So med school basically takes up a ton of time…and money. It’s tough figuring out how to spend “quality” time together, because when Craig does have a break from school, and when I do have a break from working, cleaning, and cooking, we just want to sit and veg out on the couch. We sit and watch the NCIS marathons on USA, and then all of the sudden, it’s time for bed. Even if we do decide we have just enough time and energy to do something fun together, we definitely don’t have enough time and energy to plan time together in advance, and then follow through with it. I mean, there are definitely a ton of cool and exciting things to do in Charleston, but most of them require a bigger budget than what we have, plus advanced planning.
Craig and I have really enjoyed having more time together this summer. Craig’s had more time in the evenings and on the weekends to spend time with me and help out around the condo. I’ve had more free time since Craig has been able to help out some more around our condo, and I’ve enjoyed the free time that has given me to spend with him. We’ve also gotten to visit both of our families this summer, which is an obvious highlight for me.
However, the summer is quickly coming to a close, and Craig and I are dealing with the realization that not only will med school continue to require more and more from Craig, but also that we are not going to get another summer like this. Essentially, this has been Craig’s last summer vacation ever.
So, in preparation for not having the time or energy to come up with fun, easy, and inexpensive ways to spend quality time together once the summer ends, I decided to use some of the extra time I do have right now to brainstorm in advance. I searched Pinterest, other websites, and of course my own, brilliant mind to create this list. So now, when Craig and I do have a little time to spend together, we will have a guide of ideas to help us out. Some of these are things we’ve already done, and some are things we want to do. Some ideas are better or worse depending on general location (it’s way easier to go to the beach at this point in our life than going to hike in the mountains), and some are even specific to Charleston. Still, I think this list is at least somewhat relatable no matter where you live, and I hope to add to it in time and continue to pull ideas from it in the future when we don’t live in Charleston anymore. In the end, I am very happy with this list of mostly free or inexpensive quality time slash date ideas.
Free(-ish) Quality Time/Date Ideas
- Play Tennis
- Ok, so I’m quite terrible at tennis…as in I don’t know anybody that I’ve ever met who is as bad as me. That being said, Craig enjoys tennis, so I try to make a point to hit the ball with him every now and then. Plus, my skills can only go up, so I really don’t have anything to lose.
- Throw a Frisbee
- Outdoor Picnic
- It may seem funny that I am specifying for a picnic to be outside, but I want to stress the idea of actually packing all of the food up to take somewhere else and just get out of the home, as well as enjoying some nice weather. Especially since I work from home, it’s nice to be able to just get out and have a change of scenery and to get some fresh air.
- Go See the Lighthouse
- There is a lighthouse just off the shore of James Island that Craig has never seen, and we want to make a point to go visit it together. Obviously everyone doesn’t have a lighthouse nearby, but I’m sure there places near everybody’s home that you just never make the time to go explore, and you definitely should!
- Take a Walk on the Beach
- It’s really sad what a rarity it is for Craig and me to go walk on the beach, considering we only live a few miles away…We need to fix that.
- Waterfront Park
- This is a popular place where you can walk near the ocean, and there are also fountains that kids can play in. I know I’ve seen those fountains other places, the kind where the water shoots up from the ground. It’s fun to enjoy the breeze of the ocean while we can people watch and see little kids playing in the fountains.
- Explore James Island County Park
- This is a very popular park that is about a seven minute drive from where Craig and I live. They do Christmas lights here every year, but we want to go explore all the other aspect of it, as well.
- Take the Pup to the Dog Park
- Sketch and/or Make a List of “Dream Home Must-Haves”
- I really think that Craig and I could be happy just about anywhere, but it’s still fun to think about. Being that neither of us are really artistic, this mainly means that Craig is looking through realty websites while I am looking through homes on Pinterest, and then we show each other our favorites and say why we like them.
- Go Hiking
- This is one of our absolute favorite things to do together, but we don’t get to do it very often considering we live at the beach. If only we could plop a mountain fifteen minutes outside of Charleston…
- Board Games/Puzzles
- Make a Fort and Watch a Movie from Inside
- We actually did this the weekend that I first made this list. Neither of us had built a fort in years, and we’re going to be doing this type of stuff when we have kids anyway, so we figured we would give it a shot! Since we were building a fort, we decided it was only appropriate to watch Disney movies over any other movie. And now Craig has seen Cinderella!
- Nerf Gun Wars
- Craig is under the misguided belief that he has a chance of beating me at this. Come on! I grew up with two brothers the same and almost the same age as me, so let’s be real. Craig doesn’t stand a chance.
- Volunteer Together
- Craig and I volunteer with the 2-year-olds at our church together, and I can’t tell you how rewarding it is. Not only is it fun and amazing to see what a difference you are making, but it’s a wonderful feeling to see your significant other be giving of him or herself and make a difference to others.
- Make Pizzas Together
- With Craig’s dairy allergy, this is really the only way we can have pizza, but I think other people would really enjoy it, too. Instead of doing take-out or delivery or something frozen, make your own! Be creative and try new toppings. The great thing about pizza is that it’s really hard to completely ruin.
- At-Home Fondue
- If you don’t have a fondue pot, just use a crock-pot.
- Bake and/or Cook Something New
- I stress the idea of this being something that neither one of you has made before, or else that person may end up making it alone while the other person watches. The idea is to get both people involved.
- Go for a Bike Ride
- Don’t forget your helmet!
- Rollerblading/Rollerskating Outside
- Craig and I don’t have our own, so I’m think I’m might try to confiscate my parents’ stuff since they haven’t used any of it in about fifteen years…
- Don’t forget to wear a helmet!
- Exercise Together
- Visit a Well-Known Point of Interest Nearby
- We visited the Angel Oak on Johns Island, which is one of the oldest living organisms east of the Mississippi River. It is 65ft tall and estimated to be 300-400 years old. It is 180ft at its widest spread point, which is longer than any other live oak in America. There are a lot of other Charleston POIs that we want to visit while we live here, but we did this first because it’s completely free and close to where we live.
- Dinner on Our Back Porch
- Even a tiny change in scenery goes a long way!
- TV Show/Movie Marathon
- If you are going to do this, make sure to be active about choosing a theme and maybe mixing it with another idea (like doing a puzzle if you’ve already seen the movies or baking something). Just make sure to not turn this into vegging together, because that’s what we’re trying to prevent.
- Watch Football
- Or any sport that you both love! Find a team you are both passionate about, or be competitive and pick a game with rival teams between you two…you could even wager house chores or something on the outcome.
- Breakfast in Bed Meets Dinner and a Movie
- Play 20 Questions About Each Other
- Read Out Loud Together
- This may sound silly, but Craig and I really love doing this. We just lay down on the couch together with a book that interests us both, and we take turns reading to each other. We’ve done it with relationship books, pediatric case files, the Bible, and other books.
- Make a Bucket List for You as a Couple
Low Cost Quality Time/Date Ideas
- Go to a Roller-rink
- Go Ice Skating
- Rock Climbing on a Rock Wall
- Coffee Date
- Minor League Baseball Game
- Minor League Hockey Game
- Miniature Golf
- Local Improv
- Take an Art Class Together
- Groupon always has these offers coming up, so next time you see one, go ahead and grab it!
- Go to a Shooting Range
Quality Time/Date Ideas That Require a Little More Time/Planning and Money
- Dinner Cruise
- Go to a Big College Football Game
- Go to an MLB Game
- Go to an NHL Game
So many ideas, and I’m sure I will add more! We’ve had so much fun trying new things together, and we can’t wait to try out more of these ideas that we haven’t tried yet!