Taking a vacation and looking for things to do in Orlando?
While you might immediately think ‘Disney World‘, there’s much more than Mickey Mouse in Florida. The city of Orlando, and its surrounding area, has loads more to offer.
We’ve dug out 10 of the best experiences for you to check out while you’re visiting.
Orlando Wetlands Park
First up on our list of things to do in Orlando is its Wetlands Park. The wilderness of Florida is a strong contender as one of the most beautiful places in the USA.
It’s actually a 30-minute drive away from the city, but well worth the trip. Visitors can easily spend 4 or 5 hours spotting alligators and the various birds that make it their home.
Free tram tours led by volunteers take place regularly during each month but check the date before you leave. Arrive early if you want to go on these. The service operates a ‘first come, first served’ basis.
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Jack Kerouac House
The author’s final home where he wrote one of his most famous works: The Dharma Bums. A major figure of the beat generation, he lived in Orlando with his third wife and his mother until his death.
The house itself isn’t large or imposing, but the memories of the author linger in its walls. A must for any literature fan.
Boat Tours Through Winter Park
Winter Park is a city just north of Orlando. The two are so close they’re pretty much integrated, in practice.
There is a chain of lakes around Winter Park and Orlando, and the local company Scenic Boat Tours depart from Winter Park about six times a day.
You’ll be taken to various waterways linking the lakes together, for a unique view of the city and the nature which surrounds it.
Cirque Du Soleil
The world-famous Cirque Du Soleil performs regularly in the Amway Center, which you can find in downtown Orlando. The circus is a highly respected exhibition of some of the most unique talents on the planet.
Spend an enjoyable family evening enjoying the iconic theatrics of the acrobats, followed by dinner in one of the local restaurants.
Choose from chophouses, trendy barbecue joints, tapas, and – of course – hamburgers, as an after-show treat.
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Universal’s Volcano Bay
An alternative to Disney. Not that we’re saying you shouldn’t do Disney too, but everyone knows those.
Volcano Bay is a new (opened in May 2017) water park suitable for the whole family. Includes heated water, body slides, and cabana rentals to make your trip as relaxing as possible.
We were trying to create a list of things to do in Orlando without a theme park. But hey, credit where credit’s due – it’s got some of the best in the world, let alone the country.
When you’re looking for things to do in Orlando, don’t miss out on the chance to take a kayak through the waters of ‘bio bay’.
Certain marine life in the region glows. This is called ‘bioluminescence’, and it’s absolutely unmissable.
You’ll either see glowing plankton or luminous comb jellies, depending on the time of year you visit. So, while it’s different animals, you still have the chance to see the water light up!
Check out these bioluminescence tours to learn more about this amazing experience.
Skydive Without a Plane
Indoor skydiving is a hot new sport. It’s fantastic for those who haven’t quite worked up the nerve (or the cash) to take a jump from an airplane.
After you enter a sealed chamber and get ready, air starts pumping up from underneath you, lifting you off the ground. But not so high!
It’s a great simulation of the real thing, and the more you do it, the more twists and tricks you’ll be able to pull off. There are a couple of these facilities in Orlando but be sure to book ahead – it gets busy.
Tibet-Butler Nature Reserve
For hikers, you really can’t beat the Tibet-Butler Preserve.
Well-trodden trails just southwest of the city promise a great day out. Wind through the woods, between pines, cypress and oak, before emerging to sweeping views of Lake Tibet – which the reserve is named for.
A number of trails are available, which will suit various abilities – and moods.
Or, for those less disposed to walking long distances, check out the nearby golf courses instead!
Skeletons: Museum of Osteology
The Museum of Osteology is a bit of a strange one, you might think, but you may be surprised at how interesting skeletons can be.
The museum features a collection of hundreds of skeletons for you to learn more about when you see them in the flesh. Or rather, see them in the bones.
Alongside the animals, you’ll also find some human skeletons. The museum runs special events such as ‘Forensic Night’, where you can learn more about how crime scene investigators use the clues left behind on bodies to solve cases. And get hands-on with a (replica cast) skull.
Gruesome, but cool!
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Silver Movie Drive-In
Travel back in time with a visit to the last drive-in movie theaters in the county.
The Silver Movie Drive-In has stood since 1948, featuring first-run films on two enormous screens. Tune into the movie using your car stereo or use the provided speakers (if you park in the right place).
A rare experience of retro America.
Looking for More Things to do In Orlando?
You’re unlikely to be stuck for ideas while you’re in town – there’s just so much to do!
Check out our USA travel section for more ideas of what to do during your trip, as well as inspiration for your onward journey.
Have a fantastic vacation!