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Five romantic things to do in Florida while sharing your love of nature

There is nothing more romantic than exploring a beautiful spot with someone who shares your love of nature and the outdoors.

While this story was written for Valentine’s Day, any time it a good time to find romantic things to do in Florida. And there are plenty. 

Here are five ideas about especially romantic places.

Honeymoon Island, Dunedin, beach swing
Romantic things to do in Florida: Honeymoon Island State Park is a popular beach but you can stroll to the northern tip, a sand spit reachable via a three mile walk, and find lots of space to be alone together. (Photo: Bonnie Gross)

1. A walk on the beach at Honeymoon Island State Park

Just the two of you at Honeymoon Island State Park: With a name like that, it has to be romantic. And it is.

This state park north of Tampa originally had a most un-romantic name: Hog Island. But a 1930s Florida marketing genius re-named it Honeymoon Island and teamed up with Life Magazine to hold a contest for newlyweds to win free honeymoons in rustic little beachfront cabins here.

Today, what’s romantic about Honeymoon Island is the magnificent sandspit beach that extends three miles into the Gulf of Mexico. Keep walking along this beach and you’ll soon feel like the only people in the world.

More about Honeymoon Island State Park.

2. Steam away on the African Queen in Key Largo

Romantic things to do in Florida: Visit Key Largo ane celebrate Bogie and Ball. Here's the Key Largo movie poster.
Romantic things to do in Florida: Visit Key Largo and be like Bogie and Ball. Here’s the Key Largo movie poster.

Who represents Hollywood’s most classic image of romantic lovers? Bogie and Bacall.

That’s why, after the 1948 film noir movie Key Largo was a hit, the island decided to make the most of it, even though the movie was filmed at Warner Brothers Burbank Studios. The island’s post office had been known as Rock Harbor, but after the movie, area businesses started a petition drive to change the post office name to Key Largo.

Later, further securing a Bogie connection, an entrepreneur brought the original African Queen river boat from Bogart’s 1952 movie with Katherine Hepburn to Key Largo. For a romantic ride, tour Key Largo waterways aboard the African Queen.

To complete your romantic flashback, wrap up your day at the world-famous Caribbean Club, which was used for many of the Key Largo’s exterior shots, and the club also provided inspiration for the story. There is no shortage of memorabilia decorating this classic Keys dive bar.

Here’s our trip report on 36 hours in Key Largo.

More about Humphrey Bogart and Key Largo and tours on the African Queen.

3. Spoil yourself at a night in a special B&B

Romantic things to do in Florida: A night at the Herlong Mansion in Micanopy. (Photo: Bonnie Gross)
Romantic things to do in Florida: A night at the Herlong Mansion in Micanopy. (Photo: Bonnie Gross)

A charming bed and breakfast sure beats your basic hotel for a romantic weekend. We have many favorite B&Bs in Florida, but one that is especially romantic is the Herlong Mansion in tiny Micanopy, near Gainesville.

While many B&Bs were once just houses, the Herlong Mansion does indeed feel like a mansion. It is best viewed from the street, where it is meant to wow you. Set back from a road, you see a landscaped walkway to the front door framed by elaborate Corinthian columns. It’s the Hollywood vision of a southern mansion — Tara, but with fancier columns.

More about the Herlong Mansion in Florida Rambler story about Micanopy.

4. Turn off your phones in a glamping tent

In eight state and national parks in Florida, you can rent a “luxury” tent in a beautiful location. These glamping accommodations let you experience a natural environment with fewer discomforts. Yes, you have to walk to the bathrooms, but when I stayed in a glamping tent in Flamingo in Everglades National Park recently, I realized this can be wonderful, because in the middle of the night I saw the star-filled skies. More on glamping in Florida.

romantic things to do in florida glamping at lake kissimmee state park 1 Five romantic things to do in Florida while sharing your love of nature
Romantic things to do in Florida: Horseback riding on the beach.

5. Go horseback riding on the beach

Is there any image that better captures a romantic fantasy of a Florida getaway? Riding a horse along a pristine beach, waves lapping at its feet, wind blowing through your hair, beautiful views in every direction? It’s a scene from the movies – or your dreams.

It’s not easy to find spots where you can arrange for horseback riding on the beach in Florida; it requires beaches with minimal crowds and development. But there are a few spots where you can ride horses on the beach, and some go beyond just riding.

More about horseback riding on a Florida beach.

Notes from the editor:

The information in this article was accurate when published but may change without notice. Confirm details when planning visits.

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