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Travel destinations, beaches and attractions and things to do in Florida. Documented by RESIDENTS of Florida.

12 Fun Unique Day Trips from Orlando Florida

Choose Your Cool Day Trip

Few cities have a location that is centrally located like Orlando with a highway system that can get travelers to other parts of the state efficiently.

Day trips from Orlando Florida are popular and easily achieved. However, finding those perfect locations can be difficult. Residents and people on vacation in Orlando look for trips to other parts of the state that offer fun, beaches or shopping.

Florida Travel Blog has assembled 12 unique day trips from Orlando that offers trips to beaches, springs and fun destinations we have traveled for many years. Each has the distance from Orlando and other helpful notes.

Day Trip from Orlando to Tampa

Day Trip to Tampaday trips from orlando to Tampa

Tampa is Florida’s 3rd largest city and one of the fastest-growing cities in Florida. Growth has brought a lot of attention to the major attractions in Tampa like:

We recommend you read our post on the Tampa Riverwalk for more information and the many attractions accessible from Riverwalk. This is one of those day trips from Orlando that could be repeated numerous times to take in all the attractions in Tampa.

Tampa also makes a great weekend getaway from Orlando. Get your complete tour guide to Tampa. Here are more things to do in Tampa.

Distance Orlando to Tampa – 85 miles – 90-minute drive via I-4

Day Trip from Orlando to The World Equestrian Center

Day Trip to The World Equestrian CenterDay trip from Orlando to WEC

This may be the most unique day trip you have ever taken. Visit the only 5-Star hotel with a several-acre large horse jumping arena running the length of the hotel.

The property has over 380 acres of equestrian activities, shops of all kinds, restaurants and training grounds for some of the world’s most beautiful and graceful horses.

Located on the west side of Ocala, The World Equestrian Center has become a huge attraction for day-trippers as well as people who want to spend a few days. Don’t miss any of the action from one of the many grandstands or from your room if you ever decide to stay at this stunning hotel.

This is one of the most unique fun day trips from Orlando you can find. Check out The Equestrian, their 5-Star Hotel. Here are other things to do in Ocala.

Distance Orlando to Ocala WEC from Orlando – 82 miles – 1hr-30 minute drive via I-75

things you need when flying

Day Trip to The Kennedy Space Center & Merritt Island

Day Trip to The Kennedy Space Centerday trip from Orlando to Kennedy Space Center

Visitors to Kennedy Space Center are immersed in a world of awe-inspiring exhibits, interactive displays, and real-life spacecraft that chronicle the history of space exploration. 

From the towering Saturn V rocket, which propelled astronauts to the moon, to the space shuttle Atlantis, which flew numerous missions in Earth’s orbit, the center’s attractions offer a captivating glimpse into mankind’s quest to reach beyond the confines of our planet.

Visitors can witness the excitement of a rocket launch firsthand, embark on guided tours of historic launch sites, and even meet veteran astronauts who have ventured into the cosmos. With its educational programs, immersive simulators, and hands-on experiences, Kennedy Space Center inspires the next generation of space explorers and fosters a deeper appreciation for the wonders of the universe. 

Whether you’re a lifelong space enthusiast or simply curious about humanity’s journey beyond Earth, a visit to Kennedy Space Center promises an unforgettable adventure that is truly out of this world. Merritt Island is just south on Kennedy Parkway from the Space Center.

Distance Orlando to Kennedy Space Center/Merritt Island from Orlando – 52 miles – 53 minute drive via Route 528 & 407

Day Trip from Orlando to Ormond Beach

orlando day trip to ormond beachDay Trip to Ormond Beach

Along Florida’s picturesque Atlantic Coast, Ormond Beach exudes a charming blend of natural beauty, rich history, and laid-back coastal vibes. 

Known for its pristine sandy shores, Ormond Beach offers miles of unspoiled coastline where visitors can bask in the sun, swim in the refreshing ocean waters, or indulge in a variety of water sports, from surfing and paddleboarding to fishing and boating.

Ormond Beach boasts a vibrant community with an array of shops, restaurants, and cultural attractions to explore. Stroll along the historic downtown district, where quaint boutiques and cozy cafes line the streets.

