So you think Orlando is all theme parks?
Think again here's the top things to do outside the big name parks.
Now don’t come after me theme park fans, I love them as much as you and there are none better than the massive attractions in Orlando. But sometimes maybe you just want a change of pace, if thats the case, here are the top things to do in Orlando outside the theme parks.
You’re in Orlando ( You’re lucky! I’m jealous) and you’re looking for things to do outside the main theme parks and wondering where to start? well I’d start by heading over to Florida State Parks Website and checking out what they have to offer.
Aside from the tranquility of nature a short drive from Orlando’s hustle and bustle, most offer water activities such as kayaking or tubing in their beautiful warm spiring rivers.
My central Florida favourites are Blue Springs State Park, where you can swim, tube and kayak and its a haven for manatees which are just adorable.
If you are looking for something a bit less tranquil then try Weeki Wachee park, which offers live mermaid shows and features a splash park with water slides. It’s great for all ages but it does get busy in the summer months so it’s worth getting in early as once it’s at capacity, like all state parks, it will not let anyone else in.
Another option for places to visit in Orlando outside the parks, are its gorgeous beaches. Cocoa beach is a favourite of ours, in fact it’s where we got engaged. Set on the gorgeous Atlantic Space Coast, Cocoa Beach, home of the Ron Jon Surf Shop is a paradise for surfers and its historic pier has a range of bars and restaurants. My favourite for a quick beach bite is SeaDogs offering amazing hotdogs amongst other tasty delights.
Across on the gulf coast is clearwater, another tourist hotspot featuring beautiful white sand and turquoise sea. Attractions here include Seascreamer which combines the best of a speedboat ride and dolphin tour and the Clearwater Aquarium, but the best attraction of all is the beach itself.
If you fancy zipping along across the everglades on an airboat. Getting in to areas you’d never see otherwise. Experience spotting alligators in their natural habitat. As well as having your own personal commentary about the area from your knowledgeable captain. Boggy Creek Airboat tours is one of the best with coastguard approved boats and a replica Native American village on site. Wild florida is another favourite with an onsite gator park and drive thru safari in addition to the airboats.
Not one of my favourite, I’m not really in to guns at all, but it’s always a popular activity for my partner and teenage kids to do in Orlando outside the parks. I usually take the car and take myself off shopping whilst they shoot targets. Their favourite is Shooters World a 74,000 square foot shooting range which has 58 shooting lanes, and welcomes foreign visitors.
I’m absolutely dying to try this out on our upcoming visit (covid-19 permitting) Nona Adventure Park! This amazing park offers a high ropes course, a cable wakeboard park and a massive inflatable water assault course for an amazing all inclusive price currently $60 a person per day. There are also opportunities to do paddle boarding and kayaking. It looks to be a fun full day out for any water lover and I cant wait to try it.
When we’re trying to do Orlando outside the main theme parks, we usually end up visiting the malls, chilling at our villa pool and generally taking in the whole experience.
In the past we’ve visited, the Kennedy space centre which is always worth a few visits and taken day trips to Daytona and Sarasota to name a few.
If you’re looking for other activities in Orlando and central Florida, I can highly reccommend the Brit Guide to Orlando, it’s published every year and I’m on my third copy now i think. Its so easy to read and stuffed full of ideas, you can buy it here from amazon, (I’ll get a tiny bit of cash back if you buy through this link)