Orlando is a city of endless possibilities, offering endless options for things to do and see. From thrilling theme parks to world-class cultural attractions, outdoor adventures and more, there’s something for everyone in this vibrant Florida hotspot. Whether you’re looking for the best things to do in Orlando on your own or with the family, you’ll find plenty of things to explore in the City Beautiful.
Orlando, Florida, is the home of some of the most famous theme parks in the world. From Walt Disney World to Universal Studios, SeaWorld, and more, Orlando offers a magical experience for vacationers of all ages. Beyond the famous attractions, this Central Florida city also offers shopping, dining, outdoor adventures and cultural experiences that will delight any visitor. Whether you’re looking for thrilling rides or a relaxing day at the beach, Orlando has something for everyone.
To help you make the most of your time in Orlando, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best activities and attractions that visitors from all over the world experience. So, pack your bags and get ready to explore some of the best things to do in Orlando!
Ultimate Guide to The Best Things to Do in Orlando
Many visitors to Orlando, Florida, go specifically to experience the latest roller coasters at the city’s many theme parks. Though you could easily spend a week exploring the theme parks, there is much more to see and do in the City. In a city that never appears to sleep and is always lit by nighttime fireworks, it’s important to remember to take time for relaxation. These are our top picks if you want to plan the perfect trip or vacation in Orlando, Florida.
1. Kennedy Space Center
Interest in space travel has reached an all-time high since Elon Musk and Richard Branson reignited the space race. In close proximity to Orlando, Florida, you’ll find one of the most fascinating tourist destinations: the Kennedy Space Center. Since 1968, this has been NASA’s primary launch facility, making it an instantly recognizable landmark.
While the long drive and the need for an early arrival can make a visit to the Kennedy Space Center challenging, it is well worth it if you’re in the Orlando area. Visitors can see the grounds from a bus and explore the visitor center, which is packed with exciting exhibits. The Kennedy Space Center is home to numerous exciting attractions.
Space Shuttle Atlantis is on display in an overhead exhibit, and visitors can experience what it’s like to launch into space by participating in the Shuttle Launch Simulator. You will be awed by the size and assembly capabilities of the Vehicle Assembly Building, which ranks among the world’s largest structures.
Many fascinating displays detail the history of space exploration and the solar system. There are many cool interactive activities as well as media presentations to enjoy at the exhibits. The Kennedy Space Center is a fantastic choice for families or adults looking for something to do in Orlando.
2. Universal Orlando Resort
Visit the Universal Orlando Resort, which is the next stop on our recommended itinerary for things to do in Orlando, Florida. With Universal Studios Florida, Universal’s Islands of Adventure, four hotels, and a waterpark, this resort challenges Walt Disney World in every way. Universal offers numerous exciting rides, including whirling rollercoasters and amusing virtual reality attractions.
Universal Studios Florida is able to accommodate such massive crowds because of its extensive collection of rides and attractions that are based in Hollywood. The theme park, which is located within the larger Universal Orlando complex, focuses on providing visitors with an immersive movie experience. State-of-the-art technology is utilized in the range of simulators found within the park.
3. SeaWorld Orlando
Similar to Universal, SeaWorld Orlando has seen several transformations over the past few years. They have recently introduced some exciting roller coasters in addition to the animal habitats and performances that they already had. My favorite roller coaster is the Manta, which has a face-down seating position and takes riders through a series of twists, turns, and nose-dives. SeaWorld provides opportunities for inexpensive animal encounters for the members of your family that have a passion for animals. You can even meet a walrus!
This thrilling amusement park is packed with roller coasters based on aquatic creatures, animal exhibitions and encounters, and a charming section based on Sesame Street for little visitors. The most recent addition to the park is called Ice Breaker, and it is an amusement ride. The brand-new roller coaster has four launches, one of which is a reverse launch that leads into a drop that is even steeper than a vertical drop and is likely to leave riders gasping for air. You can observe exhibitions and live entertainment that feature animals throughout the day and acquire knowledge regarding the natural behaviours of marine life.
4. Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens
Historic significance has long been attached to Orlando’s Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens. It first opened its doors in 1923, but in 1975, under the direction of the renowned zookeeper Jack Hanna, it relocated to its current location.
The zoo is home to a petting zoo, which allows visitors to feed and pet animals from barnyards, as well as extensive boardwalks, which provide visitors with an excellent vantage point from which to observe animals, and beautiful butterfly gardens spread out across the grounds. Feeding a giraffe or interacting with a greater one-horned rhino are two examples of the animal encounters that can be purchased for an additional cost.
