By Selena Garrison and Mercedes Leguizamon

When money is tight, the fun stuff tends to get cut first. Yes, food, electricity and rent are all important, but all work and no play makes for a grouchy couple. Having fun together is important for your relationship, so do not put date night on the backburner if you can help it! Living in Gainesville has lots of perks, especially when it comes to finding fun things to do on a tight budget. Being close to both the University of Florida and Santa Fe College, there is always something going on!

Whether you are looking for a fun and inexpensive date night or planning to take advantage of Gainesville’s many outdoor activities with a fun day date, consider one of these nine options all for under $30.

Free!

The University of Florida also occasionally brings in speakers to talk to the public. These tickets are free to students and once the day gets closer, they are available to the general public. In the past, the university has brought in speakers like Maya Angelou, Chelsey Handler, R.L Stine and Bill Nye.

Free!

Possum Creek Park is entirely free! It is a beautiful open space area where you can walk your dog, bike or even just stroll around the beautiful trees that cover the area. Take your lunch and picnic at the park. It is a beautiful way to enjoy the outdoors for absolutely no extra money!

$6

Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park also makes for a great day with your special someone! With 21,000 acres of outdoor beauty, you can see alligators, bison and over 270 different species of birds! At $6 per car, you can hike, bike, canoe, kayak, fish or just walk the trails.

$6

You can float in the river at Ichetucknee Springs with your significant other or you can hike, snorkel or enjoy wildlife viewing at the state park. The fee is only $6 per car, but if you bike there (or walk, for the more athletically inclined) it is just $2 per person.

$12

One great option is the Santa Fe zoo! The zoo is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., and adult admission is $6 ($5 for UF staff and students and FREE for Santa Fe staff and students).

$16

At $8 per adult, the Kanapaha Botanical Gardens is another beautiful and peaceful option for a day date. With two picnic areas, you can even bring lunch to enjoy on a beautiful day.

$18

Check out what is going on at the Hippodrome. Depending on what they have scheduled in the Cinema, you can have a great night out for less than the cost of your traditional movie theater.

$20

Tickets for Gator Baseball games start at $4 per person, and if you want to make it a family date night, you can get four tickets, four hotdogs and four drinks for $20 every Friday!

$26

The Butterfly Rainforest is just $13 for adults but if you are a Florida resident then it is down to $11 admission. You can see hundreds of free-flying butterflies, as well as fish, turtles and birds from all over the world.

Regardless of what you and your special someone like to do, Gainesville has so many options for fun, inexpensive dates. Take advantage and find some things you love to do right here where you live!