When we think about Orlando, Florida, we often picture the theme parks and other popular tourist attractions. However, Central Florida has plenty of hidden gems and is the perfect place to enjoy a romantic vacation, no matter what your interests may be. From iconic art museums to scenic nature walks, there is plenty to do for couples visiting Orlando for the first (or fiftieth!) time.
The Orlando area is home to many eclectic neighborhoods, each with its own unique vibe and culture. Whether you’re an avid foodie, an antique enthusiast, or a passionate sightseer, you and your significant other will be sure to fall in love with Central Florida!
Here are some romantic things to do in Central Florida: a few Orlando neighborhoods and nearby cities.
Before you start reading, check out this map of the most romantic places in Florida for couples:
Romantic Things In The Downtown Orlando
Take A Swan Boat Ride At Lake Eola.
Nestled at the heart of Downtown Orlando is Lake Eola, where visitors often go for strolls, take yoga classes on the lawn, and feed the aggressive local swans.
Orlando is often referred to as Swan City for this very reason! For a romantic afternoon downtown, you can rent a swan boat for 30 minutes to pedal around Lake Eola. Not only will you get to channel The Notebook, but you’ll also get a little exercise along the way!
It’s definitely one of the most romantic places in Florida.
Visit The Farmer’s Market.
Also located at Lake Eola, the Orlando Farmer’s Market takes place every weekend and is the perfect place to wander around with your loved one. Grab a snack from one of the food vendors or shop for locally crafted gift items.
The market is currently closed because of the pandemic, but keep an eye out for updates when you do plan your trip out to Orlando.
See A Show At The Dr. Phillips Center For The Performing Arts.
The Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts is home to the Orlando Ballet, Opera Orlando, Broadway in Orlando, and a range of other performances.
For a romantic night out at a beautiful venue, snag a pair of tickets to an upcoming show. We promise there isn’t a bad seat in the house!
Grab A Drink.
Might we suggest Mathers Social Gathering? This hideaway bar is modeled after a speakeasy and has a “secret” entrance through a bookcase on the third floor. Doesn’t it make it one of the most romantic places in Florida?
Mathers has a coat check, a dress code (no shorts, flip flops or ball caps), and an extensive cocktail menu of “social potions,” along with cheese boards and other light bites. It is also the perfect place for a photo op.
Go On An Artsy Scavenger Hunt.
Snap! Orlando has recently unveiled CITY UNSEEN, contemporary art experience, and a scavenger hunt throughout the city of Orlando. If you are looking for romantic things to do in Florida, you need to check it out!
Download the CITY UNSEEN app, and follow the map to find new augmented reality art installations throughout Downtown Orlando and other nearby neighborhoods, including the Mills 50 District, Loch Haven Park, and Thornton Park.
You will use your phone to activate each of these art installations. CITY UNSEEN is the perfect daytime date activity for art lovers visiting Orlando and locals alike!
Romantic Things To Do In The Winter Park, Florida
Stroll And Shop Along Park Avenue.
Park Avenue is home to more than 100 stores and restaurants and is a scenic main street that is a must-visit for all Central Florida visitors!
Located just a few miles from Orlando, Park Avenue is the perfect date destination, with plenty of food, shopping, and a beautiful park. Grab a bite to eat at the farm-to-table Boca Restaurant, or enjoy delicious gnocchi for two at Prato.
Take A Winter Park Scenic Boat Tour.
Still looking for romantic things to do in Florida? On a beautiful day, take a boat tour that will explore Winter Park’s chain of lakes, and learn the history of this beautiful city.
Couples and visitors will also learn about the area’s flora and fauna, along with its famous residents, including Mr. Rogers! The dock for the boat tour is conveniently located just off of Park Avenue.
Enjoy Local Art.
Winter Park is home to several unique art museums that couples are sure to enjoy. Visit the Morse Museum for the world’s largest collection of Tiffany Glass, along with the stained glass chapel that was built by Louis Comfort Tiffany for the 1893 World’s Fair.
Meanwhile, the Albin Polasek Museum and Sculpture Gardens in Winter Park explore the works of Czech sculptor Albin Polasek, whose work has had a meaningful historic impact. For more on Central Florida’s art scene, check out this guide.
Romantic Things To Do In Sanford, Florida
Go Brewery Hopping.
Beer enthusiasts will love Historic Downtown Sanford, located about 20 miles north of Orlando. The city, which seems to model itself after Asheville, North Carolina, is known for its microbreweries all within walking distance of one another.
Couples can visit Sanford Brewing Company for competitive general knowledge trivia nights on Tuesdays, enjoy live music on the patio of Celery City Craft, or grab ciders at Tuffy’s Bottle Shop & Lounge.
If you’re more of a wine enthusiast, check out Brix & Mortar Urban Winery, the first of its kind in the area.
Wander Around Historic Downtown Sanford.
Historic Downtown Sanford is known for its locally-owned shops, antique stores, and the scenic Riverwalk. It’s definitely one of the most romantic places in Florida!
Enjoy the cool breeze while sipping an iced tea from Rosie Lee Tea Co, sit on the swing sets by the marina, or pop into the art gallery for a relaxing day of “Sanfording,” as the locals often refer to it.
Enjoy A Meal At The Old Jailhouse.
Yes, you read that correctly. Sanford’s original county jail is now a popular culinary destination, with jail cells and many of its historic architectural features still intact.
The upscale restaurant is open for lunch, brunch, and dinner, and offers an especially decadent cauliflower appetizer perfect to share.
Take A Marshmallow-Making Class.
Wondermade is home to delicious handcrafted marshmallows and ice cream, and the perfect place to stop for dessert. If you are looking for fun and romantic things to do in Florida with your partner, that’s your place to go!
