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25 Romantic Summer Dates for Under $25

You're busy at work and kind of broke after paying for all of those kid day camps. But it's summer and you want to break out the sundress and have some fun with your sweetie. Below are 25 short dates that will put a charge in your summer night.

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For starters, set up the babysitter. To keep the cost down, trade with neighborhood parents who are also craving an hour or two of alone time. If you can pull off a trade, you've got $25 to blow on fun. If you have to pay the babysitting, you will still have a blast just being together.

Now off you go to:

1. Star gaze together

Colleges and universities often have public stargazing nights at their observatories. Google around to find free heavenly magic high above the city.

2. Get hot with the cha cha

Dance Schools like Arthur Murray usually offer the first lesson free. You really can't go wrong with some Latin rhythms on a summer night.

3. Send a sexy text to your sweetie

"Meet me for a moijto at 6." Give him the address of a new bar you've been meaning to try. He'll be there. Trust me.

4. Pedal off into the sunset

Have the bicycles pumped up and ready to go after dinner. Ride to the closest ice cream stand and share a sundae.

5. Get cultured

Most major art museums and planetariums have an afternoon with free (or reduced) entrance. Find one with a reasonably priced café and have some food with your culture.

6. Plunge into summer

At the very end of the day when the crowds have cleared, go to the town swimming hole you've only been to with kids. Splash to your heart's content.

7. Head out to yard sales on a Saturday morning

You each get $10 to spend on a present for the other person. Use the extra $5 for coffee afterwards.

8. Dust off (or borrow) some tennis rackets and find a nearby court

Working a sweat often leads to other kinds of active fun.

9. Hike to the top of the nearest peak

Even if it's just a steep hill, a fresh view is always good for a couple.

10. Get thee to Shakespeare (or anything) in the park

Major cities offer excellent summer programs—paid for with your tax dollars. For a "free" play or concert, check out the local listings.

11. Drive to the beach at sunset

Spread out the blanket. Kiss with abandon.

12. Browse the nearest independent bookstore and find a book that interests you both

Take turns reading it to each other before bed each night.

13. Set up an hour to volunteer together at a local animal shelter

Agree beforehand that under no circumstances will you bring home a puppy.

14. Make a playlist of songs you fell in love to

Bring your iPod, a blanket and a bottle of champagne to the most private outdoor spot you can find. Don't get caught.

15. Head to the local farmer's market

And find some cool new ingredients to prepare for dinner. Cook together with music while the kids watch a movie.

16. Take a game of Scrabble (or some cards) to your favorite café

Remember how fun games are when played face-to-face without phones?

17. Find a local fair and get in touch your inner teen. (Daisy Dukes optional.)

Try and win the stuffed elephant. Ride the merry-go-round. Just don't tell the kids you had cotton candy.

18. Forget Netflix and head to a movie theater

Keep it cheap by bringing your own candy and (yes) popcorn.

19. Picnic in a park with a playground

Swing until you're silly.

20. Track down some rollerblades and hit the nearest bike path

You will probably start flashing back to the '90s, and that's OK.

21. Row, row, row your way to romance

Somewhere near you there's a lake, pond or river with boat rentals. Let the water transport you.

22. Putt around together

Mini-golf is way sexier without kids. Feel free to get playfully cut-throat.

23. Pose together

Find a yoga studio that offers a free trial class for first-timers.

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24. Be selfie-ish

Why should your kids have all the cell phone fun? Wander around town taking goofy photos. Finish the date at a pharmacy where you can develop and frame your favorite.

25. Have the babysitter take the kids out for pizza

You and your sweetie stay home.

Photo via Twenty20/Noddy Taylor

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