Explore the scenic trails of Tomoka State Park, where ancient live oak trees draped in Spanish moss provide a serene backdrop for outdoor adventures, or paddle along the peaceful waters of the Tomoka River, home to an abundance of birds and wildlife.

Whether you’re seeking relaxation on the beach, outdoor adventure, or a glimpse into Florida’s storied past, Ormond Beach offers a quintessential coastal experience that is sure to leave a lasting impression.

Things to do in Ormond Beach.

Distance to Ormond Beach from Orlando – 62 miles – 70 minute drive via Route I-4

Day Trip from Orlando to Crystal River

Day Trip to Crystal Riverday trip to crystal river from orlando manatee

On Florida’s Gulf Coast, Crystal River is a serene and enchanting destination renowned for its crystal-clear springs and abundant wildlife, particularly its resident population of West Indian manatees.

Visitors flock to Crystal River to experience the unique opportunity to swim, snorkel, and kayak alongside these gentle giants in their natural habitat. The crystal-clear waters of Kings Bay and the surrounding springs provide excellent visibility, allowing visitors to observe the manatees up close.

Crystal River boasts a rich cultural heritage and a thriving arts scene, with galleries, boutiques, and local eateries scattered throughout the charming downtown area. Some of the fun things we like to do include:

Whether you’re drawn to its natural beauty, cultural attractions, or outdoor adventures, Crystal River invites visitors to experience the magic of Florida’s Gulf Coast in a truly unforgettable way.

If you are a nature lover, Crystal River is one of the best day trips from Orlando you can consider. More things to do in Crystal River. Find out about a stay at the Plantation Inn in Crystal River.

Distance Crystal River from Orlando – 87 miles – 1hr.- 40-minute drive via Route Florida Turnpike to Route 44 west

Day Trip from Orlando to Mount Dora

Day trip to Mount dora from OrlandoDay Trip to Mount Dora

Amidst the rolling hills of Central Florida, Mount Dora exudes small-town charm and Southern hospitality, making it a beloved destination for visitors.

Known for its quaint downtown district lined with historic buildings, tree-lined streets, and blooming gardens, Mount Dora invites exploration at every turn. Visitors can wander through eclectic shops, art galleries, and antique stores, discovering unique treasures and locally crafted goods.

The town’s vibrant cultural scene comes alive with annual events such as the Mount Dora Arts Festival and the Mount Dora Music Festival, showcasing the talents of artists and musicians from across the region.

Lake Dora, one of several interconnected lakes in the area, serves as a popular spot for boating, fishing, and scenic cruises aboard historic paddlewheel boats. Check out Pisces Rising Restaurant and the historic Lakeside Inn. Good food and good views.

The lush landscapes of nearby parks and nature preserves provide idyllic settings for hiking, birdwatching, and picnicking, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the beauty of Florida’s countryside.

More things to do in Mount Dora, Florida.

Distance Mount Dora from Orlando – 33 miles – 40-minute drive via Route I-4 to Rt. 414 to Rt.429

Day Trip from Orlando to Rainbow Springs

Day Trip to Rainbow Springs State ParkDay trip from Orlando to Rainbow Springs

Rainbow Springs, located in Dunnellon, Florida, is a breathtaking natural gem renowned for its crystalline waters, lush vegetation, and abundant wildlife. As one of Florida’s largest freshwater springs, Rainbow Springs boasts a rich history dating back thousands of years.

The springs serve as a popular recreational destination, drawing visitors from near and far to experience the beauty and tranquility of this pristine natural oasis.

Visitors to Rainbow Springs can explore the park’s expansive grounds, which encompass miles of scenic hiking trails, picnic areas, and botanical gardens. The highlight of the park is undoubtedly the Rainbow River, whose shimmering waters meander through the landscape, creating a serene backdrop for outdoor adventures.

Visitors can explore the remnants of the historic Rainbow Springs attraction, which operated as a tourist destination from the 1930s to the 1970s, featuring a botanical garden, waterfalls, and a zoo.

