50 Summer Bucket List Dates in Orlando

Summer Bucket List Dates in Orlando

Updated June 2019

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 summer bucket list of activities 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. It’s the perfect antidote to steamy summer temperatures! You’ll find it on International Drive.

2. Go swimming or tubing at a nearby cold spring

True, you’re going to have to get up early or go on a weekday to beat the crowds, but the reward of refreshingly cool spring water is totally worth the effort. Wekiwa Springs, De Leon Springs, and Kelly Park are a few great go-to swimming spots nearby. Just be aware that the parks close once they reach capacity, almost a guarantee on summer weekends. You can find more ideas in our guide to Central Florida parks and springs.

Prefer a leisurely float? Rock Springs Run at Kelly Park is just 30 minutes from Orlando and tubes can be rented outside the park. If you’re up for a day trip, make the trek to KP Hole or Ichetucknee Springs where you can tube for hours. Or, check out one of these must-visit Florida tubing destinations.

Kelly Park Rock Springs Run - Where to go Tubing in Florida

3. Spend a day at a local waterpark 

What better way to cool down is there than spending the day at a local waterpark? Island H20 Live! is the newest park to open, located at the sprawling Margaritaville Resort Orlando. The park features a lazy river, adults-only pool area, multiple slides, a wave pool and more. There are also interactive elements, allowing you to customize a playlist integrate your visit with social media. 

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 for hotel guests only, but some resorts offer access when you purchase a day pass or spa treatment. Other resorts with epic lazy rivers include JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes, Reunion Resort, Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate, Hilton Orlando, and Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek.

Hilton Orlando pool
Image credit: Hilton Orlando

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, 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. Valet parking is $25 and available at all three resorts. 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

Words can’t describe the magical, one of a kind 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. Both A Day Away Kayak Tours and Get Up and Go Kayaking offer bioluminescent tours. The latter offers tours in completely clear kayaks, offering you an unobstructed view of the bright bioluminescence next to and below you in the water.

Image credit: A Day Away Kayak Tours

7. 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.

Kelly's Homemade Ice Cream Flight

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 $12.50-$15.50 including skate rental and skate rental. 

RDV ice den

9. Take a cocktail class

Impress your friends at your next barbecue after picking up some new craft cocktail skills. Bitters & BrassThe Courtesy and The Woods all offer hands-on cocktail classes. Check out our guide to cocktail classes in Orlando for more inspiration.

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. Tickets are $60.75/person for the dinner dance cruise.

11. See a Laser Show

Chill out by heading to a summertime laser show at one of Central Florida’s nearest planetariums. At the Orlando Science Center, laser shows are offered daily in the CineDome. Starting July 5, laser shows will also be offered during Science After Sundown, an after-hours event series held on Friday and Saturday evenings. Laser shows are included with admission.

For more shows featuring your favorite tunes from bands like Pink Floyd, The Beatles and more, check out Seminole State Planetarium’s Summer Laser Fest July 5-6 and 12-13, 2019.

Image credit: Orlando Science Center

12. 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 the 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. The fun kicks off at 5:30pm on the 3rd Thursday of each month through October. Bonus: admission is only $5/person! 

Remaining summer event dates are July 18 and August 15, 2019.

13. Check out Summer Nights at Busch Gardens

Get your thrills after dark by heading to Tampa’s Busch Gardens for Summer Nights. Through August 11, the park will stay open late allowing you to experience rides, like the new Tigris rollercoaster, after dark. Other perks include free beer as part of the park’s 60th Anniversary Celebration, entertainment, specialty food and drink, weekend fireworks and more. Summer nights is included with regular park admission. Plus, as long as you have a park ticket, you can catch a FREE roundtrip ride to the park from Orlando on the Mears fleet.

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. Entry is $1 on weekends and weekday holidays.

7 Things to Do at Wekiva Island

15. Complete the Central Florida Ale Trail

Did you know Central Florida now 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. You can pick up a free ale trail map at any of the participating breweries.

Complete Central Florida Ale Trail map
Image credit: The Bear and Peacock

16. 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 Night Zipline Adventure ($79/person), 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. Upcoming tour dates are July 12 and August 16, 2019.

Alternatively, soak up the night sky (and maybe spot some active wildlife) every Friday and Saturday evening at Forever Florida during their Night Flight Adventure ($89.99/person). 

Image credit: The Canyons Zip Line and Adventure Park

17. Chill out at an inflatable waterpark

Combining a cable park, aerial ropes course and inflatable water park, Nona Adventure Park is ideal for a summer date day in Lake Nona. The 1000′ floating aqua park includes a variety of challenges, including a Ninja jump, towering waterslides, a tire run and more. Admission is $23-$39 for just the aqua park, or $58-$85/person for all day park passes.

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. The park is open daily from 10am-6pm and admission is $20-$30/person. 

The Aqua Park at Nona Adventure Park
The Aqua Park at Nona Adventure Park

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 couples cooking classes.

19. 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 opened a new location on International Drive in 2017 complete with dual wind tunnels. The experience (including check-in and training) lasts a little under 2 hours. Packages begin at $69.95/person.

