The city of Orlando in Florida is an amazing holiday destination for every kind of traveller. It’s famous as the home of Disney World, but there is so much more to see and do that many people overlook. Whether you’re traveling with friends or family and whether you’re looking for relaxation or adventure, this city has plenty of activities and experiences to enjoy.
With sunshine, beautiful beaches, incredible landscapes, fascinating wildlife, theme parks, golf courses, and world-class shopping, you’ll probably have a hard time fitting everything in. To help you narrow down your itinerary, here are some of the top 10 things to do in Orlando, Florida.
1. Stay in a Luxury Villa
Your first choice will probably be where you should stay while in Orlando. There are plenty of hotels to choose from which will suit just about every budget, but for a more luxurious experience, you might want consider renting a villa. A villa provides you and your family or friends with far more space, kitchen facilities, bedrooms, private outdoor space and often your own pool. Florida villa holidays are a great choice for travellers who want a home from home which they can return to at the end of a long day of fun and exploration, especially those who have young children.
2. Spend the Day at Universal Orlando
Universal Orlando is a huge attraction for many visitors to Florida, and for good reason. It’s arguably one of the best theme parks in the world, with not only some of the US’s biggest rollercoasters but also Universal Studios. There you can take a studio tour and enjoy plenty of attractions and exhibits about the movie industry. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is a must-see for any fan of the books or movies. You can ride the Hogwarts Express, find your very own wand and even try some delicious (non-alcoholic) Butterbeer.
3. Visit the Crocs at Gatorland
Florida is well-known for being the home of a high number of crocodiles and alligators, so much so that the state’s mascot is an alligator. Don’t miss the chance to get close to these amazing creatures, as well as lots of other reptiles, at Gatorland. There is also a zipline which gives you a breathtaking ride across the park if you’re feeling particularly adventurous.
4. Catch the Stars at Kennedy Space Centre
Some people avoid museums while they’re on holiday, but even those people might be tempted to give the Kennedy Space Centre a try. What’s more intriguing than space travel and US astronauts landing on the moon? The Kennedy Space Centre is an active base for NASA but also acts as a museum on the history of space exploration. You can take a tour around the launch pad, see some amazing artefacts including spacecraft and even try an astronaut training experience.
5. Try Some Retail Therapy at Citywalk
In the mood for shopping or a simple stroll with your loved ones? Make the most of Florida’s sunny weather by indulging yourself at Citywalk. It’s an outdoor shopping centre including restaurants and entertainment as well as a wide range of shops. There is so much going on during the day, and at night it comes to life even more with some of the best nightlife the city of Orlando has to offer.
6. Spend a Lazy Day at Discovery Cove
Discovery Cove is a water park and resort, which is quite different from your usual selection of water slides and pools. Discovery Cove gives you access to white-sand beaches, winding rivers, waterfalls, tropical lagoons, and unlimited food and drinks. Not only that, you have the opportunity to interact with incredible animals from otters and tropical birds to snorkelling with fish and, in some packages, swimming with dolphins. That means you can spend the day lounging in the sun, floating down the river, or discovering an underwater wonderland, so it really is the perfect destination for all the family.
7. Explore the Wekiva River
If you’d prefer to enjoy water in a more natural way, you should get yourself to the Wekiwa Springs State Park and explore the Wekiva River. It’s about an hour outside of Orlando, but it offers picnic space and 13 miles of trails. Simply hire a kayak or a canoe and see where the current takes you.
8. Indulge Your Childish Side at LEGOLAND
Whether you have children, or you simply have a childish side, LEGOLAND is just a 45-minute drive from Orlando and sure to delight. It is, of course, entirely dedicated to LEGO from the building blocks to LEGO movies and Ninjago TV series. In addition to the incredible statues and structures built from LEGO, there are also plenty of rides and even a water park. It’s worth noting that the rides are aimed at younger children for the most part.
9. Relax in Winter Park
Time to start winding down? If you’re looking for somewhere that’s off the beaten track to relax and doesn’t require an admission fee to get over all the excitement, Winter Park is ideal. It’s a charming area of Orlando which is less busy than others but still has plenty to offer from boutique shopping, outdoor restaurants, and cafes, and even a stunning lake that you can take a boat ride across. On Saturdays there is also a farmer’s market where you can find delicious food and fresh local produce.
10. Head to Cocoa Beach
No holiday in Florida would be complete without a trip to the beach, and if you manage to do all of these Orlando activities during your holiday, you’ll be needing at least a day or 2 to relax. The perfect place to do this is Cocoa Beach, which is around an hour away from Orlando in a car. There is parking at the beach and plenty of space, and during the high season there are also lifeguards, so it’s perfect for families. It’s also a great place to surf or watch the surfers at Canaveral Pier.