30 BEST Day Trips from Orlando, Florida

Orlando, Florida is known as a premier vacation destination for families around the world. Located in the heart of Florida, Orlando’s close proximity to the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf Coast gives it a unique advantage with things to do. Being less than 2 hours away from the ocean on either side provides a plethora of fun day trips to take from Orlando.

As a local resident in Orlando since 2017 and being the busybody that I am, I have taken my fair share of day trips from Orlando myself! In this post, I will share my favorite beaches, cities, natural springs, and unique tourist spots along the way!

30 Best Day Trips From Orlando

One Hour or Less Day Trips from Orlando

1. Kennedy Space Center – 1 hour

day trips from orlando, kennedy space center
Kennedy Space Center

The first day trip from Orlando is to the top tourist destination in Florida is the Kennedy Space Center. The Kennedy Space Center is located on the Atlantic Ocean in Cape Canaveral. Just a quick 1-hour drive away from Orlando and Disney World, this is a perfect day trip from Orlando for people of all ages!

The Kennedy Space Center caters to space lovers, children, and everyone in between. 

Its location right on the beach also makes this day trip from Orlando worthwhile. Stop by the space center in the morning and spend your afternoon at the beach before heading back to Orlando.

Pro Tip: Check out when they are doing rocket launches! Heading to the coast for a rocket launch is an exciting experience. Rocket launches can be viewed along the coast for free, or inside of the Kennedy Space Center for a premium cost.

2. Canaveral National Seashore – 1 hour

Located just next to the Kennedy Space Center is the Canaveral National Seashore. This picturesque beach offers many fun activities to enjoy.

Trail hiking, kayaking, and rocket launch viewing are all offered along the Canaveral National Seashore.

The Canaveral National Seashore is one of the quietest and off-the-beaten-path beaches on this list, and maybe even Florida. Florida’s coastline is so massive and so popular, quiet paradises can be hard to find. This is one of the best day trips from Orlando.

3. Kelly Park – Rock Springs – 30 min

30 Best Day Trips from Orlando

day trips from orlando, kelly rock springs
Kelly Park Kayaking

Just 30 minutes north of Orlando you will be transported into a nature lovers paradise (my paradise!). It’s crystal clear, turquoise blue waters, lush green dense forests, and close proximity easily make this one of my favorite spots in all of Florida!

This natural lazy river will float you down for about 20 minutes. The water is shallow and good for all ages. 

Bring your own inner tube, or rent tubes just outside of the park for $7 each. I recommend renting them there unless you have superb inner tubes that are durable!

Pro Tip: Visit on a weekday if possible! The weekends can get very crowded with locals.

4. New Smyrna Beach – 1 hour

An Orlando local’s favorite beach, New Smyrna Beach is one of Orlando’s closest and nicest beaches. This beach is best known for its surfing, but guests are also able to swim in the water as well.

Located on the Atlantic Ocean, New Smyrna offers white sandy beaches, warm coastal waters, and plenty of space. It is also a less crowded beach compared to its neighboring Daytona Beach.

5. Cocoa Beach Kayak – 1 hour

Cocoa Beach is a well-known and popular tourist spot in Florida, but did you know it offers some of the best kayaking in Florida?!

Bioluminescent Kayaking is one of the most unique day trips from Orlando. Take part in night kayaking, where a guide will lead you and your group (with clear kayaks!) through Atlantic waters while you watch the ocean light up neon blue and green. This natural phenomenon is not to be missed! 

6. Daytona Beach – 1 hour

30 Best Day Trips from Orlando

day trips from orlando, Daytona Beach Florida

Although this well-known touristy beach may come with big crowds, that means there also is plenty to do. Stop by Daytona Beach for a day trip to walk the ocean, check out where the Daytona 500 takes place, and immerse yourself in the cheesy tourist shops and restaurants!

7. LEGOLand – 1 hr

day trips from orlando, LEGOland

Another popular day trip from Orlando, LEGOLand is located 1 hour away from downtown Orlando and just under an hour from Disney World if you are lucky with traffic!

LEGOLand is primarily for kids under 12 in my opinion, but everyone is a kid at heart! The LEGO movie might be one of my favorite movies of all time!

With lots of fun rides, character meet and greets, and impressive Lego displays, consider adding LEGOLand to your Orlando bucket-list!

 

8. Bok Tower Gardens -1 hour

A quiet serene off-the-beaten-path activity in Orlando, Florida is a rare finding, but Bok Tower Gardens has you covered! This 250-acre garden offers beautiful walking trails, historic landmarks, and calming lakes.

Located just a short drive, 25 minutes, away from LegoLand, this activity is a great way to spend some time outdoors to yourself. 

 

9. Boggy Creek Airboat Adventures – 50 mins

30 Best Day Trips from Orlando

day trips from orlando

Have you ever dreamed of getting up close and personal with alligators?! Well, there are Everglades near Orlando! Only 50 minutes away from downtown, you can experience your own airboat tour, something unique to Florida.

