10 Fun & Free (or Cheap) Date Night Ideas

a couple in casual clothes walks on a white sand beach next to gentle surf

A stroll on one of our beautiful beaches makes for a perfect date.

Sometimes, date night is for pulling out all the stops – red roses, gourmet chocolates, violins, maybe a Navy flyover. But when you're looking for fun together on the cheap, there are so many ways to have a fabulous daytime or evening date in the St. Pete/Clearwater area without putting a strain on your wallet.

1

Go Where the Fun Is

two men stand near a railing looking out over the water near the St. Pete Pier

Explore the beautiful St. Pete Pier, one of the area's top attractions.

Choose a breezy afternoon or a starry night, and explore the St. Pete Pier District, stroll along the boardwalk at John's Pass Village in Madeira Beach, or catch the free sunset celebration at Pier 60 in Clearwater Beach. In fact, any of these locations just might be the perfect spot for a first-date: The people-watching is excellent, and there's plenty to encourage conversation without any awkward pauses.

2

Get Artsy

a vibrantly colored mural of a young woman with arms outstretched painted on a black building

More than 600 murals bring color and creativity to buildings in St. Pete/Clearwater.

Art + lovers = art lovers! Explore your creative side together in St. Pete/Clearwater when you spot some of the 600+ amazing murals in St. Pete, stop in at the Morean Arts Center or visit Florida CraftArt. Free art events fill our calendar throughout the year, too, including the popular Second Saturday Art Walk, the Mainsail Art Festival in April, and juried art shows held at the Dunedin Fine Arts Center.

3

Plan a Picnic

two women make a toast a a beach picnic

Keep things simple and special with a picnic for two.

Pick up some yummy treats and enjoy a picnic on the beach or at one of the area's beautiful parks. Whether you're snacking on PB&J sandwiches or gourmet picnic fixings from Mazzaro's Italian Market, it's the company you keep that makes an al fresco outing so special.

4

Be Kids Again

Two people play pin ball at the Replay Museum

Play it Again

At the Replay Museum it's just a flat fee to play all the games.

If your heart feels all aflutter, it might be because our next idea brings you back to when you were high school sweethearts together. (Or maybe with someone else, but let's overlook that small detail for the moment). If old-timey arcades are your idea of date night fun, you're in luck: You have not one but two choices for a blast-from-the-past date night in St. Pete/Clearwater. There's Unlimited Video Games in Pinellas Park, where all-day unlimited passes let you geek out with your main squeeze for just $8 each (bonus: there's a food truck outside for a nice snack break).  In Tarpon Springs, you'll find the Replay Amusement Museum, where the fun is priceless and a one-day pass will set you back only $14 per person. 

5

Find Love in a Garden

a woman in a pink dress and hat stands in the succulent garden, looking at a wall of brightly colored bougainvillea vines

See plants from around the world at Sunken Gardens, a vintage attraction in St. Pete. Photo courtesy of Jessica Serna of mycurlyadventures.com

Tucked away in Largo is a treasure for gardeners and nature-lovers: Florida Botanical Gardens is free every day, and there's always something new in bloom. Smaller in scale but also lovely is the Gisella Kopsick Arboretum in St. Pete, where you can hide away for a kiss amidst hundreds of rare palm trees and subtropical plants. And then there's Sunken Gardens, a little gem of a place that's so pretty, couples vie to find an open date to host their weddings here. (Sunken Gardens admission is $15, but you can often get a BOGO through Groupon.)

6

Do the Shuffle

A woman pushes a disc on a shuffleboard at the St. Pete Shuffleboard Club

St. Pete Shuffle

In downtown St. Pete is the world's oldest shuffleboard club, founded in 1924. Experience fun events here like the St. Pete Shuffle Friday nights.

Impress your date with your ability to plan a one-of-a-kind outing when you head to the Friday Night Shuffle at the St. Petersburg Shuffleboard Club. For just $10 each, you can play on one of the nation's oldest shuffleboard courts from 7-10 p.m. on Fridays. It's BYOB and food, too, making this an economical evening out.

7

Window Shop on Central Avenue

A woman shopping at a boutique

Stop in at Ashe Couture while exploring Central Avenue in St. Pete.

If your sweetie is a shopper, browse the unique boutiques along Central Avenue, St. Pete's coolest street. Check out Ashe Couture, ArtPool or Buster's Antiques. Book lovers will want to stop in at Tombolo Books, just off Central. Finish with a sweet treat at Plant Love Ice Cream or The Hyppo Gourmet Ice Pops.

8

Immerse Yourself in Nature

Aerial view of Boca Ciega Park boardwalk in Seminole

Glorious Nature

Stroll along the winding boardwalk amid mature trees, and see wading birds and other wildlife at pristine Boca Ciega Millennium Park.

If your honey would rather spend time outdoors than almost anywhere else, have we got the park for you! Spot wading birds and other wildlife from high atop the observation tower at Weedon Island Nature Preserve, look for turtles and alligators from the boardwalk at Sawgrass Lake Park, and walk under majestic live oaks at stunning Boca Ciega Millennium Park. Brooker Creek Preserve in Tarpon Springs is another local treasure, and also free every day.

9

Get Fit Together

person doing yoga at sunrise

Greet sunrise at one of downtown St. Pete's waterfront parks. 

Health-focused couples can go for a run or walk on several scenic pathways, including the Pinellas Trail and the Ream Wilson Clearwater Trail. Or take advantage of occasional free yoga, pilates, zumba, and boot camp classes offered at the St. Pete Pier. The Get Fit St. Pete program also offers free fitness and yoga classes.

10

Snuggle Up at Sunset

A couple taking photos during sunset at a beach walkway on beautiful Pass-a-Grille Beach near St. Pete Beach, Florida

Pure Perfection

Pristine Pass-A-Grille Beach is where blissful beach days melt into brilliant sunsets.

Anywhere along our award-winning beaches is a perfect place to be at sunset, but tiny and quiet Pass-a-Grille Beach is a stellar spot for a romantic moment. There's no admission to PAG Beach, though you'll have to pay a small fee to use the metered parking.

About Our Writer

Janet Kuliesh is a writer/editor who has covered travel in St. Pete/Clearwater for over 25 years. A St. Pete resident, she enjoys spending time at nature attractions such as lovely Sunken Gardens, Boyd Hill Nature Preserve, and Fort De Soto Park.