3 Outdoor Date Ideas in the Bay Area (To Enjoy During Quarantine)

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My favorite quarantine-friendly outdoor date ideas in the Bay Area to enjoy year-round! 

This post is sponsored by CamelBak, but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

If there’s one thing I’m thankful for in 2020 it’s the reminder to slow down and get outside more.

I’ve always been fond of outdoor adventures, hiking, and disconnecting from technology so I can reconnect with nature.

But when you live in a city, it’s easy to get sucked up into “city things” like brunch dates, spending your evenings at bars, or going to concerts, museums, or other events around the city.

Luckily, the culture in San Francisco is still very outdoorsy compared to most big cities, but before 2020 I still found myself spending most weekends doing “city things.”

2020 forced me to recognize that fact and get creative when it came to how I spent my weekends and free time now that most “city things” are shut down.

This was especially the case with dating.

In March and April, most of my date nights with my boyfriend involved board game nights, Netflix marathons (*cough* Tiger King), and at-home karaoke nights.

These were fun, but I found myself craving the outdoors even more once it was no longer available to me. 

When parks and beaches started opening up more in May and June, I immediately spent as much time as possible outdoors.

I discovered just how many good outdoor date ideas there are near San Francisco that are still safe and mindful of the current climate. 

And I found that I enjoyed these even more than the dates I used to do around the city. 

These are my picks for the best outdoor date ideas in the Bay Area to unwind, refuel, and enjoy the little moments in life (that are often the best moments) with your partner.

Get your FREE California Travel Planner – including printable checklists and my favorite two-week itinerary for the state. 

BYOW Picnic at the Beach

One of my favorite outdoor dates these days is doing a BYOW picnic at the beach.

Now that outdoor drinking laws have been relaxed around the Bay Area, there’s no better time to enjoy a bottle of wine and delicious food at a scenic location near the ocean.

All you need is a picnic blanket, wine, maybe some games, and a to-go meal from your favorite restaurant (or you can bring your own picnic fixings to keep it budget-friendly).

Since glass is a safety hazard and not allowed at most beaches, I’d recommend bringing your favorite wine in a durable thermos.

I recently discovered CamelBak’s new Horizon Drinkware Collection, which includes a 25 oz vacuum insulated steel wine bottle and 12 oz wine tumblers to drink from.

The bottle holds a full bottle of wine and keeps it fresh and at the perfect temperature for over a day, meaning you don’t have to worry about your wine getting hot in the car or on the trek to the beach.

And if you’re bringing white wine, it stays cold for up to 35 hours.

This was a game changer for romantic beach dates and being able to enjoy a couple of glasses of wine in the wine tumblers while watching the waves crash in the distance.

A few of my favorite places around the Bay Area for a BYOW Beach Picnic are the following:

  • Rodeo Beach // Marin Headlands
  • Baker Beach // San Francisco
  • Rockaway Beach // Pacifica
bay area date ideas - romantic beach dates
beach date ideas - marin headlands in the bay area

Explore Local Nature Through a Hike

Another great outdoor date idea that I’ve been enjoying a lot in 2020 is hiking in a beautiful place.

There’s something about getting those endorphins flowing during a good workout in nature that makes you feel closer to your partner, especially if you’re both active people.

I’ve also started enjoying wine hikes every now and then to add another element of fun to a hiking date.

I don’t usually do this for super long hikes where weight is more important, but if it’s a relatively short day hike, it can be fun to bring a couple of beers or a bottle of wine for you and your partner to enjoy.

Once you get to the end of the hike or a stunning vista point midway through, you can bust out a couple of drinks to cheers to a beautiful day in nature.

A few of my favorite places to go on hiking dates in the Bay Area right now are the following:

  • Marin Headlands
  • Redwood Regional Park  
  • Angel Island
  • Bonus: Rubicon Trail (Tahoe)
adventurous date ideas - hiking in lake tahoe
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Road Trip to a Beautiful Destination

Another fun outdoorsy date activity that allows you to enjoy the best of California nature is to go on a road trip together.

This can be a day trip up to Bodega Bay or a weekend trip to Tahoe or Big Sur.

Regardless of how far you decide to go, a road trip can be a great way to bond with your partner while exploring a new place (or returning to a place that you both love).

Queue up your favorite road trip playlist, pack some snacks, and your favorite beverage (I personally love sipping on coffee while in the car), and just go.

