Orlando and the surrounding area of the city offer many interesting attractions, tours and experiences in addition to the traditional theme parks. Many of these tours are still little known to tourists. Even the beach is possible to catch while staying in Orlando. In this article we bring several tips of tours and cities around Orlando that are worth a visit.
Planning to buy a home in Orlando? You will find out the city is much more than just parks and shopping. Read this article and find out more about the great things Orlando and the surrounding area has to offer.
Orlando Eye – Observation wheel (Icon 360)
The Orlando Ferris Wheel, formerly known as the Orlando Eye (Today is called Icon 360) is the largest on the American East Coast and one of the largest in the world. With its 122 meters high, it offers beautiful panoramic views of the city of Orlando and its surroundings. A tip is to visit it at dusk, to enjoy the sunset or else at night to see the Disney fireworks. There are 30 cable cars with capacity for 14 people. The cable cars are all equipped with large glass windows to maximize the view. The ferris wheel is located in the I-Drive 360 entertainment complex on International Drive. The complex offers other interesting sightseeing attractions like the Madame Tussauds wax museum and the SeaLife Orlando Aquarium.
Helicopter Tour Orlando
There are several fun rides to do in Orlando, in addition to the famous theme parks. If you have extra time, how about adding an unusual activity to your itinerary: A helicopter ride? Take a scenic helicopter flight through the city and see all the Disney icons from above. It is an excellent suggestion for a walk to do beyond the parks in Orlando. There are several companies that provide the service in Orlando and everything is very safe and organized. Learn more about Orlando helicopter tours.
Orlando Balloon Rides
Have you flown in a balloon before? If you haven’t had this experience yet, enjoy your stay in Orlando and do something different! The tour is incredible and lasts about 1 hour. You must wake up very early, as the tour starts before sunrise, so you can enjoy incredible landscapes from above with the colorful Florida sun rising over the horizon. Fly over forests and spot the theme parks from up there. You can still participate in the preparations to inflate the balloon. It is truly an unforgettable experience. When you put your feet on the ground after the flight, usually a toast is made with a champagne and you receive a certificate. The day has hardly started and you will be full of good energy to enjoy Orlando the way you want. Find out more about Orlando Balloon Rides.
Kaiaking at The Paddling Center
The Paddling Center in Kissimmee, Orlando, is a center of activities in nature, located in the middle of a truly preserved oasis with exuberant biodiversity. There you can rent kayaks, canoes, stand up paddles, bikes or simply go to The Paddling Center to take a walk on the trails of the natural complex. Some animals you can find along the way: eagles, turtles, herons and even crocodiles !!
I-Drive NASCAR indoor Kart Racing
How about riding the NASCAR Kart in Orlando? Calm!! Karting takes its name, but the race is much less aggressive. If you are one of those people used to karts almost semi-professional in Brazil, manage expectations. In the I-Drive NASCAR indoor Kart Racing, the concept is different and more democratic! The idea is to have fun with safety and lots, but lots of technology! Cars are electric, which does not prevent them from reaching more than 70 km per hour. Only you will not experience the smell of gasoline in the air (even because the fun is indoor) or you will see tires “frying”. The tour is very cool and ideal for going in class, with family and friends. There are other entertainments for those who don’t want to fly or are waiting: bowling, pool and other electronic toys. There is also a very good Bar & Grill restaurant!
IFly Skydiving Indoor Orlando
IFly Skydiving Indoor Orlando is a high tech parachute jump simulator that will make you feel like you are in a free fall, as if you had jumped out of an airplane. It is a wind tunnel where you jump with all the necessary protective equipment and simulate a parachute jump very close to reality. Will you be able to keep your balance in the air? Find out more about IFly Orlando.
Celebration Orlando Community
Celebration is a community that emerged from a futuristic project, located 10 minutes from the Disney complex in the city of Kissimmee. It is the result of Walt Disney’s grandiose dreams of creating a perfect and harmonious “tomorrow’s” community. As a curiosity, the EPCOT Park is part of the same project. So much so that EPCOT means “Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow”, that is, Experimental community project of the future.
Apparently, the park was a project diversion. It was not meant to be a theme park with toys for tourists, but a perfect city. As Walt Disney died before his dreams were realized, the project pursued other purposes. Today the Celebration neighborhood has some of these characteristics of a perfect community designed by Walt Disney. And it is for this reason that everything there is very beautiful, clean, organized and magical!
Those who visit Celebration are impressed by such beauty and feel in a cinematographic studio, with beautiful and luxurious houses and exquisite landscaping projects that value the community. Learn more about Celebration.
