Planning a trip to the Theme Park Capital? Discover all the best things to do in Orlando Florida including various Orlando attractions that cater to the adventurous kid in everyone!
Orlando Florida attractions consist of world-class theme parks – and so much more.
While a visit to this part of the state will surely lure you into entering magnanimous resorts and braving extreme rides, several Orlando points of interest await the curious bunch.
Read also: Best places to visit in the United States
A quick scan of activities to do in Florida will point you to Orlando’s interesting museums, natural parks and local restaurants.
A trip to Florida to see what’s fun in Orlando doesn’t need to cost you a dime!
There are several free things to do in Orlando Florida.
You have the Winter Park and the Farmers’ Market that takes over the place every Saturday.
You also have the picturesque Lake Eola and Cocoa Beach for a touch of nature.
Scan through our list of all the best things to do in Orlando Florida to see all the Orlando attractions you should not miss.
Best Things to do in Orlando Florida
1. Blue Spring State Park
Recommended by Lori from Travlinmad
Visitors keen to see the wilder side of Orlando should head for the picturesque Blue Spring State Park for a glimpse of Florida in its most natural state.
Getting there is easy — just take I-4 to US 17 N — and one of the most enjoyable Florida road trips around Orlando.
Geographically, Central Florida is situated on a limestone shelf as the peninsula slopes further down to south Florida at sea level.
This natural landscape is filled with underwater caves and crystal blue springs and is why so many outdoor enthusiasts are drawn here.
Blue Spring State Park is one of the prettiest and crystalline springs of all, and one of the area’s most popular natural attractions.
Visitors can spend the day canoeing or kayaking, SCUBA diving, fishing, hiking, and of course swimming in the summer.
Wildlife is also abundant in Blue Spring. In winter, manatees huddle up to stay warm over the warm currents rising from below.
Summer is great for a refreshing swim and you may spot a manatee or two. While you can’t swim with them here, you can kayak near them.
There are also many species of fish in the spring, as well as wading birds, ospreys, eagles and kingfishers. If you love birding, plan a hike along the 4.5-mile Pine Island Trail nearby.
Paddlers can rent canoes and kayaks at the Park any time of year, but winter is the best for spotting manatees.
The Park is open 365 days a year and there’s a small fee for cars to enter with up to 6 people.
2. Swim with Manatees
Recommended by Rachel from Children of Wanderlust
Arguably Florida’s most iconic (and sadly endangered) species, is their very own gentle sea giant, the manatee.
Genetically similar to elephants, manatees are actually extremely intelligent and social creatures, embarking on surprisingly long migrations each year to chase the warmer water and best feeding conditions around the Florida coastline.
Unfortunately, that has left them vulnerable to boat strikes and algal blooms, both of which have decimated the population.
We always try to seek out experiences involving local animals and wildlife wherever we go.
Recently, we’ve just returned from riding camels into the Sahara Desert of Morocco, with our kids. So, when in Florida last year, a chance to swim with manatees was something we just couldn’t resist.
In winter time, groups of manatees (often with young), cluster around spots of warmer water, such as at power station outlets. Another such place is at Crystal River, a 1½ – 2 hour drive west of Orlando.
Here, clear water swells up into the sea from deep underground, raising local sea temperatures just enough for the manatees to survive.
River Ventures, based in Crystal River, offer a range of tours to see the local manatees, also giving a chance to get in the water and swim with these curious creatures.
Tours are well run and the guides extremely knowledgeable – always with a focus on conservation and ensuring that the manatees are not disturbed. If you’re lucky, you can get right up to face to face with them.
We were fortunate enough to encounter a mother and inquisitive calf when we took the trip, creating a truly unforgettable experience that’ll stay with us forever.
Snorkelling tours start from $59, with wetsuit and all equipment provided. Children can take part, but only if you are sure that they are old/sensible enough to be able to stay quiet and calm in the water.
Although it means a really early start, definitely the morning experiences are well worth getting up for, providing a chance to see these beautiful animals in peace and quiet before the crowds arrive.
3. Alexander Springs in the Ocala National Forest
Recommended by Jarrod from Ramble Around the World
For those visitors to Orlando looking to cool off in a more natural way, pushing past the theme park’s water rides, hotel pools, and nearby ocean, Alexander Springs in nearby Ocala National Forest offers a perfect substitute that’ll have you cooling down and relaxing in no time.
Central Florida is the mecca of springs in the United States and Alexander Springs is by far one of the best and most-visited in the entire state.
Its aqua blue waters are crystal clear, which makes them perfect for snorkeling and freediving.
Plus, the naturally flowing springs deep underground means the water is always 72 degrees Fahrenheit year-round, making them perfect anytime between the heat of summer and the not-so-cold Florida winters.
Located just an hour from downtown Orlando, visiting the springs makes for a perfect day trip.
Visitors can choose to lounge on the man-made beach overlooking the sparkling waters, go deep into the 20-foot crevice that’s the highlight of the spring, snorkel the waters or rent a kayak or canoe and take a trip down the coveted Alexander Run.
For those looking for a little more nature than just a quick dip in the springs, Alexander offers three hiking trails, a 22-mile mountain biking loop trail and camping amongst the spruce and pines that’ll set you back just $26.
