Orlando needs a little introduction! With the most iconic theme parks in Florida, it’s one place that’s filled with thrills, spills and so much more. That being said, there are loads more to see in Florida that’s within easy reach from Orlando – especially when you consider the best day trips from Orlando that operate all year round.
So, to help you get the most out of your time in Orlando, we wanted to share some of the best places in Florida that you really shouldn’t miss whilst you’re there.
Plus, don’t forget to check out some of the best beaches near Orlando. They’re total gems and all easily accessed by tours and/or cars.
Take a look, below, at the very best day trips from Orlando. Have an epic holiday… and say hi to Mickey from us!
1.) Mount Dora
Around a 40-minute drive from the likes of Walt Disney World, Mount Dora is one of the best day trips from Orlando if you want to take a step away from Orlando itself.
Although relatively small (compared to other Floridian gems like Miami), Mount Dora has a charm of its own.
Once here, be sure to ride Trolley down Donnelley Street and explore some of the cute little bakeries, cafes and little stores that call this area home.
Getting hungry, hop into the Highland Street Cafe for their incredible french toast. It’s a pretty chilled place that serves up some of the tastiest breakfasts and lunches – all without any fuss.
Plus, you can take some time to visit Mount Dora’s museums, too. Be sure to stop off at the Modernism Museum which has seasonal exhibits that change throughout the year.
If that’s not your thing, head to Premier Boat Tours for a 2-hour boat tour of the surrounding countryside. It’s totally gorgeous.
However, if you’re with kids, head over to Gilbert Park, which is one of the best playgrounds. That being said, if you want a stroll, head to Palm Island Park that’s beautiful on a sunny day.
2.) Kennedy Space Center
For most of us, the Kennedy Space Center will be the closest we come to heading into space!
It’s totally incredible to visit and one of the best day trips from Orlando that’s perfect for any budding astronauts. To make the most out of your day trip from Orlando, book these Kennedy Space Center tickets.
Not only do they allow you to visit some of the iconic space exhibits, you’ll also get to go up close and personal with the Space Shuttle Atlantis and experience the Shuttle Launch Experience.
Also, don’t fret if you don’t drive. You can book this Kennedy Space Center ticket that comes with transport directly from Orlando. This way, you don’t need to worry about hiring a car or getting your timings off!
3.) St. Augustine
For one of the best day trips from Orlando, make sure to head to St. Austine. It’s jam-packed with history and totally gorgeous to explore. In fact, it’s considered one of the oldest US towns where people have continually lived.
Once here, be sure to check out the National Historic Landmark District and admire the charm of Spanish buildings within the same area.
Oh, and don’t forget to spot Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, Fort Matanzas, and the peaceful Mission of Nombre de Dios.
To make things totally easy, book this day trip to St. Augustine – which, includes transport from Orlando. Best of all, you can choose the option to include all your tickets for the museum and cruise passes, too! It’s totally easy.
4.) Crystal River
Orlando is really full of adventure, with its white-knuckle rides at Universal’s Islands of Adventure and Walt Disney World. That being said, if you want to explore the great outdoors of Florida, then this is a spot for you.
Around a 90-minute drive from Orlando, Crystal River is a place where you can see face-to-face with the resident manatee that calls this area home.
Once here, be sure to book this Crystal River Manatee Snorkeling tour or this exciting Airboat Tour that’s totally epic. It’s so idyllic and you’ll get to cruise on the Homosassa River, all whilst spotting the majestic manatees.
However, if you wanna stay dry on your trip, you can always just visit the Crystal River Wildlife Refuge or Blue Spring State Park. It’s totally great for those that don’t want to take to the water.
5.) Clearwater Beach
Clearwater Beach is one of our favourite places in Florida. We’ve loved every trip we’ve taken here and the coastline is often voted as one of the prettiest in all of the US.
For one of the very best day trips from Orlando, book this incredible Clearwater day excursion right from Orlando itself.
Once here, you’ll get to head out on a Dolphin Encounter Boat Tour that’s so worth it. We spotted loads! Plus, the ticket will include all transport from Orlando and a hearty lunch to set you right!
For a more adrenaline-packed activity, you can try the speedboat ride offered by the Clearwater Sea Screamer. On the other hand, if you want a calmer activity, you can relax on one of the most popular fishing spots in the area, Pier 60.
If you walk a little more, you may be able to see Sand Key Park, which is great to visit.
Alternatively, book tickets for Busch Gardens (Tampa) for more adventurous and thrilling activities like live shows and roller coasters.
6.) Daytona Beach
Around a 70-minute drive from Orlando, Daytona Beach is one of the best day trips from Orlando if you want a perfect beach day.
Not only that, the world-renowned Daytona 500 considers this beach it’s home! Plus, it’s also NASCAR racing’s birthplace.
Once here, be sure to check out the Daytona International Speedway, explore the Museum of Arts & Sciences and don’t forget the iconic Main Street Pier.
For a tasty bite, pop into Caribbean Jack’s which has some of the best wings and shrimp in all of Daytona Beach.
7.) New Smyrna Beach
Known for its gorgeous coastline, New Smyrna Beach is one of the best day trips from Orlando on the eastern coastline of Florida.
Not too far from Daytona Beach, it’s a perfect place for surfing, paddling or even fishing along the coast. If it’s arts you’re after, pop into the Arts on Douglas which has a gorgeous little collection.
If you stay a little longer and drive a little farther, you might be able to see baby sea turtles hatch at night at the Canaveral National Seashore.
Finally, another great spot to visit is the Marine Discovery Center where you can kayak and do boat rides.
8.) Ocala National Forest
Wanna find a great and unique spot to visit in Orlando? The town of Ocala and the mighty Ocala National Forest is easily one of the best day trips from Orlando to get away from the business of the Orlando theme parks.
Now, although Ocala is, in itself, a great place to stop – the real gem is Ocala National Forest. There is a massive 360,000 acres of land to explore, with established rambling and hiking trails for all abilities.
Plus, don’t forget about visiting Silver Glen Springs for a swim. It’s a few miles away from the entry point at Juniper Creek and it’s magical.
9.) St. Pete
Not too far from Clearwater, St Pete is one stunner of a place to visit and one of the best day trips from Florida if you want a perfect mix of sun, city and sand!
Around a 90-minute drive from Orlando, it’s a great place to spend kayaking the coast, heading on a helicopter for views of St. Pete Beach or just chilling on the white sands of the coastline itself.
Want to take to the water? Book this St. Pete dolphin cruise. It’s a great way to explore the beaches and spot the resident dolphins that call the Gulf home.
Also, don’t forget to check out The Dalí (the Salvador Dalí) gallery that’s just so impressive. We spent a good few hours here.
Planning on staying longer? Check into The Don CeSar, which we loved staying at. It’s a historic property right on the seafront and perfect for a weekend trip.