Orlando is home to some of the best theme parks in the world but do you really want to wander around in that heat every day? Here are some choices for those days you don’t fancy a theme park – our things to do in Orlando besides Theme Parks.

things to do in orlando besides theme parks


Take a trip to Miami

Just over a 3 hour drive away – a day or overnight trip to Miami is ideal for those looking to escape the crowds and experience a relaxed way of life. The Go Orlando Pass offers a 24 hour Big Bus Miami package included in it’s pass as well as admission to the Miami Seaquarium.

things to do in orlando besides theme parks


Kennedy Space Museum

Head here for a space journey like no other, ideal for children of all ages. Entrance is included in the Go Orlando Pass.


Explore nature

Orlando is surrounded by nature trails, preserves and parks. Head to Tibet-Butler Nature Preserve for some good hikes and trails or head to Winter Park; just north of Orlando, for some picturesque boat rides.



Hire a boat

Finding time to unwinding the hot summer months is essential whilst in Orlando. Our favourite thing to do was hire a boat and go sailing across the lake. Our resort (Westgate Lake Resort) included a massive lake with paddleboat and motorboat hire available. Paddleboat’s are also popular at the Lake Eola Park for a slower pace of life.



An eco-friendly alternative to the speed or motor boat, there are a selection of companies that offer Kayaking tours through Shingle Creek. The Ritz-Carlton offer daily tours but can be pricey.

Orlando Magic


Orlando Magic – NBA Team

Whilst in Orlando, catch the Orlando Magic NBA team as they shoot some hoops – with tickets available from $25.



Whether you’re looking for a premium expansive golf course or a fun, family-friendly round of mini-golf, Orlando has it all. Most large resorts offer impressive golf courses and equipment hire whilst the Shingle Creek Golf Club is a popular choice for those looking to do some serious golfing. If, like me you, you like to hit (or dribble) a ball around, then head to the various mini golf courses on International Drive; the Pirates themed course is a great choice for families and couples



Airboat Swamp tours

There are lots of companies in Orlando offering Swamp Boat Tours, where you can explore the wild and spot some alligators.



Orlando is a haven of discounted designer outlets and expansive shopping malls with every store imaginable. The Mall at Millenia and The Florida Mall are both impressive and offer a variety of stores whilst the Orlando Premium Outlets Vineland Avenue and International Drive are both great for new fashions at discounted prices.

Orlando Brewing Company


Orlando Brewing Company

An organic brewer offering the best beers in Florida.


Forever Florida

Become a cowboy at the Forever Florida Ranch, where you can go zip lining, horse riding or go on an open coach adventure. The Forever Florida coach tour is included on the Go Orlando Pass.


Charles Homer Morse Museum

This art museum holds the most comprehensive and impressive collection of works from artist Louis Comfort Tiffany.

Hot air balloon


Take a hot air balloon ride

Explore the theme parks and Orlando from above, with a hot air balloon ride.


Machine Gun America

Practise your shooting skills with one of the many shooting experiences at Machine Gun America – children from as young as 10 can also shoot.

Daytona Beach


Daytona Beach

Just under an hour from Orlando, Daytona Beach is full of family fun including water rides, motor-sport attractions and of course, a glistening beach.


International Drive

International drive is packed full of exciting things to see and do, from kid museums to crazy golf, themed restaurants to indoor rides and experiences.

20 things to do on Orlando’s International Drive


Orlando Eye

A perfect way to end a busy day, the Orlando Eye gives you the chance to sit back and view this bustling place from a glassed capsule.


Nightlife at City Walk

So every year, hundreds of families head to Orlando but so do groups of early twenty-somethings and couples. Families can head to one of the many themed restaurants in the City walk or Downtown Disney area whilst those without the kids can head to the various bars and clubs that Orlando offers after dark. Check out the Ice Bar for a fun and cool night.




Gatorland offers a chance to be up close and personal to alligators, a perfect ‘half-day’ trip before heading back to relax in your hotel or villa pool.


The Orlando Science Center

With various exhibits and interactive sections, the Orlando Science Center is a great way to spend a few hours exploring.

There is so much more to Orlando than just the Theme Parks – but if you are thinking about heading to the parks, the Practical Wanderlust guide is a life saver and make sure you read our tips on how to survive the parks. 

Have fun and tell us about your time in Orlando in the comments below!

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  1. I had to double take the Machine Gun America bullet point.

    I heard that the bass fishing in the lakes around Epcot is amazing. In addition to trophy bass, you also get the surreal backdrop of Disney behind you.

  2. Wow that are some cool tips that you are sharing there. I’ve never been in orlando but i lll save this post for later (and stumbled as well!) I would love to see the kennedy park.

  3. I’m ashamed that I spent months living in Orlando while working at Disney and did almost none of these! Clearly I need to take your guide with me next time we go back 😛 My favorite by far on this list is the airboat swamp tours! SO much fun. Another good one that we did frequently was visiting Cocoa Beach!

  4. Hey, this is really an useful information! I went to Orlando last time just purely for the theme park only (because that’s all I knew that time). Haha…I wish to go back again other time to revisit the theme park as well as going to those places you mentioned. The airboat swamp tour looks interesting. 🙂

  5. Some really great suggestions here! I’m
    Not a massive fan of theme parks so would never visit for that. Daytona Beach though, I wouldn’t love to see!

    Thanks for sharing!

  6. The closest I have been to Florida so far has been Georgia. Reading through such a comprehensive list on your post has really alerted me to the massive number of things to do. As a nature lover, I would also love to do some of the hikes and trails you mentioned in #3. You are certainly lucky to have so much to see and do right on your doorstep!

  7. There are things to do in Orlando besides theme parks?!?! Whaaaat? Jk 🙂 the outdoor stuff sounds great – I never turn down some kayaking!! This is really helpful, saving it in case I ever make it there!

  8. I haven’t tried a hot air balloon ride ever. That would be something fun to try! I love that there are so many things to do in Orlando and a wide variety of them too!

  9. I lived in Orlando for 6 months a few years ago and am pleased to say that I did a few of the things you listed – but unfortunately not all. I am a huge fan of theme parks though, so it was a hard task to pry me away from them on my precious days off!

  10. Not going to lie, whenever I think of Orlando, the first (and only) thing that comes to mind is Disney. If I ever get roped into going to Orlando (not a big fan of Disney), I would love to rent a boat or go on a kayaking trip. The swamp tour sounds interesting as well, as that is such a big part of FL and I’ve never seen gators up close before!

  11. Orlando is just amazing & its really has so many things to offer to its tourists. I loved all the activities. I hope I will get a chance to visit & I would love to have that adventurous hot air balloon ride. Thanks a lot for sharing such a informative guide.

  12. I have never been and just associate it with theme parks so its great to know Orlando has so much more to offer! Will share the post 🙂

  13. Hi people can u help my family out with any recommendations
    We are heading to Orlando for Xmas & new year
    My boys r looking for a gun range of there is one
    B very grateful for any advice

  14. […] your trip to Walt Disney World; you have worked out how you are going to survive the theme parks, what you are going to do besides the theme park and even spent some time looking at the theme parks themselves! You have planned what Disney […]

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