Best Maryland outdoor dates for summer 2013

Nearly every day this week I have stepped outside of my apartment and breathed in the warm spring air, thinking spring is FINALLY here. Little yellow flowers are sprouting up in my backyard, cherry blossoms are blooming, and every afternoon I’ve been able to go home from work without wearing my jacket. Though I like wearing boots, peacoats and scarves as much as the next girl, I’m ready to exchange them for flip flops, sundresses and shorts (I’m working up to the bathing suit). It’s the kind of weather where everyone wants to be outside, everyone is in a good mood, and to use a horrible cliché, love is in the air. What better week than this to check out some of the best dates of the summer?

Bengies Drive-In Theatre: The only remaining operating drive-in movie theatre in Maryland, the Bengies offers a unique throwback date with prices that will make you think it’s 1955 rather than 2013. Not only can you see three movies for the price of one, Bengies also shows classic cartoons and vintage trailers, offers an old-fashioned snack bar, and hosts special events like classic car nights.

Chesapeake Shakespeare Company: What’s awesome about this Baltimore-based Shakespeare theatre company is that they perform in the stabilized ruins of the former Patapsco Female Institute in Ellicott City. The audience can either sit in one 200 folding chairs set up or bring a blanket to sit on, and are encouraged to bring food and wine to drink during the performance. It’s Shakespeare the way he wanted to be seen – casually, by the slightly drunk but jolly people.

Baltimore Orioles: OK so this is kind of a cheat, but come on! Baseball games are one of the best dates to go on – cheap seats, hot dogs, peanuts, beers, fireworks, and possibly a floppy hat. And if you don’t  want the pressure of a nighttime date, you can always check out dem O’s on a Sunday afternoon. Don’t forget to get a pitcher at Pickles Pub beforehand.

Nothing like being a pirate.

Urban Pirates: If you and your sweetie are into role-playing, grab some “grog” and set sail with the Urban Pirates. This hour-long cruise features an enthusiastic crew, optional costumes for all passengers, free shots of rum and loud music and games. You even get to squirt water at people walking along the Inner Harbor as well as other boats. All aboard matey!

Baltimore Farmer’s Market: I realize this technically isn’t a traditional date, persay, but how fun would it be if you took your lover to the farmer’s market, let them pick out fresh ingredients, then made dinner together? The bazaar happens every Sunday morning beneath the Jones Falls where you can get not only all the traditional farmer’s market fare but also vegan items and multicultural cuisine.

Downtown Annapolis: The waterfront of downtown Annapolis can be romantic during the day or night. Stroll along the water to check out the beautiful ships and boats, window shop in the maritime boutiques, or take a leisurely lunch at one of many gourmet restaurants.

Wine in the Woods: One of the best annual festivals in the state, Wine in the Woods has grown immensely popular over the years and is still going strong. Pack a blanket, some cheese, and your sunglasses and sample over 35 different local wineries along with light fare and craft vendors in Columbia. Just make sure you also bring a DD.

Editor’s note: What’s your favorite outdoor date? Got another city. Let us know.