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Florida Guide > Accommodation

Other things to do in Orlando besides theme parks

Theme parks are what holidays in Orlando are all about. However, some who visit regularly may be a little tired of theme parks. So what else is there to do. Plenty!

There is a place quite near to the Disney area called Winter Garden and this is like an English country town. There are pleasant walks, pavement cafés and small shops to see. There is also a lake to sit by or to walk round.

For something a bit more exciting there are air boat rides. These are high speed boat trips across shallow waters where the main idea is to spot wild life. The drivers tend to zap out to areas where they know there are animals and birds to see and then slow down to a crawl for you to see and photograph them. Alligators are very much in evidence on these rides.

Hot air balloon rides or helicopter rides are very popular and well worth a try. Horseback riding is another favourite or just fishing on some of the lakes is very relaxing.

Or course, Orlando is only approximately 60 miles away west and east of two coasts, so a day at the beach is feasible and very restful.

For petrol heads, there is Daytona Beach which may have a race on while you are in Florida and is not more than about 60 miles away. Also every Saturday night at Old Town on Highway 192 near Kissimmee, there is a display and slow drive past parade of old American cars and motor bikes. Before the parade, the public are free to inspect the cars and talk to their owners.

On Highway 192 going towards the Highway 27 intersection is a town called Celebration. (It’s a bit like Stepford)! Here you can stroll through the main street looking at small shops and cafes or sit in a rocking chair by the lake. It is the cleanest, neatest place in Orlando. It is Walt Disneys idea of the perfect suburb without a blade of grass out of place. During the Christmas period it snows at 6pm and 8pm every night until New Years Eve. Yes, only in America!

If you are really lucky there will be a rocket launch from Kennedy Space Center which is only 70 miles north of Orlando. This is an experience not to be missed and is completely free of charge. You should be able to park up about 5 – 10 miles away from the launch and still get a perfect view or you can go to the Space Center and pay for a launch seat but even this is 3 miles away.

A drive down to the Everglades is worth the drive but an overnight stop in a motel will be required for this. While you are in this area you may as well have a look at Miami beach (it’s smaller than you would imagine though). If you fancy an extra night in this area you could drive down to the Keys culminating in the world famous Key Largo. This, however, is a very long drive.

So don’t think that Disney is all there is to Orlando, there really is a great deal more to explore.

We aim to provide accurate and useful information, but if you feel anything provided here is not accurate or out of date, please email us with the address of the page concerned and any comments so we can amend as necessary.

Page added on: 18 April 2009
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