This activity is perfect for families and provides entertainment for all ages! The Boggy Creek Airboat Adventure is a great company that provides this one-of-a-kind experience.

 

10. Blue Springs State Park – 40 mins

A Manatees paradise during the winter months, Blue Springs State Park is a fun day trip from Orlando. Located 40 minutes from downtown, this is a popular state park! 

In the winter it provides amazing manatee viewing! The colder the day, the more likely you are to see manatees.

During the summer months the manatees migrate back into the ocean, and Blue Springs State Park becomes a water lovers paradise! Snorkeling, swimming, boating, fishing, surfing, and more are offered here!

 

11. Wekiwa Springs State Park – 30 mins

day trips from orlando

Just south of Kelly Rock State Park lies Wekiwa Springs State Park. This popular swimming hole can become very crowded with locals on the weekend. 

Pack your beach towels and fun games and enjoy a picnic next to this swimming hole. The two main things to do here are swim in the springs and kayak/canoe along the river as well. You can prebook your kayaks in advance, here. Also, look out for  some amazing wildlife including alligators and turtles!

I would recommend visiting Wekiwa Springs State Park on a weekday in the morning as this also is a popular spot among Orlando locals!

 

12. De Leon Springs State Park and Gator Airboat Tour – 1 hour

30 Best Day Trips from Orlando

Just one hour north of Orlando you will find DeLeon Springs State Park. Can you tell I love state parks!? Florida is filled with turquoise green water and lush dense greenery and De Leon Springs is no exception. 

Head up north to swim in natural Florida springs or have an airboat tour to see some alligators. You could even combine them both to have a picture-perfect day! 

This is definitely off the beaten path and is a great spot to visit to cool off from the Florida heat.

 

1 – 2 Hour Day Trips from Orlando

13. Rainbow River – 1 hr 30 min

day trips from orlando, rainbow river

Rainbow River is a popular lake house home destination for Orlando locals, but it also provides a long and amazing lazy river experience. This River will whisk you away on a tram to the beginning of the river with your inner tubes. From here you’ll float down the calming Rainbow River. 

This wide river is a great way to experience nature but also enjoy house hunting. As you float down the river you will catch glimpses of the houses along the river.

Once you are done with your 4-hour lazy river experience, head to the swimming hole to cool off. There are also beautiful hikes and waterfalls around!

 

14. Crystal River – 1 hr 30 min

Located next to the Gulf of Mexico, Crystal River is the premier opportunity to swim with wild manatees in Florida! Offering Manatee tours year-round, you can choose to stay on the boat or jump in the water to get up close and personal with these gentle giants!

The best time to visit Crystal River is in the winter months when it is the most cold. You will see hundreds of manatees seeking warm water temperatures! In the summer, there is still a chance of manatee sightings as well!

Be sure to book in advance online, as these tours can and do fill up!

 

15. Devils Den – 1 hr 45 mins

30 Best Day Trips from Orlando

 

An easy day trip from Orlando is a visit to Gainesville, Florida, which is home to the beautiful Devil’s Den. The Devil’s Den is a great way to beat the afternoon heat. Rent snorkels or pack your own for this amazing adventure in prehistoric caves!

See an in-depth guide on Devil’s Den – one of my favorite activities in Florida!

 

16. St. Augustine – 1 hr 40 min

Founded in 1565, St.Augustine was first settled by the Spanish and is famously known as the first settlement in America.

No matter the time of year, St. Augustine offers so much to do! The old world charm, adorable shopping streets, ocean views, dolphin tours, and two National Monuments, you are sure to have a full day’s worth of activities!

Castillo de San Marcos National Monument and Fort Matanzas National Monument are both found in St. Augustine. 

This vibrant community is especially beautiful around the holidays, when the whole city is covered in Christmas lights!

 

17. Vero Beach – 1 hr 40 min

Spend your day south of Orlando on the Atlantic coast at Vero Beach! Vero Beach hosts one of three Disney hotels that are not near a theme park. Roam around Disney’s Vero Beach, walk along the pier, or enjoy the historic downtown. Vero Beach is truly a Florida beach community.

 

18. Busch Gardens Tampa Bay – 1 hr 20 min

30 Best Day Trips from Orlando

day trips from orlando, busch gardens

Another popular theme park in Orlando is Busch Gardens! A sister park to SeaWorld, Busch Gardens has huge roller coasters, fun theming, and a great location.

Just outside of Tampa, Busch Gardens is such an easy day trip, or weekend trip from Orlando. Busch Gardens definitely caters to bigger rollercoasters, but there are things for all ages to enjoy here.

If you visit during the holidays be sure to check out Howl-O-Scream and Christmas Town!

19. Clearwater Beach – 1 hr 50 min

North of Tampa you will find Clearwater beach! This popular beach is crowded for a reason! Miles of soft white sand, wide beaches, and warm and clear water make this a popular spot!

Parking at Clearwater beach might be my favorite part about it! Its abundance of parking, shopping, and restaurants is one of the reasons I love it so much. There is always something going on!

