The author with a flamingo, one of the best things to do in Orlando

34 Best Things to Do in Orlando in 2023 (By a Local)

👉 Jump to: Best Things | On International Drive | Besides Theme Parks | For Adults | Outdoors | Free | With Kids | Video | FAQ

Many tourists have visited Orlando, Florida multiple times and yet never ventured away from Walt Disney World. But there are so many more incredible things to do in Orlando than just the Magic Kingdom and Mickey Mouse!

I am a self-proclaimed theme park fanatic who worked at Walt Disney World for 12 years. So I know the theme parks inside and out, but I also know that some of the best gems in Orlando, Florida are found when you venture away from the theme parks.

This isn’t your run-of-the-mill “fun things to do in Orlando” list. I am sharing some of my favorite Orlando destinations, including places that even locals love. 

There’s a lot to cover in this post, so bookmark it for later – and use the above jump links to jump around! You can also watch my video guide at the end of this post.

Disclosure: Travel Lemming is an independent reader-supported blog. You can support us by purchasing via the affiliate links on this page, which may earn us commissions. See our Advertising Policy for further explanation. Thank you!

Best Things to Do in Orlando 

Walt Disney World Resort

The author and her husband posing in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studio, with Star Wars exhibit in background
Visiting Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios 

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (407) 939-5277 | Walt Disney World Resort Website | Disney Itinerary Planner

I couldn’t make a list of Orlando attractions without mentioning Walt Disney World at the top. For many people, Walt Disney World is synonymous with Orlando, and for good reason.

For many visitors, Disney is the top thing to do in Florida. Disney has everything you need for a complete vacation – hotels, dining, theme parks, miniature golf courses, water parks, and more.

Walt Disney World is constantly adding new lands and rides, like Rise of the Resistance at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Of course, you can also always experience the welcoming nostalgia of entering the Magic Kingdom. Just be sure to read my article on when to visit Disney World for the fewest crowds.

👉 Pro Tip: Visiting Disney with children in the summer? Don’t try to stay at the parks all day or you’ll just end up with hot, cranky children! Get in some rides in the morning, then return to your hotel for lunch, a nap, and some pool time. You can return to the parks in the evening for more fun, fireworks, and Disney World attractions. Browse the hotels closest to Walt Disney World on Booking, and be sure to reserve well in advance! 

Universal Orlando Resort

View of the Hogwarts Castle from the movie Harry Potter

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (407) 363-8000 | Universal Orlando Resort Website | 👉 Purchase Universal Orlando Tickets 

For years, Universal Studios was considered second fiddle to Walt Disney World. However, in recent years Universal has added new hotels, rides, dining, and a water park.

Just like Disney, you can now enjoy a complete vacation without leaving Universal property. And there are perks to staying at one of Universal’s hotels. You get a free express pass to skip the regular lines and early admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. 

🛎️ Need a Universal Hotel? There are many to choose from, but I especially love Universal’s Hard Rock Hotel. It offers a great pool and easy access to CityWalk and Universal Studios. 

SeaWorld Orlando

View of the author with friends an a penguin at Sea World Orlando
Friends and me meeting a couple of penguins

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (407) 545-5550 | SeaWorld Orlando Website 

Like Universal, SeaWorld Orlando has made some changes in recent years. In addition to their animal habitats and shows, they have added multiple thrilling roller coasters.

My favorite roller coaster is Manta, where you ride face down through twists, turns, and nose-dives. For the animal lover in your family, SeaWorld offers affordable animal encounter options. You can even meet a walrus!

👉 Plan Your Florida Trip: Bookmark my local’s list of the best places to visit in Florida!

Old Town

View of entrance to Old Town Orlando
(VIAVAL / Depositphotos)

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (407) 396-4888 | Old Town Website | Hours: 10 am – 11 pm daily

Old Town is a recreation of a historical Florida town that features shops, dining, attractions, and an amusement park. Old Town is one of Florida’s retro destinations that has been open since 1986.