You can even sign up for a date night at Wondermade, where you and your significant other will have some fun in the kitchen as you learn how marshmallows are made and even create your own concoctions!
Visit The Planetarium.
Spend a Friday or Saturday night under the stars at the Emil Buehler Planetarium on the Seminole State College campus.
You’ll learn about what’s going on in the cosmos at that time in the year, and at some shows, you’ll even learn about the astronomy and history around specific holidays, like Christmas and Valentine’s Day.
Embark On A Ghost Tour.
Learn about the spookier history of Sanford and its local buildings, including the famous German restaurant, Hollerbach’s Willowtree Café, on a ghost tour through Historic Downtown Sanford.
These stories of paranormal activity are sure to make your skin crawl, so you’ll want someone there to hold your hand! For a few dollars extra, you can add on a craft beer flight to your ghost tour package at the end of the night.
Romantic Things To Do In Mount Dora, Florida
Stroll Along The Hilly Downtown.
Mount Dora is a charming town just 30 miles northwest of Orlando, and home to its own share of unique shops and restaurants. Although Florida is a relatively flat state in terms of elevation, Mount Dora is particularly hilly!
Take a walk through this historic downtown and visit some of the diverse shops the town is known for. From the road, you can even spot the Starry Night House, which is painted in the style of Van Gogh’s famous painting. You can also visit Mount Dora’s iconic lighthouse and walk along the lake.
Visit The Modernism Museum.
Did you know that Mount Dora has a connection to the late David Bowie? The Modernism Museum in Downtown Mount Dora houses David Bowie’s private art collection by the Memphis Design Group.
These modernist pieces feature a range of bright colors and patterns, and the museum is a unique spot to visit for a lesson in art history.
Shop For Antiques.
Renningers is home to a weekend flea and farmer’s market perfect for shopping but also boasts an indoor antique center and consignment shop with more than 180 booths.
Grab Lunch At The Lakeside Inn.
This historic Lakeside Inn, constructed more than 135 years ago, was once home to President Calvin Coolidge and his wife.
For a fun lunch date in a romantic setting, visit Tremain’s Tavern at the inn. You can also spend a day poolside overlooking the majestic Lake Dora.
Romantic Nature Destinations In Florida
Nature lovers will enjoy the variety of plant and animal life throughout Central Florida.
From botanical gardens to hiking trails, Orlando and its surrounding areas are perfect for a day of exploring hand-in-hand with the person you love most. Here are a few of our favorite nature destinations in Orlando and beyond.
These 50 acres of botanical gardens in Orlando is a beautiful place to wander with your loved one any day of the week.
The first Monday of each month offers free admission, and at different times of the year, visitors can enjoy exhibitions like the Enchanted Fairy Doors and other incredible sights.
The most romantic part of the gardens is by far the Rose Garden, a popular spot for wedding ceremonies.
Bok Tower Gardens
Located just southwest of Orlando in Lake Wales, Bok Tower Gardens was built by landscape artist Frederick Law Olmstead and is home to beautiful plant life and 126 species of birds.
Listen to a free carillon concert with your sweetheart by the Singing Tower while indulging in the picturesque hilltop views. You can also tour the Pinewood Estate, a historic mansion on the grounds.
At Christmastime, the Pinewood Estate is completely decked out for the holidays, following a different theme each year.
Green Springs Park
This park, located in Debary just north of Orlando, is so named for its green sulfur springs. The emerald green waters give off almost an ethereal vibe, and you’ll feel like you were transported to another world.
Green Springs Park is located on the Spring-to-Spring Trail, a 26-mile trail through Volusia County that stops at multiple springs. For a fun hiking adventure, you can take the trail from Green Springs Park to Gemini Springs or Lake Monroe Park, or simply spend the day by the water.
Wekiwa Springs State Park
Located in Apopka, Florida, Wekiwa Springs is the perfect place to go kayaking on a beautiful day with your loved one.
You’ll spot turtles and other wildlife along your ride, but watch out for alligators! If kayaking isn’t your speed, you can go swimming, biking, camping, or birding at this beloved state park.
Other Central Florida Date Locations
Looking for date inspiration in other areas of Orlando? We’ve got you covered with these favorite spots!
Plant Street Market
Spend a day at this indoor marketplace in Winter Garden, just south of Orlando, and enjoy local artisans, food vendors (Mac’d Out is a must-have for macaroni and cheese!), and beers from Crooked Can Brewery.
By reservation, you can also enjoy tea service on the outdoor patio from AntiquiTEAs, with light bites that cater to various food sensitivities and dietary preferences.
In Clermont, also just southwest of Orlando, you can enjoy panoramic views of Central Florida with a ride to the top of the Citrus Tower.
At 22 stories high, this historic roadside attraction features an observation deck, arcade, barbecue restaurant and more. At the café on the ground floor, you and your date can grab an iconic Orange Crème Latte (so named for the region’s popular crop) to bring along for the ride.
For the more spiritual couples, be sure to check out Cassadaga, Florida – the psychic capital of the world! Visit this town north of Orlando for tarot and crystal ball readings, astrology charts, and more.
Cassadaga also has a haunted hotel with a restaurant and café inside, along with a bookstore and several shops to check out. Many of the psychics offer readings for couples as well.
Planning your next trip to Central Florida? While the theme parks are a blast to visit and an absolute must-see, there are many romantic date spots in Florida scattered across the region that couples should be sure to check out during their own visits.
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About the Author: Valerie Moses is a lifestyle blogger and the host of the Wellness and Wanderlust podcast. When she isn’t writing or interviewing a new guest for the show, she can be found exploring Central Florida.