Some people spend their whole week’s vacation at Clearwater beach, so you know there is plenty to do if you plan on visiting for one day.

 

20. Tampa – 1 hr 20 min

If you are more of a city lover, consider visiting Tampa for the day!

Tampa is a beautiful city with a very easy drive from Orlando. Spend the morning at Armature Works, bike or walk along the riverwalk, and explore the University of Tampa’s historic campus!

There is loads of shopping and dining here as well, it is almost impossible to get bored in such a beautiful city!

 

21. Weeki Wachee Springs State Park to see Mermaids! – 1 hr 35 min

30 Best Day Trips from Orlando

Mermaids exist in Florida at Weeki Wachee Springs State Park! The mermaid shows are offered daily with a small entrance fee. This unique attraction is home to the deepest freshwater cave system in the country! 

Not into mermaids? No problem!

Weeki Wachee Springs offers loads of activities. You can snorkel, swim, paddle, or enjoy a boat ride!

 

2+ Hours Day Trips from Orlando

 

22. Blue Hole Spring – 2 hr 20 min

Picturqese, instagram-friendly, and adventurous. These are the three ways I would describe the Blue Hole Spring. Although this spot is one of the furthest drives on the list, the payoff is worthwhile. The Blue Hole is crystal clear deep blue water plunging 425 feet deep into the unknown.

While this might seem daunting, there are many ways to experience the Blue Hole. 

Popular among scuba divers for its extensive cave system, your average Joe can swim and snorkel!

 

23. Everglades National Park – 3 hr 40 min

day trips from orlando

Although there are two airboat tours located in Central Florida, nothing is quite like visiting Everglades National Park. This 1.5 million-acre wetland is home to BOTH alligators and crocodiles which makes it very unique! In addition to these two creatures, you may even spot dolphins, manatees, or many more animals!

This is a top-ranked National Park for a reason, and the long drive comes with a big payoff! Although, this day trip might be easier to do from Miami.

 

24. Anna Maria Island – 2 hr 5 min

30 Best Day Trips from Orlando

A beautiful strip of a coastal island just south of Tampa is Anna Maria Island. Home to low crowds, a beach community, and the best beaches in Florida (in my opinion). Anna Maria Island is the ideal way to spend a day trip on the beach.

This seven-mile island is home to the best Florida sunsets, clean and beautiful beaches, and a relaxed atmosphere. 

 

25. DeSoto National Memorial Park – 2 hr

Also just south of Tampa, you can find De Soto National Memorial Park. I love visiting National and State parks and this one looks like tons of fun!

Although I have not been able to visit yet, De Soto National Memorial Park is home to ranger-led kayak tours! How cool!

In this dog-friendly park, you can walk along the beach, take a kayak out, or explore the fort.

 

26. Fort Caroline National Memorial – 2 hr 5 min

Up north in Jacksonville, Florida you can find Fort Caroline National Memorial. This is a French settlement from the 16th century. Although there is not much left of the fort today, this is a beautiful place to walk around. The live oak trees are my favorite!

 

27. Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park – 2 hr 10 min

Florida is home to so many beautiful state parks and springs, Gilchrist is no exception. Located just north of Gainesville, pack your own beach towels and sunscreen and prepare for a beautiful day outdoors!

 

28. Dinosaur World – 1 hr 15 mins

An attraction that can be easily seen from I-4 but I have never had to chance to stop and visit. Located between Tampa and Orlando, Dinosaur World can be a fun and unique day trip from Orlando to visit for all things Dinosaurs!

Walk among life-sized Dinosaurs with your whole family, and your dog! With interactive indoor exhibits and a walking trial outside, this is a great way to spend your day outside of Orlando.

 

29. Ginnie Springs – 2 hr 10 min

Ginnie Springs is paradise, an oasis. Although the drive to Ginnie Springs may be long, but once you arrive you are greeted with beautiful crystal-clear water inside of a Florida forest. 

Rent kayaks, canoes, or even stand-up paddle boards to make the most out of your visit!

 

30. St. Petersburg – 2 hours

30 Best Day Trips from Orlando

The last on the list of day trips from Orlando is St. Petersburg, A picturesque town south of Tampa. St. Petersburg is known to be an uppity small town that is very walkable. This is a perfect in between visiting the big city of Tampa and the small coastal beach towns.

St.Petersburg truly has it all! Nature, beaches, and an adorable downtown make it a premier vacation spot in Florida.

Conclusion of the 30 Best Day Trips from Orlando

There you have it! This concludes our 30 best day trips to take from Orlando! Friend pet-friendly nature trails to family-friendly theme parks, Florida offers so much to do!

Although you could easily spend months in Orlando without getting bored, it is always nice to get out and explore.

Have you ever been anywhere on this list? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below!

 Visiting Orlando soon? Read these!

I’m Danika! A travel obsessed, Disney adult, with a knack for budgeting.

In 2020 I was furlough from my “dream” job at Disney and have pursued my first love of travel ever since. I have traveled to 33 states and 28 countries spanning 5 continents.

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