This is a great place for a day trip or just dinner and a stroll. Check the event calendar before you go, because there is live entertainment or other fun events on most days. 

👉  Pro Tip: Don’t miss the classic car show and drive that takes place every Saturday!

Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens

View of the author feeding a giraffe at the Central Florida Zoo
Meet my friend Rafiki at the giraffe feeding station 

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (407) 323-4450 | Zoo Website | Hours: 9 am – 4 pm daily | 👉 Reserve Zoo Tickets and Skip the Line

The Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens is a historic staple in Orlando. It originally opened in 1923 but moved to its current location in 1975 (under the direction of famed zookeeper Jack Hanna). 

The zoo features a petting zoo where guests can feed and pet barnyard animals, extensive boardwalks for excellent animal viewing, and beautiful butterfly gardens throughout the grounds. Animal encounters, such as feeding a giraffe or meeting a greater one-horned rhino, are available for an additional fee. 

👉 Local Tip: The zoo is not very large and food from the concession stand is candidly lackluster. So I recommend planning for a half-day visit in the morning and then heading to Downtown Sanford for lunch and exploring some of the other top things to do in Central Florida.

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

The author sitting on the space shuttle Control replica in Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex
Hanging out in the replica of the Space Shuttle controls

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (855) 433-4210 | Website | Hours: 9 am – 5 pm daily | Entrance: $79 adults, $66 ages 3-11 | 👉 Book a Roundtrip Tour from Orlando

The Kennedy Space Center is a significant part of Central Florida’s history, and makes for a very popular day trip from Orlando.

It is NASA’s primary launch facility for space travel and exploration. Guests can learn about the history of space exploration while viewing authentic pieces of spacecraft. 

If you do not want to make the drive (approximately one hour from Orlando) over to the Visitor Complex, simply book one of Viator’s popular Kennedy Space Center tours that include round-trip transportation from Orlando. The tours pick up from central locations throughout the attractions. 

I recently visited with my family, and wrote a complete guide to the Kennedy Space Center that covers everything you need to know to plan.

Discovery Cove

View of the snorkelers at the Grand Reef in Discovery Cove
Discovery Cove’s snorkeling area (photo: Joni Hanebutt / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (407) 513-4600 | Discovery Cove Website

Discovery Cove is unlike any other amusement park. It is part aquarium, part all-inclusive resort, and part waterpark. The whole family can spend the day relaxing in the water and snorkeling with tropical fish. 

Discovery Cove has limited capacity and all food and drinks are included, so once you book your ticket, planning is a breeze. You can book add-on packages to have a one-of-a-kind experience with your favorite animal. 

Water Parks

View of the people enjoying TeAwa The Fearless River at Volcano Bay in Universal Studios
Universal Studios’ Volcano Bay (photo: VIAVAL TOURS / Shutterstock)

This recommendation is not for a single location, but a must do in Orlando is to check out at least one of the many aquatic parks in Orlando, especially if you are visiting in the summer!

All of the major theme parks have their own water park, and there are even more independent parks or smaller hotel parks. Some Orlando water parks to consider include:

All of these aquatic parks in Orlando are family-friendly and also offer relaxing adult options too. 

🛎️ Looking for a place to stay? Check out my guide on where to stay in Orlando for local tips on the best neighborhoods, areas, hotels, and resorts. There’s a lot to choose from, but I break it all down so you can make the right decision for you.


View of the people wandering around the New York City model in Legoland
Legoland’s New York City model (photo: Rob Hainer / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (888) 690-5346 | LEGOLAND Website | Hours: 10 am – 5 pm Mon-Fri, 10 am – 6 pm Sat-Sun | 👉 Reserve LEGOLAND Tickets 

LEGOLAND Florida makes for one of my favorite easy day trips from Orlando. Legos are brought to life with full-size creations throughout the park and attractions.

LEGOLAND is a unique theme park in that all the rides are kid-focused to maximize family fun and prevent the hot, summer meltdowns. 

