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

Fun Places To Go Near Orlando After the Theme Parks

Family Friendly Places To See Near Orlando Florida

We get it! You either don’t like theme parks or you are tired of all the clamor in and around the parks.

As residents of Florida, we understand when theme park overload hits and it’s time to have some fun somewhere other than theme park row! We have some great places to go near Orlando Florida.

Places To Go Near Orlando Within One Hour

places to go near orlando florida - Nasa
Kennedy Space Center is something everyone should see. From children to adults, there is something to wow everyone!

Beyond the magical world of theme parks, Orlando offers a surprising variety of exciting and enriching experiences within an hour’s drive. Here are some options to consider:

Nature and Outdoor Activities Places To Go Near Orlando
  • Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex (Merritt Island): Immerse yourself in the history and future of space exploration at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. Explore exhibits showcasing rockets, space shuttles, and astronaut training facilities. Witness a launch if you’re lucky, or experience space travel simulations.

Directions to Kennedy Space Center – The Kennedy Space Center (KSC) is located on Merritt Island, Florida, which is approximately 45 miles east of Orlando. The driving distance between Orlando and the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is roughly 55 to 60 miles, depending on your exact starting point and the route you take.

The average driving time from Orlando to the Kennedy Space Center is about 1 to 1.5 hours, depending on traffic conditions. It’s a relatively straightforward drive, primarily taking State Road 528 (also known as the Beachline Expressway) eastward toward Cape Canaveral and then following the signs to the Kennedy Space Center once you are in the vicinity. 

Get tickets and information here.

springs near orlando - baby alligator
This baby alligator was on the shoreline of the Wekiwa River.
  • Wekiwa Springs State Park (Apopka): Take a refreshing dip in the natural spring waters of Wekiwa Springs State Park. Enjoy kayaking, canoeing, and paddleboarding on the crystal-clear Wekiwa River, or explore hiking trails amidst lush greenery. This is one of the most scenic trips from Orlando you will find. 

Directions To Wekiwa State Park – To get to Wekiwa Springs State Park from Orlando, you’ll typically drive northwest from downtown Orlando. Here’s how to get there by car:

Distance: The distance between downtown Orlando and Wekiwa Springs State Park is approximately 20 miles.

Driving Directions:

Start by taking I-4 West from downtown Orlando.

Continue on I-4 West for about 9 miles.

Take exit 94 for FL-434 toward Longwood/Altamonte Springs.

things you need when flying

Keep right at the fork, follow signs for FL-434 W/Longwood and merge onto FL-434 W/W State Rd 434.

Continue on FL-434 W for about 6 miles.

Turn left onto Wekiwa Springs Road.

Follow Wekiwa Springs Road for approximately 3 miles until you reach the entrance to Wekiwa Springs State Park on your left.

Travel Time: The drive from downtown Orlando to Wekiwa Springs State Park typically takes around 30 to 45 minutes, depending on traffic conditions.

Fun trip information can be found here.

places to visit near orlando florida
You can take a guided boat ride up the river where this picture was taken at Blue Spring State Park.
  • Blue Spring State Park (Orange City): Witness the majestic manatees seeking refuge in the warm waters of Blue Spring State Park during the winter months. Explore the park by hiking, kayaking, or canoeing, and keep your eyes peeled for diverse birdlife and other wildlife.

Directions to Blue Spring State Park – To get to Blue Spring State Park from Orlando, you’ll typically drive northeast from downtown Orlando. Here’s how to get there by car:

Distance: The distance between downtown Orlando and Blue Spring State Park is approximately 35 miles.

Driving Directions:

Start by taking I-4 East from downtown Orlando. – Continue on I-4 East for about 24 miles.

Take exit 114 toward FL-472/Deltona/Orange City. – Merge onto FL-472 East.

Continue on FL-472 East for about 4 miles. -Turn left onto N Kepler Road.

Continue on N Kepler Road for approximately 3 miles.- Turn right onto W French Avenue.

After about 2 miles, turn left onto FL-17 North/N Volusia Avenue. Continue on FL-17 North for approximately 1 mile.

Turn right onto W French Avenue. After about 0.3 miles, turn left onto W French Avenue again.

Continue on W French Avenue for approximately 1 mile. Blue Spring State Park will be on your right.

