Two tall metallic sculptures are among the Lake Nona Sculpture Garden

Enjoy a budget-friendly Valentine's Day with this list of 35 free things to do in Orlando!

Trying to save a little money this Valentine's Day? You don't need a huge budget to plan the most romantic day of the year. We've compiled a list of our favorite free things to do in Orlando for Valentine's Day, from art and walking tours to local attractions, and more.

If you need ideas for family fun, check out Valentine's Day Activities for Kids in Orlando.

35 free things to do for Valentine's Day in Orlando

1. Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive

Love nature? Hop in the car and take your time driving along the 11-mile Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive. This one-way drive through a stunning habitat is a haven for birds and other Florida wildlife, including alligators. One of our readers, Joe, suggests going early in the morning and then stopping for breakfast at Mary's County Kitchen.

There is no cost to enter. Plan to spend about an hour on the drive. Check out the official website for a map and guided audio tour.

Continue the fun by checking out one of Florida's scenic highways. There are several here in Central Florida. What an adventurous Valentine's Day weekend!

Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive entrance gate is open for vehicular traffic between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays

PS — Feel like a road trip? Check out 50 Free Things to do in Tampa Bay! And if you've got kids along for the ride, here are 40+ BEST Free Things to Do with the Kids in Tampa Bay

2.  Disney Springs Art Walk

Disney Springs on Valentine's Day is a fun idea. But it can get a little pricey and be a bit crowded.

Take a break from the hustle and bustle and stroll along the Disney Springs Art Walk. Just look for the signs near the shops of the Town Center section of Disney Springs. The colorful art walk is near the Disney Springs bus terminal and is bursting with colorful murals from local artists and international artists too.

Disney Springs Art Walk near Town Center - Dani Meyering
Disney Springs Art Walk near Town Center – Dani Meyering

3. Oakland Nature Preserve

Located in Oakland along the scenic West Orange Trail, this nature preserve features several hiking trails (all under 1 mile), a welcome center, bike racks, and a wooden boardwalk that leads out to Lake Apopka.

Discover more secluded hiking spots around Orlando. Each of these trails would make for a peaceful Valentine's Day.

Oakland Nature Preserve located along the West Orange Trail
Oakland Nature Preserve at sunset. Image credit: Oakland Nature Preserve

4. Orlando Public Library Local Wanderer Program

All you need is a library card from the Orange County Library System to take advantage of free admission to local venues like Orlando Museum of Art and Central Florida Zoo. It's all part of the library's Local Wanderer program, which offers a limited number of free passes to local cultural venues.

Impress your sweetheart on Valentine's Day with your local knowledge.

5. Rollins Museum of Art

Get artsy with a visit to Rollins Museum of Art, located on the Rollins College campus in Winter Park. Admission to the museum is always free. After perusing the collection, stick around campus for a stroll through the scenic grounds. The museum is closed on Mondays.

6. Self-Guided Mural Tour

Set out on foot or on a bike and go mural hunting. The Mills 50 District has a helpful listing of murals and locations to help you plan out a route. Or, follow our self-guided street art tour. We've also got a fun murals + menus itinerary, pairing local murals with nearby restaurants.

Orlando murals - Infusion Tea
Image credit: Rose Torres @floridamomonthego

7. Mead Botanical Garden

Located in Winter Park, Mead Botanical Garden features hiking trails, boardwalks, a butterfly garden, biking paths, and dozens of picturesque settings for a romantic date day picnic. Plus, admission to the gardens is always free. The gardens connect to the Orlando Urban Trail, so bring along bikes and ride to downtown Orlando before returning to the gardens for lunch.

8. Kraft Azalea Garden

Another Winter Park gem, Kraft Azalea Garden is a local (and free!) public park treasure situated on the shore of Lake Maitland. The 5.22-acre park boasts waterfront views, winding paths, benches, and cypress trees. Admission is free and the park is open from 8am to dusk.

READ MORE: Orlando Azalea Gardens and Nearby Eats

9. Orlando Urban Trail

The Orlando Urban Trail is an excellent (and safe) way to get to several city hotspots. The nearly 3-mile Orlando Urban Trail begins in Ivanhoe Village, snakes through the Mills 50 area, and connects by way of a street route all the way to Mead Garden in Winter Park, weaving alongside lakes and passing through cultural hot spots. Consider walking, biking, or skating along the trail while seeing the city in a whole new light.

