A visit to the Sunshine State should be on everyone’s travel bucket list, and is a location in the world that is uniquely brilliant. Beautiful weather, friendly locals, plus there’s more attractions and interesting things to do than most places in the world put together! Whether you are after adventure, relaxation, a wild party or a family vacation you’ll sure to find it in Florida. If you’ve booked a stay in Orlando with the idea of making Disney your main focus, here are some additional things to think about. As there’s plenty to do outside of the Disney parks too!
There’s a reason why Disney World in Orlando hailed as the most magical place on earth. With theme parks jam packed with white-knuckle rides, shows, animal experiences and all kinds of other adventures it’s something that children and adults alike absolutely love. The weather is warm, everyone is friendly (get used to everyone saying ‘have a nice day!’) and there’s more to see and do than you could ever fit into one trip. Disney has four theme parks: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom. Each offers unique experiences based on the theme and each one truly is worth a visit. On top of this, you have two epic water parks- Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon. These are the perfect fun- filled way to enjoy the beautiful Florida weather, float on the lazy river on a huge rubber ring or rev up your adrenaline on an exciting water slide! Just be sure to wear plenty of waterproof sunscreen since you’ll be wearing swimwear most of the day. There are a range of Disney hotels which offer transport links directly to the park whether it be by bus, boat or monorail. If you’re staying elsewhere such as on International Drive, you will catch a connecting bus to the parks which take around twenty to thirty minutes.
Non- Disney Parks and Attractions
Along with the awesome Disney parks, there are also a whole host of other attractions in Orlando. Some of the theme parks include the world famous Universal Studios, SeaWorld and Discovery Cove. These can all be accessed easily by bus if you’re staying in Orlando. You could visit Gatorland, a smaller yet extremely interesting and unique experience. You could ride the Coca-Cola eye, or any number of the attractions on International Drive. You have everything from Wonderworks which has over a hundred science exhibits and hand- along with everything from laser tag to a rope course to a ‘6D’ motion ride. You have Ripley’s ‘Believe it or Not’ which houses a massive collection of rare items and unusual objects. There’s the Titanic Artifact Exhibition where you can see genuine items recovered from the ship, as well as attractions like Madame Tussauds and the Kennedy Space Center which are both fun days out for all the family.
If you feel like venturing out of Orlando, it’s just a ninety-minute drive to the beautiful Tampa Bay. You could book a Florida Shuttle Bus by FloridaShuttleNow.com to take you, or you could hire a car and drive yourself. Here you can visit Busch Gardens, the perfect place to ride roller coasters and view some of the world’s most interesting animals. You have Lowry Park Zoo, Florida Aquarium and Big Cat Rescue which again allow you to get up close and personal with animals for an experience that will knock your socks off. Also in Tampa you have all kinds of museums, parks, shopping opportunities, so it’s the perfect place to spend a day of your vacation even if you don’t want to go to a theme park.
As fantastic as Orlando is, there’s one thing it’s missing, and that’s great beaches since it’s a landlocked area. However it’s just a short journey to the beach, and Cocoa Beach is east of Orlando and just an hour’s drive away. If you want a truly chilled out day and a break from the excitement of Orlando, then this is the ideal way to spend a day. Relax under a parasol, take a walk down the pier, explore the shops or wander over to Lori Wilson Park. It’s a stark contrast to roller coasters and sensory overload of the theme parks. The perfect way to relax and revive yourself before heading back to your adventure!
Key West is way out of Orlando. However, it’s well worth making a stop if you’re visiting the Sunshine state. You could book a flight and stay for a day or two at the end of your trip to round things off nicely. In Key West you can go snorkelling in coral reefs, see sharks and swim with wild dolphins amongst other things. It might not be a large area , but it’s packed with things to do and could make the perfect ending to your Florida adventure. You could take a walk through Fort Zachary state park, visit the Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center or the Florida Butterfly and Nature Conservatory to get a close look at some of flora and fauna in the state. Shopaholics will love Mallory Square, a waterfront plaza complete with shops and restaurants- plus it’s great place to watch the sun setting. Key West is the southernmost point of the US mainland, giving it has a fantastic tropical climate year round and even warmer than elsewhere in Florida. Perfect for lounging in the sun and topping up your tan!
So there you have it, just a few of the things to see and do on your Florida vacation. Even if you’re mainly going for Disney, there are so many other attractions and parks not to overlook so be sure to do your research. With so much to do packed into a couple of weeks, it’s worth carefully planning to ensure you get the best out of your trip.
Have you ever visited the Sunshine State?