Thinking of creative date night ideas can be a challenge. Many couples find themselves slipping into the rut of dinner and a movie. This is completely avoidable, as there are so many options for fun date nights here on the First Coast. Heat up your next date with these creative ideas that can only take place in the summertime.


Concerts Al-Fresco (and all free-o)

Take advantage of one of the many free outdoor concerts offered all summer long. Since you don’t have to pay for tickets, you should make this date really special by packing a fabulous picnic. Bring a bottle of wine, fancy appetizers and dessert to feed your sweetie. Plan a meal of finger food or bring disposable plates and silverware. At some of theses events, you will see people going all out: folding chairs and tables with tablecloths, candles, linen napkins and even flowers. Just remember, you have to be able to carry it all. Check the rules for allowed items first, as some venues will allow coolers and chairs, and some will not. Many will also offer food and drinks for purchase if you don’t feel like packing.

  • In Jacksonville Beach, the Seawalk Pavilion hosts the Summer Jazz Concert Series. On July 12, the Urban Jazz Coalition and Band of Destiny will play, followed by Eric Darius headlining. Check for more details.
  • In downtown Jacksonville, the Jacksonville Public Library sponsors free concerts through their Music@Main series. Intermezzo Sunday Concerts take place in the Hicks auditorium.

Deborah Manser 2

Horseback Riding on the Beach

Few things could be as romantic as a horseback ride on the beach.  However, horses are only allowed on public beaches at designated times in certain locations in Florida (because few things can be as unromantic as taking a walk on the beach and stepping in horse doo-doo).

  • At Mickler’s Landing, summer horseback riding is allowed during specified hours. Sawgrass Stables offers a guided hour-long ride during low tide. (904) 940-0020
  • During the summer, Amelia Horseback Riding offers early morning or evening rides on Fernandina Beach. Rides begin at Peter’s Point Beachfront Park at low tide. Reserve online at


Paddling (kayaks and canoes, that is)

In case you hadn’t noticed, we’re surrounded by water here, people! Take advantage of this sweet spot by the sea for a romantic date night that’s sure to float your boat.

  • The GTM Research Reserve is a beautiful region to explore by kayak or canoe south of Jacksonville. There are many access points in south Ponte Vedra. Ripple Effect Ecotours operates guided tours. You might try a sunset paddle or a full moon trip, where they feature “firefly” kayaks.  Reserve online at
  • Travel farther south to Anastasia State Park where Ripple Effect Ecotours operates regularly scheduled kayak tours in the serene waters of Salt Run. You might spot a bottlenose dolphin or a manatee. Watch the sunset over the historic St. Augustine lighthouse when you try a sunset kayak tour. Another local company, Kayak St. Augustine, offers a full moon St. Augustine Lighthouse guided kayak tour every month. Make reservations at (904) 315-8442 or