Kennedy Space Center
The Kennedy Space Center (KSC) or John F. Kennedy Space Center is located on Cape Canaveral, just 75 km from Orlando (about 1 hour away). The site belongs to Brevard County, east coast of Florida, between the cities of Miami and Jacksonville. A visit to Cape Canaveral is an option for a cultural tour for those looking to learn more about NASA Park, as well as learn a little about the history of North American space activities. Learn more about the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral.
Immersive experiences (interact and have fun like never before)
In your list of things to do in Orlando besides the parks, be sure to include immersive experiences that you will only find in Orlando. The main ones are: 1 – Crayola Experience, 2 – NBA Experience and 3 – L’Occitane en Provence. At Crayola Experience, children will be able to participate in more than 20 activities inspired by the crayon boxes that marked our childhood. For those who are fans of the NBA, the league has a store in Disney Springs where the customer can immerse themselves in the sport with the right to cross the corridor to enter the court shouting from the “crowd” imitated in speakers. L’Occitane en Provence also has a store in Disney Springs with a scenery decorated with elements that complement essence oil distilleries in Provence, France. What about? More and more brands are leaving the “same” and using immersive experiences to delight and retain customers. And the city of Orlando is the ideal place for that!
Towns and cities near Orlando Florida
In the surroundings of Orlando there are several very beautiful and charming cities and towns, some of which are centuries old, rich in history and culture. Most of them have charming little spots that invite you for a relaxing family walk, while you can enjoy shops, cafes, pastry shops, good restaurants and a pleasant atmosphere of a typical central Florida city.
Although Orlando is located in the center of the continent, the city is not far from the coast, and it is perfectly possible to make a round trip in some nearby beach towns.
Below are some city tips to visit near Orlando.
Winter Garden is a charming little town north of Orlando, not well known to tourists and ideal for those who want to escape the hustle and bustle of Orlando parks. The small town is very charming and famous for its historic center, which is part of the National Register of Historic Places (National Register of Historic Places) and brings all the preserved and centenary architecture of the time when the region was taken over by orange farms.
Walk through Winter Garden and enjoy its shops, cafes, pastry shops and restaurants. Be sure to also visit the Crooked Can Brewing Company craft brewery, with great local drinks. On weekends there is a local farmers market in the center, Farmer’s Market. Close to the center is Winter Garden Village, an open-air outlet, ideal for those looking to escape the queues of Orlando’s traditional outlets.
And if you enjoy cycling, take advantage and rent a bike there in the very center of Winter Garden and have fun on the West Orange Trail, a 35 km long trail, all paved, signposted and, for the most part, flat. The trail starts in the city of Oakland, east of Winter Garden, and ends in Apopka, on the shores of Lake Apopka, passing through the center of Winter Garden. Cycling along the West Orange Trail is an enriching experience, as you traverse historic towns and villages in central Florida. Almost the entire trail was built over the tracks of the region’s old railway line. Even today it is possible to see the original tracks and sleepers of the old train line at some points on the trail.
A haven for wealthy northern American families in the late 19th century, Winter Park still preserves the charm and architecture of that era. An enriching tour for those who want an alternative to parks and shopping in Orlando. Winter Park is little known by tourists, making the tour a rich experience for anyone looking to experience local culture and life in a typical small town in central Florida. The center of the city offers numerous shops, pastry shops, cafes and restaurants. In the city you will also find a chocolate factory and the famous The Wine Room, for wine lovers. The interesting thing about The Wine Room is the unusual and intelligent method of tasting wines. By means of a prepaid card you buy the doses of machines. There are more than 150 labels from around the world. The machines are imported from Italy and have technology to preserve the properties and tannins of the drinks.
Learn a little about the history of the USA by visiting the city of St Augustine, the oldest in the country, founded in 1565 by Spanish explorer Pedro Mendes de Aviles. St Augustine is considered the first permanent settlement registered in American territory. The city is approximately 2 hours away from Orlando. There you can visit Catillo de San Marcos, a fortress built by the Spanish between 1672 and 1695. In addition to other historic buildings, St Augustine also offers one of the most beautiful beaches in Florida, St Augustine Beach. It is worth reserving a few nights of your Orlando itinerary to visit the city, if you have time and are looking for leisure beyond the parks.
The city of Daytona offers one of the most beautiful beaches near Orlando. A little less than an hour’s drive away, it is perfectly possible to take a tour to rest in the parks. Daytona is famous for hosting the NASCAR headquarters and its Stock Car races. In March and April it is invaded by students from all over Florida due to the Spring Break. Learn more about Daytona Beach.
These are some tips on what to do in Orlando besides the parks. Orlando is an incredible city that offers many attractions, tours and experiences in addition to parks and shopping. If you have any tour tips in Orlando, please contact us and we will comment here on the blog.