Younger children will enjoy the recently added Peppa Pig theme park! Rest assured there’s more than enough excitement for every age.

LEGOLAND is also one of the things included in the Go City discount pass, which saves you money by bundling tickets for multiple attractions together.

👉 Local Tip: To create an extra special visit for your children, book a night at the LEGOLAND Florida Resort. It has family-friendly, colorful rooms and a free breakfast buffet. 

Stuff to Do On International Drive

​​International Drive is the main stretch of hotels, restaurants, and Orlando attractions. It is the perfect central location to hit all the major theme parks when you visit Orlando. But, besides theme parks, here are some other great Orlando activities and points of interest along International Drive:

The Wheel at ICON Park

View of the huge Ferris wheel at the Icon Park
The iconic wheel (photo: CreativeStudio79 / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (407) 601-7907 | ICON Park Website | Hours: 12 pm – 10 pm Sun – Thurs, 12 pm – 11 pm Fri – Sat | 👉 Save on Admission With a Go City Pass

The Wheel is the main attraction at ICON Park, an entertainment area on International Drive. “I-Drive” as it’s known to locals, is a hot spot for restaurants, hotels, and smaller attractions.

The Wheel gives you a bird’s eye view of Orlando when you go up 400 feet on the 18-minute rotation. But this isn’t your mama’s Ferris wheel… Each capsule is air-conditioned and there is a bar to grab drinks just before you load. 

ICON Park isn’t just a one-attraction destination. You can also hit Madame Tussauds wax museum, SEA LIFE Aquarium, and more attractions after your ride. There are also plenty of restaurants and bars around to complete your visit. 

The Escape Game

The author with her husband and friends in The Escape Game
We escaped the Gold Rush with 15 minutes to spare!

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (407) 501-7222 | The Escape Game Website | Hours: 8 am – 12 am daily

I recently visited The Escape Game for the first time and I am hooked! These 60-minute experiences are filled with puzzles, clues, and physical tasks to get your group to the end of the storyline. Add this to the top of your list for rainy-day activities in Orlando, but it is also a nice reprieve from the summer heat. 

The challenges can fit up to 7 or 8 people, so the entire family can join in the fun. They rank the difficulty of the rooms out of 10, with higher numbers being harder to escape. We did Gold Rush, which had a rating of 7/10. It was challenging but still fun for everyone. 

Andretti Indoor Karting & Games 

View of two go kart drivers at night
Karting at Andretti Indoor Karting & Games

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (407) 610-5020 | Andretti Karting Website | Hours: 11 am – 11 pm Mon – Thurs, 11 am – 1 am Fri, 10 am – 1 am Sat, 10 am – 12 am Sun

If there is one location that has every indoor activity you could ask for, it is Andretti Indoor Karting & Games. In addition to karting, there is an arcade, ropes course, laser tag, and bowling.

Since it’s home to so much fun stuff to do in Orlando on a rainy day, this place fills up on rainy days. If you anticipate bad weather during your visit to Orlando, reserve your karting and other activities ahead of time. 

👉 Pro Tip: Andretti Indoor Karting & Games is one of the best places in Orlando to host a birthday party for any age! An event coordinator will help plan out your party, including food and activities. 


View of exterior of WonderWorks upside down building in Orlando
The WonderWorks building crash-landed in Orlando. (zhuzhu / Depositphotos)

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (407) 351-8800 | WonderWorks Website | Hours: 9 am – 12 am daily

I think every child in Orlando ends up on at least one field trip to WonderWorks. When I visited recently, I was happy to see this place is just as cool to experience as an adult.

WonderWorks call their experience “edu-tainment,” and it’s honestly the perfect word to describe the appeal. This Orlando attraction is filled with interactive science experiments that are so fun, you forget that you might be learning something. 

WonderWorks is located next to Pointe Orlando, a shopping and dining destination. After you enjoy your time at the attraction, you can walk over to Pointe Orlando and enjoy a meal at one of the many restaurants. 

