Head outdoors to discover the romantic side of the Sunshine State

Published on : Wednesday, January 20, 2016

visitfloridaFebruary is the season of romance, and where better to celebrate your love than under the sunny skies of Florida? Bypass the usual chocolates-and-candlelit-dinner routine and provide your lover with an outdoor experience that they will never forget. With Florida as the backdrop, allow the gentle breezes to blow you back to the time you two first fell in love…

 

Horseback ride through the sandy surf

 

If you’re looking for the hidden gem location where local Floridians spend their vacation days, head to Amelia Island, located along the Atlantic Ocean in Fernandina Beach. The Kelly Seahorse Ranch is one of only a handful of beach horseback riding opportunities in the U.S. The gentle and well-trained horses and professional guides give visitors a fun and romantic way to enjoy Amelia’s fantastic white-sand beaches and the beauty of the ocean.

 

Couples can also enjoy Fernandina Beach’s historic downtown district while snuggled up together in a horse-drawn carriage. Take in the sights while listening to the historical narrative of Fernandina’s past, punctuated by the leisurely clip-clop of hooves. Majestic, moss-draped oaks and Victorian-Era architecture slip by as couples listen to tales of the people and places that shaped Amelia Island’s colorful history.

 

Experience Florida’s version of Venice

 

Just 35 minutes north of Miami is the city of Fort Lauderdale, but many fondly refer to it as the Venice of Florida. Experience the Sunshine State’s watery city in true Venetian style – on a gondola! Sit back, relax and see some of the most luxurious homes and gardens of South Florida from a perspective you can only appreciate from the water. To make this an indelible journey, surprise your partner with a Romantico Tour, which includes a message in a bottle set with a silky rose and your own romantic message printed on parchment paper and inserted in the bottle, which will be hidden in the gondola and ready to be offered to your sweetheart at your chosen time during the tour. It is a keepsake you and your loved one will surely remember forever.

 

Hold on to your lover at a haunted house

 

Do you and your lover like the spookier side of life? With its claim to fame being the “Most Haunted Bed and Breakfast” Inn in Florida, look no further than the Seven Sisters Inn for a mysterious getaway. This Gothic Victorian style inn is located in the heart of the historical district of downtown Ocala, Florida and offers everything from decadent meals to romantic packages for two. Decorated with priceless antiques and treasures collected on countless world travels, the Seven Sisters Inn provides its guests with a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience. Rumor has it that George, a ghostly flirt from the 50’s era, still resides in the Inn trying to tempt the ladies, which gives couples plenty of reason to hold each other tight.

 

Dinner with a view of emerald waters

 

If you prefer a more refined outdoor experience, consider a romantic evening in Panama City Beach. Located along the Gulf of Mexico, this area of the state is one of the most popular destinations for American vacationers due to its white sand beaches and sparkling emerald waters. Known for its award-winning cuisine, Firefly provides a Mediterranean vibe for couples to celebrate and dine under the restaurant’s illuminated oak tree. Firefly’s Chef Paul has served two sitting U.S. presidents and was also selected to prepare a special meal for Team USA Olympians at the London Summer Games.

 

A visit to the destination would be incomplete without a sighting of dolphins. The waters off of Panama City Beach are home to the highest concentration of Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphins in the world – you may spot one from the beach, or while taking a sightseeing tour with one of our many experienced boat captains. To guarantee a sighting, visit Gulf World Marine Park, which features marine life exhibits and the chance to swim with a dolphin.

 

Head north of Orlando for natural attractions

 

Just 20 minutes north of the hustle and bustle of Disney, Universal and the other Orlando attractions is Seminole County, also known as Orlando’s natural oasis. Find inner peace and catch a glimpse of local wildlife within the acres of preserves and pristine waterways. It’s the perfect place to relax and re-connect with a loved one while enjoying an authentic Florida vacation.

 

The Florida National Scenic Trail is a 2,092-kilometer trail that runs from the Panhandle to the Everglades and offers lovebirds a perfect bird watching location. It runs across several Seminole County wilderness areas, giving visitors the chance to experience some of the world’s most enchanting birds. The trail is mostly unpaved except in Lake Mary, where it follows roadways and existing trails to cross the Seminole Wekiva Trail and the Cross Seminole Trail. These two trails have been designated as Seminole County Showcase Trails because of their length, scenic views and accommodation of many users.

 

Those looking for an extra dose of adventure can enjoy a kayak trip down the Wekiva River. The river—nationally known and federally protected for its scenery, recreation, geology and wildlife—is one of the area’s most popular attractions. Paddle the 15-mile trail of the gentle Wekiva River between riverbanks framed with sabal palms.

 

Climb a lighthouse by moonlight

 

Those interested in taking their love to greater heights can choose the Lighthouse Tour by Moonlight. The breathtaking view from atop the St. Augustine Lighthouse – one of the most popular spots in the area for marriage proposals – is even more spectacular at night by the light of the moon. Sip champagne and snuggle beneath the stars.

 

The next morning, head to St. Augustine’s quaint downtown district to learn more about the oldest continuously occupied city in all of America. Originally settled by the Spanish in 1565, there are still remnants of the Old World in the buildings and architecture, including the Cathedral Basilica.

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