Many potential vacationers wishing to go to Orlando might instantly think Disney World, and either dismiss it right away or decide that’s where their next trip will be. But, what many travelers don’t know is that there’s so much more to Orlando than theme parks and Mickey Mouse. The city has plenty to offer all types of travelers looking for a vacation destination in this sun-kissed part of the country. Here’s a list of activities for you to add to your itinerary that are beyond the world famous theme parks!
Experience the Florida Swamp Lands
The city of Orlando is brimming with natural attractions; it has a unique blend of sunny beaches and backyard swamp lands where alligators roam. Head out for a fun-filled day to Gatorland to get up-close and personal with some giant reptiles, and don’t forget to go on the Screamin’ Gator Zip Line where you soar through the air above alligators and crocodiles! For a different type of swampland excursion, go on an airboat tour of the Central Everglades — you might even come across a nice gator or two in the process.
Get Out in the Water
There are more than just a bunch of water parks in the Orlando area. Join the aquatic fun and hop on a jet ski, or go out for a scuba diving adventure. For you fishermen (and women) out there, you can enjoy a day of deep-sea fishing aboard a proper boat or even rent a nice boat to cruise in for the day.
See Orlando from Great Heights
If you’re not afraid of heights, add a bit of excitement to your trip by seeing the city of Orlando from above. A number of operators run hot air balloon rides, hang gliding services, and skydiving. If you’d rather enjoy a bird’s eye view of Disney World and this central Florida area in general from a more enclosed space, small plane air tours, such as those from Mauiva Air Tours (located on Kissimmee Ranger Aviation Airport), will give you that opportunity.
Experience the Artsy Side
From mystery dinner shows to museums, performing arts, and galleries, Orlando offers a more artistic flair to that standard Mickey Mouse vacation. Head out for a day of history, an afternoon orchestra, or try an evening at the Orlando Ballet. For entertainment, check out The Orlando Shakespeare Theater, which offers a mix of Shakespeare, Broadway, and local productions for all types of audiences.
Plan a Night Out on the Town
The nightlife ranges from comedy clubs to nightclubs, so pack your sense of humor or a party dress and nap up in advance! The Corona Cigar Company and Diamond Crown Cigar Lounge is a place where you try out new cigars with a glass of whiskey. You can find a little bit of Vegas in the Seminole Hard Rock Casino over in Tampa or in the Victory Casino Cruises over in Cape Canaveral. Finally, nothing beats the Florida humidity better than a stop at the ICEBAR, where everything is served in ice cube glasses amidst ice sculptures and North Pole signs.
Know of any other activities (other than theme parks) to do in Orlando? Tell us in the comments!