Five Fun-Filled Days in Orlando
Orlando is known throughout the world as a family vacation destination, primarily because Central Florida is home to Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, and SeaWorld Orlando. Add them up and you have seven major theme parks all within a few miles of each other in Central Florida.
Many people don’t realize, however, that there’s a lot to do in this vacation paradise in addition to visiting those world-famous theme parks. Compared to most of the U.S., the weather is warmer in the winter, and you get sunshine almost every day throughout the rest of the year. That’s why many visitors to the area like to get out and explore other ways to have fun in Orlando, especially if they come here frequently.
So with that in mind, we’ve got a 5-day, fun-filled itinerary for your Orlando vacation. You and your family are going to have a lot of fun, so you’ll want to be able to relax at the end of each day. We recommend renting a vacation home, instead of staying in a hotel. You’ll have a lot more space to stretch out and relax, and you can park your car in a driveway, instead of a parking lot. And you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how reasonable the prices are compared to the local hotels.
No trip to Orlando would be complete without at least one trip to a theme park, especially if you’re traveling with children. So pick the one you most want to see and spend the first day there. At Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando, there are ticket options that allow you to see multiple parks on the same day, so you can ride as many roller coasters as you fit into the day.
After a full day at the parks, you might want to dial down the excitement just a bit, so this is a good day go low key and check out either Disney Springs or Universal CityWalk. You’ll find a lot of interesting places to shop for souvenirs and gifts, grab a bite to eat, or see a movie. In fact, at the AMC DINE-IN Disney Springs 24, you can even order food from a full menu of entrees, appetizers and desserts and enjoy them during the show. If you’re traveling without young children, you might also enjoy a day strolling Park Avenue in downtown Winter Park. While there isn’t much to keep the little ones interested, this stretch of about a half mile is home to a wide range of upscale shops, unique restaurants, small cafes and eclectic galleries you’re sure to enjoy.
By the third day, you’ll be ready for a day at the beach! There are several great beaches that are an hour or so from the tourist areas of Central Florida. The closest is Cocoa Beach, which is about an hour away. This little beach town is home to the world-famous Ron Jon Surf Shop, which is close enough to the beach that you can park there, check out the store, then walk down to the beach. Daytona Beach, one of the most famous beaches in the world, takes about an hour and a half to get to, but when you get there, you’ll have a lot of fun. New Smyrna Beach is also a good option and is a little over an hour’s drive away.
A hidden secret in the Orlando area is the large number of eco-tourism opportunities. The geography is relatively flat with plenty of rivers and lakes, and large parts of the region are still in their pristine natural state. With a simple online search, you can easily find about a half dozen state parks, many of which have hiking trails. The closest of these is Lake Louisa in Clermont, where you can see six beautiful lakes, rolling hills, and scenic landscapes. If you’re feeling really adventurous, there are a lot of companies that provide airboat tours of Central Florida’s many waterways. And if you want to safely see an alligator in the wild, the airboat guides are pretty good at finding them!
In addition to “The Big Three,” Orlando has quite a few smaller attractions that are a lot of fun, as well as being a lot less expensive than the major theme parks. At Gatorland, for example, you’ll see dozens of displays with alligators and crocodiles throughout the park. You can even get a bird’s eye view of the park on the Screamin’ Gator Zipline. Another option is to check out all the weird oddities at Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! Museum on International Drive. And if you’re interested in the space program, make the drive over to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex and learn about the past, present and future of space exploration.
In addition to these activities, Central Florida is also a great place to play a round of golf, enjoy a day at a spa, take in an exciting dinner show, cool off at a water park, or go to a concert. No matter what you decide to do, you and your family are sure to have a lot of fun in Orlando!