The Best Day Trips and Excursions you can book from Orlando
Orlando is a city known worldwide for its captivating theme parks like Walt Disney World and Universal Studios, is also the gateway to many stunning destinations across Central Florida. If you’re in the mood for something beyond the thrills of roller coasters, then day trips from Orlando are perfect for you.
Here are some magnificent day trips Orlando has in store that will leave you mesmerized. So, step beyond Downtown Orlando and embrace the adventure of Orlando day trips.
Kennedy Space Center:
Located at a convenient distance of one hour from Orlando, the Kennedy Space Center is a must-visit site for those interested in the cosmos. Whether it’s gazing at the massive Space Shuttle Atlantis or walking under the Saturn V moon rocket, you will feel an adrenaline rush of being in an environment so unique.
This premier space center offers an exclusive experience for visitors to peek into the life of an astronaut. With simulated experiences, interactive exhibits, and guided tours of launch facilities, you’ll feel as if you’ve stepped into a different universe altogether. If you have kids in tow, this place will ignite their imagination and curiosity about space travel and technology.
Here at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, you can also meet veteran astronauts, explore the history of human space exploration, and even touch a piece of the moon. It’s an excellent place for a family day out, with ample opportunities for both education and entertainment.
Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse & Museum:
If you are intrigued by history, especially maritime, then a day trip from Orlando to the Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse & Museum is perfect for you. Just a short drive from Orlando, this historical landmark offers visitors a unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty.
Towering as the second-tallest lighthouse in America, the Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse is a well-preserved historical monument that transports you back in time. The museum houses a collection of maritime artifacts and exhibits that provide a glimpse into the life and challenges of sailors and lighthouse keepers.
Apart from the historical insights, the scenic surroundings are sure to captivate you. Stroll around the beautiful grounds with a chance to spot dolphins frolicking in the nearby waters. Don’t forget to climb to the top of the lighthouse to enjoy panoramic views of the Florida coastline.
St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum:
For an adventure-filled day trip, head to the St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum. Here, you can delve into the intriguing world of pirates and their high-sea exploits, making it an ideal stop on your list of Orlando day trips.
With an extensive collection of authentic pirate artifacts, including the world’s oldest ‘Wanted’ poster and the only surviving treasure chest, this museum offers an immersive experience. Interactive exhibits, treasure hunts, and hands-on activities ensure that both young and old visitors remain entertained and informed.
The museum isn’t the only attraction here. The city of St. Augustine itself, with its cobblestone streets and historic architecture, is a treasure trove waiting to be explored. Visit the Castillo de San Marcos or take a relaxing boat cruise to make the most of your day trip.
Bok Tower Gardens:
For those seeking peace and tranquility amidst the beauty of nature, the Bok Tower Gardens in Central Florida is an ideal escape. This serene spot, created by Edward Bok in the early 20th century, offers a tranquil retreat from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
The centerpiece of the garden is the majestic bells tower, surrounded by a series of smaller gardens, winding paths, and peaceful ponds. Daily live music performances inside the tower enhance the ambience, making it a wonderful place to relax and rejuvenate.
In addition to exploring the gardens, you can also visit the on-site Pinewood Estate, a 20-room Mediterranean-style mansion. The combination of historical architecture, intricate detailing, and the surrounding landscape creates a picturesque setting that will leave you enchanted.
De Leon Springs State Park:
A day trip to De Leon Springs State Park offers an opportunity to immerse yourself in Florida’s natural beauty. This gem of a park, nestled in Central Florida, boasts a diverse ecosystem and a range of outdoor activities.
You can enjoy a refreshing dip in the natural spring, go for a hike on one of the trails, or even embark on a canoeing or kayaking adventure. The park’s diverse wildlife and plant species make it a fantastic spot for nature enthusiasts.
To round off the day, treat yourself to a meal at the park’s restaurant or pick up a souvenir from the gift shop. This beautiful park offers both relaxation and recreation, making it a worthy addition to your list of day trips from Orlando.
Canaveral National Seashore:
Canaveral National Seashore is a paradise for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts. This pristine stretch of coast is home to more than a thousand plant and animal species, including the endangered manatee.
Visitors can expect to see a range of wildlife, including dolphins, turtles, and alligators in their natural habitat. The best time to spot wildlife is at dawn or dusk when the animals are most active. However, the fun doesn’t stop at wildlife spotting.
This national seashore offers plenty of outdoor activities. You can take a leisurely walk along the beach, go for a swim, or try your hand at fishing. If you’re feeling more adventurous, you could even embark on a guided boat tour or go kayaking.
St. Augustine Historic District:
Explore the rich history and culture of Florida by visiting the St. Augustine Historic District. As one of the oldest cities in the US, this area offers a unique glimpse into the past with its well-preserved buildings and landmarks.
Take a stroll through the cobblestone streets, visit the city’s historic landmarks, and learn about the city’s history through the informative plaques scattered throughout the district. From museums to historic homes, there’s plenty to explore.
Don’t forget to visit the local boutiques and restaurants that offer a modern take on this historic city. Whether you’re a history buff or not, you’ll surely enjoy this cultural excursion.
Ocala National Forest:
If you’re a fan of outdoor activities, Ocala National Forest is an excellent destination for a day trip from Orlando. This beautiful forest, spanning over 600 square miles, is a haven for nature lovers, hikers, and adventurers.
From hiking and bird watching to fishing and swimming, there’s a multitude of activities to keep you engaged throughout the day. The forest is also home to several natural springs where you can take a refreshing dip.
The flora and fauna in Ocala National Forest are diverse, making it a perfect spot for wildlife viewing. If you’re lucky, you may even spot a few endemic species.
