Tired of the same old dinner and a movie dates? Then look no further! With its own picturesque college downtown, short drive from the seacoast, easy access to the Amtrak, and beautiful New Hampshire scenery, Durham is overflowing with ways to spend the day or night with your significant other. Get ready to be the ultimate couple goals and make lasting memories on one or all of these 10 cute date ideas around UNH.
1. Route 1A and Rye Beach
Contrary to popular belief, New Hampshire isn’t actually in the middle of nowhere and has a lot of beautiful seacoast scenery. If you have a car on campus and are a fan of sand between your toes, then consider taking a drive along Route 1A to Rye Beach. A relatively short distance, only about 30 minutes from Durham, Route 1A offers a breathtaking expanse of oceanic landscape to admire along your way to the beach.
Once at Rye Beach, you and your significant other can enjoy the beauty of the ocean listening to the waves hit the shore and taking in the fresh scent of salt wafting through the air. Take a romantic stroll along the shore, pack a picnic, or just relax in one another’s company. If you’re feeling extra adventurous, plan your date around the sunset or even sunrise. This is certainly a cheap and very romantic way to spend time with you boyfriend or girlfriend or win over someone’s heart on the first date.
2. York, Maine
If you’re a fan of beaches, short road trips, and coastlines then there’s also York, Maine. It’s a little further north of Durham, but it’s definitely another great place for a scenic date. Stop by the lighthouse and sit on the rocks overlooking the Atlantic Ocean for a romantic getaway that will be sure to take your breath away. Although it’s only a 30-minute drive, make this a weekend day trip being sure to explore the quaint seaside town and grab some delicious and fresh seafood as well. It’s the perfect way to spend a Saturday or beat the “Sunday blues”.
3. College Woods
If you love being active, then grab your boyfriend or girlfriend and go for a walk through College Woods. Located right on the UNH campus, there’s no better way to spend a New England fall day, especially if the foliage is at its height. Of course, a walk through the woods during the winter isn’t a bad date either, the day might be better enjoyed during a warmer season especially when the leaves are turning vibrant shades of red, gold, and orange adding a spectacular, seasonal specialty. Overall, this is a relatively low-key, relaxed date that will give you a wonderful opportunity to either spend some quality time with your significant other or really get to know your crush.
4. Downtown Portsmouth, NH
If you’re looking to get away from Durham and nature, then Portsmouth is a great place to visit. You can even take the Wildcat transit there if you don’t have a car on campus or don’t feel like dealing with parking. There’s a plethora of restaurants to choose from and a ton of little shops and boutiques worth meandering through. Anytime of day or year you’ll find many ways to keep your date as exciting as possible. Stop into Kilwin’s for some decadent chocolates and then head next door to Popovers for a steaming hot latte, both a relaxing way to rest your feet after strolling the streets of downtown Portsmouth.
5. The Spot and The Juicery
Trying different (and healthy) food is always a great date idea. Sharing in new experiences helps couples grow closer, so why not take advantage of this whether you’re in a long term committed relationship or are just looking to take a cutie out and get to know him or her better? And believe it or not, Durham is the perfect place to do this. With so many new eateries there are plenty of options to try. If you don’t have a lot of time and want a quick and easy place, then go to The Spot for a refreshing acai bowl, pataya bowl, or smoothie. It’ll be sure to hit the spot (pun intended). Another great option if you’re in the mood for a healthy and filling smoothie is the Juicery. Both restaurants are located right in the center of town so it’s an easy walk no matter the time of year.
6. Gables Pond
If you’re looking to stay on campus and enjoy some fresh New Hampshire air, then pack up a picnic and head over to the Gables Pond. Just a short walk or bus ride from anywhere on campus located around back of the Gables, this is certainly a great and cheap way to spend your day. Of course Durham is known for its many months of endless winter, so if snow and cold are in the way of a picnic then grab your ice skates and a thermos of hot chocolate instead.
7. Breakfast at Young’s Restaurant
Although food is one of the most important parts of life, dinner dates can quickly start to feel redundant. A fun way to switch it up would be to go out to breakfast instead, the perfect fresh and innovative alternative. Young’s Restaurant located right in the center of Durham is precisely the place to go. Who doesn’t love a nice and hearty breakfast to start the day, especially when it’s spent in the company of someone cute? Starting the day early with a mouthwatering plate of bacon and eggs will without a doubt lead your relationship onto the road to success.
8. The Coffee Station
If you have a car on campus and enjoy a good old coffee shop date, then consider driving to the Coffee Station. It’s only 10 minutes away, and what it lacks in size it more than makes up for with its coffee. Although it’s a drive-thru it’s still a cute and cheap date, which is more than ideal for a college student budget. With their unique flavors that change by the day, you’re sure to leave both content and caffeinated. The drive to and from the place is also the perfect time to have some uninterrupted one-on-one conversation. It’s an easy quick date, but one that is sure to be a hit because let’s be honest here, what New Englander doesn’t love a refreshing iced coffee?
9. Free Skate at the Whitt
The winter months in Durham can really drag on for what feels like a never-ending brigade of snow and cold. Although this leaves many of us with a desperate desire for the beach, there are still plenty of fun activities that can make for a delightful date. Instead of opting for another day inside curled up with a piping hot mug of hot chocolate, take a more adventurous option and head over to the Whittemore Center for the free skate. Several times a week the rink is open to UNH students making for a picturesque winter date. You can even rent skates, so there’s really no excuse for you not to try it out at least once. Stay extra warm (and balanced) by holding your date’s hand as you both circle around on the ice talking and enjoying each other’s company.
10. Take the Amtrak to Portland or Boston
One last date idea around UNH is, in fact, that one of the best parts about Durham’s location is its easy access to the Amtrak. If you have the time and a spare $19 per person, then walk over to the Dairy Bar, located next to the Whittemore Center, and hop on the train to either Portland or Boston. Both locations will give you an unforgettable day or evening filled with exploration, delicious food, and new adventures. It’s the perfect date if you’re looking to get away from New Hampshire for longer than a few hours and explore a new city. The hustle of the metropolitan area will also add an extra touch of excitement and give a spark of romance to an already existing or new relationship.