The reason behind this post is to give fellow travellers some options of what to do in Orlando other than going to the theme parks. First, I explored other options because I stayed eight days in Orlando. I didn’t find it interesting going to the theme parks every day. Don’t get me wrong, parks are great, but not for eight days in a row. Second, I was there for that long because Doruk had a business trip, and I tagged along. In fact, we turned it into a Mexico getaway. I’ll mention the details in another post. Last, the host family I stayed with, met me in Orlando on this trip during my exchange year. I’m very thankful that we got to spend some quality time together. Unfortunately, we don’t see each other very often due to the long distances. I miss them a lot.
Below you can find the list of what to do in Orlando besides theme parks.
What to do In Orlando: Airboat Ride
Everglades is only a short drive away from Orlando. My host family found Wild Florida’s great place that offers airboat tours and animal encounters. We had a blast. The airboat ride was the best thing for me. Definitely suitable and fun for all ages. You might spot giant and baby alligators if you are as fortunate as us. Given these points, it’s a fun way to tour around the swamps.
Wild Florida has a park full of things to do. You can check their website for the complete list of the activities they offer. I highly recommend you to watch the feeding of the rescue alligators. If you are brave enough, you can feed them too. Of course, we didn’t miss the opportunity! And we still have all our fingers attached.
One final note on Everglades. It is also home to many beautiful birds. So if you are a bird watcher, put this place on your musts list.
What to do In Orlando: Winterpark
Cobblestone lanes, charming shops, and fresco dining give Winterpark a European feel. I can easily spend a day here. My favourite things at the Winterpark so far are;
- Prato: Authentic Italian food! Their pizza oven is from Napoli, and pasta is homemade. If I go back, I’ll try everything on the menu.
- Brunch! I love starting the day with a combination of coffee and mimosas.
- Ten Thousand Villages Shop: They sell handcrafted items from all over the world. Everything you buy from them help provide makers with a fair, sustainable income. Therefore I love them!
There are more things to do at Winterpark other than shopping and eating. Events like farmer’s markets and concerts are happening year-round.
What to do In Orlando: Outlet Malls
Do you love shopping at Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger and Kate Spade? Then you need to plan a trip to an outlet mall. There you can find these brads with sales up to 60% off. Time to refresh your closet!
A point often overlooked is the size of the malls. Definitely, spare a day just for shopping. I must admit I feel guilty about the idea of spending a day in a mall. But, on the other hand, I always end up doing exactly that whenever I’m in the USA.
Last but not least, there is a way to get extra discounts in addition to the discounted prices. Coupon books! Each outlet mall has its own coupon book.
What to do In Orlando: Premium Outlets
There are three Premium Malls in Orlando. With the best deals, the largest one is the International Premium Outlet.
As I mentioned above, premium outlets give coupon books. How? First, sign up for the VIP Club at www.premiumoutlets.com. Second, go to the information office at the mall. Last, show them proof that you signed up for the VIP Club. They will give you the coupon book called savings passport. Most of the coupons that the book contains require a minimum spent amount. It is better to use them for family shopping or with friends.
- Vineland Premium Outlets
- Outlet Marketplace
- International Premium Outlets
What to do In Orlando: Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores
In addition to great discounts, Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores has a luggage storage store. Save space and money by storing some of your belongings there. For example, we took a trip to Mexico and left one of our luggage at this store. It saved us the unnecessary luggage fees.
Finally, how do you get a coupon book? There are two ways. For the first way, go to their website. The other way is to look for coupon books at the hotels nearby. Usually, there is a section full of brochures and coupons in the lobbies.
What to do In Orlando: Summing-Up
In conclusion, Disney and Universal Studios are not the only exciting things in town. Even though going to the theme parks is the most popular option, there are other things you can do in Orlando. If you have only 2-3 days, of course, go to the theme parks. But if you have more, spice things up and try one of the things I mentioned above.
One final note, there are also excellent museums in Orlando. So make your plans with this in mind too.
What else would you suggest doing in Orlando?