’s not messy or difficult to prepare.
2. Plan a cozy game night
There are so many ways to make a simple game night extra fun!
Dim the lights a little and burn lots of candles or light a fire if you have a fireplace. Turn on some soft music. Pull out the blankets and cozy socks.
Order dinner in. Bake your favorite treat together. Heat up some apple cider or make some coffee or cocoa.
You could even purchase a new game you’ve been wanting to try for this particular date night! Cooperative games such as Forbidden Island, Pandemic, and Hanabi are fun choices because they allow you and your date to work together toward a common goal, playing against the game.
We also really like playing more competitive games, like Viticulture and Sushi Go!
3. Keep warm inside with a fondue night
Fondue is one of the most romantic meals I can think of!
It’s the perfect way for you and your sweetheart to cozy up together while you eat, and fondue is also incredibly easy to prepare.
You can either go the savory route with a cheesy dinner fondue, or the sweet route with a rich, chocolatey dessert spread. You really can’t go wrong either way!
Here’s how you can easily plan a romantic fondue night for two!
4. Attend an Apple Tasting
Before we moved, Benj and I loved attending an annual apple tasting in Portland, OR. There were dozens of apple varieties to sample, not to mention giant crates of delicious apples for sale.
If you don’t have an apple tasting event near you, create your own!
Visit a local orchard or grocery store and buy one of every apple variety you can find. Then slice, sample, and rate each apple to see which varieties you enjoy the most!
5. Ride Bikes on a Greenway
Cycling on a paved trail through golden leaves with cool, crisp air whistling in your ears is magical! Last year’s autumn ride is one of my favorite memories from that season, and I can’t wait to go again this year.
If you don’t own any bicycles, try borrowing a pair from a friend or renting for the day.
6. Get Excited About the Upcoming Holidays
Head to your favorite cozy coffee shop and start planning the upcoming holiday season! Trust me—it’s not too early. Thanksgiving and Christmas will sneak up on you before you know it.
If you’re prepared with a plan ahead of time, you’ll set yourself up to have a fantastic Christmas season without all of the overwhelm and credit card debt.
I’m currently working on designing an AMAZING Christmas Planner that will help you to stay organized and save so much money! And YES—it’s going to be totally free to Penny for Your Dreams subscribers!
You can download my FREE Christmas Savings Plan to get started, and you’ll be notified via email once the rest of the Christmas Planner is available!
7. Bake Batches of Autumn Goodies
Autumn has the most delicious food!
If you and your date enjoy working in the kitchen, spend an afternoon baking to your hearts’ content with the warm, rich flavors of fall. Look for recipes that use seasonal spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, and ginger.
To really embrace the season, choose classic fall produce like apples, pears, persimmons, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, pecans, and walnuts.
Treats like quick breads, muffins, caramel apples, pies, scones, and rustic tarts are some of my favorites to make in the fall!
When you’re finished with your baking marathon, you’ll probably have too much to eat by yourselves! So consider sharing with family and friends—or even hosting a charity bake sale.
8. Get Lost in a Corn Maze
If you’ve never gotten lost in a corn maze, you don’t know what you’re missing! It’s a total blast, and I highly recommend the experience.
I’d also recommend bringing thermoses of hot cider to sip on while you wander around!
9. Check Something Off Your Fall Bucket List
If you’re feeling adventurous, choose a random activity (or three!) from your fall bucket list and get going!
It’s a fun way to step outside your comfort zone if you normally like to plan everything out ahead of time.
10. Pick apples at a local orchard
This is a yearly tradition my husband and I established while we were dating—6 years and counting!
Enjoying local farms, sipping warm cider, and wandering through peaceful rows of apple trees is a great way to disconnect from the outside world and connect with one another.
11. Chase autumn leaves
Autumn’s vibrant foliage only peaks for a few weeks each year, so it can be fun to take long drives on quiet country roads, scouting for beautiful leaves.
You can also search the internet before your excursion to find the best spots for autumn color in your area. Packing special picnic lunch or dinner is the perfect way to break up your drive, while allowing you to soak up the season even more.
Don’t forget your cozy blankets and thermoses of cider or cocoa!
12. Hike a Nature Trail in the Autumn Leaves
Hiking nature trails, fallen leaves crunching underfoot, is about as relaxing as it gets! Being surrounded by nature is ideal for both body and soul—we all need a chance to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of life.
Leave your phones at home, if you can, and be prepared to listen and to connect with your date. Long hikes provide ample opportunities for long conversations!
If you’re not sure where to hike, visit AllTrails.com! Their website is an incredible resource for discovering nature trails that you never knew existed.
13. Sleep Out Under the Stars
Autumn is an ideal time of year to go camping—as long as it hasn’t gotten too cold where you live!
Obviously, this is at least a two-day date and requires more effort than the others. But is there a better time of year to cozy up around a campfire with your love?
14. Build a Bonfire
Like I just mentioned, building a bonfire is basically the ideal autumn activity! Snuggle up, toast marshmallows, make s’mores, and sip hot chocolate. It’s the perfect fall date! The end.
After we build our cottage farmhouse, I’m very much looking forward to adding a small fire pit to the backyard! It will be perfect for those cool nights.
15. Run (or Walk!) a 5K Together
Last year, Benj and I ran-walked our first 5K together! The event was held at a gorgeous vineyard, and the course wound its way through wine country. They even fed us Moe’s for lunch!
Ten out of ten would recommend—it was a really special experience for us.
While organized races can be on the higher end of frugal, the proceeds are frequently donated to a good cause!
And listen. If you don’t like running, you can walk the entire race! I was completely out of shape after struggling with some chronic health challenges for years, and I made it just fine! Autumn is the perfect time of year for a 5K because the weather is so lovely.
16. Go Geocaching in the Autumn Air
Geocaching is a fun, laid back activity that gets you outside exploring the world and breathing fresh air. There are millions of geocaches hidden all over the earth! Benj and I love searching for them together—it’s such a fun adventure!
You can download the app and find plenty of geocaches for free, but there are even more available through a paid membership ($9.99 for 3 months).
17. Visit Your Local Botanical Gardens
Late spring is probably my favorite time of year to visit our local botanical gardens, but fall is a close second.
Botanical gardens are strategically planned to showcase beauty in all seasons, and there are so many interesting types of plants to see.
The gardens are a lovely place to relax, walk, picnic, or even have romantic photos taken.
18. Have a Cozy Movie Night at Home
Sometimes, the best date nights are the simplest ones. Stay home and get cozy!
Light some candles (or your fireplace or wood stove, if you have one). Prepare a big pot of soup (this stew may look simple, but the flavor is unique and incredible—I’ve been making it for a decade).
Cuddle up on the couch with some blankets and watch a movie together (don’t forget the popcorn). Sip something warm, like cider or hot cocoa (peppermint, double chocolate, s’il vous plait).
You get the idea.
19. Pack Shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child
We get so much joy out of packing shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child! It’s a fantastic opportunity to directly give to children in need—both through tangible gifts and prayer.
You can put together shoebox gifts pretty inexpensively, too. We often find a lot of great items at our local Dollar Tree!
20. Volunteer Together
Take a day to volunteer at your local food bank, soup kitchen, or other local charity. Ask the organization where they have a need, and see if you can be the ones to fill it.
Fall Date Ideas
I hope these fall date ideas have sparked some excitement for the season and given you some inspiration for your next romantic excursion!
May your autumn be filled with fun adventures—and a whole lot of love!
Which of these fall date ideas is your favorite?
Don’t forget to pin these ideas for later!!