Topgolf Orlando

View of a golfer at Top Golf

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (407) 218-7714 | Topgolf Website | Hours: 10 am – 12 am Sun-Thurs, 10 am – 1 am Fri-Sat 

A couple of these driving range venues have popped up in town, but visiting Topgolf specifically is one of my favorite things to do in Orlando. Topgolf is a driving range that is set up like a bowling alley for golf.

Each bay can have up to 6 golfers and there are tables and seating to hang out in between turns. There are plenty of food and drink options to keep everyone full and happy. 

If you’re worried about not having the greatest swing, don’t! Topgolf has different games to play, including a short game and an Angry Birds game. I’ve never won a game but I still have a great time.

👉 Pro Tip: Pricing is half off all day Tuesday! 

Fun Spot America 

View of a kids roller coaster at Fun Spot Orlando, one of the best Orlando activities for kids
Fun Spot is home to plenty of kid-friendly Orlando activities and rides

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (407) 363-3867 | Fun Spot Website | Hours: 2 pm – 12 am Mon-Thurs, 12 pm – 12 am Fri, 10 am – 12 am Sat, Closed Sundays 

Fun Spot is one of the most iconic Orlando, Florida attractions, located just off International Drive. The park features some of the best go-kart tracks in the world and Orlando’s first wooden roller coaster. 

This smaller amusement park offers perks that the large theme can’t. Admission is free to enter Fun Spot America. You have the option to buy a Single Day Pass for all the attractions or only pay for the things you want to do.

For families with smaller children, Fun Spot offers a free Chauffeur Pass for season pass holders and a cost of $19.99 for single-day passes, for an adult to accompany a child on rides they are not able to ride alone. 

Tickets are also more affordable than the larger parks. This is a great location for budget-friendly travel with fun things for the whole family to enjoy. 

SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium

View of the crowd watching the fishes at the SeaWorld Aquarium Tunnel
Catch a unique view in the 360-degree tunnel (photo: YES Market Media / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (855) 450-0680 | SEA LIFE Website | Hours: 11 am – 5 pm Sun-Thurs, 11 am – 6 pm Fri-Sat | 👉 Reserve SEA LIFE Orlando Tickets

This is hands-down one of the best aquariums that I have ever experienced. The exhibits are beautiful and they have a wide variety of aquatic life to check out. I was surprised to find such an excellent facility within the shops and attractions of International Drive. 

SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium is a great place to beat the heat with your family. The aquarium has child-height viewing and interactive exhibits for the entire family. Everyone will love going through the 360-degree tunnel, where you can see sharks swimming above, below, and all around you. 

👉 Pro Tip: The behind-the-scenes tour only costs $10 and is well worth the money. You can see their animal health facilities, meet new and young fish that are too small to go into the larger tanks, and view their largest aquarium from above. 

Madame Tussauds

The Madame Tussauds wax figure of Oprah Winfrey at ICON Park
Oprah Winfrey is one of many famous wax figures on display (photo: Three Sixty Images / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (855) 450-0581 | Madame Tussauds Website | Hours: 11 am – 5 pm Sun-Thurs, 11 am – 6 pm Fri-Sat | 👉 Reserve Wax Museum Tickets 

Madame Tussauds features wax figures of some of the biggest celebrities, both past and present. See your favorite sports figures, superheroes, and historical figures as you meander through this museum. 

Make sure you bring your camera because there are plenty of great photo opportunities. You may even be able to convince your friends that you really did meet Ryan Reynolds on your Orlando vacation. 

👉 Pro Tip: Madame Tussauds, The Wheel at ICON Park, and SEALIFE Orlando Aquarium are all located in the same building. You make a day of checking out these International Drive attractions in one swoop. 

