You may have known Orlando Florida for Universal or Disney World, but there is so much more to it than that! I visited Orlando a couple of months back and it was a splendid experience. What made it better was my decision to not make it a ‘cliche’ travel. Instead, I spoke to a couple of locals and headed for the Orlando day trips. It was a lot different than the usual beach or theme park trips and we all know how ‘cool’ offbeat places are!
So, if you are someone wanting to make the best out of your travel, take my recommendations for the best day trips from Orlando. Some of America’s finest-looking places are just a drive away! It is not wrong to say that Orlando is the most tourist-populated space in Florida. There isn’t any ‘right’ season for an Orlando visit. Whenever you are free or off work, grab a backpack and head to this glorious place.
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My trip recommendations will help you enjoy a more unique experience than your fellow travelers. You can watch Cuban culture, rocket launches, hot springs, etc. all by making small road trips from Orlando. Getting excited now, are we? Without further ado, let’s begin with the most beautiful day road trip spots around Orlando!
Best Day Trips from Orlando
1. Rock Springs Run State Reserve
This place is commonly called Kelly Park and frankly is one of my favorite spots for day trips from Orlando. It is a lush green area filled with fun activities to do with friends and family. Speaking from my point of view, I went here as a solo traveler and there was no bound to the fun that I had!
This spot is tucked away from the crowd and gets a small number of tourists every season. So there’s more space for you to lounge and relax. You can easily go biking, hiking, arrange some picnics, etc. It is best to carry a small snack basket when you go to this spot. Because the nearest eateries are a bit far away and why would you want to eat in the crowd when you can easily do it in the lap of this stunning view!
When you visit this place as your ideal getaway from Orlando, do not forget to make use of the beautiful horses available there. If you are interested in horseback riding surrounded by beautiful tall trees and lush woods, this state reserve will make your dreams come true!
Now for all those, who itch to be an ‘adventure freak‘ everywhere, this weekend getaway from Orlando will offer you a unique kayaking experience to the end of Wekiwa Springs State Reserve.
Driving Distance from Orlando: 30 minutes by car.
Tip: If you have whiny children with you, it’s best if you carry some snacks with you while roaming this spot as the nearest eatery is a bit far.
2. Kennedy Space Center
Let’s be honest, none of your Orlando day trips are complete without taking your children along! I understand you want to have a great weekend trip but how will you enjoy it when you worry about leaving your little ones behind! So, driving to this spot will make your family day trips from Orlando a special one.
There’s no way the Kennedy Space Center will fail to amuse your kids. Not only them, but even adults can also have great fun there. This is one of the most popular NASA base centers in America equipped with great fun elements that will make you and your kids get a taste of being a real astronaut.
There are many activities that your kids will be able to enjoy like seeing the rocket garden, spending time in the Hubble Space Telescope center, and most importantly feeling like a little astronaut during the shuttle launch ride.
Don’t worry you too can take part in the launch and fulfill your childhood wishes.
Driving Distance from Orlando: About 50 minutes by car.
Tip: You can take the transportation facility available from Orlando to reach this spot, in case you don’t have a private car.
3. Wekiwa Springs State Park
If you are looking for the best day trips from Orlando within a short distance, the Wekiwa Springs State Park is your ideal choice. This is the closest and most easily reachable day trip spot near Orlando, that will refresh your heart and soul!
There are many activities here that you can choose after picking this spot as your things to do outside Orlando. Like any other good Florida spring, this one too has swimming, hiking, wildlife viewing available. Wildlife spotting is especially one of the few experiences that attract a lot of people. If you are looking for a day trip from Orlando where you can watch and pet (if lucky) the beautiful wilderness, this is your perfect spot.
Wildlife watching is best done with a compact binocular. If you don’t have any, check out our top 11 reviewed travel binoculars.
Many couples chose this spot since it gives them a lot of privacy while enjoying the splendid view and activities of the park. If you were searching for romantic Orlando day trips ideas, think of horseback riding in this state park. There are several photographers available who can capture this one-in-a-lifetime moment where you and your partner horse ride in beautiful woods!
Other than horseback, kayaking is a famous activity here, enjoyed by locals and tourists alike. You can travel between two other parks while kayaking and the view are more than plain beautiful.
Driving Distance from Orlando: 20 minutes by car.
Tip: Choose the ten-mile kayaking trip while visiting this park. It’s a much more enriching experience than the three-mile one.