I recently tested out CamelBak’s 20 oz tumbler from their Horizon Drinkware Collection (which can also be great for cocktails and water) on a road trip up to Lake Tahoe and my coffee stayed warm the whole trip. #winning

It was a treat to actually have fresh coffee even after five hours of driving and stopping along the way to the Sierras.

If you’re looking for some good road trip ideas, these have been some of my favorite romantic spots to road trip to that aren’t too far from San Francisco:

romantic date ideas in the bay area

Bonus: Go Hot Tubbing or Soak in Natural Hot Springs

And lastly, if you have time to spare, one of the more unique date ideas near the Bay Area is to enjoy a weekend of hot tubbing or soaking in natural hot springs.

If you have the luxury of working remotely right now, it could even be worthwhile to book a month-long stay to get away from the city and immerse yourself in nature.

Vacation rentals are at an all-time low right now in terms of price due to the current climate, so it’s a good time to find better deals for a staycation or nearby weekend trip.

And vacation rental hosts are much more likely to be open to bargaining for reduced rates if you’re so inclined, especially if you’re booking a longer stay.

My partner and I recently booked a vacation rental up in Tahoe (with a hot tub) for a significantly lower price than what was listed because we were willing to book the place for a few weeks.

Alternatively, you can spend a day soaking in local hot springs.

A few of my favorites near the Bay Area include Steep Ravine Hot Springs, Sykes Hot Springs, and Calistoga Spa Hot Springs.

Since arriving up in Tahoe, my partner and I have been taking advantage of the hot tub every night after a full day of hiking and exploring the Sierras.

And let me tell you, there’s nothing better than soaking in hot water while sipping on a cold, refreshing beverage.

I’ve been using my 20 oz CamelBak tumbler (the same one I’ve been using for road trips), to keep beverages cold while soaking in the hot tub.

I usually put cold water in it to stay hydrated and cool while relaxing in nature.

romantic things to do in the bay area - hot tubbing

fun dates in the bay area

CamelBak Horizon Drinkware Collection

As I mentioned above, I’ve been a big fan of CamelBak’s Horizon Drinkware Collection for outdoor dates this summer.

I’ve been using their wine bottle + wine tumbler and their 20 oz tumbler to conveniently carry wine, water, coffee, and other beverages that I like to sip on while enjoying the outdoors with my partner.

As part of the Horizon Drinkware Collection, they also have camp mugs, 12 oz, 16 oz, and 30 oz tumblers, and a Rocks Tumbler for cocktails available.

The collection offers a durable way to carry your favorite beverages into the outdoors with you – all while keeping them fresh and at the perfect temperature.

You can learn more about the Horizon Drinkware Collection here.

CamelBak Horizon Drinkware Collection

Let me know – have you been enjoying more outdoor dates lately? What is your favorite outdoor date to enjoy in the Bay Area?

Get your FREE California Travel Planner – including printable checklists and my favorite two-week itinerary for the state. 


Mimi McFadden Headshot

Mimi McFadden
Founder & Editor-In-Chief

Mimi McFadden initially started The Atlas Heart in 2013 to write about her adventures abroad. But since 2019, The Atlas Heart has become a love letter to the Golden State. Mimi enjoys sharing her first-hand knowledge and expertise with the places she knows so well and making the most comprehensive travel guides possible. When she’s not hiking and exploring new places in California, she loves to travel abroad, read in her cozy chaise lounge, play basketball, and connect with friends and family over board games. Over her 28 years in California, she has lived in Santa Cruz (18 years), San Diego (5 years), and the San Francisco Bay Area (5 years), where she currently resides.

Looking for more Northern California travel inspiration? Check out these related posts below!

Best Lake Tahoe Beaches

Things to do in California

Best Hikes in San Francisco 

Best Weekend Trips From San Francisco

Where to See the Redwoods Near San Francisco

What to do in San Francisco at Night

Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve

Berkeley Fire Trails: Hiking Guide 

outdoor date ideas in the bay area, bay area date ideas

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Hi, I'm Mimi! I'm an outdoorsy Californian who has spent over 28 years immersed in the incredible natural beauty that California has to offer. My goal is to inspire others to get out and find their next adventure in California. Whether it’s escaping to an alpine lake in the Sierras, finding peace among the giant redwoods, or road tripping down the PCH, there’s always more to explore in this beautiful state.


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