Travel Time: The drive from downtown Orlando to Blue Spring State Park typically takes around 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on traffic conditions.

Boat trip on the river information here.

Family friendly places to go near Orlando - Kelly Rock Park
Springs in Florida are a great opportunity to see Mother Nature – and they are inexpensive ways to treat the family. Most are around $8 per carload of people.  
  • Kelly Park/Rock Springs Run (Apopka): Enjoy a cool and refreshing escape at Kelly Park/Rock Springs Run. Kayak, swim, or relax on the pristine waters of the natural spring, maintaining a constant temperature of 68°F year-round.

Directions to Rock Springs & Kelly Park – To get to Kelly Park/Rock Springs Run from Orlando, you’ll generally drive northwest from downtown Orlando. Here are the directions:

Distance: The distance between downtown Orlando and Kelly Park/Rock Springs Run in Apopka is approximately 30 miles.

Driving Directions:

Start by taking FL-408 West (also known as the East-West Expressway) from downtown Orlando. Continue on FL-408 West for about 6 miles.

Take exit 1 to merge onto FL-429 North toward Apopka. Continue on FL-429 North for approximately 14 miles.

Take exit 26 for FL-451 North toward Apopka. Merge onto FL-451 North.

Continue on FL-451 North for about 3 miles. Take the exit toward US-441/Orange Blossom Trail.

Merge onto Vick Road. Turn left onto US-441 North (Orange Blossom Trail).

Continue on US-441 North for approximately 1 mile.

Turn right onto Kelly Park Road.

Follow Kelly Park Road for about 2 miles until you reach the entrance to Kelly Park/Rock Springs Run on your right.

Travel Time: The drive from downtown Orlando to Kelly Park/Rock Springs Run typically takes around 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on traffic conditions.

Cultural and Historical Places To Go Near Orlando
  • Daytona International Speedway (Daytona Beach): Immerse yourself in the world of motorsports at the legendary Daytona International Speedway. Take a guided tour of the
    places to visit around orlando - Daytona Speedway
    Daytona Speedway is one of the top places to visit around Orlando. The speedway museum is a history of stock car racing with the actual cars.
    Visit the Daytona International Speedway Museum, or even catch a race if your timing is right. While touring the speedway is awesome, we particularly like the museum and the cars through the many years of racing.

Directions to Daytona International Speedway – To get to the Daytona International Speedway from Orlando, you’ll generally drive northeast from downtown Orlando. Here are the directions:

Distance: The distance between downtown Orlando and the Daytona International Speedway is approximately 55 miles.

Driving Directions:

Start by taking I-4 East from downtown Orlando.

Continue on I-4 East for approximately 50 miles.

Take exit 129 toward US-92/International Speedway Boulevard.

Merge onto FL-400 East/International Speedway Boulevard.

Continue on International Speedway Boulevard for about 2 miles.

The Daytona International Speedway will be on your right.

Travel Time: The drive from downtown Orlando to the Daytona International Speedway typically takes around 1 to 1.5 hours, depending on traffic conditions.

Daytona Speedway with transportation information is here.

places near Ootlando Florida to go - Hosmer Museum
If you like all kinds of art in many forms the Hosmer Museum is the place to go.
  • Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art (Winter Park): Explore the vast collection of American art, decorative arts, and Tiffany glass at the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art. Housed in a beautiful late 19th-century mansion, the museum offers a glimpse into the artistic heritage of the United States.

Directions to Hosmer Morse Art Museum – To get to the Hosmer Morse Art Museum from Orlando, you’ll generally drive northwest from downtown Orlando. Here are the directions:

Distance: The distance between downtown Orlando and the Hosmer Morse Art Museum in Winter Park is approximately 10 miles.

Driving Directions:

Start by taking I-4 East from downtown Orlando. Continue on I-4 East for approximately 8 miles.

Take exit 87 for Fairbanks Avenue. Merge onto FL-426 East/Fairbanks Avenue.

Continue on Fairbanks Avenue for about 2 miles. Turn right onto Park Avenue.

Continue on Park Avenue for approximately 0.5 miles.

The Hosmer Morse Art Museum will be on your left, located at 445 North Park Avenue, Winter Park, FL 32789.

