What to do on Vacation in Orlando That’s Not a Theme Park
While Orlando’s major theme parks have reopened, at least on a limited basis, not everyone is ready to go there quite yet. However, vacationers who want to vacation in Orlando, but don’t want theme parks, can still find lots to do in this beautiful central Florida metropolis.
Orlando vacation ideas:
1. Go Camping
Camping is more popular than ever, RV sales are skyrocketing, and Orlando is ready for the onslaught with scores of campgrounds of all types, catering to all types of campers. People looking for a place to park a big RV should check out facilities like Bill Frederick Park and Moss Park, while tent campers and people looking for a more intimate experience may want to check out a farm-style campground.
There are several of these farm campgrounds in the area, according to the campsite finder Hipcamp. Many offer interactive experiences with the animals on the farm, including petting and riding, making them the perfect park-and-go spot for a family vacation.
2. See Some Animals
Orlando might be the animal-farm capital of the United States, with opportunities to interact with local talent like alligators, as well as more exotic creatures like lemurs.
For the former, it’s hard to beat the legendary Gatorland, a sort of theme park where the theme is alligator; for the latter, the Exotic Animal Experience offers more interaction and fewer reptile-themed ziplines.
If you really want to see gators, snakes, and other indigenous species in the wild, try a jet-boat ride on Lake Jesup or through the central Florida Everglades.
3. Visit a (non-theme) Park
Orlando is a city of parks, and none are better than Lake Eola Park, a 40-acre park built around a 20-acre lake. Rent a swan boat and glide lazily across the water, or just park yourself under a shade tree and watch the fountains.
Other great Orlando parks include the Harry P. Leu botanical and butterfly gardens, with everything from roses to bamboo, and the Tibet-Butler Nature Preserve.
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4. Go Golfing
Somehow, a day on the greens seems like the exact opposite of a day at a theme park. If you’ve already spent more than enough time around tons of people and standing in lines, even things out with a golf excursion.
Orlando’s golf experiences range from mild to wild. Warm up on the locals’ favorite, the nine-hole Winter Park course, and work your way up to challenging world-class courses like Shingle Creek or Grand Cypress.
Since most courses book online almost exclusively now, it’s easier than ever to find a course, set up a tee time, pay, rent equipment, and do everything but swing the clubs.
5. Rent a Bicycle
Florida has an ambitious plan to build a paved coast-to-coast bike trail that will run 250 miles from St. Petersburg to the Canaveral National Seashore. The trail, which is made up of smaller individual trails, skirts Orlando to the north and west.
Orlando is rapidly becoming more bike-friendly, and you don’t even need to bring your own bike to get in on the fun, thanks to the HOPR bike-share program.
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6. Try Kyaking
Orlando is surrounded by water, with much of it being perfect for traversing by kayak. If you’re keen on seeing birds and alligators, Lake Toho is your destination of choice, and it is recommended that you take the Makinson Island tour.
The kayakable part of Shingle Creek is short (about one mile), but it’s worth it for the Florida-ness of the experience: spooky cypress trees festooned with Spanish moss, alligators and turtles in the swamps, and strange bird calls all around.
For a real kayaking treat, head to Cape Canaveral National Seashore, and look for manatees. Florida’s longest undisturbed stretch of coastline offers multiple places to launch and steer through mangrove, oak, and palm hammock islands in search of the elusive “sea cows.”
Theme parks or no theme parks, Orlando has lots to offer vacationers. Just remember to help protect your trip with travel insurance from Generali. Get a quote, and cover yourself for a variety of certain unforeseen trip mishaps that you might encounter while enjoying Orlando!