As a couples counselor serving families in Houston, I believe strongly in the healing powers of a great date. Regularly scheduling time to have a good day with your partner can deepen your connection: By prioritizing shared positive experiences, you show each other just how much you value your relationship. Dates provide prime time and space to talk about life's stresses, have fun together, and get to know each other better.
The last time I posted in the Great Houston Dates blog series was pre-pandemic. COVID-19, social distancing requirements, and best public health & safety practices have radically shifted how we date, and many couples are at a loss as to how to stay connected when our traditional dinner and a movie dating repertoire has flown out the window. I'm here to help with some creative ideas for dating outdoors, where it's much more possible to social distance while still connecting to each other.
Even though Houston is a concrete jungle, there's still plenty of ways to spend a day outside in nature together! Here are some ideas for you and your partner:
1) Hike the trails at Memorial Park. Sure, you know Memorial Park has excellent recreation facilities and paths for running and cycling, but did you know they also have several miles of hiking and mountain biking trails? The trails range in difficulty from beginner to advanced, so there's something for everyone to enjoy. You and your partner can feel like you are miles away from the city without even having to leave the inner loop as you explore the swamps, bayous, and forests of Memorial Park. For more information or to plan your date, check out the Memorial Park website.
2) Rent a bike through Houston BCycle. You can pick up a bike for a small fee at one of the many BCycle stations and see more of the city on two wheels. Choose a station near a park or bike trail (like Eleanor Tinsley Park, Discovery Green, or the White Oak Bayou Greenway) for an afternoon together away from cars and the usual rush of the city. For more information or to find a BCycle station, visit the Houston BCycle website.
3) Stroll in nature at the Edith L. Moore Nature Sanctuary. Houston's Audubon Society operates this beautiful 17.5 acre sanctuary in West Houston. It is a quiet, vibrant spot for you and the one you love to get away for an afternoon, even in the city. The sanctuary protects wildlife, so make sure to bring some binoculars if you want to spot some birds or bullfrogs without disrupting their habitat.
4) Kayak or canoe Buffalo Bayou. If you are up for a challenge, rent a kayak or canoe from Bayou City Adventures and drop in to Buffalo Bayou. This outdoor activity is a physically active and socially distanced experience, and you and your partner could even try out a tandem canoe or kayak for a team building experience. For rates and information, check out Bayou City Adventures.
5) Camp at a nearby state park. Looking for a more immersive outdoor date experience? Within an hour or two of Houston there are several state parks that offer camping and other outdoor activities. You and your partner can really escape into the solitude of the woods with each other as you disconnect from the hustle and bustle of the city. Even if you decide camping isn't your thing, there's plenty of hiking trails to explore if you are just wanting to make a day trip of it. Check out the Texas State Parks website to find a park near you and make reservations in advance.
Have fun enjoying the great outdoors together, and as always, happy dating!
If you want to follow along or read other entries in this series, click on the Great Houston Dates tag at the end of this entry. I don't have financial ties to any of the places I mention in this series; I'm just a local couples counselor passionate about helping fellow Houstonians have great relationships.