5. Walt Disney World Resort
Exploring the magical world of Walt Disney World Resort is one of the best things to do in Orlando. From Cinderella’s Castle, to Space Mountain and Splash Mountain, there are endless possibilities for fun. Guests can enjoy activities like character dining with their favourite characters, rides, attractions and shows. The resort features four theme parks – Magic Kingdom Park, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park – and two water parks – Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach.
There are also plenty of shopping areas to browse through, such as Downtown Disney Marketplace and Disney Springs. For those looking for a unique experience, there’s the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, where kids can have a makeover fit for a princess or prince! And if you’re looking for an unforgettable dining experience, be sure to check out Be Our Guest Restaurant in Magic Kingdom Park.
6. Aquatica Waterpark
Aquatica Waterpark is the perfect place for anyone looking for a thrilling adventure and family fun. Located near SeaWorld Orlando, this waterpark features an array of rides and attractions for all ages. Thrill seekers can take on the Taumata Racer waterslide, which features eight lanes that drop over a steep hill before racing to the finish line.
For more daring rides, the Ihu’s Breakaway Falls drops guests from a nearly vertical inclined plane before plummeting into a splash pool at the bottom. Families can also enjoy rides like Tassie’s Twister and Walhalla Wave, two awesome slides with twists and turns that make everyone laugh out loud.
Those looking to relax can take a leisurely float down Loggerhead Lane or drift along in Roa’s Rapids where they will encounter interactive water cannons, geysers and jets – all while remaining seated in an inner tube! Aquatica also has four distinct pools that offer something special for everyone; Cutback Cove, Big Surf Shores, Whanau Way and Cutback Cove provide a variety of ways to chill out or heat up depending on your preference.
The park also offers plenty of activities for smaller kids including Kata’s Kookaburra Cove where they can splash around in shallow waters filled with kid-friendly slides, fountains and more! With so much to do at this one-of-a-kind waterpark, Aquatica is sure to provide hours of fun for the whole family!
7. Shop at The Mall at Millenia
The Mall at Millenia is a luxurious shopping experience for all. Located just minutes from downtown Orlando, the mall features an impressive selection of designer shops, popular brands, chic restaurants, and upscale eateries. It’s a great place to find the latest fashion trends or pick up souvenirs from your trip.
You can find stores like Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Tiffany & Co., Apple Store, Neiman Marcus and Bloomingdale’s. There are also plenty of unique boutiques, such as Anthropologie, Zara, Free People and Kendra Scott. The mall also houses electronics stores like Best Buy and Bose Sound Experience Center. If you need a quick bite to eat while you shop, there are plenty of food options like Shake Shack, Cheesecake Factory and California Pizza Kitchen.
The Mall at Millenia offers more than just shopping too! You can relax in the Grand Court, which has comfortable seating areas with free Wi-Fi access or takes part in special events throughout the year; including art exhibitions, fashion shows and cooking classes. If you need a break from shopping, head over to M&M World, where you can customize your mix of colorful M&Ms.
Whether you’re looking for designer labels or popular brands, there’s something for everyone at The Mall at Millenia in Orlando – it’s worth a visit during your stay!
8. Experience an Airboat Ride on Lake Tohopekaliga
Experience a thrilling airboat ride on Lake Tohopekaliga, just a short drive from Orlando. Take in the breathtaking views of Central Florida’s beautiful nature as you zip across the lake at high speeds. The airboat tours typically last about an hour and offer visitors a chance to spot native birds, turtles, alligators and other wildlife along the way. A knowledgeable guide will point out any interesting sights and provide insight into some of the area’s historical moments. Your tour guide might even be able to help you spot a bald eagle if you’re lucky!
Not only will you experience one of Central Florida’s most iconic bodies of water, but you’ll also learn more about the region’s history during your tour. From learning about how Native Americans used Lake Tohopekaliga for trade centuries ago to understanding how it was used by settlers and eventually developed into what it is today—a popular tourist destination among locals and travellers alike—you’ll leave this airboat ride with plenty of knowledge about this special place.
During your adventure, your boat may slow down so you can look closely at some of Florida’s local wildlife. If you listen closely enough, you may even hear some distant songs from the Sandhill cranes that call this lake their home! And when the ride comes to an end, make sure to take pictures or buy souvenirs from nearby stores as reminders of your unforgettable experience on Lake Tohopekaliga.
9. Discovery Cove
Spending a day at Discovery Cove is a must if you’re visiting Orlando. This one-of-a-kind tropical oasis offers guests a unique opportunity to interact with various sea creatures, including dolphins, tropical fish, stingrays and more. At Discovery Cove, each guest can enjoy the park’s all-inclusive experience, which includes admission to the park, access to wade pools and snorkeling areas, unlimited food and beverages throughout the day, complimentary snorkel gear, and even various animal encounters.
