10 fun “dates” with your mom

Mom and daughter baking cupcakes together
Photo credit: Sidekick/Getty

As you and your mom (or mom-like person) grow older, your relationship morphs into a special, adult-level relationship, and time together becomes ever more valuable. Forget the flowers, because nothing would make your mother feel more loved than you giving her your time. Here are 10 fun adventures — experience gifts — you can share with her on Mother’s Day and beyond.

1. Go to a spa together

Hook your mom up with a spa day, and join her for hours of relaxation. Most spas allow you to use the entire facility all day when you book as little as one service, but why stop at one? Get a mani-pedi, hit the steam room, get a facial and massage, enjoy a delicious lunch, then relax by the pool. Before you leave, you can get your hair and makeup done, too!

2. Have a proper picnic in the park

When was the last time you had a real picnic in the park? We’re not talking chowing down on fast food while perched on a bench, but an actual meal out of a picnic basket while sitting on a plaid blanket in the grass.

Grab that basket and take your mom to the closest greenway. People-watch and enjoy the sunshine while you nibble on cheese, fruit salad and cold chicken. If there’s a little sparkling wine in that Thermos, that’s between you, her and the birds.

3. Take a cooking class

Explore new culinary worlds by taking a cooking class together. Many high-end kitchen stores offer technique classes, sometimes with celebrity chefs — and local chefs sometimes teach as a side gig, too.

Can’t find one that rings your bell? Commit to trying one new recipe together each month, or work your way through Julia Child’s The Art of French Cooking — and alternate kitchens.

4. Fly to another city for the weekend

They say you never really know someone until you travel with them. You may think you and your mom know almost everything there is to know about each other, but Travel Mom is probably a very different person than Sunday Dinner Mom or Busy Businesswoman Mom. You might even get to see a side of her that only her best girlfriends see! (This can also be especially fun if you and your mom both live in different metro areas, and go visit somewhere new together.)

Keep an eye out for super low-fare deals and specials — either to visit a special city, or to choose a destination based on a low ticket price. When planning a trip, be sure to also check out airlines that most travel sites don’t include, like Jetblue, Allegiant and Southwest.

5. Play sightseeing tourist in your own hometown

Sometimes, we get so complacent about the city we live in that we never really see it through the eyes of a visitor. Think about where you would take a friend from out of town if they were swinging through for the weekend.

Some ideas: Hike around your closest natural wonder, or check out that museum your town is known for. Top it off with dinner at your town’s most famous restaurant and dessert at the best bakery, then take the long way home and admire the city skyline or the starry night.

6. Tour your old houses and favorite places

Have you both since moved out of the town where you grew up? Take a weekend trip to revisit the past. Check out your old house — and if it happens to be listed on a vacation rental site, you could even stay there! Or even better, head back to the town where she grew up and look for the places she loved to hang out. She’ll have a million stories to tell about life at your age.

7. Visit a museum

If you’re anywhere near a major metropolitan area, you’re likely within driving distance of a science, art or history museum with some notable works and exhibitions to match any interest. If your mom’s tastes run more toward the quirky than the classical, find that odd museum every state has — like Iowa’s Hobo Museum, or the Spam Museum in Minnesota. (Check out some other wild destinations here.)

8. Take her to lunch, then set up a standing monthly lunch date for just the two of you.

Let’s be real: All your mom really wants is to spend time with you. Taking her out to lunch will make her day, but setting up a standing lunch date at least once a month will definitely win you Favorite Child status.

9. Start a mother-daughter book club

Each month, take turns choosing a book with your mom. Bestsellers, classics, nonfiction, romance — it doesn’t matter, as long as you have a compelling reason for choosing it.

At the end of the month, get together at your favorite café to discuss it over a hot cup of something delicious. Come armed with a list of discussion points to facilitate an in-depth convo about the themes and issues raised in the pages, and you’ll come away with a whole new understanding of each other.

10. Volunteer together

Choose a cause that’s close to both your hearts, whether it’s animal welfare, childhood literacy, building with Habitat for Humanity or serving food in a soup kitchen. Spending the day, side by side, helping others together and giving back to your community, will feel great — and you’ll grow even closer in the process.