During the holidays, few things are more romantic than a horse drawn carriage ride for two. The clip-clop of the horse’s hooves hitting the pavement, snuggling up with your sweetheart, and riding past beautiful scenery while savoring a cool nip in the air make for a memorable holiday date night. Throughout Central Florida and beyond, there are numerous places to experience holiday horse drawn carriage rides. Make your plans now for a date night this holiday season that is sure to kindle some romance.
As part of the Church Street District’s 30 Days of Christmas in Downtown Orlando, you can embark on a free horse drawn carriage ride. Yep — free! Rides are offered on Thursday and Friday nights between 6-10pm from now until December 27, 2019. Stick around after the ride for more holiday festivities like live entertainment, holiday decor, light shows and hourly snowfall each night from 6-9pm.
During the holiday season, SOUL Haven Ranch offers special holiday horse drawn carriage rides through the historic neighborhood of Winter Garden. These 15-minute rides are focused on Downtown Winter Garden’s holiday decorations and will fill you with holiday cheer. Reservations are available December 7, 13, 14, 20, and 21 from 5:30-9:30pm (last tour departs 9:15pm). Tours are $65 for up to four people and depart from the Winter Garden Downtown Pavilion.
Year round, SOUL Haven Ranch is available for private, 45-minute carriage tours where you’ll view Winter Garden’s beautiful streets and charming historic homes. Make time before or after to stroll through downtown Winter Garden. Perhaps sit down for a meal at one of the lovely restaurants or cafes. Tours depart from Winter Garden Masonic Lodge, across from City Hall. Rates are $40 per couple or $65 for 4 people.
SOUL Haven Ranch also offers a unique getaway experience in a Victorian-style guest house. Linger on the wrap around front porch, enjoy breakfast outside in the shade and get to know the adorable animals on the ranch. You can even take the ranch’s miniature horse for a stroll along the West Orange Trail!
Walt Disney World
Fort Wilderness Campground
Throughout the year you can experience a horse drawn carriage ride through Fort Wilderness Campground at Walt Disney World. This cherished campground is a fun place to visit, even if you aren’t a guest staying there. During the holidays the carriage rides become holiday sleigh rides as the carriage is decorated in festive finery. Plus, it is a tradition for many guests staying at the campground to decorate their campsites for the holidays! Normally reservations for the sleigh rides are made online or on the phone, however, there is construction in the area so sleigh rides are currently being booked on a walk-up basis. The holiday sleigh rides are $84 for up to 4 people.
Port Orleans Resort
The charm of the New Orleans French Quarter and the beauty of riverside manors are yours to enjoy on a horse drawn carriage ride through Disney’s Port Orleans Resort. This 25-minute ride will transport you in a way only Disney could provide. During the holiday season it is extra magical with festive decorations along the route and throughout the resort. Reservations are recommended. The cost is $55 for up to 4 people.
One of the most magical places during the holiday season is the town of Celebration, where nightly snowfall on Market Street creates the perfect setting. From November 30 – December 31, 2019, horse drawn carriage rides are offered from the folks at Misty Blue Acres. Every night from 5-10pm, carriage rides depart from Front Street near the lake. Take your pick from the dreamy Cinderella carriage or festive Christmas sleigh. Rides are offered on a first come, first served basis for $65 for up to 4 people.
One of Central Florida’s most historic areas is St. Cloud. Local carriage company All Hitched Up offers horse drawn carriage rides for date nighters year round, but will be offering special Christmas light tours this year. Call 407-908-8716 for information, availability and cost as space is limited.
To experience how beautiful horse country in Marion County is, book a tour with Horse Country Carriage Co. Tour Ocala in a horse drawn carriage with a colorful local who loves horses. You’ll gain an appreciation for this unique and charming area just outside the hustle and bustle of Central Florida. During the holiday season, you can find Horse Country Carriage Co. in downtown Ocala offering holiday tours most nights now through December 31, 2019 between 6-9pm. Reservations are highly recommended (especially if you prefer a private tour) and can be made by calling 352-727-0900. Holiday tour options include a 15-minute private tour around the Square ($30 for the first two people), a 30-minute private tour through the Historic District to see holiday lights ($75 for first two people) or a 10-minute group wagon ride (Friday and Saturday nights only) around the Square ($5/adult).
Also in Marion County, visiting Grand Oaks Resort feels like being transported to another time and place, yet it is within a 90-minute drive of Orlando. You can enjoy a fantastic horse drawn carriage ride at this sprawling resort whether or not you’re a resort guest. Reservations are required, however. The cost is $90 for up to 6 people. Or, go for the Sunday Triple Crown package which includes a carriage ride, a brunch buffet, and a tour of the horse stables for $33/person.
Oh what fun it will be to have a festive carriage ride in the bustling shopping and dining area of The Avenue Viera. Rides will be offered by Orlando Horse and Carriage December 13, 14, 20 and 21 from 5-8pm. Children under 12 are free and adults are just $5 each. Proceeds benefit Girl Scout Troop 943, so you can have some holly jolly fun and give back to the community.
On the way to the Tampa area you’ll come across Brooksville. The historic downtown area is a lovely place to relish Old Florida charm. During the holidays there are three evenings that holiday carriage rides are offered: December 12, 19, and 20, 2019. Choose from three different carriage options ranging in cost from $5 – $10/person. Reservations may be made in person beginning at 4pm at the Courthouse on the day of the ride.
Feature image credit: SOULHaven Ranch