Soaring temperatures, rainy afternoons, and a daily giving of thanks for air conditioning…yep, it’s officially summer in Orlando! Don’t let the season put a damper on date night; instead, tackle this bucket list of summer date ideas with your partner while staying cool.
1. Sip a frosty cocktail at an ice bar
Icy temperatures are non-existent in Central Florida, but we do have a chilly ice bar to mimic the experience. Don your cozy winter jacket (provided with your ticket package), and sip an ice-cold concoction with your date when visiting ICEBAR Orlando on International Drive. It’s the perfect antidote to steamy summer temperatures! Start off in the Fire Lounge with cocktails and light bites before heading into the frosty bar complete with aquatic themed ice sculptures.
Florida residents can take advantage of the Florida Freeze package, which includes ICEBAR Entry, jacket and gloves rental, a premium drink and one appetizer of choice in the Fire Lounge for just $45.
2. Go swimming or tubing at a nearby cold spring
Wekiwa Springs, De Leon Springs, and Kelly Park are a few great go-to swimming spots nearby. If you’re up for a summer day trip, make the trek to Rainbow Springs State Park, KP Hole or Ichetucknee Springs where you can tube in refreshingly cool spring water for hours. Or, check out one of these must-visit Florida tubing destinations. Just be aware that the parks close once they reach capacity, almost a guarantee on summer weekends.
3. Spend the day at a local waterpark
What better way to cool down is there than spending the day at a local waterpark? Island H20 Live! at Margaritaville Resort Orlando features a lazy river, adults-only pool area, multiple slides, a wave pool and more.
Inside Universal’s Volcano Bay, you’ll find 18 different rides, including a trap door slide that travels through Krakatau, the volcanic centerpiece of the park. In addition to slides, there’s also a wave pool, lazy river, and a fearless river. Don’t forget to sip some adult beverages at the park’s two island bars.
4. Float down a lazy river
One of the perks of living where people vacation is that we’ve got pretty awesome resort pools and lazy rivers right in our backyard. Lazy rivers and pools are typically exclusive for hotel guests, but some resorts offer access when you purchase a day pass or spa treatment.
5. Tackle the Disney monorail pub crawl
Disney’s monorail is free to ride and stops at Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and three Disney resorts: Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort (monorail temporarily unavailable), and Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. Your best bet is to use a ride share service. Start off the day with a dining reservation at the resort of your choice and ride the monorail to each resort from there. When in doubt, call ahead to confirm the parking policy for non-resort guests. Check out our Monorail Pub Crawl itinerary for the best date night spots.
6. Go bioluminescent kayaking under the stars
For a totally unique summer date idea, words can’t describe the magical experience of kayaking during bioluminescence season. Just a short drive from Orlando, the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge is a hotbed of bioluminescent activity in the summer months. Watch in awe as the waters come alive with a blue glow in response to the tiniest disturbance. There’s no nearby light pollution, so you’ll also enjoy fantastic views of the night sky.
7. Take a cocktail class
Impress your friends at your next barbecue after picking up some new craft cocktail skills. The Courtesy offers a hands-on cocktail class on the 1st and 3rd Saturday of each month. You’ll learn the history and technique of craft cocktails. All materials are included in the ticket cost and you’ll learn to make three different cocktails in all. Classes can be booked online in advance on the bar’s website.
8. Go ice skating
Who says you can’t ice skate in the summertime? RDV Ice Den is open for public ice skating every day of the week. The chilly indoor facility is perfect for a budget-friendly date night. Admission is $13 – $16 including skate rental and skate rental.
9. Stroll through the zoo at dusk during the adults-only Sunset at the Zoo
Meander through the zoo, sipping an adult beverage, while stopping along the way for animal meet and greets and snacks at the zoo’s concessions during Central Florida Zoo’s summertime Sunset at the Zoo series. This adults-only event invites you to the zoo for several hours of 21+ access to the grounds featuring live music, beer and wine for purchase, and more. Bonus: admission is only $7/person!
Remaining summer event dates are July 15, August 19, September 16 and October 21, 2021. Tickets can be purchased online.
10. Dine on the St. Johns Rivership
The Barbara-Lee, an authentic sternwheeler docked in Sanford, departs almost daily for river cruises along the St. Johns River in Sanford. Try the Saturday dinner dance cruise, which pairs tasty cuisine with live music and dancing. The boat is air-conditioned indoors, making this a summer-friendly night out.
11. Share an ice cream flight
Nothing beats a scoop of ice cream (or four) on a hot day. Kelly’s Homemade Ice Cream in Audubon Park has tons of homemade ice cream flavors (I recommend the Mexican chocolate) but one of the best items on the menu is the ice cream flight. Choose four flavors and get a scoop of each, served up in mini waffle cone cups in a cupcake tray.
