Orlando for vacation! Did you think Disney? Universal Studios? Sure, those parks have more than 6 million visitors a year, but there is far more to Orlando than theme parks. Yes, you read that right! There’s more to Orlando than its world-famous attractions.
All those theme park visitors provide one travel perk: Lodging! Orlando is second only in number of hotel rooms to Las Vegas, offering competitive rates to draw guests. The number of luxury hotel offerings is increasing as well. To make a visit to Orlando even more economical, get an Orlando Magicard, a free discount card that offers hotel, attraction, dining and spa discounts for cardholders.
Orlando is rich in natural beauty! The Orlando area has more than 100 state and local parks.
Bok Tower Gardens, a national historic landmark, offers 50 acres of gardens and 600 acres of nature trails and conservation areas.
Harry P. Leu Gardens provides 50 acres of butterfly, rose and vegetable gardens and hosts jazz strolls, children’s events and outdoor movie nights throughout the year.
Black Hammock Adventures offers wildlife exploration, air boat tours, and a restaurant on site.
Art lover? Orlando’s arts culture is vibrant and varied.
Cornell Fine Arts Museum: Located at Rollins College, features art from the Renaissance to Contemporary works.
Orlando Museum of Art: Permanent collections include American, African and ancient American artwork.
The Mennello Museum of American Art: Affiliated with the Smithsonian, works vary.
Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art: Features works by Louis Comfort Tiffany.
Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens: Located in Winter Park, tour his home, galleries and sculpture gardens.
Baterbys Art Auction Gallery: Features 20th century masters and world-renowned artists.
Explore small communities nearby. Pack your walking shoes and tour these areas.
Orange County Regional History Center: Offers 12,000 years of central Florida history, including early native American history, pioneer homesteads, aviation and more.
Winter Park City Tours: Offers lifestyle tours of Winter Park, including neighborhood tours, art tours, and garden tours.
The community of Celebration: A planned community, it offers free events throughout the year.
Looking for more excitement? Outdoor adventures abound in the Orlando area, no roller coaster needed!
Winter Park Scenic Boat Tours: Offers pontoon boat rides on the Winter Park Chain of Lakes
Horse World Riding Stables: Provides horses and hundreds of acres of serene riding trails.
West Orange Trail: Provides a 22 mile rail trail for walking, biking and skating
Hot Air Balloon Rides: Offered by a number of ballooning companies, check Groupon for coupons.
EcoSafaris: Zipline through the cypress trees!
De Leon Springs State Park: Offers snorkeling adventure.
Kelly Park, also called Rock Springs: Offers tubing along a natural lazy river.
Wekiwa Springs State Park: Where alligators and river otters play in their natural environment. Offers paddling and canoeing adventure for the whole family.
Orlando offers something for everyone! Plan a vacation and get to know Florida the way the locals do.
Read all about Karen Dawkins, a Clayton mom of three, on her blog Family Travels on a Budget, where she provides vacation ideas, travel tips and planning strategies for stress free family travel.