The Best Day Trips from Orlando

You won’t be short of things to do in Orlando. But, there are so many places to see that are only a short drive out of the city, too. If you want to explore more, take a day trip out of Orlando and tick off some more famous Florida sights.

If you’re looking for Orlando day trip ideas, here are our top picks…

  • Kennedy Space Center
  • St. Augustine
  • Crystal River
  • Daytona Beach
  • Tampa
  • Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park

The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

The Kennedy Space Center is a must do for anyone visiting Orlando. Here, you’ll learn all about the first moon landing and see where Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong set off for their journey to the moon 50 years ago.

Tour NASA’s launch and landing facilities, experience simulators, and see rockets up close. You can even meet a real astronaut and if you time your vacation right, you can see a rocket launch.

Did you know? In 1961 President John F Kennedy declared that the United States would put a man on the moon. That’s why the Space Center is named after him!

Getting there: The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is only a 50 minute drive from central Orlando.

Getting In: Entry to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is included with the Go Orlando pass.

St Augustine

Known as the “Nation’s Oldest City,” St. Augustine is the longest continually inhabited European-founded city in the United States. Founded way back in September 1565 by Don Pedro Menendez de Aviles of Spain, St Augustine is full of exciting things to see and do.

There are plenty of attractions in St Augustine. Step back in time and see the oldest fort in the United States, Castillo de San Marcos. Discover the history of the Old Jail and take a tour of San Sebastian Winery.

Later, you can stroll along cobbled streets and take in the stunning Spanish colonial architecture. Then, stop off for some tasty seafood at a restaurant on the waterfront.

Getting there: St Augustine is a 1 hour 45 minute drive from central Orlando.

Crystal River

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Behold, the mermanatee.

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Visiting Crystal River is your once-in-a-lifetime chance to swim with manatees. The water is a warm 72 degrees all year round, and in the spring, it attracts the manatees who migrate from the Gulf of Mexico. And you can get up close to the animals in the warm, crystal clear waters. For the best chance of seeing lots of manatees, visit between November and April.

If you can’t get enough of the water, head upstream to the Three Sisters Springs. Walk along the boardwalk, swim or paddle-board in the warm water all year round. Three Sisters Springs is a great option if you’re visiting Crystal River when the manatees are at home in the Gulf of Mexico.

Getting there: Crystal River is a 1 hour and 30-minute drive from central Orlando.

Daytona Beach

Daytona Beach is known for the Daytona International Speedway, which hosts the Daytona 500 NASCAR race. However, there is plenty to do in Daytona Beach all year round.

Families will love the Daytona Beach boardwalk and pier. It features arcades, seafront restaurants, and gift shops. Thrill-seekers should visit Screamer’s Park, which is open 365 days a year and features white-knuckle rides. You have to experience the “Slingshot” which will propel you 365-feet into the air at 70 mph.

Daytona Beach is also known as the Festival Capital of Florida. It has festivals taking place all year round so you will be sure to have an event to go to.

Getting there: Daytona Beach is a 1 hour drive from central Orlando.

Tampa

Tampa is a great city to visit on a day trip, and it’s only a short drive from Orlando. If the theme parks of Orlando weren’t enough to satisfy the adrenaline seekers of your group, you have to visit Tampa’s Busch Gardens for even more roller coasters. But Busch Gardens is more than just a theme park. It’s home to more than 200 species of animals and has daily entertainment and live shows.

Why not take a dolphin sightseeing cruise from Tampa for the chance to see the animals in their natural habitat? Or take a history cruise and see the sights from the sea while learning all about the city.

For an indoor day visit the Museum of Science and Industry for 400,000 square feet of exhibits and Florida’s only IMAX Dome Theater.

Getting there: Tampa is a 1 hour and 20 minute drive from central Orlando.

Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park

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Lol #alligator #letsgoswimming

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Head out of the city to see some wildlife at the Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park. Here you can see Florida’s animals, including the endangered Florida panther, red wolves, manatees, black bears, bobcats, and alligators.

Go hiking, geo-seeking or birdwatching, or take a boat tour and learn all about Florida’s wildlife. What’s more, the park is home to rescued animals and birds native to Florida. Plus the not-so-native hippopotamus, Lu, who is over 50 years old.

Getting there: Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park is a one hour and 30 minute drive from Orlando.

To make the most of the Orlando area take a day trip out of the city to see these exciting places. We hope this list has helped you plan your Florida vacation, and remember, you can save on entry to attractions in Orlando with the Go Orlando pass.

The information contained in this post, to the best of the author's knowledge, was accurate at time of publishing. We do our best to ensure and maintain the accuracy of this information.

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