According to Travel + Leisure, Charleston ranks 7th on the list of “Most Romantic Cities in the World”. But usually, romance and dating come with a hefty price tag. Here are some ideas for dating on a budget, for only $20 or less per couple.Firefly Distillery
This is a date option for the 21 and up crowd. Firefly Distillery on Wadmalaw Island lets you come and sample their liquor for only $6 per person.
Co-owner of Firefly Distillery, Scott Newitt, says, “I mean it’s hard to get a drink for less than $12 downtown… for one!”
But for $12 per couple, you can sample six different liquors from the Firefly selection. Whether you like to keep it classic with the Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka, sweet with a liqueur, or daring with the White Lightning Moonshine.
Newitt says, “We make a pile of vodkas, and we make several rums, we make several liquors called Southern Accents, and we make bourbon now.”
And the date doesn’t have to be all about alcohol.
Newitt says, “We have live music usually, food trucks. If you have kids, lots of families… Probably 40% of the people who come here are families because of the chickens, and the ducks, and the rabbits, and the peacocks.”
Plus the scenery is tough to top.
Newitt says, “We have 150 live oaks, if you want to be outside and around people and have an alcoholic beverage or two then it’s a perfect place to go.”
Firefly is located at 6775 Bears Bluff Rd., Wadmalaw Island, SC 29487.
James Island County Park
This is an option for a couple looking to do something outdoors. If you head to the James Island County Park, you can rent a two person kayak or peddle-boat fir only $6.
Charleston County Parks spokesperson Sarah Reynolds says, “It’s very serene out here and it’s fun to just peddle around a little bit or paddle around a little bit and see nature and spend some time outside.”
You get to pick if you want to work your legs by renting a peddle-boat, or your arms by renting a kayak.
Reynolds says, “In a two-seater peddle-boat you are kind of peddling and it’s a little more laid back, but a two-seater kayak is going to be a little more. You know, you have to coordinate your paddling together and it’s going to be and interesting experience, I think you are going to get to know each other pretty quickly.”
She says it could give you a read on the future of the relationship.
Reynolds says, “You have to work together, it’s maybe a good test for your compatibility and to see if you are going to work together well.”
The boat rentals are for an hour, and with the leftover money in our budget, you can walk the trails and plan a picnic in the park.
Reynolds says, “James Island County Park is 643 acres in size, so it’s a large park and we have trails winding around and the lake is right in the center. So paddling around is a good way to see everything we have to offer and just spend some time with nature.”
There is a $2 admission fee per car to enter the park. This month, its hours are from 8AM to sundown.
Wednesdays at Theater 99
You can’t help but enjoy yourself if you are laughing on a date. Theater 99 improv comedy club is sure to deliver, and the cost is hard to beat. On Wednesday nights, they have what they call “Laugh for a Lincoln”, or an improv show for only $5 per ticket.
Co-owner Brandy Sullivan says, “You’re going to see something different every time. One of the reasons we keep the prices so low is improv is like a renewable resource, it’s different every time so that people can come back regularly, hopefully.”
And if you are working within our $20 budget, you still have $10 left for drinks and snacks.
Sullivan says, “It’s just a really good environment, it’s not like going to a movie where you don’t talk, it’s just different.”
You and your date will have the chance to contribute to the comedy by giving audience suggestions at the beginning of the show.
Sullivan says, “It will be a two person group to an eight person group. Three different groups will be performing with a break in between and they do 30 minute sets. It’s all improvised, made up off the top of their heads, but it’s usually based off of something at the beginning. They get some information from the audience and then run with that.”
It seems to be a winner, because couples keep coming back.
Sullivan says, “We have people who come back regularly. They came on their first date and then they come back regularly now, and they are married and have kids and all that stuff. We’ve had people who bring different first dates over the years. It’s tons of fun.”
Abzug says, “First of all, you’ve got the beautiful stadium to look at, you’ve got things going on all around you, you’ve got the game going on, you’ve got all sorts of activities in the ball park. So we can absolutely avoid any awkward moments whether it’s a first date, whether you’ve been dating a couple times. There’s so much going on, there’s always something to talk about and you should always be entertained even if you are not entertained by the date itself.”
Charleston Swing Dance Association
If you want a date that will put a little swing in your step, the Charleston Swing Dance Association Downtown could fit the bill. You’ll get a lesson and a night of dancing for $16 per couple.
The Association’s President, Anne King, says, “Anyone that just knows the word ‘dance’ and ‘rhythm’, you don’t need to have any dance experience whatsoever”