Fun, Cheap Date Ideas in the Orlando Area

Here are five cheap and fun date ideas that aren't your typical theme park.

by Ariana Rodriguez
April 19, 2022

Cover photo via Getty Images

Disney World and Universal Studios are the first places people think of when Orlando is mentioned. It’s been this way for decades and decades. New attractions are constantly built-in theme parks to keep this tradition going, but do people think of the traditions people used to do before Disney ever existed? 

Blue Springs State Park at Deland, FL

Perhaps before the concept of time took over the world, the tradition of swimming and gathering foods from springs was at its prime. Only 50 minutes north of Disney lies a natural spring that brings in more joy than the cliche world of Disney. Blue Springs State Park is in a country-like town called Deland. That spring alone holds much more history and beauty than those theme parks. Also, it is $6 to enter and park.

Near the spring area, there are signs that hold much information about how the native Americans would swim in those lakes and hunt for fish. They would also make spirulina from the algae from the springs. It is an indescribable feeling to swim in the same place the natives would swim. Besides, there is an old home that is now a museum. There are signs near the old items in the old home since those items are foreign to us. 

If you go when it is cold, the manatees will be present. All the manatees gather to keep each other one. Seeing all of them close together will defrost any cold heart. 

Downtown Deland

After swimming and exploring everything Blue Spring State Park has to offer, hunger may strike. Blue Spring State Park is near franchises you are familiar with, but there are many local restaurants that bring in much more flavor than those franchised restaurants. Santorini is an authentic Greek restaurant with gyros under $8! It is affordable, and most importantly it is affordable. Downtown DeLand is an award-winning Main Street due to its history and unique stores/restaurants. 

Lake Helen

After spending a day in good ol’ Deland, check out the historical town called Lake Helen. It is recognized for its old Spanish moss and a world of trees. There are many free things to do that bring in much awe. The houses there look like dollhouses, so the drive there is quite an experience itself. While driving there, drive slow and be mindful of the innocent wildlife. It is definitely a must-see if your line of sight is tired of the corporate and manmade up-to-date world. Travel back in time to discover old Florida that is vanishing after each new Pizza Hut and Chiptole that is built. This little town refuses to reflect the modern world and it remains a portal to the old days. 

Horseshoe Park and Fairy Trail At Cassadaga

Horsehoe Park and Fairy Trail is a forest that is decorated by the locals. People hang up decorations and random objects like old dolls, old toys, and more. It is like a trip to Wonderland. It is a great photo opportunity and a cool film location as well. Outside of that forest, there are little cute photo ops scattered around. Pristine lakes and trees look more alive than the ones in the suburbs. Cassadaga is technically spiritual lane. You will find interesting spiritual stores and more! 

Every option I listed here is close to each other, so gas prices won’t be a thing to worry about. Also, the worry of trying to be somewhere 2 hours away by a certain time can strip away the fun. Enjoy every second of this un-cliche trip!

Ariana Rodriguez graduated from FIU during the pandemic and went straight into teaching English. After two years of teaching, she decided to focus a lot more on her passions of writing and music. She writes about merely anything, and her music reflects that since she is also an alternative artist. You can find her writing a Science Fiction screenplay or a story about a local haunted house. Expect the unexpected.

More Local Stories

Blind Kitchen: More Than a Feeling

In this episode, Mark Quiroz aka Estrada, chef at House of Blues, and Linda Green, The Ya-Ka-Mein Lady, face off to see who can recreate each other’s mystery dish.

Maddy and Dixie Take Sactown: Haunted and Historic

In this episode of Maddy and Dixie Take Sactown, it’s time to dive into the history of Sacramento and get a little spooky. Maddy and Dixie learn about the city’s underground history, indulge in the best Chinese food around and do some ghost hunting of their own. Watch the full episode of “Maddy & Dixie…

13 of the Most Haunted Hotels in America

Interested in spending the night with a specter? Here are 13 of the most haunted hotels in America guaranteed to send shivers up your spine.

Crimes, Cons and Capers: Wild Captures

Two serial killers whose chilling crimes left their communities devastated.

Poms Poms in Orlando brings a unique twist to old favorites

The sandwich shop in the Milk District also offers authentic salads, a curated tea selection, sweet treats and innovative sake cocktails.

Sacramento Brew Bike Puts a Spin on Bar Hopping

Sacramento Brew Bike is essentially a bar crawl on wheels. The 15-passanger party bike provides bar tours in Sacramento.

Eat Play Stay: Capitola, CA

Tune into this episode of Eat Play Stay where we explore Capitola, California and show you our favorite spots to explore near Sacramento.

Blind Kitchen: Let’s Dance

n this episode of “Blind Kitchen,” Chef Nathaniel Zimet of Boucherie and Bourrée goes up against Chef Peter Kusiw of La Provence.

Maddy and Dixie Take Sactown: Treat Yo Self

In this episode of Maddy and Dixie Take Sactown, it’s time to slow things down and feel a little fancy. Maddy and Dixie find unique ways to zen out, indulge in sweet treats, craft artistic hand-painted nail art, and end up on cloud “wine.” Watch the full episode of “Maddy & Dixie Take Sactown” on…

What to do on a Friday Night in Sacramento

We surveyed a few locals to find out where they like to go on a Friday night in Sacramento. What’s your favorite thing to do in the city?

Haunted Hotels in America

13 of the Most Haunted Hotels in America

Interested in spending the night with a specter? Here are 13 of the most haunted hotels in America guaranteed to send shivers up your spine.

pom poms orlando

Poms Poms in Orlando brings a unique twist to old favorites

The sandwich shop in the Milk District also offers authentic salads, a curated tea selection, sweet treats and innovative sake cocktails.

A guide to shopping local in Orlando

You’re sure to find the coolest gifts, authentic and iconic local trinkets from Orlando to bring back home.

Labor Day Events in Orlando

Labor Day Events in Orlando

Say farewell to summer and hello to a long weekend of labor day events in Orlando.