Kayaking, canoeing, and tubing are popular activities along the river, allowing visitors to float lazily downstream while soaking in the picturesque surroundings. Snorkelers and scuba divers are also drawn to Rainbow Springs for its clear waters, which offer excellent visibility and a glimpse into the diverse ecosystem teeming with fish, turtles, and other aquatic life.

Visitors can explore the remnants of the historic Rainbow Springs attraction, which operated as a tourist destination from the 1930s to the 1970s, featuring a botanical garden, waterfalls, and a zoo.

Rainbow Springs offers something for everyone, inviting visitors to connect with nature and create lasting memories in this enchanting paradise.  Things to do in Dunnellon, Florida.

Distance to Rainbow Springs from Orlando – 83 miles – 1 hr 30-minute drive via Route 408 to Florida Turnpike north to Rt. 484

Day Trip from Orlando to Cocoa Beach

day trip to cocoa beach from orlandoDay Trip to Cocoa Beach

Cocoa Beach, along Florida’s Space Coast, is a vibrant seaside community renowned for its uncluttered beaches, world-class surfing, and laid-back atmosphere. As the closest beach to Orlando, Cocoa Beach offers a convenient escape for visitors seeking sun, sand, and surf.

Cocoa Beach Pier serves as a focal point for recreation and entertainment, with restaurants, bars, and shops lining its wooden deck, providing stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean and opportunities for fishing, dining, and live music.

Ron Jon Surf Shop in Cocoa Beach is an iconic landmark along Florida’s Space Coast and holds the title of the world’s largest surf shop. Founded in 1959 by Ron DiMenna, this legendary store has become synonymous with beach culture.

The city, not far from Cape Canaveral, pays homage to its spacefaring heritage with landmarks such as the Astronaut Memorial Planetarium and Observatory, where stargazers can gaze at the night sky through powerful telescopes.

In addition to its outdoor attractions, Cocoa Beach boasts a vibrant arts and culture scene, with galleries, theaters, and museums showcasing the talents of local artists and performers. The city’s lively downtown area offers an array of dining options, ranging from seafood shacks to gourmet eateries, serving up fresh catch and coastal cuisine.

Whether you’re hitting the waves, exploring space history, or simply soaking up the sun on the beach, Cocoa Beach invites visitors to experience the best of Florida’s coastal lifestyle in a relaxed and welcoming setting.

Things to do in Cocoa Beach. Places to stay in Cocoa Beach on the beach.

Distance to Cocoa Beach from Orlando – 60 miles – 65-minute drive via Route 408 to 528 to A1A

Day Trip from Orlando to Silver Springs

Day Trip to Famous Silver Springs State ParkDay trip from orlando to silver springs

Silver Springs, located in Marion County, Florida, is a natural wonder renowned for its crystal-clear waters, lush landscapes, and abundant wildlife.

In addition to its natural beauty, Silver Springs has a rich cultural history dating back thousands of years. The area has been inhabited by Native American tribes for centuries, and evidence of their presence can be found in the form of shell mounds and artifacts scattered throughout the region.

The centerpiece of Silver Springs is its namesake springs, one of the largest artesian springs in the world, which pumps out millions of gallons of fresh water every day.

Visitors to Silver Springs are treated to breathtaking views of the crystal-clear waters, where they can embark on glass-bottom boat tours to marvel at the underwater world below, including ancient artifacts, underwater caves, and a diverse array of aquatic life.

Silver Springs, Florida, has served as a picturesque filming location for numerous movies, television shows, and commercials over the years, including:

  1. “Creature from the Black Lagoon” (1954)

  2. “Tarzan” Films (1930s-1950s)

  3. “Sea Hunt” (1958-1961) 

  4. “Flipper” (1964-1967)

  5. “Revenge of the Creature” (1955)

Silver Springs State Park provides ample facilities for visitors to enjoy the outdoors, including hiking trails, picnic areas, and a visitor center with exhibits on the area’s history and ecology.

Whether you’re seeking adventure on the water or simply looking to connect with nature, Silver Springs offers a timeless escape into Florida’s natural beauty.

Other things to do in Ocala Florida.

