Day Trips From Orlando
When it comes to vacation activities and attractions, Orlando has it all. World-class theme parks, dozens of attractions, great entertainment and a vibrant nightlife, restaurants to please any palate, great accommodations and more all welcome visitors to Orlando from around the world.
More and more savvy travelers are learning about the many reasons to venture outside of the Orlando area to experience the Sunshine State’s offerings. People are taking day trips from Orlando to take advantage of Florida’s beauty and rich heritage.
Why take a daytrip from Orlando?
There are many reasons visitors hop in the car for an hour or so roadtrip through the state of Florida.As exciting as the theme parks and attractions are, sometimes it’s fun (and healthy!) to take a break from the busy parks, the crowds and all the action.
Why not experience more of the amazing Florida outdoors, where you can visit any of the wildlife parks or try a thrilling airboat ride that will take you to the headstream of the famous Florida Everglades? Or pack up your swimsuit and visit the world renowned beaches of the Florida east or west coast.
A quick ride to Kennedy Space Center offers a unique deep dive into our space program and shuttle launch experience, while a trip to the north takes you back in time with a visit to St. Augustine, the oldest city in America and a European-styled town with museums, old forts, cobbled streets, and exceptional restaurants.
All of these riches are within an hour or two drive from Orlando and more and more visitors are venturing out to add variety and depth to their Florida vacations.
You don’t have to travel far to swim in the clear blue Atlantic or catch the waves with your friends. In an hour, you can be sunbathing along the coastline of some of the most beautiful beaches in Florida. To help you plan your exploration of this exquisite region, here is a list of some of the greatest beaches in Florida.
To the East
If you want something exclusive and unique, Daytona is a great beach spot for you. It’s an amazing place to get away from the hustle and bustle of Orlando. It offers an incredible beach boardwalk that is ideal for families who want a full beach experience, complete with carnival rides, games, and dining options in front of the beach. And as a bonus for NASCAR fans, Daytona is the home of NASCAR races and the Daytona 500.
To the West
Clearwater Beach truly lives up to its name by offering crystal blue waters. Imagine white sugar sand and blue water because that’s exactly what this beach will give you. It’s home to some of the most attractive coastline in Florida and offers travelers a chance to swim in the beautiful and warm Gulf of Mexico. Soak up all the gorgeous surroundings of Clearwater with a meal or two in one of the excellent seaside restaurants while enjoying a nice view of the bay.
To the South
Miami - South Beach
Miami offers both beaches and skyscrapers, with countless opportunities for entertainment – no wonder it is the home of so many millionaires from around the world. Aside from the amazing homes along the water and great “people watching” on Collins Avenue, Miami offers a plethora of cutting edge dining and entertainment options along its world famous beach.
Ft Lauderdale - The Venice of America
The iconic Greater Fort Lauderdale area deserves its nickname as the Venice of America. It boasts over 300 miles of canals that lace through the city, offering a mixture of edginess and romance.
A highly-recommended activity in the city is a ride on a water taxi that travels the canals of Fort Lauderdale. Do your pub crawl by boat! The three-hour ride will offer you a fabulous perspective of your surroundings and Ft. Lauderdale Beach is amazing.
Kennedy Space Center
One of the most popular day trips from Orlando is the Kennedy Space Center. Fans of space and rockets – and even those that are not – will have a great time touring at this popular NASA facility. It has plenty of attractions including 3D IMAX movies, launch pads, rocket exhibits, astronaut encounters, and even the touching memorial of legendary fallen heroes of NASA.
Some of the popular exhibits in the center are Space Shuttle Atlantis, Rocket Garden tour, and a bus tour at Kennedy Space Center and Apollo/Saturn V Center. The facility also offers astronaut training experiences and up-close tours. It’s best to arrive early to get the most out of everything the Space Center offers. You may even get to chat with an astronaut!
St. Augustine Florida
St. Augustine is a favorite tourist destination among visitors and local Floridians alike. This is an ancient European-settled town founded in 1565. For the history or architecture junkie, this place is paradise! Everyone will appreciate the charming cobblestone streets along the National Historic Landmark District, the many local museums and the towns Spanish colonial vibe.