Image credit: iFly Orlando

20. Book a staycation

Several Orlando resorts have noteworthy specials this summer, so why not book a staycation in lieu of a getaway? Omni Orlando Resort at Championsgate’s Summer of Champions (through September 2) includes a host of resort activities perfect for families and couples alike. Highlights include resort fireworks, Dive-In movies at the pool, nighttime glow golf, eco kayak tours, a Sunday Prosecco Brunch, mixology demonstrations, picnic baskets and s’mores kits, a wine and food pairing series and more.

Or, make your staycation plans at Waldorf Astoria Orlando for their annual Summerblast. Through September 2, enjoy a host of resort activities from champagne at check-in and fireside s’mores to spa happy hour and nightly live music. Other perks for guests include:

  • Fireside s’mores
  • Build Your Own Poolside Cocktails
  • Bar du Chocolat: A decadent selection of à la carte chocolate treats hand-crafted by Waldorf Astoria Orlando’s world-class pastry team. A selection of champagnes are available. Highlights include chocolate truffles, exotic chocolate cakes and bowls of beautiful bon-bons. Priced per piece.
  • Poolside yoga
  • Holiday weekend fireworks

More details at waldorfastoriaorlando.com/summerblast.

21. Go glamping at Lake Louisa State Park

Camp in luxury and stay cool in an air-conditioned glamping tent complete with a queen bed, seating area, BBQ grill, coffee maker and all the comforts of home. Lake Louisa State Park’s new luxury tents are $120 – $185 per night depending on size, and can accommodate 4-6 people. 

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. Tickets are $50/person.

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.

Putting Edge glow in the dark mini golf

24. Have a Virtual Reality (VR) Experience

Donning a VR headset and backpack, immerse yourself in a virtual world at Nomadic, a new virtual realty experience in Pointe Orlando. In Arizona Sunshine Contagion Z, you’ll step into a full-fledged zombie apocalypse, testing your survival skills and facing the undead. The cost is $27-$30/person. At Disney Springs, The VOID is your chance to step into the world of Star Wars.

25. Collect stamps in a Florida State Parks passport

Love visiting Florida State Parks? Then pick up a Deluxe Real Florida Passport and receive a stamp at every state park you visit. There is no time limit to complete the passport, and once you’ve visited all 175 parks you’ll be rewarded with a one year family annual pass which includes free park admission for up to 8 people. Passports can be purchased online or in person at select state parks. Get the details here.

26. Watch an outdoor movie

There are opportunities to catch an outdoor movie all summer long, from Movie Monday at À La Cart to Popcorn Flicks in the Park in Winter Park and Movie Night at Leu Gardens. Most movies are free, and some allow you to bring food along with you.

24 Free Outdoor Movies in Orlando Spring and Summer 2019
Popcorn Flicks in the Park | Image credit: Enzian Theater

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? B-Line Diner at Hyatt Regency Orlando has a special adults-only dessert menu featuring an assortment of booze-infused milkshakes like the Salty Caramel, made with Bourbon, vanilla ice cream and caramel. You’ll also find boozy shakes at The Soda Fountain in College Park.

28. Attend Paddle + a Pint

A Day Away Kayak Tours and Playalinda Brewing Company regularly partner up for special Paddle + A Pint kayak tours. Each tour includes a guided 90-minute kayak tour followed by a free pint of beer at Playalinda Brewing Company. Check A Day Away’s Facebook page for event dates and details.

Paddle and a Pint kayak tour with Playalinda Brewing Company
Paddle + a Pint pairs a 90-minute guided kayak tour with a free pint of beer at Playalinda Brewing Company nearby.

29. Enjoy after-hours fun at Science After Sundown at Orlando Science Center

The Orlando Science Center will be open late until 11pm every Friday and Saturday July 5 through August 10. During Science After Sundown, enjoy access to the summer Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles exhibit, watch movies, stargaze in the observatory, enjoy laser light shows and more. Science After Sundown is included with regular adult admission ($21/person). 

30. Take a Limo Cycle tour

See Sanford from a new perspective and have a ton of fun in the process while pedaling your way through town on the Limo Cycle. Explore Sanford on a guided private tour (perfect for celebrations) or join the fun on a group tour stopping along pubs and eateries along the way.

31. 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!

Saturday SunRail

32. 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 from Axum 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. Visit Tuesday-Sunday, or attend one of the cafés special monthly events like High Tea with the Kitties or Yoga with Cats. Admission is $8/person, and special event prices vary.

33. Explore Disney parks after dark during Disney After Hours

Ever wished you could visit Magic Kingdom without the crowds? Disney After Hours is back at Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios this summer, inviting you to visit the parks after they have closed to regular guests. Spend several hours riding your favorite rides and meeting your favorite characters sans the hordes of tourists. Tickets are $125/person.

Remaining dates are as follows:

  • Animal Kingdom: July 2, July 8, July 15, July 22, July 29, August 5, August 12, August 19, August 26, September 3, September 9, September 16, and September 23, 2019.
  • Magic Kingdom: August 22, August 29, September 5, September 12, September 19, and September 26, 2019.
  • Hollywood Studios: June 28, July 5, July 12, July 19 and July 26, 2019.