What to Do Besides Theme Parks in Orlando

Looking for cool things to do in Orlando besides theme parks? Here are some fun ideas for other stuff to do in Orlando (besides theme parks):

Harry P Leu Gardens

View of a walking path at Harry P Leu Gardens
Endless walking paths through the gardens. (Jshanebutt / Depositphotos)

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (407) 246-2620 | Leu Gardens Website | Hours: 9 am – 5 pm daily 

There can be a lot of hustle and bustle when you visit Orlando, thanks to plentiful parks and attractions. If you need to slow down and relax, head over to Harry P Leu Gardens. This breathtaking property has 50 acres of gardens to wander through.

The property is divided up into different sections. You walk from a bountiful vegetable garden, into a tropical rainforest, and under towering oaks covered in Spanish moss. 

Enjoy the fresh air as you take in the sites of hundreds of native Florida plants and exotic plants from around the world. Since it is outdoors, sun protection and water are recommended. Also, don’t forget your bug spray because, as the locals joke, the mosquito is Florida’s state bird! 

Amway Center

Exterior view of the Amway Center building
Rainy days aren’t a problem when you’re heading into the arena (photo: Miosotis_Jade / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (407) 440-7900 | Amway Center Website

The Amway Center is the main area in Orlando, Florida. It is the home of the NBA’s Orlando Magic and the ECHL’s Orlando Solar Bears. 

Check the event schedule to see which events, concerts, or comedy shows are taking place when you visit Orlando. 

Even when an event isn’t taking place, you can visit Sky Lounge, one of the hottest bars in Orlando. This indoor/outdoor location gives you excellent views of the downtown Orlando skyline while you enjoy delicious cocktails with your friends. 

🛎️ Need a Hotel Downtown? Check out The Grand Bohemian which has fun, eclectic decor and is within walking distance of most downtown destinations. 


View of performers at Gatorland Florida, one of the top fun things to do in Orlando Florida
(jjvallee / Depositphotos)

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (407) 855-5496 | Gatorland Website | Hours: 10 am – 5 pm daily

One question I always get when friends are visiting Florida is “are there alligators in the water?” And the answer is always “yes.” If you’d prefer to see your reptiles behind a barrier, check out Gatorland. 

This small roadside attraction has grown to be a fun and educational animal experience. You enter through the iconic gator jaws and immediately onto a boardwalk over an alligator-filled swamp.

Some can’t-miss shows are the gator wrestling show and the Gator Jumparoo Show. The Jumparoo Show is what originally made Gatorland famous. You’ll be amazed by how high the alligators can propel themselves out of the water!

For a little extra adrenaline, you take the Screamin’ Gator zip line over the breeding marsh. It’s definitely one of the most unique things to do in Orlando Florida!

Disney Springs

People wandering in the line of shops and boutiques in Disney Springs
Disney Springs is a great place to shop

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (407) 939-5277 | Disney Springs Website

Disney Springs, formerly known as Downtown Disney, is a shopping, dining, and entertainment district at the Walt Disney World Resort. Like most of Disney, there are things to do in Disney Springs for all ages. 

Younger guests will enjoy building at The LEGO Store, bowling at Splitsville, and riding the Marketplace Carousel. The whole family will enjoy watching live entertainment, shooting hoops at the NBA Experience, or taking a hot air balloon ride on the Aerophile.

I think Disney Springs is the best Orlando destination for a vacation date night. Couples have so many options for bars and restaurants. I recommend bar-hopping for drinks and appetizers before eating dinner at one of the many restaurants curated by celebrity chefs.

Once the sun goes down, stroll along the waterfront for a romantic end to the evening. 

🛎️ Want a Hotel Nearby? Disney-owned hotels can be pricey, but there are plenty of other options within walking distance of Disney Springs. I stay at the Buena Vista Palace when I have a staycation. 

Orlando Science Center

Exterior view of the Orlando Science Center
(photo: Red Lemon / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (407) 514-2000 | OSC Website | Hours: 10 am – 5 pm, Closed Wednesday 

One of the best things in Orlando for kids – and curious adults – is to explore the interactive exhibits at the Orlando Science Center. This multi-story museum has something new around every corner.