Travel Time: The drive from downtown Orlando to the Hosmer Morse Art Museum typically takes around 20 to 30 minutes, depending on traffic conditions.

places to visit around orlando - Indian River Lagoon
If your family has never taken an airboat ride, the Indian River Lagoon is the place for some fun.
  • Indian River Lagoon Boat & Eco Tours: Embark on an eco-adventure with Indian River Lagoon Boat Tours and explore the biodiverse ecosystems of the Indian River Lagoon. Learn about the local ecosystem, spot dolphins, manatees, and various fish species, and enjoy the tranquility of nature.

Directions To Indian River Lagoon Boat Tours – To get to Indian River Lagoon Boat Tours from Orlando, you’ll generally drive east from downtown Orlando toward the coast. 

Distance: The distance between downtown Orlando and Indian River Lagoon Boat Tours in Titusville is approximately 45 miles.

Driving Directions:

Start by taking FL-50 East (Colonial Drive) from downtown Orlando.

Continue on FL-50 East for approximately 30 miles. Merge onto I-95 North toward Jacksonville. Continue on I-95 North for approximately 10 miles.

Take exit 220 for Garden Street toward Titusville. Merge onto FL-406 East/Garden Street.

Continue on FL-406 East/Garden Street for approximately 4 miles. Turn left onto South Washington Avenue.

Continue on South Washington Avenue for approximately 1 mile.

Indian River Lagoon Boat Tours will be on your left, located at 5605 South Washington Avenue, Titusville, FL 32780.

Travel Time: The drive from downtown Orlando to Indian River Lagoon Boat Tours typically takes around 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on traffic conditions.

Indian River boat tours information.

Unique Places To Go Near Orlando
  • Gatorland: Get up close
    places to see around orlando - Gatorland
    Ever seen an albino gator? We hadn’t until this one at Gatorland!
    and personal with alligators at Gatorland, the “Alligator Capital of the World.” Witness alligator feeding shows, explore the park’s walking trails, and learn about these fascinating creatures.

Directions to Gatorland from Orlando – To get to Gatorland from Orlando, you’ll generally drive south from downtown Orlando. Here are the directions:

Distance: The distance between downtown Orlando and Gatorland in Orlando is approximately 15 miles.

Driving Directions:

Start by taking FL-527 South (Orange Avenue) from downtown Orlando.

Continue on FL-527 South for approximately 7 miles. Turn left onto FL-482 East (Sand Lake Road).

things to see near orlando florida - gatorland
Alligators aren’t the only thing to see at Gatorland. This is a rarely seen Florida bobcat.

Continue on FL-482 East for approximately 1 mile. Turn right onto South Orange Blossom Trail (US-441 South).

Continue on South Orange Blossom Trail for approximately 6 miles.

Gatorland will be on your right, located at 14501 South Orange Blossom Trail, Orlando, FL 32837.

Travel Time: The drive from downtown Orlando to Gatorland typically takes around 30 minutes, depending on traffic conditions.

  • Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament (Kissimmee): Transport yourself back in time to a medieval feast at Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament. Enjoy a delicious four-course meal while witnessing jousting knights, horseback riding displays, and live entertainment.

Directions to Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament -To get to Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament in Kissimmee from Orlando, you’ll generally drive south from downtown Orlando. Here are the directions:

Distance: The distance between downtown Orlando and Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament in Kissimmee is approximately 20 miles.

Driving Directions:

Start by taking I-4 West from downtown Orlando. Continue on I-4 West for approximately 13 miles.

Take exit 64 toward US-192 West/Kissimmee. Merge onto FL-530 West.

Continue on FL-530 West/US-192 West for approximately 6 miles.

Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament will be on your right, located at 4510 W Vine St, Kissimmee, FL 34746.

Travel Time: The drive from downtown Orlando to Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament typically takes around 30 to 45 minutes, depending on traffic conditions.

family places to go near orlando - Boggy Creek
One of the many things to see near Orlando is on the Boggy Creek Adventures ride with a simulated Seminole village.
  • Boggy Creek Airboat Adventures (Kissimmee): Experience an exhilarating airboat ride through the swamps of Central Florida with Boggy Creek Airboat Adventures. Glide through the scenic landscapes, spot alligators, birds, and other wildlife in their natural habitat, and learn about the unique ecosystem of the Everglades.

