Every year, tens of millions of people visit Orlando, one of the most popular tourist destinations in the entire United States. The city is home to numerous world-renowned theme parks, nature preserves, a fantastic culinary scene, endless golf courses, and more hotels than it knows what to do with. These attributes make Orlando one of the best places you can take your family on vacation or if you’re a solo traveler, they virtually guarantee that you’ll never run out of things to do.
However you decide to get around—whether by local transit, bike rental, rideshare services, or by car—you’re going to have an unforgettable time soaking up the sights and sound of the city.
Tibet-Butler Nature Preserve
When people think of Orlando, they think of theme parks. While you definitely shouldn’t miss out on them, you should take some time to immerse yourself in Florida’s remarkable wildlife. If you’re in the Orlando area, the best way to do this is the Tibet-Butler Nature Preserve, a 440-acre plot of land with peaceful lake views, wetlands, and woods.
It’s unthinkable to visit Orlando and not visit Universal CityWalk. It’s a premier destination in the city, and is loaded with activities and things to do. In the concentrated strip there are legendary restaurants like Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville, Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, and the Hard Rock Café. You can play some rounds of mini-golf, catch movies at a huge IMAX theater, and go out for drinks at the various bars and clubs that line the street.
Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral
Whether by rideshare service, public transit, or by taking advantage of the city’s amazing car deals by picking up a used Audi in Orlando, the Kennedy Space Center is a can’t-miss destination. You can take a day trip to NASA’s Launch Headquarters, check out massive IMAX finals, and take private tours of the Space Shuttle Atlantis exhibit.
Walt Disney World Parks
Of the many theme parks, Walt Disney World is Orlando’s most visited attraction. It contains four parks: Magic Kingdom, Epcot’s Spaceship Earth, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom.
Each stop is totally unique and built with incredible amounts of human ingenuity and imagination. Cinderella’s castle, Future World, a Kilimanjaro safari experience, the Tree of Life, and countless walking, talking Disney characters make these stops mandatory, especially if you have younger kids in tow.
Universal Studios Florida
Universal Studios has made some of the most iconic films of the last few decades, and the massive theme park (and working studio) based in Orlando was designed to immerse attendees in the worlds created by their visionary directors and writers.
There are seven themed parks that you can visit, each dedicated to a legendary film franchise. The most recent addition is the incredibly popular Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which includes fully built out landmarks from the series like Hogwarts Castle, Hogsmeade, Diagon Alley, and Gringotts bank. You could spend days touring these incredible destinations, so make sure to plan carefully before you make your trip!
Discovery Cove is an amazing destination where both kids and adults can interact with aquatic animals and exotic birds. The park was designed to provide an immersive experience, and includes amazing replicas of coral reefs (which you can explore with a full dive helmet), a huge aviary filled with mesmerizing birds, a tropical swim zone with beach chairs for unrivaled relaxation, and a lazy river that will carry you in a circuit around the park.
Orlando Science Center
Everyone loves a fun science center, and Orlando’s is dynamic, exciting, and a favorite destination for locals. There are a bunch of themed exhibits, many of which are interactive. At night, laser shows light up the Dr. Phillips CineDome, and the Kids Town exhibition, available to anyone less than 48 inches tall, is a treat for your little ones.
When you think of Florida, you think of alligators. While these prehistoric looking reptiles might be dangerous to the untrained civilian, Gatorland features experts who wrestle with them for your viewing pleasure. On site are some rare leucistic alligators, whose skins are alabaster white, and options for ziplining which whisky you above hoards of gators and crocodiles.