Some of the exhibits are on rotation, so you’ll have to check the website to see what’s currently available. Some of my favorite permanent exhibits are NatureWorks, where you can learn about native Florida ecosystems and animals, and Our Planet, where earth science comes to life. 

All that exploration and fun is sure to drum up an appetite, but OSC has you covered at the 4Roots Cafe. 4Roots is an Orlando-local organization that aims to educate about food science and sustainable agriculture. The cafe sources as much food as possible from grows local to Orlando, Florida. 

Crayola Experience 

View of entrance sign at Orlando's Crayola Experience
The most colorful place in Orlando, Florida. (karenfoleyphotography / Depositphotos)

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (407) 757-1700 | Crayola Experience Website | Hours: 10 am – 6 pm Sun-Fri, 10 am – 8 pm Sat | 👉 Reserve Crayola Experience Tickets

Enter the colorful world of the Crayola Experience, located inside the Florida Mall. This unique attraction allows you and your family to enter the crazy world of color. Not only will you learn about the history of Crayola and how crayons are made, but you get to create art too!

It offers endless opportunities to be creative – spinning melted wax, designing a fashion outfit, or just plain old coloring with crayons.

One of my favorite things about the Crayola Experience is its drive to be inclusive to all. Everything in their location is ADA-compliant, so all children can enjoy the magic. In addition, they host a Sensory Sunday event one morning a month, which modifies the experience to accommodate children with sensory needs. 

What to Do in Orlando for Adults

Winter Park

View of shops in downtown Winer Park FL

📍 Google Maps | Winter Park Events

Winter Park is a quaint town, located just north of downtown Orlando. The town is filled with picturesque houses and hip eateries. 

One of the main attractions is the Saturday Farmers’ Market, which is the number one market in the area. Vendors are selling produce, flowers, bath goods, and homemade decor.

Even if you can’t pack a bushel of Florida citrus in your luggage, this is a beautiful event to wander through the vendors and enjoy some delicious homemade goods. Head to the cobblestone streets of Park Ave for the full foodie experience!

Lake Eola

View of the city skyline and the amphitheater at the Lake Eola Park
View of the lake and amphitheater

📍 Google Maps

Lake Eola is truly the heart of downtown Orlando. A walk around the lake will give you views of the Orlando skyline. This is the perfect path for a stroll or a morning run. 

Inside the lake, there is a massive water fountain, which is lit up in a colorful show each night. Swans and swan boats alike can be seen floating on the calm waters. Locals love to keep tabs on the swans, regularly posting about their nests and chicks. 

On the West side of the lake, you’ll find the Walt Disney Amphitheater, which is an outdoor venue for performing arts. In 2016, the amphitheater was repainted in a rainbow of colors to commemorate the massacre at Pulse nightclub and to serve as a reminder that Orlando remains a city focused on inclusion and celebration. 

Orlando Museum of Art

Exterior view of the Orlando Museum of Art
(sainaniritu / Depositphotos)

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (407) 896-4231 | Museum Website | Hours: 10 am – 4 pm Tues-Fri, 12 pm – 4 pm Sat-Sun, Closed Mon

The Orlando Museum of Art is the premier art museum in Orlando. OMA presents 10-12 exhibitions throughout the year, so check their website to see what artists or genres they are currently exhibiting. 

OMA has the perfect location for a day of arts and culture. It is located at Loch Haven Park, which also houses the Science Center, the Mennello Museum of American Art (and their sculpture garden), and the Orlando Repertory Theatre. 

On certain days, OMA hosts an Art Night Out for adults, which is a great way to get creative and bring home your own masterpiece during your visit to Orlando. 

Winter Park Scenic Boat Tour

View of canals in Winter Park FL

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (407) 644-4056 | Boat Tour Website | Hours: 10 am – 4 pm daily | 👉 Reserve a Walking and Boat Tour

Take a relaxing boat tour through the chain of lakes and man-made canals. The tour is one hour long and tours leave every hour on the hour. 

The tour will show off the natural beauty of Florida’s waterways, including tall cypress trees and hungry cranes fishing for lunch. Architecture lovers will especially enjoy the view of the magnificent estates along the water.