Directions to Boggy Creek Airboat Adventures – To get to Boggy Creek Airboat Adventures from Orlando, you’ll generally drive southwest from downtown Orlando. Here are the directions:

Distance: The distance between downtown Orlando and Boggy Creek Airboat Adventures in Kissimmee is approximately 20 miles.

Driving Directions:

Start by taking FL-528 West (Beachline Expressway) from downtown Orlando.

Continue on FL-528 West for approximately 10 miles.

Take exit 4 for SR-417 South (Central Florida GreeneWay) toward Disney World.

Merge onto SR-417 South (Central Florida GreeneWay) and continue for approximately 4 miles.

Take exit 17 for Boggy Creek Road toward FL-527A (John Young Parkway).

Keep right at the fork, following signs for Boggy Creek Road.

Merge onto Boggy Creek Road and continue for approximately 4 miles.

Boggy Creek Airboat Adventures will be on your left, located at 2001 E Southport Rd, Kissimmee, FL 34746.

Travel Time: The drive from downtown Orlando to Boggy Creek Airboat Adventures typically takes around 30 to 45 minutes, depending on traffic conditions.

This list provides a starting point for your exploration beyond the theme parks. With a little research, you can discover hidden gems, unique experiences, and cultural treasures within a convenient distance of Orlando.

Airboat tour information.

places to see around orlando - St. Augustine
One of the best places to go that is a little further from Orlando is St. Augustine. The town is full of history like the “Oldest House” dating back to the 1600s.

Venturing Even Further From Orlando

The things to do near Orlando beyond Disney theme parks above keep you within a short hour to 90 minutes away from Orlando.

Should you want to venture even further, here are some major attractions in Florida and their distance from Orlando.

St. Augustine Florida – The oldest and most historic city in America – slightly over 100 miles northeast. Takes about 1 hour, 45 minutes.

Stay overnight in St. Augustine.

Clearwater Beach – One of the best beaches in the country – About 110 miles and it takes about two hours. Great marine aquarium here also.

Spend a night on Clearwater Beach.

Florida Marine Aquarium, Tampa – By far the best aquarium experience in the state of Florida – 90 minutes away and 85 miles.

Hotel info Tampa.

The Villages – the fastest growing community in the country and the friendliest – 60 miles and one hour away.

Mount Dora – the place for shopping quaint stores and meals on a lake – 45 Minutes away and a great reprise from the hustle and bustle of Orlando.

Mount Dora hotels – we recommend the Lakeside Inn.

Thinking About an

places to go near orlando florida - Key West
This is the iconic southernmost point of the US in Key West Florida. Hundreds if not thousands of pictures taken here daily.

Overnight Road Trip from Orlando

Below are a few destinations that we love from our travels around the state. Most are overnight trips rather than just a day trip from Orlando.

Miami – while wildly popular, not our favorite. – 230 miles away and about 3.5 hours. Things to do in Miami.

Fort Myers Beach – after devastation by Hurricane Ian, coming back nicely with a new Margaritaville Resort also. – 180 miles away and about 3.5 hours. Things to do in Ft. Myers Beach.

Key West – The most iconic location in the state of Florida for international travel. One of our favorite destinations. Almost 6.5 hours away and nearly 400 miles. Amazing things to do in Key West.

Perhaps the destinations above give you a perspective on how big Florida is and all the attractions in every corner of the state.

Final Thoughts on Places To Go Near Orlando Florida

Florida is loaded with things to do nearby wherever you are. There is no limit of things to see and do in all parts of the state.

The theme parks in Orlando and the city draw almost half of all the visitors who come to Florida. Yet, most of those travelers realize quickly there is a lot more to do than just Disney World and Universal.

If you are in the midst of planning your trip to Orlando, we hope you consider visiting some of the places to go near Orlando we have highlighted. You will add a whole new reason to come back and visit us soon!

Related Articles:

Everything You Need To Plan Your Florida Vacation

Are There Alligators in Orlando?

Family-friendly beaches near Orlando

12 Day Trips from Orlando

How Many Theme Parks Are in Orlando

Planning A Trip to Orlando

Where is Orlando Located on the Map

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