12. Go on a Sunrise to Sunset Road Trip
Where else can you soak up the sunrise on one coast and then drive to another to drink up the sunset, all in the span of one day? Thank’s to Florida’s peninsular shape and relatively narrow width, you can experience a truly unique sunrise to sunset road trip from coast to coast. For maximum enjoyment, consider making this a two-night venture by booking a hotel on the east coast and another on the west coast. Follow our itinerary for a road trip from Cocoa Beach to Clearwater.
13. Check out Summer Nights at Busch Gardens
Get your thrills after dark by heading to Tampa’s Busch Gardens for Summer Nights. Through September 6, the park will stay open late allowing you to experience your favorite rides after dark. Other perks include entertainment, specialty food and drink (including glow in the dark cocktails), weekend fireworks and more.
14. Laze the day away at Wekiva Island
Wekiva Island, a local gem located at Wekiwa Springs, offers endless activities. Take a swim, rent a cabana, go kayaking and paddle boarding, or sip on adult beverages at the on-site bar.
15. Try indoor skydiving
Feeling adventurous, but not quite ready to jump out of an airplane? Indoor skydiving is the perfect date for you. iFLY Orlando offers this unique 2-hour experience on International Drive.
16. Take a nighttime flashlight tour of Gatorland
Beat the heat by heading to Gatorland after the sun goes down for a guided flashlight tour of this slightly-kitschy Central Florida attraction. With only the light of a flashlight to guide you, you’ll navigate through the Alligator Breeding Marsh, searching for alligators lurking in the waters below and even having the chance to feed them. Gator Night Shine tours are $24.99/person and take place select nights year round. Each tour begins at dusk and lasts 1-1.5 hours.
17. Chill out at an inflatable waterpark
Nona Adventure Park is a cable park, aerial ropes course and inflatable water park all in one in Lake Nona. The 1000′ floating aqua park includes a variety of challenges, including a Ninja jump, towering waterslides, a tire run and more. You can also get in touch with your inner-kid at the Orlando Watersports Complex Aquapark, a LEGO-inspired floating inflatable waterpark complete with climbing obstacles, a balance beam, slide and more.
18. Pick up new skills at a couples cooking class
There are hundreds of cooking classes in Orlando to choose from, and you really can’t go wrong with any of them. While any class is suitable for date night, couples cooking classes make for an extra special evening. Publix Aprons Cooking School and Truffles & Trifles both host monthly hands-on cooking classes for couples. Tapa Toro’s En La Cocina cooking class is another fun option, hosted around the restaurant’s paella pit several times per year.
19. Make a Masterpiece in Pinspiration’s Private Splatter Room
For a romantic night out, Pinspiration offers a unique date night package for two where you’ll get a little messy creating a masterpiece together. Dubbed the Splatter Date, this artsy date night experience includes private access to Pinspiration’s “splatter room” which is used exclusively for splatter painting. This method involves flinging, throwing and dripping acrylic paint onto the canvas.
The Splatter Date Package is $99 and includes the private Splatter Room, 1 large or 2 small canvases, protective painting gear, a “Glow Upgrade” (glow-in-the dark painting experience under black lights), chocolates for two, and two glasses of champagne for $99.
20. Book a staycation
You don’t need to leave your zip code for a romantic getaway with your love. Plenty of Orlando resorts are offering summer deals and packages with serious perks.
We especially love Reunion Resort’s Drivecation Package (valid through August 31, 2021), which includes:
- Villa accommodations
- Complimentary resort parking
- Welcome appetizer at the Clubhouse
- One round of mini-golf for four at Reunion’s 18-hole course
- 20% off any airboat ride at Wild Florida, which includes entrance to the Gator Park
- Complimentary shuttle service to Walt Disney World
- Rates from $235/night
21. Go glamping at Lake Louisa State Park
Plan a weekend in nature camping with a twist. Lake Louisa State Park’s glamping tents include cooling units, a plush queen bed, outlets and more. Cozy details will make you feel right at home, while the temperature control units provide reprieve from the summer temperatures. Get the full scoop on this experience here.
22. Day trip to Kennedy Space Center
The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is a must-do this summer, even if you’ve visited in the past. Walk among rockets, see the space shuttle Atlantis and Saturn V rocket, be amazed at stunning IMAX films and check out the Heroes & Legends exhibit. Take this summer date idea to the next level by planning your visit to coincide with a rocket launch.