Universal CityWalk

View of people and buildings at Universal CityWalk
(CHRTKD / Depositphotos)

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (407) 363-8000 | CityWalk Website

Universal CityWalk is similar to Disney Springs, except there is more focus on restaurants and bars for adults. As the official after-party location for their Mardi Gras event, you are guaranteed to have a great time.

My favorite restaurant is the Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar. The decor is bright and inviting. The fusion menu featuring sushi and burgers means there is something for everyone. Some other great restaurants are Pat O’Brien’s, Voodoo Doughnut, and Antojitos. 

If you’re looking for a night of drinking, CityWalk is the perfect place! You can walk around with your drinks and bar hop between the different restaurants. Once you’ve had enough to drink, head into Citywalk’s Rising Star karaoke club, because we all know you sound better after you’ve had a few.

👉 Pro Tip: Parking at Universal Orlando Resort costs $26 (even if you aren’t going into the theme parks), but if you arrive after 6 pm, parking is free. 

Outdoor Orlando Activities

Bok Tower Gardens 

View of the author at Bok Tower Gardens
Me feeding the koi fish in front of the tower

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (863) 676-1408 | Bok Tower Website | Hours: 8 am – 6 pm daily

Bok Tower Gardens is a true oasis in Greater Orlando. The main attraction is the “singing” tower which plays carillon music throughout the day. In addition to the 50-acre property, admission also includes access to a 3.5-mile hiking trail through Pine Ridge Preserve. 

There are multiple plots on the property, including one dedicated to children and play. I love to wander through the edible garden to see which foods they’re growing in season.

Bok Tower is an excellent day trip at any time of year. The sunlight will warm you up on a cool winter morning, but there is plenty of shade for the heat of a Florida summer. 

Kelly Park – Rock Springs

View of the author holding her child in a float on the river at Kelly Park Rock Springs
My son’s inaugural ride at the springs, a Florida tradition (and one of my favorite hidden gems in Orlando)

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (407) 254-1902 | Kelly Park Website | Summer Hours: 8 am – 8 pm, Winter Hours: 8 am – 6 pm

I think locals may come after me for including this hidden gem, but Kelly Park – Rock Springs is one of the most beautiful waterways in Florida.

68-degree water flows out of the springs, creating a refreshing environment. The springs create a natural lazy river and you can relax during the 25-minute tube ride. 

Locals cherish Kelly Park. There are ample picnic tables and grills for families to set up at and the water provides endless entertainment. Capacity at Kelly Park is limited, which is another reason this is the perfect place to spend a day.

👉 Local Tip: During busy times, especially weekends in summer, the park can reach capacity more than an hour before the gates even open. Get there as early as possible and you will see the line of cars parked along the road. A sheriff will give you one of 280 entry tickets, which secures your entrance into the park, and then you can take a nap or get out and stretch your legs while you wait for the gates to open. 

Orlando Tree Trek Adventure Park

A boy with safety harness doing the rope obstacle course at the treetop adventure park
Plenty of challenging obstacles for all ages

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (407) 390-9999 | Tree Trek Website | Hours: 8 am – 12 pm Wed-Fri, 8 am – 1 pm Sat-Sun, Closed Mon-Tues | 👉 Reserve Tree Trek Tickets

Orlando Tree Trek is the best ropes course and aerial obstacle course in town. This is the place to go in Orlando for a family of thrill-seekers.

There are four courses to choose from, with varying difficulties, and two kids courses with plenty of fun challenges. The entire family will love the excitement of one of the most challenging but exhilarating Orlando attractions. 

To avoid the disappointment of a long wait time, Orlando Tree Trek requires advanced booking for access to the adventure park.

