The Orlando area is a fun-filled place. Its theme parks, attractions and scores of great places to eat make it one of the most popular destinations in the world. Even though you can find a zillion things to do there, sometimes it’s a good idea to take a brief getaway from all the excitement.
Here are a few suggestions for fun, family-friendly day trips within a couple of hours’ drive of Orlando.
Kennedy Space Center
Though shuttle launches are no longer routine occurrences, this launch base is still active and a must-see destination for adults and school-age kids. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) contracts with the Center for satellite launches and other services, and those can be viewed by the public. In addition, the Center, which is supported by nominal admission fees, hosts events with astronauts, and has book signings, lectures, tours, demonstrations and more.
A little more than an hour’s drive from Orlando, Mount Dora is a renowned center of antiquing, with many shops located in its historic downtown area. A few blocks away, the Village Antique Mall offers a wide selection of vintage treasures. During the last weekend in March, the annual Village Antique Festival hosts more than 150 vendors, attracting thousands of visitors. In addition, Mount Dora is a center of culture and the arts with festivals, tours and more. Your visit to this quaint and picturesque town can serve as a quiet respite from the stimulation and exhilaration of Orlando’s popular amusements.
Mount Dora, Florida 32757
Orlando offers an endless array of fun, including plenty of ways to splash, swim and enjoy a variety of water activities. But for many people, there’s nothing like getting a little sand between your toes as waves wash over the shore. Daytona Beach is on the Atlantic Ocean and less than an hour’s drive from Orlando, just a straight shot north on I-4 (or if you’re visiting Cape Canaveral, north on I-95). You can surf, swim, sunbathe — you can even drive your car on the beach! There are also restaurants on or near the beach, so you can sip a pleasant umbrella drink, enjoy fresh seafood and while away the hours watching the waves— or making a few of your own!
Silver Springs State Park
For a memorable day at a beautiful, lush park and a fun-filled time on the water, Silver Springs State Park in Ocala perfectly fits the bill. With one of the largest artesian springs ever discovered, the glass bottom boat rides, kayak and canoe trips make this a unique and wonderful experience. The park also holds special events, offers guided tours, has two restaurants and is also available for weddings and other special occasions. Park admission is $2 with additional charges for activities. The park’s main entrance is located on State Road 40, east of Ocala.
Silver Springs State Park
425 NE 58th Ave
Ocala, FL 34470
This Winter Haven attraction is the Florida link of an international chain of parks licensed by the manufacturer of the-popular modular-construction toys. With more than 50 rides, shows and attractions, restaurants, shopping, a beautiful botanical garden — plus the Legoland Water Park — this 150-acre interactive attraction is great for families with kids ages 2 and up.
1 Legoland Way
Winter Haven, FL 33884
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