Highly-recommended activities in St. Augustine include visiting the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, amazing Flagler College which was formerly a luxurious Flagler Hotel, Fort Matanzas, Lightner Museum, St. Augustine Lighthouse and Maritime Museum, and Mission of Nombre de Dios. Exploring the town will be exciting and will give you a new appreciation for the history of our country.
If walking is not your style, hop on the trolley that runs all day and takes you to many of the best spots, or take a cruise around Matanzas Bay to see some of the greatest sites from a different perspective. There are plenty of places to shop and dine after a day filled with sightseeing or you can continue your trip to one of the white-sand beaches in town. The possibilities are endless!
One of the best natural attractions in Florida are the Everglades. Take advantage of the opportunity to experience its magnificent and enchanting flora and fauna and meet its most popular resident – the American alligator. Hold on tight to the airboat and watch out for these sly creatures as they swim along the murky water with their heads slightly exposed on the surface.
You’ll also get to watch live animal handling show to see experts in action! You must experience this once in a lifetime opportunity in Florida Everglades.
Blue Springs State Park
Blue Springs State Park is the heart of a first-magnitude spring which is one of the biggest winter gathering abode for wild manatees in Florida. Travelers can view hundreds of manatees swimming in the 72-degree spring water during the winter season. Manatees cannot withstand water temperatures that are lower than 68 degrees which is why they look for warm water in order to survive.
Though manatees appear plump and fat, they only have approximately one inch of fat in their body and they have an extremely slow metabolism. This means that it is difficult for them to stay warm. This natural body chemistry makes Blue Spring an ideal survival place for manatees and a great place to see this wonder!
Legoland Theme Park and Water Park
Legoland is on the long list of theme parks in or near Orlando. Children from two to 12 years old will love visiting this 150-acre land devoted to all things LEGO related, with over 50 rides, a botanical garden, and live shows. And of course, the place is surrounded by LEGO everywhere you look. It offers DUPLO-themed area and LEGO building activities that are specifically made for toddlers.
If you visit during the right season, you can take a dip at the waterpark full of water slides, a wave pool, and Build-A-Raft lazy river. Your kids will thank you for taking them to this awesome place!
Bok Towers Garden
Concealed among the stunning gardens surrounded by endangered species of plants is Bok Tower, a glorious monument that has been standing since 1929.
Their signature is the bell that chimes daily at 1 pm and 3 pm. In the garden you’ll see two marvelous walking trails, allowing visitors to embrace the peacefulness offered by these surroundings. This garden is more than just its aesthetics. Inside the tower you’ll get a fascinating history lesson about how the tower was built.
The Devil’s Den spring boasts 33 million-year-old fossil beds that you can swim along – something you don’t get to do every day! Devil’s Den is a breathtaking underground cave with a natural hot spring and a chimney that leads outside.
The spring got its name from the steam rising out of the chimney during cold mornings of winter. To upgrade your day trip to Orlando, travel to the Devil’s Den for diving and snorkeling activities.
If you’re done with the adrenaline-rushing theme parks and bustling city action, Mount Dora will give you the break you crave. It offers tranquil country inns, lakes, a railroad station, quaint shops and a wide array of great dining options. This quiet town is the perfect destination for the antique junkie.
Shops sell both valuable items and collectibles, nostalgic antiques, and prized jewelry. The downtown area of Mount Dora is lined with gourmet restaurants, bed and breakfast inns, outdoor coffee shops, wineries, and galleries.
Tampa St Pete - Check out a Tampa Bay Rays game while you’re there!
“The Trop” or the Tropicana Field opened its doors for baseball back in 1996. The Tropicana Field is the home of the Tampa Bay Rays of Major League Baseball. The indoor turf field and dome make up the legendary look of the field. Maybe your team will be in town!
Weeki Wachee Springs - The Mermaid Show
No one is too old to see a mermaid show, especially if it’s held in Weeki Wachee Springs. Seize the opportunity to see this magical mermaid show, a staple of “old Florida” for years.
These are just some examples of the great day trips that are all within a short drive from Orlando. Mix and match your vacation itinerary with some of the more popular attractions and parks. Make the most of your time in Florida with any of these exciting experiences.