While Discovery Cove has plenty of fun activities for adults, it also offers plenty for kids too! Kids aged 4 – 12 can participate in the Explorer’s Aviary program, where they will embark on an exciting adventure through waterfalls, caves and rope bridges while interacting with hundreds of birds. They can also explore Stingray Lagoon or visit Freshwater Oasis, where they’ll have a chance to see otters and marmosets up close. No matter your age or interests, you’re sure to find something that suits your fancy at Discovery Cove!
10. Walt Disney World Golf
There are four golf courses at Walt Disney World, three of which have 18 holes and one walking course with nine holes. You can receive a discount on your nine-hole round of golf if you book it before sunrise or after sunset and indicate that you intend to spend more time in the theme parks. You do not need to be staying at a Disney resort or have theme park admission in order to play a round of golf at one of Disney’s courses because these courses are open to the general public. It’s one of the more difficult holes at Disney’s Lake Buena Vista Golf Course, so make sure you keep an eye out for the island green there. This hole is considered one of Disney’s more difficult holes.
11. Morse Museum
If you are interested in artwork, visiting the Morse Museum, which is located in the center of Winter Park, is one of the most enjoyable things to do in Orlando. It is one of the most extensive art collections ever assembled by Louis Comfort Tiffany, an artist from the United States. You can find stunning examples of jewellery, pottery, paintings, and works of art made with leaded glass in various locations throughout the museum.
In addition to works by Tiffany, the gallery also carries examples of American art pottery, graphics, paintings, and decorative art from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In addition to that, it has stunning stained glass. In this museum in Winter Park, one of the most interesting things to see is the chapel and the recreation rooms.
12. Orlando Water Parks
Water parks in the Orlando area provide visitors with exhilarating rides, other experiences, and a great deal of fun in the sun. In addition, they participate in educational activities that instil in them a sense of ecological stewardship and allow them to get up close with various marine animals.
Because there are so many incredible water parks to pick from, there is no question that you will find the one that is ideal for your group. Every well-known location in Orlando offers visitors something special to do and see. The abundance of options at your disposal makes it simple for you to accomplish your goal of locating the ideal water park for your family and yourself.
13. Harry P. Leu Gardens Orlando
The Harry P. Leu Gardens span fifty acres and feature a variety of landscapes, including lakes, trails, and forests. The Leu Gardens were established by a globetrotting couple named Mr and Mrs Harry P. Leu. They would return from each excursion with exotic plants and more than 240 different varieties of camellias to add to their gardens. In 1961, the Leu family gave the land to the city of Orlando as a gift in order for the city to maintain its verdant gardens. The Harry P. Leu Gardens are accessible to the general public through the utilization of guided tours.
14. Madame Tussauds
Most people would be hard-pressed to describe Orlando without mentioning Madame Tussauds. Madame Tussauds, the world-famous wax museum, is conveniently located near the city center at ICON Park among the Ferris wheel and other fun attractions. Every member of the family is sure to recognize at least one of the many renowned people whose likenesses are on display at Madame Tussauds because the museum is always being updated.
Anne Hathaway, Justin Bieber, Jackie Chan, and Oprah Winfrey are just a few of the celebrities whose exact likenesses allow for excellent photo ops. As an added bonus, Madame Tussauds Orlando features themed areas where visitors can get up up and personal with entertaining pop culture scenarios, including Justice League: A Call For Heroes, where they can stand among figurines of the actors in their superhero garb.
15. End with a Relaxing Day at the Beach
Ending your trip to Orlando with a day at the beach is an absolute must. With its beautiful white sand beaches, plentiful sunshine and warm waters, it’s no wonder that some of the most popular beaches in Florida are located just outside of Orlando. From Daytona Beach to Cocoa Beach, each has its own unique vibe and atmosphere that make them perfect for swimming, sunbathing, surfing or simply soaking up the sun.
No matter which beach you choose to visit, you’ll be sure to find plenty of activities to keep yourself entertained throughout the day. Whether you prefer lounging on the shore or swimming in the ocean, there are plenty of opportunities for fun in the sun. Jet skiing and parasailing are also popular choices here and are great ways to get out on the water and explore some of Florida’s stunning coastline.
If you’re looking to take a break from all of the action, there are also plenty of spots along these beaches where you can relax in peace and quiet. Some even offer free amenities such as restrooms, showers and changing rooms so you can freshen up after a long day out in the sun. There are also several local cafés nearby where you can grab snacks or a quick bite before heading home after your relaxing day at the beach in Orlando.
As you can see, Orlando is a great family-friendly destination that offers something fun for everyone. From world-class theme parks to outdoor adventures, cuisine to nightlife, shopping to culture, and beach days – there is no shortage of activities that will keep you entertained and create lasting memories. Whether it’s your first visit or you’re a returning guest, the city of Orlando promises an unforgettable experience!