If you’re looking to travel around in Orlando but plan on skipping the tourist hot spots and traditional theme parks, there are still plenty of places to visit and enjoy. We’ve gathered a list of must-see places and where to get the best food and drinks.
Places to visit
- Gatorland: How can you visit Florida without checking out some of the state’s famous gators? Located on over 100 acres of land, Gatorland houses thousands of gators, a petting zoo, aviary, and splash zone for smaller visitors.
- Orlando Tree Trek Adventure Park: Near Disney World, you can find a park dedicated to getting your adrenaline pumping. Designed for climbers and adventurers of all levels, this park specializes in swings, nets, ropes – and don’t worry, you’ll be secured the entire time.
- Boggy Creek Airboat Rides: Check out what the Florida Everglades have to offer with a six-passenger airboat ride. During the tour, you’ll be able to see protected wilderness and wildlife that has remained pristine and untouched by man.
Places to eat
Hungry? Here are some of the best eateries Orlando has to offer:
- Mrs. Potato: There’s a reason this restaurant was showcased on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, it’s all about the best root vegetable in the world – the mighty potato. This Brazilian restaurant specializes in – you guessed it – potatoes. Guests loved the large portions and hearty meals.
- Dandelion Communitea Café: This vegan spot caters to specialty diets such as soy-free and gluten-free eaters. Enjoy healthy falafel lettuce wraps, nachos, and homemade chili.
- Gideon’s Bakehouse: In the mood to satisfy your sweet tooth? Just read some of the offerings: Pistachio toffee dark chocolate cookies, salted caramel cake, peanut butter apple pie, and dessert iced coffees.
- Sticky Rice Lao Street Food: In the mood for Asian food? Head to Orlando’s only Lao restaurant. Tuck into some pork spring rolls, lemongrass pork sausages, papaya salad, or mango sticky rice for a truly satisfying meal.
Places to road trip
If you live in Orlando and you’re looking for destinations to take a road trip to, first and foremost, you’re going to want to make sure your car is up to snuff. Make sure to take it in to get serviced before you go anywhere. The last thing you want to happen on a road trip is your car breaking down. Go to a mechanic for your Audi service in Orlando, for example – whatever brand you have, it needs to be professionally serviced.
By doing so, you avoid the hassle of issues popping up that could have been anticipated and fixed before you were 50 miles away from home already.
Here are some top road trips to take from Orlando:
- Orlando to Crystal River: Go watch some gentle manatees loaf around in the water. It’s the only place in America where you can actually go into the water with these placid giant marine mammals.
- Orlando to Tampa: If you want to get your fill of marine life, check out the Florida Aquarium and then go explore the thriving food scene. The brand-new Riverwalk just opened and it’s full of fun things to do.
- Orlando to Sarasota City: Amazing beaches, an exciting downtown, and relaxing locations, Sarasota City is full of incredible sights to behold. Take a trip to the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art and spend the day in a quiet space, admiring masterpieces.
- Orlando to Key West: Key West may be small but it’s worth the trip. Beaches, snorkeling, and an island filled with bars and clubs – it’s the perfect spot for anyone looking for an exciting nightlife spot.
- Orland to Miami: Those white sand beaches are worth the drive – we promise. A bustling art scene, food, shopping, and a strong Cuban influence, Miami is a destination you shouldn’t miss out on.
When you think of Orlando, images of theme parks are immediately conjured up. However, there’s so much more to Orlando than theme parks and Disney. If you’re willing to do a little research, there are hidden gems all around this beautiful city. So, get up and close with marine life – hopefully manatees and not gators – and enjoy the white sand beaches of America’s “Sunshine State.” Just don’t forget your hat and sunscreen. Let your vacation begin!