Last updated on January 29th, 2021 at 09:27 am
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 originally 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.
1. A walk on the beach at Lovers Key State Park or Honeymoon Island State Park
Lovers Key has been a romantic spot for a long time. For years, this barrier-island beach in Fort Myers Beach was accessible only by boat, so only lovers seeking solitude went to the trouble to reach it. Today, it’s more accessible, but it’s still easy to get away from people and enjoy its hard-packed white sand, shells and birds. It’s no surprise it is also a popular wedding site.
A visit to Lovers Key can be more active than just beachcombing. A concessionaire offers a wide range of rentals — stand-up paddleboards, kayaks, paddle boats and bicycles. The company, Lovers Key Adventures and Events,also sells bait, ice cream and runs a variety of kayak tours, including one to Mound Key, an island whose shell mound was built by Calusa indians 2,000 years ago.
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.
2. Steam away on the African Queen in Key Largo
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.
3. Spoil yourself at a night in a special B&B
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.
4. Turn off your phones in a cabin on Hontoon Island State Park
A far cry from European linens and spa baths, this state park near Deland is an island in the St. Johns River that offers a different kind of romantic experience.
Here, what’s romantic are the cute little rustic cabins, the isolation from the world and its technology and the opportunity to hike and kayak in natural beauty where you will never find a crowd.
Because the island has no cars or roads, the camping and cabin sites are among the prettiest anywhere, situated in a shady hammock secluded from the busy waterfront.
More about visiting Hontoon Island State Park.
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.