23. Play a round of glow in the dark mini golf
Putting Edge has a fun glow in the dark mini golf course that is great for a rainy summer day. While it may be a bit cheesy, the course is surprisingly challenging and a fun way to pass an hour.
24. Attend a Nighttime Market or Event
For a summer date idea that won’t break the bank, visit a local nighttime street festival or art walk after dark. Try the Thornton Park District’s monthly Wine & Art Walk on the 2nd Thursday of each month for drink samples and art along the way. Or, find food truck fare and adult beverages every Tuesday at Tasty Takeover in The Milk District and peruse goods from local artisans at the TPD Thursday Night Market.
25. Embark on a Drive Thru Safari
Get up close and personal with exotic animals without leaving the comfort of your car’s air conditioning. Wild Florida, located about an hour and 45 minutes from Tampa, recently doubled the size of its popular drive-thru safari. Throughout the four-mile expedition set on 170 acres, spot 150+ animals and even add on a stop to hand feed giraffes. Stick around to visit the Gator Park afterwards, which is included with the safari park admission cost.
Alternatively, Safari Wilderness is a 260-acre wildlife area in Lakeland where exotic animals roam free. While you can’t drive through in your own car, there are guided safari tours in an open-air vehicle with a canopy over top to keep you cool.
26. Watch an outdoor movie
There are opportunities to catch an outdoor movie all summer long, from Popcorn Flicks in the Park in Winter Park and Movie Night at Leu Gardens to the Frontyard Festival Movie Night outside of Dr. Phillips Center.
27. Cool down with a boozy treat
The Pop Parlour (locations downtown and at UCF) puts a grown-up spin on popsicles with boozy infusions. Get your fix with flavors like Mango Mimosa and Watermelon Mojito to beat the steamy Florida heat. Craving a milkshake? Indulge in a boozy shakes at The Soda Fountain in College Park.
28. Book a Couples’ Spa Day
Make this the summer of relaxation with a unique treatment designed with couples in mind at an Orlando area spa.
29. Nosh your way through a SunRail progressive dinner
Take advantage of cheap transportation and convenient stops for a progressive SunRail date night. Church Street, Florida Hospital Health Village, and Winter Park are all stations with great restaurants within walking distance. Feast on savory desserts and cocktails at Better Than Sex (Florida Hospital Health Village) and farm to table fare at The Parkview (Winter Park). Also try: a SunRail happy hour crawl!
30. Stay cool during a drive-in movie
If it’s too warm to enjoy an outdoor movie, catch a flick while lounging in the comfort of your air-conditioned car. The Silver Moon Drive-In in Lakeland is a short drive away and screens double features of first-run movies. Our guide to drive-in movie theaters has more ideas.
31. Visit the Orlando Cat Café
Cat lovers will want to make the 40-minute drive to the Orlando Cat Café in Clermont. Grab your coffee, and then head into the cat play area to spend an hour petting and playing with the resident felines. All cats are available for adoption.
32. Explore Disney after dark during Disney After Hours
Ever wished you could visit Magic Kingdom without the crowds? Late this summer, you’ll be able to experience Disney After Hours Boo Bash at Magic Kingdom. This 3-hour event is available select nights August 10 – October 31, 2021. Enjoy Halloween-themed fun, Character sightings, specialty food and beverages, entertainment and more. Adults are even allowed to wear costumes during this event. Tickets start at $129.
33. Complete the Central Florida Ale Trail
Did you know Central Florida has its very own ale trail? Drink your way through 20+ local craft breweries (and more breweries in planning). After you’ve completed the trail, you’ll receive a special growler at your last stop. Ask for a free ale trail map at any of the participating breweries.
34. Take flight on The Wheel at ICON Park
On a clear day, The Wheel at ICON Park offers unparalleled views of nearby theme parks, resorts, and the Orlando skyline. Bonus: each capsule is air-conditioned. Florida Residents can score discounted tickets online.
35. Have a Dr. Phillips Center date night
Shows are gradually returning to Dr. Phillips Center, but it’s the Frontyard Festival we’re most excited about. This ongoing series was recently extended from its original 6-month run, giving you more chances this summer to enjoy a variety of outdoor performances from the comfort of your own socially-distanced box. You can even order food from on-site vendors to be delivered straight to your box. Movie nights, concerts, and more are all part of the lineup.
36. See a classic movie
Have an out of the box dinner and a movie night by visiting Enzian Theater and Eden Bar. This theater screens independent, foreign, and classic films. 35mm Cult Classics are screened several times a month, and Saturday Matinee Classes are screened the second Saturday of each month. Grab drinks and a bite to eat at Eden Bar before or after the show to round out your date.