Alexander Springs sits on federal land and is controlled by the National Forest system, so there is an entrance fee of $6 per person, per day. But it’s well worth the money to experience millions of gallons of flowing waters!
4. Kennedy Space Center
Recommended by Mark from Vogatech
Orlando is the fifth-largest city in the US Federal Republic of Florida. It is located in Orange County. It is one of the most visited destinations in the world for family vacations.
The contents that these beautiful city offers are really diverse, more precisely, there is something for everyone.
The star of the region, however, is The Kennedy Space Center. If you are traveling by car, it is only a 45-minute drive from Orlando.
The center was originally created as part of the Apollo program or Apollo’s mission, where Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed and touched the surface of the Moon.
Afterward, this center evolved and became a real attraction for tourists.
Shuttle Launch Simulator offers audio effects and very realistic simulations for the experience of launching astronauts into space.
It is also possible, with special reservations, of course, to go to lunch and talk to NASA’s veteran astronauts. You can ask them what you want, and they will be happy to share their interesting stories with you.
There are other attractions that you can visit, such as the US Astronaut Hall of Fame. This museum pays tribute to all American astronauts. It contains images and valuable objects that NASA has been collecting for years.
Apollo / Saturn V Center boasts an original Saturn V space rocket. It offers a visit to the famous rocket where you can even touch a stone brought from the surface of the Moon.
IMAX Theater is an unavoidable 3D experience showing various space missions, as well as really amazing images made by the Hubble Space Telescope.
Best Orlando Theme Parks
What is a trip to Florida without going to at least one of the Orlando Theme Parks?
You will be surprised to know that this US state is way more than just the beloved Disney Parks Orlando.
Dubbed as the theme park capital of the world and also the hometown of Mickey Mouse, most of the Orlando attractions consist of top theme parks that will leave the whole family entertained.
Do you want to reminisce about your childhood days? Go and visit the Walt Disney World Resort.
Get to explore the different parks in the area namely the Animal Kingdom, Blizzard Beach Water Park, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, The Magic Kingdom, and Typhoon Lagoon.
Crazy over cinematic thrills? Why not go to the Universal Orlando Theme Park and have a blast at the Universal Studios and the Islands of Adventure.
This world-class destination promises nothing but great rides and fun entertainment.
If unique interaction with marine life is your kind of adventure, then SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment is perfect for you. Enjoy tours around SeaWorld, Aquatica and Discovery Cove.
It’s impossible to mention all the must-visit Orlando Theme Parks without talking about Legoland. This place is for the young and the young at heart!
With all these great places in store for the adventurous type, make sure to go beyond Disney Parks Orlando on your visit to Florida’s theme park capital.
1. Magic Kingdom
Recommended by Pauline from BeeLoved City
No trip to Orlando would be complete without going to Disney World!
Disney World is made of 4 theme parks. The oldest one is Magic Kingdom.
If you want to discover the happiest place in the world and the magic of Disney, Magic Kingdom will be perfect for you.
You can easily get there from Orlando by car. When you get to the entrance, you can either take the Disney boat or tram to the park. They are both good options so you can take one on the way in, the other one on the way out.
Once you get to the park itself, you will walk up Main Street USA to the Cinderella Castle and that’s where the magic happens! Magic Kingdom is made of 5 lands: Adventureland, Liberty Square, Tomorrowland, Frontierland, and Fantasyland.
They are quite different from one another and are all worth checking out. If you are into roller coasters, head to Space Mountain, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, or Big Thunder Mountain.
Disney World can get quite busy so the best way to save time is downloading the app so you can book your FastPass+ as you go.
If you are traveling with kids, you can watch the Disney shows and book a meet and greet with Mickey Mouse or another Disney character.
Finally, make sure you stay in the evening to watch the fireworks.
It’s amazing! They put on a brilliant show with video projections on the castle. On the way out, grab a Mickey Mouse ice-cream! Disney is also about treats!
Recommended by Tori from tori-leigh.com
One of the best things to do in Orlando Florida is to visit Disney’s Epcot.
Often touted as the best Disney World theme park for adults, Epcot is a celebration of technological and cultural achievements, with thrill rides, dining, and shopping equally as highlighted.
Epcot is divided into two main park areas. Future World keeps a focus on technology, science, and innovation.
Theme park goers can enjoy rides celebrating vehicle testing, flying, agriculture, space travel, and ocean exploration. Of course, family-favorite Disney characters grace the park with their presence, as well.
On the other side of the park sits the World Showcase. Around a man-made lagoon, visitors can “travel” to 11 countries: Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Morocco, Japan, the USA, Italy, Germany, China, Norway, and Mexico.
Each country offers architectural replicas of famous buildings, authentic shopping, dining, bars, and cultural experiences, such as rides, movies, and shows.
Epcot hosts multiple annual events that attract visitors from around the globe. The annual International Flower and Garden Festival takes place every spring and showcases beautifully designed and sculpted flower and shrub arrangements, including Disney characters.
Each fall, the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival features gourmet food and wine events. In addition to the eleven permanent country pavilions, kiosks showcasing various other countries, and their food and drink, line the World Showcase.
Festival-goers can enjoy sampling fare from around the world, attending seminars, and participating in tastings.
Whether visiting during one of these popular special events or on a family Disney vacation, Epcot has a lot to offer adults and families alike.