Boggy Creek Airboat Adventures

An alligator in Boggy Creek
Boating through the swamps is one of the best places to see wild alligators

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (407) 344-9550 | Airboats Website | Hours: 9 am – 5:30 pm daily | 👉 Reserve Boggy Creek Airboat Tickets

When you arrive at Boggy Creek Airboat Adventures, you will see a beautiful park on Lake Tohopekaliga, known as Lake Toho. There is also a gem mine and a pool of juvenile alligators. Close by is a replica of a Native American village, where you can learn how the indigenous communities survived in the swamps of Florida. 

You can choose from 30-minute or 60-minute rides. I’d go for the longer tour, because you have a better chance of seeing more wildlife, like alligators. The boats are Coast Guard-approved airboats that can reach 45 miles per hour!

You’ll often hear locals reference the “real Florida” and Boggy Creek Airboat Adventures will show you just that. The Florida Everglades are unique and special to the state, and there’s no better way to experience it than speeding through the swamp on an airboat. 

Horseback Riding at Lake Louisa State Park

Scenic view of the lake from the horseback riding trail at Lake Louisa State Park
Pass by scenic views on horseback riding trails

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (352) 503-4489 | Lake Louisa Website

Another fun option for seeing the natural ecosystems around Orlando is horseback riding at Lake Louisa State Park. The riding trails are 3-6 miles and all rides are guided by a ranger. The ranger will point out local wildlife and plants.

Lake Louisa State Park offers more than just horseback riding, so you can turn your visit into a day trip. There are 20 miles of hiking trails, a beach to swim at, fishing piers, and a lake with kayak and canoe rentals. 

Wekiva Island

The author in a canoe near Wekiva Island FL
Nothing beats the sights and smells of the water

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (407) 783-8931 | Wekiva Island Website | Hours: 8 am – 7 pm Sun-Thurs, 8 am – 11 pm Fri-Sat

Wekiva Island is nothing but a good time. This recreation complex features a waterfront boardwalk, kayak and canoe rentals, a refreshing river to swim in, and much more. 

The Wekiva River is fed by the many springs in the area, but most notably is Wekiwa Springs. Since this is a spring-fed river, the water stays 72 degrees year-round, making this the perfect place to cool off.

Wekiva Island is very popular, especially on weekends, so plan to arrive early. There is a food truck and a bar on the property, so you won’t need to leave once you arrive. 

👉 Read Next: The 47 Top Activities to Do in Miami

Video: Things to Do in Orlando

Want more detail on my favorite things to do in Orlando? Check out my Youtube video, where I run down my top 10 picks for Orlando:

FAQs About Things to Do in Orlando

What is there to do in Orlando, Florida?

There are so many fun things to do in Orlando, Florida. Popular attractions include Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Orlando Resort, and SeaWorld Orlando. There are also incredible hidden gems like Kelly Park – Rock Springs.

What are some day trips from Orlando, Florida?

The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, LEGOLAND Florida, and exploring Old Town are a few great day trip activities from Orlando, Florida.

What is there to do in Orlando besides Disney?

There are many fun things to do in Orlando besides visiting Disney and other theme parks. Places like Harry P Leu Gardens, Gatorland, and the Orlando Science Center are great options. Simply exploring areas like Winter Park and Lake Eola are great activities, too.


These are my favorite things to do in Orlando Florida. You should have enough options to plan multiple vacations! But if you need more, head on over and check out my list of the best things to do in Florida for even more inspiration!

If you love one of these activities or think something else should be added to the list, leave a comment below. I hope I’ve helped you figure out what to do in Orlando, Florida!

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  1. Thank you for sharing this! I am heading to Orlando very soon and can’t wait to explore some of the places you mentioned.

  2. Thank you for the guide I already considered more experiences in addition to the mandatory Disney parks visits. I know it’s not in Orlando area or surroundings but may be you could mention the KSC (Kennedy Space Center) which is just 45 min. East of Orlando by car. I went there and it was awesome. Great guide!

  3. Wow thanks! We’re going to Orlando next month, these are some great suggestions for non-themepark-y things to do!

  4. Wonderful. Thank you for the local insight. Our children love the parks however it’s with the understanding that they also balance seeing the real Florida too

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