4. Daytona Beach
All the beach lovers, I know you were waiting for a beach tour from Orlando’s recommendation! Without wasting any more time, let me give you my best bet on beaches, the Daytona. Daytona is a popular beautiful natural beach near Orlando that also has an International speedway.
When you combine both these hot spots together your Orlando day trip becomes much cooler. Rather than enjoying just the beach experience you now have a speedway to enjoy too!
Daytona Beach is famous for its cool blue waters, warm sunshine, and soft grainy sands. There is no end to the amazing activities that you will be able to enjoy when you plan this day trip from Orlando.
After the sunset, the beach becomes the Daytona Bandshell Concert. Many indie musicians and artists present their new and old songs in front of the audience and it almost becomes a beach music fest! The international speedway is the most famous of NASCAR racing. Buy your tickets in advance to enjoy this unique experience.
Driving Distance from Orlando: 50 minutes by car.
5. Canaveral National Seashore
Another addition to all sea lovers’ vacay list is this Canaveral National Seashore. Florida is a busy tourist spot and there is no doubt about that. But this piece of land is quite untouched and remains quieter than all other Miami vacation spots. So if you are planning an Orlando day trip where you enjoy your private time and chill without having a buzzing crowd, the Canaveral seashore is your ideal choice.
Not only is it a beautiful seashore but also home to an old National park that protects Florida’s many trees that are almost extinct. It is said that the space has been closed due to development for the time being, but this has resulted in something beautiful. You will find many sea turtles, alligators, etc. near the shoreline. They inhabit this seashore as their natural habitat and do not bother the tourists at all.
When you choose this spot as your weekend getaway from Orlando, your mind and heart will get relaxed at the beautiful landscape of this shore. There is no parallel to the fun activities that you can enjoy in this spot so make sure to include it in your travel list.
Driving Distance from Orlando: 55 minutes by car.
Tip: Since this place is commonly filled with animals, it is best to not bring small children along.
6. Blue Springs State Park
Blue Springs State Park is one of the few Orlando day trips where you can find manatees! It is not common for other natural springs around Orlando to have the amazing view of lively manatees but the blue springs are indeed special! You must be ‘gentle’ with these sea creatures; they are shy and more sensitive than other sea animals.
When you decide upon going to this spot as your day trip from Orlando, take your dog too! Yes, the authorities of this spot will allow you to have fun with your furry creature. Although you cannot take your dog in any water-based activity, the whole area can be a great place for him to run about. If you are thinking of a one day trip from Orlando with dog, blue springs will never disappoint.
There are a lot of dog-friendly hotels and eateries near this spring too. So after spending the whole day having fun in this beautiful spring, you can easily relax in any of the nearby joints.
Driving Distance from Orlando: 40 minutes by car.
Tip: While watching the manatees with kids/pets, remember to be careful about maintaining distance.
7. Cocoa Beach
If you are looking for a beach vacation near Orlando, Cocoa Beach is the ideal destination for you. It is an ideal choice as a short day trip from Orlando. Especially if you are a surfer, Cocoa Beach will become your paradise spot! Even if you are not, you can chill with your family and friends, enjoying the warm rays of the sun and also viewing many water sports activities nearby.
Among other water-based activities, surfing, boating, etc. are most common around this spot.
If you are a honeymooning couple, this is your ultimate romantic Florida vacation spot. Usually, this beach is not crowded with kids, so your privacy is also maintained. There is no entry fee here (except for renting water sports equipment), and exploring Cocoa Beach is the best free thing to do in Orlando! There’s also a Florida Surf Museum nearby, so after the sun goes down, take a romantic stroll with your partner here!
Driving Distance from Orlando: 2 hours by car.
Tip: Visit the nearby string of cafes as they serve the best seafood available in Orlando.
8. Bok Tower Gardens
Do not forget to add Bok Tower Gardens to not only your list of the best day trips from Orlando but simply to your to-do list of unexplored places in Florida.
There are two main highlights of the Bok Tower Gardens- Singing Tower and the Main Garden area. When you roam around the garden area, the beautiful plant species will thrill you. So no matter how many times you visit this spot as an Orlando day trip, you are bound to find different trees in this garden!