10. West Orange Trail

Another favorite trail among cyclists, runners, and walkers, the West Orange Trail extends 20.8 miles from Winter Garden to Apopka. Park your car at West Orange Trail Bikes & Blades, then bike, walk, or skate along the paved rail-trail until you make it to Winter Garden. Along the way, you'll pass a butterfly garden, nature preserve, and the small town of Oakland before arriving in downtown Winter Garden, where you can rest and relax at Plant Street Market.

Image of a man and a woman on bikes riding on the West Orange Trail
West Orange Trail | Image credit: Stephanie Patterson

11. See Art Orlando Self-Guided Tour

Wandering through downtown Orlando, you've likely spotted a few of the installation art pieces dotting Lake Eola Park and the surrounding areas. Chances are, those pieces are part of the See Art Orlando Public Sculpture Community Project.

The best way to experience the art is by downloading the free map online and embarking on the self-guided tour. The descriptions in the guide give you additional insight and information on each piece.

12. Lake Nona Sculpture Garden

Located on the grounds of the phenomenal Lake Nona Wave Hotel, you can stroll the Lake Nona Sculpture Garden for free. You do not have to be a guest of the hotel to enjoy this incredible garden filled with sculptures from world-renowned artists and lush palm trees.

Put this at the top of your list of free things to do in Orlando.

13. Pack a Picnic

Orlando is home to dozens of scenic parks perfect for a picnic date night. Some of our local favorites include Central Park in Winter Park, Lake Lily Park, and Kissimmee Lakefront Park, among others.

14. Visit a Nature Park

We love these nature parks near the theme parks (most of them are free!). Or, pack a picnic and head to one of these secluded hiking spots. Time in Florida's beauty of one of the most relaxing free things to do in Orlando.

15. Virtual Cooking Class

Publix Aprons Cooking School is now available virtually! Publix Aprons Cooking School is online and completely free to watch. Cook along with an expert Publix Aprons chef to create delicious dishes and learn valuable techniques and tips to use in the kitchen.

With four seasons of classes available, you are bound to find something that appeals to you.

Check out all four seasons and watch the classes for free.

16. CityArts

CityArts is a gallery collective in downtown Orlando housing six unique galleries with regularly rotating exhibits. During this artsy date, you'll have the chance to view works from local and international artists in the inviting space free of charge.

17. Music at Disney Springs

A Disney date night can be just as fun outside of the theme parks. Disney Springs is a mega outdoor complex featuring endless dining, entertainment, and shopping venues to explore. But visiting Disney Springs is just as fun without spending a dime. Bring along some water and snacks, people watch, window shop, and stop to listen to one of the live performers for a fun and free afternoon. Parking is free, too!

Are kids coming along? These hidden things to do at Disney Springs aren't free, but they are relatively affordable and will entertain the kiddos.

Free live entertainment at Disney Springs
Waterview Park performer | Image credit: Stephanie Patterson

Bonus Idea: Romantic Spots at Disney Springs For Valentine’s Day

18. Old Town Kissimmee

Sure, it's touristy, but it's also free to explore so why not give it a try? Visit Old Town in Kissimmee for a variety of free events, including car shows, karaoke, live music, and more. When you've got company in town this is one of the best free things to do in Orlando.

19. Jack Kerouac House

Once the home of author Jack Kerouac, this cottage home in College Park (now called the Kerouac House) was refurbished and now houses writers-in-residence. The house is open to the public during select events, including readings (most of which are free and BYOB) from the current writer in residence.

20. Cranes Roost Park

Sunset views, outdoor festivals, and free outdoor movies are just a few of the activities held at Cranes Roost Park in Altamonte Springs.

Up the romance factor by taking a walk along the one-mile long boardwalk at sunset. This is one of the best local free things to do in Orlando.

21. Check out Hontoon Island State Park

Visit an island right here in Central Florida! Hontoon Island State Park is located along the St. Johns River near DeLand and can only be accessed by ferry. There's no fee to park and admission is free.

Once on the island, explore the hiking trails and picnic areas at your leisure. This is without a doubt one of the best free things to do in Orlando.

Image of man on a bike riding on Hontoon Island State Park
Hontoon Island State Park – Image by Dani Meyering

22. Instagrammable Spots

Play tourist for the day and snap some new couple selfies together at some of the most picturesque locations in town, some of which are free to visit. Explore our picks for the best spots. Get more inspo from our guide to Orlando's most beautiful places.