Wayne Densch Performing Arts Center is Sanford also screens classic films once a month.
37. Take a Day Trip to Keel Farms
Head to Plant City for an afternoon well spent at Keel Farms, a brewery, winery and restaurant all in one. Wander through the vines, sip craft beer and wines made onsite, or attend one of the farm’s fun events like sunset yoga.
38. Explore the great outdoors on a jet ski, boat, or paddle board
Rockon Recreation Rentals allows you to rent gear for a day on the water, including boats, jet skis and paddle boards. The site is basically the Airbnb of outdoor recreation, offering a directory of rental listings from businesses and locals alike throughout Florida.
39. Perfect your swing at a golf entertainment complex
For a sporty night out, head to Drive Shack in Lake Nona, which boasts 90 hitting bays (they’re air-conditioned!), a full-service restaurant and bar, an outdoor lounge, free play game area and more. Play legendary golf courses or keep things light with one of the themed games. Golf lovers will also want to check out Topgolf, a sprawling, multi-level 65,000 square foot golf entertainment complex in Orlando. The Orlando location features Toptracer technology, creating an instant playback of your golf ball hit.
40. Watch Disney Fireworks
Disney fireworks are officially BACK at Magic Kingdom and EPCOT beginning July 1, 2021. If you’ve got an annual pass, then consider spending half of the day at a local Orlando resort pool near the parks that offers day passes through ResortPass (like Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin). Then, hit the parks in the late afternoon and stick around for the nighttime fireworks finale. You don’t even have to enter the parks to see the fireworks! Here are our favorite vantage points outside the parks.
41. Rise to the escape room game challenge
Put your problem solving skills to the test as you work to solve mysteries and decode clues to escape your themed room before your designated time is up. Our guide to Orlando’s escape room games includes multiple mind-bending options.
42. Zip line after dark
There are several places in Central Florida to go zip lining, but only a few offer after dark fun. Located just over an hour from Orlando, The Canyons Zip Line and Adventure Park offers multiple courses and experiences, including a night time adventure. During the Full Moon Zip Tour, you’ll spend 1.5 hours traversing 5 zip lines (one over water!) and a rope bridge with only glow sticks to light your way. Tours are available once a month beginning in August 2021.
43. Enjoy an Outdoor Concert
Snuggle up and soak up the magic of an evening outdoor concert this summer. Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra has a series of Summer Serenades at The Plaza Live, and Dr. Phillips Center has a host of concerts and art events as part of its ongoing Frontyard Festival series.
Make it a musical staycation by booking a night at Hard Rock Hotel Daytona Beach. Book a weekend stay to experience the Rock the Beach Tribute Band series every Saturday. Locally, Orlando World Center Marriott is continuing its Vertical Concert Series through July 31, which allows you to enjoy a live concert on Saturdays from the comfort of your own private balcony.
44. Practice yoga under the stars
I’m a big fan of outdoor yoga classes. but in summer months it’s just too warm. Nighttime yoga is a great alternative. Try Orlando Brewing’s monthly Yoga Under the Stars class, which includes a free pint of beer.
45. Have a food truck date
Food truck meet-ups make for a perfect date whether it’s your first date or your 50th. We love Tasty Takeover in the Milk District every Tuesday evening.
46. Attend 1st Thursdays at the OMA
Nicknamed “Orlando’s Original Art Party,” 1st Thursdays at the Orlando Museum of Art invites visitors to the museum for art, live music, mingling, and a cash bar. Admission is $15 and includes access to the featured exhibit at the museum.
47. Dine with a Sunset View
It doesn’t get more romantic than watching the sun dip below the horizon with your love. Pair this nightly spectacle with dinner at one of these local dining spots offering prime sunset views.
48. Cheer on the Lions at an Orlando City SC match
Show your pride for our resident soccer team and check out the stunning soccer stadium at a home game this season. Most games start at 7pm or later when the hottest part of the day is long gone. Check the game schedule online for a full list of upcoming games.
49. Try out a new-to-you restaurant during Bite30
Bite30, Orlando’s restaurant week, has become a multi-month endeavor this year, lasting from June 1 – August 1, 2021. Participating restaurants have curated a special 3-course prix fixe menu for just $30/person. This year’s lineup includes 35 local restaurants.
50. Take a workshop
Make something new and pick up crafty skills at a hands-on workshop this summer. From active classes to art-focused workshops and cooking classes, there’s no shortage of new skills to learn each month. Orlando Museum of Art hosts a monthly Art Night Out for adults, and Leu Gardens has a steady stream of monthly workshops covering everything from bee keeping to terrariums and blending your own essential oils.