Wekiwa Springs State Park:
Wekiwa Springs State Park, situated in Apopka, offers visitors a taste of the great outdoors. It features a beautiful spring-fed lagoon that maintains a consistent temperature year-round, making it a great spot for swimming, kayaking, and snorkeling.
The park also offers hiking trails through various ecosystems, including wetlands, sand pine scrub, and hardwood forests. You can also go wildlife spotting, as the park is home to a variety of animals, from deer and raccoons to alligators and a multitude of bird species.
Whether you prefer a day of adventurous activities or a peaceful escape in nature, Wekiwa Springs State Park provides an excellent day trip destination from Orlando.
Castillo de San Marcos National Monument:
One of the most iconic historical landmarks in St. Augustine, Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, offers visitors a glimpse into the history and architecture of the Spanish colonial era.
You can explore the well-preserved rooms, courtyards, and watchtowers of this fort, with knowledgeable guides providing insights into its past. The monument also hosts reenactments of historical events, adding to the overall immersive experience.
The location of the fort, overlooking Matanzas Bay, provides stunning views and great photo opportunities. This iconic monument is a must-visit spot on any St. Augustine day trip.
Blue Spring State Park:
Blue Spring State Park is an aquatic paradise and a well-known refuge for the endangered Florida manatee. During winter, these gentle sea cows flock to the park’s warm waters, providing visitors with a unique wildlife viewing opportunity.
In addition to manatee sightings, the park also offers outdoor recreational activities such as swimming, snorkeling, and tubing in the clear blue spring waters. There are also hiking trails and picnic areas, making it a perfect family getaway.
End your day by watching a stunning sunset from one of the many overlooks. A visit to Blue Spring State Park will surely create unforgettable memories.
Walt Disney World:
No trip to Orlando is complete without a visit to Walt Disney World. Home to four theme parks and two water parks, this world-famous destination offers fun and entertainment for all ages.
Whether you want to meet your favorite Disney characters, enjoy thrilling rides, or watch captivating performances, Walt Disney World has it all. Each park boasts a unique theme and attractions, ensuring that there’s something for everyone.
End your day with the spectacular fireworks show over Cinderella’s Castle. This magical experience will surely be the highlight of your trip.
Last but not least, Universal Studios is another must-visit destination in Orlando. This theme park, known for its thrilling rides and attractions based on popular movies and TV shows, provides an exciting day out for the whole family.
From the wizarding world of Harry Potter to the action-packed rides of Jurassic Park, there’s plenty to explore. The park also offers a range of dining and shopping options, making it a complete entertainment package.
Whether you’re a thrill-seeker or a movie buff, Universal Studios promises a day full of excitement and adventure.
The diverse range of day trips from Orlando offers something for every kind of traveler. From exploring space at the Kennedy Space Center to appreciating nature’s bounty at De Leon Springs State Park, these destinations promise a break from the city’s bustling theme parks. Enjoy the magic of space travel, the charm of history and nature, or the thrill of a pirate’s life – there’s a treasure trove of experiences waiting for you beyond Orlando!
Frequently Asked Questions About Day Trips from Orlando
Frequently Asked Questions About Day Trips from Orlando.
What are the best day trips from Orlando?
There are numerous destinations for exciting day trips from Orlando. Some of the top ones include the Kennedy Space Center, Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse & Museum, St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum, Bok Tower Gardens, De Leon Springs State Park, Canaveral National Seashore, St. Augustine Historic District, Ocala National Forest, Wekiwa Springs State Park, Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, Blue Spring State Park, Walt Disney World, and Universal Studios.
What are some educational day trips from Orlando?
For an educational day trip from Orlando, the Kennedy Space Center, Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse & Museum, and St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum are excellent choices. These attractions offer engaging and informative experiences about space, maritime history, and pirate life respectively.
Are there good outdoor day trips from Orlando?
Yes, there are numerous outdoor day trip options from Orlando. Some of the best include Canaveral National Seashore, Ocala National Forest, Wekiwa Springs State Park, De Leon Springs State Park, and Bok Tower Gardens. These locations offer a range of activities like swimming, hiking, bird watching, and more.
What historic sites can I visit on a day trip from Orlando?
St. Augustine Historic District, Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, and Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse & Museum are popular historic sites you can visit on a day trip from Orlando. These sites offer a rich insight into Florida’s past and its cultural heritage.
What are the best day trips from Orlando for nature lovers?
Nature enthusiasts can visit the Ocala National Forest, Wekiwa Springs State Park, Bok Tower Gardens, and Blue Spring State Park for an immersive natural experience. These destinations provide an opportunity to explore diverse ecosystems, spot wildlife, and enjoy the tranquility of nature.
How far is Kennedy Space Center from Orlando?
The Kennedy Space Center is approximately 50 miles east of Orlando. It takes about an hour to drive there from downtown Orlando, making it a convenient option for a day trip.
Can I visit Walt Disney World and Universal Studios on the same day?
While both Walt Disney World and Universal Studios are located in Orlando, visiting both parks in one day can be quite challenging due to their size and the number of attractions each one offers. It is generally recommended to dedicate at least one full day to each park to make the most of your visit.
What are some day trips from Orlando for families?
For families, Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, Kennedy Space Center, and the St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum are great options. These attractions offer a variety of fun and educational experiences suitable for all ages.
Are there any good day trips from Orlando for couples?
Couples might enjoy a relaxing day at Bok Tower Gardens, a historical tour of the St. Augustine Historic District, or a trip to the scenic Canaveral National Seashore. These destinations offer a combination of tranquility, history, and natural beauty.
What are the best day trips from Orlando for adventure lovers?
Adventure seekers can head to Ocala National Forest for hiking and spotting wildlife, or visit Canaveral National Seashore for fishing and boating. The high-seas exploits at St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum also offer an adventure-filled experience.