TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Whether you’re planning ahead for Valentine’s Day and are looking for a special date, or planning your next adventure with your special someone, there are plenty of unique date ideas with many places to visit across the Tampa Bay area.

From unique, newer concepts like axe throwing or escape rooms, to just some simple fun on the water or an outdoor adventure, 8 On Your Side compiled a list of date night (or day!) ideas, alongside a few suggestions in the Tampa Bay area where the fun can be found.

These topics and spots are presented in no particular order.

Do you have a unique spot that you frequent for date night? Let us know by emailing online@wfla.com.

1. Axe Throwing

There are quite a few places across the Tampa Bay area that have opened in this recent phenomena of axe throwing, also common at renaissance fairs and festivals.

Courtesy: Bury the Hatchet

Bury the Hatchet

Location: 939 Oakfield Dr, Brandon

This Brandon location features sessions lasting two hours. The cost per person is $39.99 and there are as many as 12 people allowed per lane. A trained “Axe Master” will guide guests and oversee axe throwing training, then keep score of the game and answer questions.

(Courtesy: Axe Throwing Tampa)

Axe Throwing Tampa

Location: 5811 Memorial Hwy Suite #204, Tampa

“Looking for some kindling to keep the fire burning? We got it!” Axe Throwing Tampa says on their website.

For $35 a person, guests get 1 1/2 hours with a coach to learn about hatchet safety, both two and one-handed throwing and team games. Axe Throwing Tampa says each session is ended with fun photos and coaches demonstrating some “trick shots.”

2. Fun on the Water

From the Hillsborough River, to the Bay itself, to the Gulf of Mexico there are plenty of places to enjoy water activities and water sports across the Tampa Bay area, with many unique choices.

Riverwalk Boating Company

Location: 333 S. Franklin St., Boat Slip #16, Tampa

If you’ve ever been interested in the small green paddle boats cruising along the Hillsborough River, you’re going to want to head to the Tampa Convention Center Docks.

Reservations for the 9.9HP mini-powerboats can be reserved online at different time frames for one and two-hour rentals at $79 and $149 respectively, for a maximum of two people per boat.

No prior boating experience is needed and staff will teach guests what they need to know before heading out.

Tampa Bay SUP – Stand Up Paddle Boarding and Kayaking

Location: Multiple locations around the Tampa Bay area

Tampa Bay SUP offers lessons, rentals, sales, sunset tours, eco-tours, yoga events and much more for a date adventure.

Kayak rentals start at $25 and single and tandem kayaks are available. Stand-up paddleboard rentals begin at $30 and bicycle rentals begin at $14. There are options for one or multiple hours

They have multiple locations throughout the Tampa Bay area, including at the Tampa Marriott Water Street, the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay and the Current Hotel on Rocky Point, as well as mobile locations in Safety Harbor and on the intracoastal on Clearwater Beach.

Chute ‘Em Up Parasailing

Location: Slip 8, 25 Causeway Blvd, Clearwater Beach

Chute ‘Em Up Parasailing in Clearwater Beach gets guests to ride the wind above the Gulf of Mexico.

The price is $99 per person, which includes tax and rides in the air are about eight minutes. Photo packets of rides are available for $25.

The location is open seven days a week, year-round, weather permitting. Walk-up bookings are offered in addition to online booking.

3. Pop-Up Picnics

The pop-up picnic industry exploded during the coronavirus pandemic as couples looked for socially distanced date ideas. The demand for these beautifully set up picnics continues, especially moving into Valentine’s Day and warmer weather in the area.

St. Pete Picnic Co.

Locations in Madeira Beach, Vinoy Park, the St. Pete Pier & Lassing Park

One of these businesses created during the height of the pandemic is St. Pete Picnic Co.

Rachel Fry created “St. Pete Picnic Co.” in August as a way to connect with her own friends during difficult times. 

“Picnic setup includes…the table, the pillows, the flower arrangements, the water, candles, all the cutlery that you need, plates. And then there’s extra add-ons that you can add on to the picnic, such as the food and alcohol, rose petals, things like that,” she previously told 8 On Your Side.

Picnics on Madeira Beach, for example, begin at $185 with those various add-ons available.

The Curated Picnic Co.

Locations in Davis Davis, Treasure Island, Madeira Beach, Upham Beach, Cypress Point Beach & Plant Park

The Curated Picnic Co. offers different packages of picnics, from fully curated picnics to their “romance picnics.”

The romance picnic package includes, in addition to the picnic table setup with a rug, blankets and pillows, two mini champagne bottles, a dozen roses, chocolate-covered strawberries or an assorted box of truffles and more.

A fully curated package for two guests, for two hours is $225, or $195 on a weekday.

4. Arcade Bars

Fun, themed bars have popped up across the Tampa Bay area in recent years and they make for great date nights. Arcade bars range from everything to the classic pinball machine to experiences in virtual reality headsets.

Lowry Parcade

Location: 1213 W Waters Ave, Tampa

The Lowry Parcade is Tampa’s first classic arcade and craft beer tavern. It has 30 classic arcade and pinball machines and 25 craft beers on tap, as well as canned beer and wine. Lowry Parcade also now serves small bites if you’re feeling hungry.