34. 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.

Silver Moon Drive-In, located in Lakeland

35. 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. Tickets are $20 for Florida residents.

Orlando Eye
The Wheel. Image credit: Dani Dennison

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. Tickets are $8/person. Grab drinks and a bite to eat at Eden Bar before or after the show to round out your date.

Other local theaters screening classic movies this summer include the Garden Theatre and the Wayne Densch Performing Arts Center

this weekend in Orlando

37. Have a Dr. Phillips Center date night

The 2019-2020 season at Dr. Phillips Center is bringing tons of exciting shows to Orlando, from Broadway favorites to comedy and musical performances. Get your tickets to an upcoming show and make reservations at a nearby restaurant (might we recommend Rusty Spoon or Kres Chophouse?) for a romantic night out at DPAC.

Dr. Phillips Center
Dr. Phillips Center. Image credit: Steve Williams Photography

38. Explore the great outdoors on a jet ski, boat, or paddle board

Summer and water sports go hand in hand, especially with our daily summertime temps soaring to 90 degrees and beyond. 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. Embark on a wildlife sunset safari

Safari Wilderness is a 260-acre wildlife area in Lakeland where exotic animals roam free. Lemurs, zebras, ostriches, and more all call the expansive wilderness home. Explore on a guided vehicle safari, paddle through the wetlands on a kayak, or feed ring-tailed lemurs. Or, wait to depart until the sun goes down and join in on the limited-time Sunset Safaris. Happening select Friday and Saturday nights through August, these tours give you up-close access to zebra, camels, lemurs and more while allowing you to observe them while they are most active. You’ll also enjoy a pitstop at the picturesque Tree House for a complimentary drink (non-alcoholic) and stunning views. Tickets are $160/person.

Safari Wilderness Lakeland, FL
Image credit: Safari Wilderness

40. Peruse local goods at East End Market’s Evening Exchange

When it’s just too hot for a day at the farmer’s market, check out East End Market’s new monthly Evening Exchange. This monthly market combines workshops, goods from local makers, and food into a summer-friendly event taking place from 6-10pm. Bonus: workshops and the majority of the vendors can be found on the air-conditioned second floor of the market. 

41. Attend a local street festival

Head outside once the sun goes down for a street festival. There are many to choose from, but some of our favorites are the monthly Thornton Park Wine Walk, Alive After 5 in Sanford, and the First Friday Festival in Baldwin Park.

Image credit: Hannah Green/lovecentralfl on Instagram

42. Rise to the escape room game challenge

Repair and launch your spacecraft before cosmic radiation hits Mars during Mission: Mars at The Escape Game Orlando, solve a mystery in Sherlock Holmes’ Library at The Great Escape Room, and find the antidote to a dangerous virus developed by a rogue chemical weapons specialist at Escapology. Orlando’s escape room games are a great opportunity to exercise your teamwork muscle.

43. 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. 

Drive Shack Orlando in Lake Nona
Image credit: Drive Shack Orlando

44. Practice yoga under the stars

I’m a big fan of the weekly outdoor yoga class in Lake Eola Park, but in summer months, it’s just too warm. Nighttime yoga is a great alternative, and there are several fun classes around the city to choose from. Aero Rooftop YogaGlow at Aero includes glow sticks, glow paint, and optional face and body paint. Orlando Brewing hosts Beer & Yoga Under the Stars, which includes a free pint of beer after class.

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 and the Orlando Food Truck Bazaar.

Food Truck Date Night: Tasty Tuesdays in the Milk District
Tasty Takeover in the Milk District

46. Attend 1st Thursdays at the OMA

Nicknamed “Orlando’s Original Art Party,” 1st Thursdays at the Orlando Museum of Art invite 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. 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.

Gatorland Night Shine tour
Image credit: Gatorland

48. Embark on a glow in the dark clear kayak adventure

Get Up and Go Kayaking has a fleet of completely clear kayaks allowing you to see what’s in the water around you and below you. While they offer plenty of daytime tours around Central Florida, their nighttime glow in the dark tour in Winter Park is a must-do in the summer months. The tour lasts about 2 hours and will have you paddling through the Winter Park Chain of Lakes, with the glow of your kayak’s colored LED light to guide you. Tours are $45/person and can be booked online.

Glow in the Dark Kayaking Tours in Orlando
Image credit: Get Up and Go Kayaking

49. 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 schedule for a full list of upcoming games.

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. Check out our most recent workshops and classes roundup for tons of ideas.

 

Florida food and travel photographer and writer Stephanie Patterson

About the Author
Stephanie Patterson is the managing editor of Orlando Date Night Guide. She’s a talented professional food and travel photographer and writer with a passion for creativity, the beach and great eats. When she’s not taking photos or writing, you can find her exploring the state for her Florida travel blog, Travel Taste Click. Find her online at www.spattersoncreative.com and www.traveltasteclick.com.


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