Get hands-on while learning how to craft amazing designs at Board & Brush in Apollo Beach.

Don’t want to drive all the way to Tampa? Here are 12 local date ideas for weekend adventures or date night fun.

The Florida Strawberry Festival is back starting Thursday, February 29 and will be serving up fun until Sunday, March 10. There are some great musicians performing this year, including the Black Eyed Peas, Parker McCollum, ZZ Top and many more from every genre. On top of all the great musical performances, get your adrenaline rush at the 80 carnival rides and games, make a stop at the livestock show or dig into tasty treats. Take a stroll through the Neighborhood Village, which is dedicated to homemade items handcrafted by people in the community. The festival is open every day from 10 a.m.-10 p.m., and entry is only $15 per adult. To learn more or buy tickets to one of the performances, visit

If you’re looking for something to do outside, visit Alafia River State Park to enjoy some of its many activities. Alafia River State Park has a full-service bike shop that offers rentals, repair services and lessons at the park. With bike trails for beginners and advanced riders, everyone can try off-road bicycling. You can also hike, bird-watch, fish, geo-seek or canoe in the river. Alafia River State Park also offers glamping rentals with queen-size beds, solar power, games and a cooking station. The park is open every day from 8 a.m. until sundown, and entry is $5 per vehicle.

Take a trip to the Parkesdale Market, where you can enjoy delectable strawberry treats and even pick your own fresh strawberries. From January until mid-April, Parkesdale has an extensive strawberry menu, including things like strawberry shortcake with ice cream, a strawberry milkshake and a big bowl of sweetened berries. Parkesdale also has a shop where you can purchase fruits, home decor, salsa and sauces, seasonings, nut butters, plants and more. From now until April, stop by and pick a bucket of fresh-grown strawberries starting at just $4. Walk-ins are welcome, but you can also reserve a u-pick time online. To reserve a spot, visit

If you’re looking for something a little different, enjoy dinner at Sunflower Cafe and then make a stop at iSmash to let out some tension. Sunflower Cafe is located on Lithia Pinecrest Road in Valrico and serves authentic Japanese cuisine. Specializing in sushi and hibachi, Sunflower Cafe has a menu that is bound to impress. Afterward, head over to iSmash where you can hammer and smash glass bottles, electronics and even car windshields. iSmash provides all the safety gear you will need during your session; sessions start at $39 and can be reserved online. iSmash also offers ‘splatter paint’ sessions where you can spend up to 50 minutes splattering paint on a canvas that you get to take home. You can also spend the evening axe throwing, starting at just $20. To book your night at iSmash visit

Clean out your closet, stop by ECHO Thrift on Bloomingdale Avenue and donate your old clothes. This thrift store supports the efforts of ECHO to supply clothing or food as well as job coaching, financial counseling and more to neighbors in need in our community. Every $10 spent at the thrift store provides a meal for a family of five. Afterwards, walk over to bin + board for a predinner snack and a glass of wine, then head to The Stein & Vine, where you can enjoy an amazing dinner. The Stein & Vine offers a unique menu with items like Korean hogfish tacos and a Dubai camel burger.

Take a drive to Keel Farms and enjoy a delicious glass of wine or beer while relaxing in the sunshine. Enjoy live music every weekend, trivia on Tuesdays, Pilates in the garden and all types of other events. You can also roam the 25-acre farm and visit animals, learn about operations or take a look at the blueberry fields. Buy tickets now to Valentine’s in the Vines for a Valentine’s Day dinner and cozy up with a free drink, a three-course meal and a dessert bar. Tickets are $75 per person and can be purchased online at

Enjoy the beautiful Florida weather before the summer heat with dinner and a drive-in movie. Stop for dinner at La Septima Cafe and enjoy a classic taste of old Ybor with Spanish rice and beans, ropa vieja or a Cuban sandwich and enjoy a slice of flan or guava cheesecake. Next, get down to the Ruskin Family Drive-In Theatre for a 7:30 p.m. or 10:10 p.m. movie showing. Entry is $7 per person, and classic movie treats can be purchased at the snack bar. Check the website at for current movies.

Take a romantic sunset eco cruise with Latitudes Tours in Ruskin and then enjoy dinner and drinks from the Salty Shamrock. The sunset cruise starts about an hour and a half before sunset and travels down the Little Manatee River. Learn about the local history while catching a glimpse of wildlife. Once the cruise is over, stop by the Salty Shamrock and have a traditional Irish meal and beer while enjoying live music.

Make Tuesday night fun with Fuzzy’s Taco Shop and Topgolf. Fuzzy’s Taco Shop offers a big menu with everyone’s favorite Mexican classics. Whether you like nachos, tacos or enchiladas, there is something you will definitely love. Then, challenge your partner to a friendly game at Topgolf with 50 percent off Tuesday games. Play a traditional game or choose one of the different game styles on the screen.

Enjoy a drive out to downtown Plant City and try a new restaurant, shop at some of the local stores or plan your date for one of the awesome events. With 20 places to eat and drink at and over 40 shops, spending an entire evening in downtown Plant City is very easy. Come out on the last Friday of every month and shop for handmade and local vendors, listen to live music in McCall Park, stop by the Main Street Kids zone and more. Visit for more information.

If you love a classic night, enjoy dinner and bowling right here in Brandon. Start the evening with dinner at Strandhill Public for drunken mussels, an Irish whiskey burger or classic fish and chips. Strandhill Public also has some great traditional Irish beers and whiskey options. After dinner, visit Pin Chasers and compete in a game or two of bowling. Each game is as little as $9.99 per person, or play by the hour for $15.99. Visit to reserve a lane.

Get crafty at Board & Brush in Apollo Beach and buy tickets to one of the crafting events. Workshops are an exciting two hours of building and crafting while sipping on a complimentary glass of wine or beer. Crafters can choose from one of over 400 custom designs to make, and all the supplies are provided. The instructor leads you through the process and teaches you how to sand, stain, stencil and complete each wooden project. Whether you are a beginner DIY-er or a seasoned crafter, everyone can enjoy a night at Board & Brush. Buy tickets to a workshop at

From outdoor adventures to relaxing at the winery, there are so many great local options for date nights. Exploring the community and finding new and exciting things to do right in your backyard is a great way to get out and enjoy some time with that special someone.

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