Distance to Silver Springs from Orlando – 90 miles – 1 Hr-40-minute drive via Route I-75 to Rt. 40 east

Day Trip from Orlando to Historic Brooksville

Day trip from orlando florida to BrooksvilleDay Trip to Historic Brooksville

Brooksville, located in Hernando County, Florida, is a charming and historic town steeped in rich Southern heritage. 

Originally settled in the 1840s, Brooksville boasts a storied past that is reflected in its well-preserved historic architecture and cultural landmarks. The town’s historic downtown district is lined with elegant Victorian-era homes, quaint shops, and antique stores, inviting visitors to step back in time and explore its timeless charm.

The Annual Brooksville Raid Reenactment is a highly anticipated event that takes place in Brooksville each year. It commemorates the Civil War raid on Brooksville that occurred in July 1864 when Union troops led by Colonel Christopher Columbus Wilson launched a surprise attack on the town, resulting in a brief skirmish with Confederate defenders.

The raid ultimately failed to achieve its objectives, but it left a lasting mark on the local community and is remembered through this annual reenactment.

One of the most iconic landmarks in Brooksville is the historic Hernando County Courthouse, a magnificent red brick building that dates back to 1913 and serves as a focal point of the downtown area. 

Nearby, the May-Stringer House Museum offers a glimpse into Brooksville’s past, with its beautifully restored Victorian mansion filled with period furnishings and artifacts. Visitors can also explore the historic Brooksville Cemetery, which dates back to the mid-19th century and contains the final resting places of many early settlers and prominent figures in the town’s history.

Beyond its historic sites, Brooksville offers a variety of outdoor recreational opportunities, including hiking, birdwatching, and exploring the natural beauty of nearby parks and nature preserves.

With its quaint charm, rich history, and scenic surroundings, Brooksville offers a delightful escape for visitors seeking to experience the timeless allure of small-town Florida.

Things to do near Brooksville Florida.

Distance to Brooksville from Orlando – 85 miles – 1 Hr-40-minute drive via Route 50

Day Trip from Orlando to Daytona Beach

Day Trip to Daytona Beachday trip from orlando to daytona beach

Daytona Beach, located along Florida’s Atlantic coast, is renowned for its sun-soaked beaches, vibrant boardwalk, and rich racing heritage.

Dubbed the “World’s Most Famous Beach,” Daytona Beach attracts millions of visitors each year with its miles of sandy shoreline, where beachgoers can soak up the sun, swim in the refreshing ocean waters, and enjoy a variety of water sports, from surfing and paddleboarding to jet skiing and parasailing.

Beyond its sandy shores, Daytona Beach is steeped in history and culture. The city’s iconic Daytona International Speedway is home to the Daytona 500, one of the most prestigious events in NASCAR racing, drawing fans from around the world to witness high-speed thrills and heart-pounding action. 

Visitors can explore the Speedway’s interactive Motorsports Hall of Fame of America and take guided tours of the track to learn about its storied history and legendary drivers.

Daytona Beach’s vibrant boardwalk and entertainment district offer a plethora of dining, shopping, and nightlife options, with oceanfront restaurants serving up fresh seafood and coastal cuisine, beachfront bars offering live music and tropical drinks, and eclectic shops selling everything from beachwear to souvenirs. 

The Daytona Beach area also boasts a variety of attractions and activities for visitors of all ages, including water parks, amusement parks, museums, and cultural events.

Whether you’re seeking relaxation on the beach, adrenaline-pumping racing action, or family-friendly fun, Daytona Beach offers something for everyone, inviting visitors to experience the laid-back coastal lifestyle and endless sunshine that have made it a beloved destination for generations.

More things to do in Daytona Beach. Places to stay in Daytona Beach.

Distance to Daytona Beach from Orlando – 57 miles – 70-minute drive via Route I-4

Day Trip from Orlando to Homosassa Springs

day trips from orlando Homosassa SpringsDay Trip to Homosassa Springs

Homosassa Springs, Florida is an unincorporated community and census-designated place located in Citrus County, Florida. It’s known for its namesake natural wonder, Homosassa Springs, a massive first-magnitude spring that’s a haven for manatees and other wildlife.

