The Best Long Distance Date Ideas That Aren't Just Sitting on FaceTime

These activities will help build your bond even while apart.
Long Distance Date Ideas
Photo: JLco, Julia Amaral | Getty Images
Dina Cheney - The Knot Contributor.
Dina Cheney
Dina Cheney - The Knot Contributor.
Dina Cheney
The Knot Contributor
  • Dina writes for The Knot Worldwide, specializing in food, travel and relationships.
  • With more than 20 years of experience in service journalism, she also pens articles and recipes for publications, such as Good Housekeeping, Parents, SELF, Health, Men’s Health, Men’s Journal, Prevention, Fine Cooking, Weight Watchers and Diabetic Living.
  • Dina graduated from Columbia College, Columbia University and The Institute of Cul...
Updated Jul 26, 2023

Whether you and your significant other are facing an upcoming separation or you've been at this whole "long-distance thing" for a while now, coming up with long distance date ideas to keep your bond strong isn't always easy. In fact, it can seem like you always end up just detailing your days over FaceTime.

To take your time together beyond just the standard chat, we compiled the best long distance date ideas with help from some relationship experts:

Scroll on to see 11 long distance relationship ideas that'll help build your bond even while you're apart.

1. Work Out

Find an online fitness class that you can take together, suggests Price, or video call each other and get your sweat on simultaneously. Since chatting while running or biking can be difficult, opt for a brisk walk or strenuous hike. To add excitement, wear your cutest workout outfit—matching leggings and all.

2. Take a Cooking Class

Sign up for the same online cooking or wine-tasting class and follow along while video chatting. As an alternative, make it a DIY experience: Find a recipe you both enjoy or are interested in trying, and cook the same meal simultaneously during a video call. (From here on out, every time you take a bite of the dish, you'll think of your partner and be reminded of this fun date!)

3. Sightsee

While you may not be able to explore your honeymoon location hand-in-hand just yet, think of this as the next best thing: Visit a museum while you video chat with your partner, and discuss the exhibits as you tour the space. Price also suggests choosing a destination you'd both like to hit (such a landmark, state park or famed attraction) and taking the same video tour of the locale. You can book inexpensive, far-flung virtual tours on site like Airbnb.

4. Watch a Movie

Who says you have to wait until you're in the same room to get your Netflix and chill on? Have a virtual movie or TV-watching date and—to make synchronizing your viewing simple—turn to an app like Teleparty, suggests Trombetti. That way, if one of you pauses a program, the app will do the same for your partner. Additionally, Fae suggests buying a ticket to the same movie at the exact same time. Even though you won't be together physically, you can still break down your favorite parts right after the film ends.

5. Have Dinner

Order dinner for each other, choosing your partner's favorite dishes or meals they've been wanting to try, recommends Fae. For an ultra-romantic touch, include flowers as well, Trombetti is sure to note. Then, sit down and eat "together" via video chat or FaceTime. To make this experience feel like an in-person date, don't be shy about dressing up for the occasion!

6. Discuss a Book

Choose a book you both want to read and set a date to discuss it. In classic book club fashion, talk about the plot and share your favorite quotes. If there is a movie adaption, watch it after your discussion. If there isn't, talk about who you'd cast and who should direct. Want to go the extra mile? Agree to make food and drinks themed to the plot, or dress up like the characters from the story.

7. Play a Game

For some friendly competition, choose an online multiplayer game, counsels Price. To spice up this date, decide on a bet that the loser has to perform. Need some suggestions? Consider having your partner (you're winning, obviously) order you take-out, choose the next show you're binge-watching together or, if you're both comfortable with the idea, perform a sexy strip tease.

8. Get Sexy

If sexual intimacy is important in your relationship, fostering that while long-distance dating is important. "Otherwise, the relationship can transform into a friendship very quickly," warns Price. Long-distance sex toys (that your partner can virtually control from anywhere) are useful in improving your sex life despite the distance. Just be sure to discuss consent and boundaries, and establish a sense of safety and trust with your partner before exploring sexually charged video calls, risqué photos and sexy texts.

9. Connect Over Cocktails

Think of this type of date as a virtual happy hour with your sweetie, says Trombetti. Reconnect as you "share" a glass of wine or cocktail—and don't be scared to get creative about playing sommelier or bartender! Sign up for wine subscription boxes through a company like Winc or Bright Cellars, so you and your partner can explore new blends and try to identify different notes. Or, attempt a new cocktail recipe with ingredients you're unfamiliar working with, such as bitters or egg whites. To turn things up a notch, draw a bath, propping up your phone via a tripod on a nearby chair, suggests Fae. "This is sexy and fun, and assists in giving you that intimacy you need."

10. Have a Coffee Date

Trombetti recommends setting up a morning coffee date with your partner. Although it might sound a bit mundane, sharing small everyday moments can be the glue of relationships and help foster intimacy, she explains. If your mornings are too hectic, try syncing up before bedtime for some breathing exercises or a cup of caffeine-free tea.

11. Open Gifts

A few days before your date, send each other gifts, suggests Price. Set a low-price point or plan to make DIY gifts ahead of time to keep things affordable, fun and interactive. Then, on your video call, open the packages together.

Tips for Long Distance Dates

Want to make the most of your virtual time together? Our relationship and dating experts recommend the following advice to help maximize the benefits of your long-distance meet-up. (Think of them as listening to your favorite song on a swanky sound system, or applying a long-wearing primer before your foundation.)

  • Express your expectations for dates clearly, and come to a mutual agreement about how dating will work for the two of you, recommends Lee. This way, you can avoid disagreements and disappointments down the road, as well as have a clear understanding of each other's needs and expectations.
  • To approximate how you would spend time together in person, try to balance vacation-y dates with everyday life dates. As Fae explains, while it's tempting to meet up for a tropical getaway, it's important to experience how you interact in the day-to-day world. Go grocery shopping together, cook dinner and run errands—even if it doesn't all seem particularly exciting. "This will allow you to experience 'real life' together, in addition to the romantic moments you share on date night," says Fae.
  • Take turns coming up with new activities you can do together virtually, suggests Fae. And always put a positive spin on the planning process. That way, it's light-hearted and truly focuses on what matters: getting to know each other and enjoying each other's company.
  • Schedule mutually convenient times for video calls to stay connected. Since syncing up can be challenging—especially if the two of you are in different time zones—have a flexible attitude towards date logistics, reminds Lee.
  • Don't log-in to your date from your work desk. With remote work so common, many of us are on work video calls regularly, Lee observes. "The last thing you want to do is create a work vibe on your date."
  • Don't neglect to set the scene: Light some candles and cue up that "Bedroom Pop" playlist on Spotify—whatever gets you both feeling relaxed and creates the space for intimacy. "Make your environment feel romantic, so there will be more opportunities for chemistry and connection," encourages Lee.
  • Finally, end each date by making plans for your next one, Lee suggests. "This will give you both something to look forward to and make sure you always leave on a positive note."
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