The Singing Tower is the most popular in this garden. It stands about 150 feet tall and had a musician who plays amazing music notes inside the tower. Because this tower creates a beautiful atmosphere to relax, this garden becomes a great day trip from Orlando for those who are tired of the ‘usual’ life. You can travel with your folks or friends and spend a weekend roaming this huge garden and it will be a great experience.
Driving Distance from Orlando: 55 minutes by car.
9. John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art
This art museum is situated near Sarasota and is typically called the ‘Ringling’ by the locals. This is a State-recognized art museum and is a great choice for the day trip from Orlando. The Ringling is famous for welcoming new artists and showcasing their collections to the world. This gives unknown and young talent a chance at success. You can be a witness to great art pieces like Benedetto, Nicholas Poussin, Marcel Duchamp, and Benjamin West.
This is a great place to chill with friends or your partner. If you are looking for an Orlando day trip under 2 hours, this is the place for you. However, if you are going with children, it’s best to avoid this spot. It is usually filled with adults and not a great choice for kids to enjoy. Also, you will have to maintain some protocols in this Museum which cannot be done if small kids are present.
Driving Distance from Orlando: 1.5 hours by car.
Tip: There are many art pieces available for sale here. So if you are an art lover take advantage of this opportunity and bring back home some cool paintings.
10. Weeki Wachee Springs State Park
If you are wondering what to do on a day trip from Orlando, why not visit the incredible Weeki Wachee Springs Park? This is one of the best ways to spend a day in and around Orlando, lounging and relaxing in the natural goodness of the beautiful clear water spring. The authorities have converted the natural spring to a mermaid attraction show that makes it all the more of a unique experience for you.
When you are planning a fun day trip from Orlando with the family then Weeki Wachee is no doubt an awesome choice. Other than mermaid watching you can also do boat rides, kayaking, etc. without any restrictions.
Driving Distance from Orlando: 1.5 hours by car.
11. Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park Beach
Key West is famous for its lovely beaches and Fort Zachary is the best of them all. For an Orlando to Key West day trip, you must consider this spot as it will be a memorable thing to do outside Orlando for you and your family. It has a natural coastline filled with coral sand that is great for an amateur or professional snorkeler. If you are interested in snorkeling there are many trainers that you can hire by the hour, to teach you on this beach.
This beach also encompasses a state park, about 2 miles away that tourists love to visit too. If you are not a water adventure lover, spend some time watching the beautiful dolphins, parrotfish, snappers, turtles, etc. that inhabit the beach. Since the drive is about 6 hours, this spot could also be great for an Orlando overnight tour. Apart from the beach and park, there are several good-looking destinations nearby where you can relax for the rest of the vacation.
Driving Distance from Orlando: 6 hours by car.
How can I forget to mention the beautiful and fun-filled city of Miami? This is one of the most traveled and loved day trips near Orlando. Most tourists consider this day trip from Orlando to Miami, as a weekend stay. There’s so much to do in Miami and so little time. Want to immerse yourself in the magnificent culture of this city? Head to Little Havana. Lounge and relax in any of the eating joints and the sip of Cuban coffee will make your day trip successful!
Another great catch of this city is the love of the locals. They love when tourists visit the city and they try to make you a part of their culture. What more? Join them in a game of dominoes at the famous Maximo Gomez Park and soak in all the goodness.
Driving Distance from Orlando: 3.5 hours by car.
With my recommendations, you won’t find a lack of Orlando day trip ideas. Instead, you will have a lack of time to visit all of these great spots. The best thing about Orlando is that it can get visited by anyone- a solo traveler, family, friends, couple, etc. You can be anywhere in the world but the spots and cities to visit near Orlando will add a lot of great memories to your life. If you are a first-timer in Florida, check out the complete Florida packing list.
FAQ – Day Trips from Orlando
1. How many days do you need in Orlando?
A: A weekend trip is enough for an Orlando visit. You can reach many great spots by just a day trip from Orlando.
2. What beach is closest to Orlando?
A: Cocoa beach is the closest one to Orlando and is loved by locals and tourists alike. You can reach this beach within an hour of driving from Orlando.
3. Is Orlando safe for solo backpackers?
A: Absolutely. Orlando welcomes many solo travelers throughout the year and is quite safe as a tourist place.
4. What is the best time to visit Orlando?
A: According to tourists, March to May is the ideal time to visit Orlando. It has the most pleasant weather during this time that will make you enjoy the beautiful beaches even more!