Orlando, Florida is a great vacation destination for couples, families and more that want to enjoy theme parks, beaches, nature and a wide variety of entertainment. Located in the heart of Florida, Orlando is actually home to more than 50 theme parks and attractions spread across almost 4,000 square miles. With so many things to do, it’s hard to know where to start and planning a trip here can be overwhelming. The good news is that there is something for everyone and with such a diverse range of available activities, it’s difficult not to have a rewarding visit to this destination.
Here’s a list of some of the best ways to enjoy your vacation in Orlando…
Go to Disney World
Disney World is the most popular theme park in the world, and it’s easy to see why. There are four parks: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom. Each of these theme parks features rides and shows that will excite children and adults alike. You could easily fill up your vacation simply by visiting these four parks. Naturally, if you are coming to Orlando for a vacation, visiting at least one park is probably on your mind. And you should. Choose the one or two that match your interests the most and then spend the rest of your vacation at other places in the region, without the crowds and lines.
Take an Airboat tour through the swamps
For a different kind of excursion, why not join one of the airboat tours that take you through the wilderness of the Central Florida Everglades. You’ll encounter a combination of wildlife and beautiful nature, while enjoying time away from the city itself. Alligators are frequently seen as you zoom through the wetlands.
There are many options as well. You can take a short tour, longer tour, sunset tour, night tour or even a private tour just for your family or group of friends. Either way, if you love spending time in nature, this is an experience that should be on your list.
Visit the beach
You can visit the beach anywhere in Florida, and the beaches near Orlando are certainly not to be missed. Only 45 minutes away, you can easily reach places such as Cocoa Beach (a surfing haven!), Cape Canaveral (relaxed beach) and the expansive sands of New Smyrna Beach.
Each beach offers its own vibe, along with activities such as renting a boat, surfing, stand-up paddle boarding, fishing, manatee sighting and more. You could even rent a bike and ride along the coast, passing through quiet neighborhoods and chilled-out town centers, finding no shortage of places to eat along the way. Rarely crowded the way that Miami Beach can get, these beaches offer a great day trip from Orlando in order to ensure you don’t leave Florida without having taken a swim!
Stay at a resort
If you’re traveling with kids, a resort stay can be an ideal option. With a lot of pre-planned activities at these resorts, it makes for an easier time since you won’t have to plan out every minute of the day on your own. Staying at such a resort also eliminates the need to find a place to eat for every meal.
All-inclusive resorts offer great value in many cases – especially when all food and drinks are included – so they are perfect for those on a budget. There are many resorts to choose from in Orlando, such as Westgate Resorts, and it’s worth looking through them all to see which one suits your family or group the best.
Visit the Kennedy Space Center
Only a 45 minute drive from central Orlando, the Kennedy Space Center is a great place to learn about the history of space travel. The center has an extensive museum and interactive exhibits that allow visitors to get a better understanding of how astronauts train for space flight, as well as how they live in space. You can see real rockets and other space vehicles there, too.
You can take tours of both launch pads (where rockets were launched) and flight decks (where they landed).
Even better, check the schedule in advance to see if you’ll be in Florida during an actual launch. If you are, head to the pier in the nearby town of Port Canaveral and watch the launch live. It’s a spectacular event to witness as you observe the rocket burst into the sky, with the sonic boom that soon passes over land.
Crystal River kayak tour
The crystal clear waters of Crystal River await anyone looking for a pristine slice of nature to marvel at. Hop in a kayak and enjoy a guided tour along this magical river, with two variations depending on the time of year you’re there. If you’re in Orlando during the winter months, you’ll have an excellent chance of seeing manatees as hundreds of them make this river their home in order to escape the cold. During the rest of the year, you’ll have an opportunity to visit several springs, including the famous Three Sisters Spring. You can swim in the beautiful water, look for dolphins, turtles and fish and paddle among some of the most impressive scenery in the entire state.
Spend time at Universal Studios
Universal Studios is another one of the more popular places to visit in Orlando of course. But it’s popular for a reason. It’s home to some of the most exciting rides and entertainment in the city and provides are more interactive experience, with activities that take you into the world of ET, Harry Potter, the Minions, Transformers, Fast and Furious and so much more.
With rollercoasters, rides, live shows and plenty of shopping and dining, it’s not surprising that you could easily fill up two days at Universal Studios alone.
Get wet at Aquatica
When you visit Orlando, getting wet at a water park is a very fun way to pass an afternoon. The water park Aquatica is particularly popular given its range of waterslides, rapids and more. There’s 13 different slides and water experiences to choose from!
Reef Plunge is a waterslide that actually takes you underwater to observe marine life and Riptide Race is the world’s tallest dueling waterslide. There’s also pools where you can simply relax, dining options and a lazy river to float down in order to enjoy some real calm vibes.
Experience the outdoors at Bok Tower Gardens
If you’re looking for another excursion out of the city, pay a visit to the Bok Tower Gardens approximately 1 hour away. This serene 250 acre garden is designed to offer a contemplative experience for visitors, right at the top of Iron Mountain. You can wander through the Olmsted Gardens, with over 126 different species of birds, and you can view the Singing Tower, with its impressive carillon (an instrument consisting of 23+ bells). You can also take a walk on over 2 miles of nature trails in order to learn about the unique upland savanna-like ecosystem that sits on one of the highest points in Florida.
If the hustle and bustle of Orlando gets to be too much, Bok Tower Gardens could be the answer to help you re-balance.
It goes without saying that there are endless ways to create a memorable Orlando vacation. As you can see, from theme parks and beaches, to hiking and boating, to nature and wildlife…and beyond, it’s hard to find a destination that offers such a variety of experiences. As a result, you simply need to look at the long list of options and figure out what suits you the most so that you can plan a fun-filled trip to this world-famous vacation destination!
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