Here’s a closer look at what Homosassa Springs has to offer:

  • Natural Beauty: The centerpiece of Homosassa Springs is the crystal-clear spring itself, which pumps out thousands of gallons of fresh water every minute. The spring maintains a constant temperature of 72 degrees Fahrenheit, making it a comfortable habitat for a variety of fish, birds, and other animals. Manatees are particularly drawn to the warm water during the cooler winter months.
  • Wildlife Encounters: Visitors can observe manatees and other wildlife up close at the Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park. The park is home to rescued and rehabilitated native Florida wildlife, including manatees, alligators, black bears, red wolves, Key deer, flamingos, and whooping cranes. The park also features an underwater observatory that allows visitors to see the spring’s underwater world without getting wet.
  • Outdoor Activities: Homosassa Springs offers a variety of outdoor activities for visitors to enjoy. You can go kayaking, canoeing, paddleboarding, or fishing on the Homosassa River. There are also hiking trails in the area that lead through lush forests and wetlands.
  • History: The Homosassa Springs area has a rich history. Native Americans inhabited the area for thousands of years before the arrival of Europeans. In the 1800s, the area became a center for commercial fishing and trapping. Today, Homosassa Springs is a popular tourist destination known for its natural beauty and wildlife.

If you’re looking for a place to relax and reconnect with nature, Homosassa Springs is a great option. With its beautiful scenery, abundant wildlife, and outdoor activities, Homosassa Springs offers something for everyone.

More things to do in Homosassa Springs.

Distance to Homosassa Springs from Orlando – 86 miles – 1 hr 40-minute drive via Florida Turnpike to Route 44

Tips for Day Trips from Orlando

Taking day trips from Orlando, Florida, offers the opportunity to explore the diverse attractions and natural wonders of the Sunshine State. Here are some tips to make the most of your day trips:

  • Plan Ahead: Research destinations and activities in advance to maximize your time and make the most of your day. Consider factors such as travel time, opening hours, admission prices, and any special events or attractions you don’t want to miss.
  • Choose Your Destinations Wisely: Orlando’s central location provides easy access to a variety of destinations, including theme parks, beaches, natural springs, state parks, and historic towns. Consider your interests and preferences when selecting day trip destinations to ensure an enjoyable experience for everyone in your group.
  • Use Efficient Transportation: Depending on the distance and destination, consider renting a car, joining a guided tour, or using public transportation to reach your day trip destination. Driving allows for flexibility and independence, while guided tours offer convenience and local expertise. Public transportation may be an option for destinations closer to Orlando.
    day trips from orlando three sisters springs
    Three Sisters Springs in Crystal River is a great place to see manatees on your day trip from Orlando.
  • Pack Essentials: Be sure to pack essentials such as the proper sunscreen, refillable water bottles, snacks, comfortable shoes, and weather-appropriate clothing. Consider bringing a camera or smartphone to capture memories along the way.
  • Plan Your Itinerary: Create a flexible itinerary outlining your planned activities and attractions for the day. Allow for some spontaneity and flexibility in case you discover unexpected attractions or detours along the way.
  • Check Operating Hours: Confirm the operating hours and any potential closures or special events at your day trip destination before departing. Some attractions may have limited hours or seasonal closures.
  • Stay Informed: Stay informed about local regulations, safety guidelines, and any related restrictions or requirements at your day trip destination. Be prepared to follow any guidelines or protocols to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for yourself and others.
  • Enjoy the Journey: Remember that half the fun of a day trip is the journey itself. Take time to enjoy the scenic drive, listen to music or podcasts, and make stops along the way to stretch your legs and explore new places.

By following these tips, you can make the most of your day trips from Orlando, Florida, and create memorable experiences exploring the Sunshine State’s diverse attractions and natural beauty.

Final Thoughts on Orlando Day Trips

Orlando is known for theme parks, great restaurants, amusement parks and entertainment. The city is perhaps the fun capital of the world but it doesn’t have everything!

Florida is known for its world-renowned beachesThe Everglades, islands, history and the best fishing in the country – none of which Orlando can offer.

That is why residents and vacationers both look for day trips from Orlando to experience the rest of Florida. Take to the roads and enjoy!

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Day Trips on Florida’s Nature Coast

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