The location offers various events throughout the week, including “Tacos N Trivia” on Tuesdays, unlimited credit nights and nights with live music.

Reboot Dunedin

Location: 248 Scotland Str, Dunedin

Reboot Dunedin’s website says it is Tampa Bay’s only bar exclusively devoted to modern console gaming.

In addition to Xbox One and PlayStation 4 systems and old school arcade games and pinball, Reboot Dunedin offers over 14 rotating taps with Florida craft beer, wine and sake.

VIP gamers get special access to the HTC Vive VR VIP area.

5. Escape Rooms

Another phenomena on this list, many escape rooms across the area are back open after coronavirus protocols put a pause on business. There are many in Tampa Bay designed to make you think and work together, so you may want to try these on a double date!

(Courtesy: Tampa Bay Escape Room)

Tampa Bay Escape Room

Location: 625 Cleveland Str, Clearwater

In these escape rooms, you’ll have 60 minutes to find clues, solve puzzles or crack codes to find your way out.

The Clearwater location offers three escape rooms, titled “Wizard’s Keep,” “Kidnapped” and “Cabin in the Woods,” ranging from a three out of five, to a five out of five difficulty level, according to their website.

The company’s Largo location (on 1st Avenue Southwest) offers three different rooms. “Mad Hatter,” “Black and White” and “Zombie Apocalypse” will put minds to the test.

These rooms are $29.50 per person to play.

Escape the Terrace

Location: 10940 N 56th Street, Tampa

In this escape room, you, your partner and others will be trapped in the 90s!

“IT’S THE YEAR 1999 and you were invited to a house party on the block. What are you wearing? Who are you going with? Well, whatever you do, be sure to look fly and have fun, but by all means, stay outta the host’s bedroom or else!” the escape room’s website says.

For a party of two, Trapped in the Terrace is $32 per person. For four, it costs $28 per person. The location also offers a “games night pizza party,” starting at $299.

6. Paint & Sip Events

Made popular by the Painting With A Twist franchise (of which the Tampa Bay area has many locations), you and your date can bring your own beverage of choice and follow along with an artist to create a masterpiece of your own.

(Courtesy: Pinot’s Palette: Brandon)

Pinot’s Palette

Locations in Brandon, Largo and Wesley Chapel

Pinot’s Palette’s only locations in Florida are right here in the Tampa Bay area.

Upcoming events are posted to a studio’s website and include pricing. Studios also offer open studio workshops. The Brandon studio offers these workshops for $17.50 per person and other prices range from $35 to $41 per painting, per person.

7. Weekend Markets

There are plenty of markets throughout the Tampa Bay area on weekends if you’re looking for a day date… and to get some shopping done, too!

Ybor City Saturday Market

Location: 1901 N 19th Str, Tampa

The open air market is held weekly year-round and has operated since 2000.

“The Ybor City Saturday Market will improve the accessibility of nutritious and affordable, regionally grown produce and ornamental plants, arts and crafts, pre-prepared foods, and locally produced products unique to Hillsborough County,” the market’s website says.

The Ybor City Saturday Market is open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. October through April and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. from May to September.

Seminole Heights Sunday Morning Market

Location: 6918 N. Florida Ave, Tampa

This Sunday morning market has brought “fresh, local and lively” to Seminole Heights since 2021.

Fifty local vendors are on hand every week to sell fresh produce, plants, baked goods, art and more. Food trucks are also present at the market.

As of the beginning of this year, it is located at the American Legion on North Florida Avenue.

St. Pete/Clearwater Markets

Locations include Treasure Island, Gulfport, Oldsmar and more

Visit St. Pete/Clearwater has compiled a great list of weekend markets (and weekday markets as well!) all across Pinellas County. You can stock up on fresh produce, crafts and more at these local, outdoor markets.

“…there’s no better way to tap into St. Pete/Clearwater’s awesome weather, creative spirit and artisan community – all while shopping in a safe, open-air environment,” they say to begin their list.

Markets range from the St. Petersburg Saturday Morning Market to the Corey Avenue Sunday Market in St. Pete Beach. In all, Visit St. Pete/Clearwater has 10 different markets they recommend stopping by that could make for a great date.

8. Gardens

Another outdoor option for a date night or day is to head to one of the area’s beautiful gardens to stop and smell the roses.

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens

Location: 1534 Mound St, Sarasota and 337 North Tamiami Trail, Osprey

The gardens span 45 acres of bayfront sanctuaries across two campuses, in Sarasota and Osprey.

The location in downtown Sarasota is 15 acres along Sarasota Bay.

(Courtesy: Marie Selby Botanical Gardens)

“Visitors can take in rainforest, desert, native Florida, and display garden areas plus stroll along a bayfront mangrove walkway,” the gardens’ website says.

Sunken Gardens

Location: 1825 4th St N, St. Petersburg

Sunken Gardens in St. Petersburg is the city’s “oldest living museum” in the middle of all the hustle and bustle. More than 50,000 tropical plants call the 100-year-old location home.

“In contrast to the rapid pace of the city outside its vine-covered walls, Sunken Gardens offers a tranquil garden atmosphere that creates space for connection, reflection, and community,” the website says.

In addition to all the tropical plants, guests can take in cascading waterfalls and even spot a flamboyance of flamingos.