Orlando is well-known for its incredible theme parks and family-friendly attractions, but there’s so much more to see and do in the Sunshine State. If you’re looking for a change of pace or a day away from the bustling theme parks, consider one of these top day trips from Orlando. From pristine beaches to historic towns, these destinations offer a diverse range of experiences for everyone to enjoy.
Kennedy Space Center
Take a journey into the fascinating world of space exploration at the Kennedy Space Center, located on Florida’s Space Coast. This awe-inspiring destination offers a unique insight into the history and future of space travel, with exhibits, interactive experiences, and the chance to see real rockets and the Space Shuttle Atlantis up close.
Step back in time and explore the oldest continuously inhabited city in the United States. St. Augustine, founded in 1565, boasts charming cobblestone streets, historic forts, and a rich colonial history. Visit the Castillo de San Marcos, tour the Lightner Museum, and enjoy a leisurely stroll along St. George Street.
Known for its powdery white sand and crystal-clear waters, Clearwater Beach is an idyllic spot to spend a day soaking up the sun, swimming, or enjoying watersports. Don’t forget to visit Pier 60, where you can enjoy daily sunset festivals, fishing, and stunning views.
Blue Springs State Park
Experience the natural beauty of Florida at Blue Spring State Park, home to one of the state’s largest springs. This picturesque park is perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving in the crystal-clear waters or for exploring the scenic nature trails. During the winter months, you might even spot manatees seeking refuge in the warmer waters.
Famous for its NASCAR racing history, Daytona Beach offers much more than just high-speed thrills. Enjoy the beach, visit the Daytona International Speedway, explore the Daytona Beach Boardwalk, or check out the Museum of Arts and Sciences.
Crystal River is the perfect day trip for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts. Known as the “Home of the Manatee,” this area offers guided boat tours and the unique opportunity to snorkel or swim with these gentle giants in their natural habitat. Located around two hours from Orlando, you will find a full day of activities from kayaking, fishing, hiking or even scalloping!
Bok Tower Gardens
Escape to a tranquil oasis at Bok Tower Gardens, a National Historic Landmark featuring lush gardens, nature trails, and the iconic 205-foot tall Singing Tower carillon. This peaceful sanctuary is perfect for a leisurely stroll, birdwatching, or simply enjoying the serenity of nature.
Cocoa Beach and the Space Coast
Head to Florida’s Space Coast for a day of sun, sand, and surf at Cocoa Beach, located just an hour’s drive from Orlando. Don’t forget to visit the iconic Ron Jon Surf Shop and take a stroll along the Cocoa Beach Pier.
Tampa and Busch Gardens
For a different theme park experience, visit Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, just 1.5 hours from Orlando. This park combines thrilling roller coasters with up-close encounters with exotic animals, offering a unique blend of adventure and education.
Orlando has so much to offer beyond its famous theme parks. These day trips provide a wonderful way to experience Florida’s diverse landscapes, history, and wildlife. Whether you’re looking for relaxation, adventure, or cultural experiences, you’ll find plenty of options just a short drive from Orlando. Happy exploring!