23. Volunteer

With so many fantastic non-profit organizations right here in Orlando, you can make a direct impact on our local community by having a volunteering date night. Volunteering is a great way to connect with your partner while also doing good and helping those in need. Best of all, it's one of the best free things to do in Orlando.

Make a Difference on a Volunteering Date Night

24. Dinky Dock

You don't need to embark on a road trip in order to spend a day at the beach; we've got a “beach” of our own just a short car ride away in Winter Park. Dinky Dock is a 1.5-acre park complete with a swimming area, grills, docks, and picnic tables. Pack your swimsuit and lunch and make a day of it.

Get more lakeside ideas with our guide to the Winter Park Chain of Lakes.

25. Visit Celebration

There are loads of ways to do date night in Celebration, but for totally free fun, set out and explore the waterfront walking paths or line up your visit with one of the community's monthly or annual events. Car shows, Oktoberfest, the weekend farmer's market, and nightly “snowfall” during the holidays all offer endless entertainment.

Date night in Celebration - rent bikes
Image credit: Celebration Bike Rental

26. St. Anne Shrine in Lake Wales

Interesting Florida ruins are just a short road trip away at the St. Anne Shrine in Lake Wales. The shrine, built in 1920, is a shadow of its former self, but the altar and several surrounding stone structures still remain and are free to explore.

St. Anne Shrine Florida ruins
Image credit: Jan W. on TripAdvisor

27. Lake Eola Park

Located in the heart of downtown Orlando, visiting Lake Eola Park just never gets old. Stroll around the 0.9-mile paved loop encircling the lake, wave hello to the resident swans, share a picnic lunch, watch the sunset, see an outdoor movie, and more; the options for a free date night are endless.

Lake Eola Swan Boats

28. Animal Kingdom Lodge

Home to more than 30 species of exotic animals, Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge is a stunning resort worth visiting even as a non-guest. FYI: your best bet for parking at any resort as a non-guest is to have a dining reservation scheduled.

29. DIY Campus Tour at Rollins College

Situated near the shore of Lake Virginia, Rollins College in Winter Park is a beautiful campus just waiting to be explored on a DIY campus tour. Meander through campus with the campus map as your guide, which contains a numbered map of the campus in addition to videos and more information on each stop.

Image credit: Rollins College

30. UCF Arboretum

The UCF Arboretum features 82-acres of native plant life and several nature trails. Impress your date with this overlooked free thing to do in Orlando.

31. Seminole Wekiva Trail

This scenic paved rail-trail in Seminole County features a 14-mile long trail as well as several trailheads with amenities. The Seminole Wekiva Trail is also one of the county's showcase trails. Consider exploring the first seven miles of the trail by bike, cruising along the shaded path through quiet neighborhoods.

32. Cady Way Trail

Linking Orlando to Winter Park, and joining with the Cross Seminole Trail, the Cady Way Trail is a 7-mile trail ideal for a bike ride with your partner. The trail also runs past Lake Baldwin, a great spot to stop for a picnic.

Take a stroll through the Grand Bohemian Gallery in downtown Orlando at the Grand Bohemian Hotel Orlando. The galleries are free to explore and open seven days a week.

34. Disney’s BoardWalk

Like Disney Springs, Disney's BoardWalk is a walkable hub for dining, entertainment, and more. During non-peak times, you are usually able to park on the property for free without a dining reservation. Once on the boardwalk, catch live performers and games.

If you visit in the evening, stick around for a decent vantage point on the EPCOT and Magic Kingdom fireworks. It's one of the best free things to do in Orlando.

35. Spend the Day in Winter Garden

Downtown Winter Garden is ideal for a totally free day outside of Orlando. Stroll Plant Street perusing the shops, or take a walk along the West Orange Trail.

READ MORE: Valentine's Day in Downtown Winter Garden

Bonus Idea: Sweetheart Garden Gala

Celebrate Valentine's this year with Lukas Nursery! At this special two-day plant show, February 10-11, they will have several handmade plant arrangements, unique orchids, tea roses, and Valentine's gifts out on display for you and your loved one to look at & shop.

There will be interactive displays throughout the nursery, so keep a lookout for these cute insta-worthy photo opportunities! They will also have a booth with one of their Certified Horticulturists and their resident Rosarian there to answer all of your planty questions and give you the best advice on taking care of your new plants.

More Free things to do in Orlando for date night: