Florida: Fun things to do in Orlando for adults, including day trips from Orlando

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15 Fun Things to do in Orlando for adults, including day trips from Orlando

Everybody knows Orlando, Florida as the paradise vacation spot for family and kids, and the best destination for the theme parks. But I am here to share some fun things to do in Orlando for adults, including some awesome day trips from Orlando that you will need to add to the next time you are visiting.

With 12 theme parks to choose from, Orlando is kind of a fairy tale land for kids of all ages. But Orlando is also a very adult-friendly travel destination, and there are plenty of activities to do in Orlando and its surrounding, besides the theme parks. 

As someone without kids who have been living in Florida for the past 15 years of my life, I have explored all the fun things to do in Orlando for adults, and I am glad now I can share some of the best activities with you.

Whatever you want to enjoy the nightlife, a wine or beer tour, Orlando is a great destination for you. Or if  you are a nature lover who loves to be outdoor, you can visit places where you can see manatees, or if you are a beach lover, you can take a short day trip from Orlando to visit some amazing beaches, in less than an hour’s drive.

If you are visiting Orlando and are looking for some options for things to do besides the theme parks, you will love this list of best things to do in Orlando for adults. 

Have fun and Safe Travels!

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BONUS RESOURCES:  In this guide for Best Things to do in Orlando for Adults you can find all the best tips and practical information you need for your trip. In the end, you can find a bonus section for all the RESOURCES you need to plan and book your trip, and to make your experience as easy, safe, and fun as possible.

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Awesome Things to do in Orlando for Adults

1- HARRY P LEU GARDENS

Leu Gardens has an amazing 50-acres of the botanical oasis, only minutes away from Downtown Orlando. Each garden is designed specifically to further the mission to inspire visitors to appreciate and understand the plants.

This garden and the historical home were donated to the city of Orlando in 1961 by Mr. Harry P. Lew and his wife, Mary Jane. Harry P. Leu and his wife, Mary Jane, purchased the property in 1936. Mr. Leu owned a very successful industrial supply company. The Leus traveled extensively and brought back plants and seeds for their garden. The beautiful gardens bear witness to the legacy Mr. Leu left to the City of Orlando.

Here you can discover palms, cycads, and flowering trees. Enjoy azaleas, vines, bromeliads, and tropical philodendrons. Appreciate the sight of familiar annual flowers and the beauty of roses and camellias. Stroll under the awe-inspiring branches of camphor trees, elms, and oaks.

Here you can also appreciate some permanent and rotating exhibits, as well as some outdoor sculptures. 

The Harry P. Lew Gardens offer Free admission Mondays throughout the year, it means you can visit the multiple gardens without paying things such as the Butterfly Garden, The Horseshoe Fountain, Lake Rowena Overlook, and the Idea Garden.

2- ORLANDO BREWERY TOUR

If you are a beer lover, then there are many excellent breweries in Orlando to check out. I enjoy visiting one for a flight and some live music or sometimes making the whole day of stopping at a few.

In the theme park area, Ellipsis Brewing and Dead Lizard Brewing are the closest to visit and offer an excellent array of brews from IPA’s to stouts.

If you do not mind driving to Downtown Orlando, there are many more options there! Sideward Brewing and Rockpit Brewing are the absolute best, as they both have fun atmospheres, tasty food, and an ever-rotating selection of unique beers.

However, Ten-10 Brewing, Broken Strings Brewery, and The Ravenous Pig Brewing are great spots in the area to visit as well.

If you really want to make a day trip out of your Orlando brewery experience, I recommend making the drive to Crooked Can in Winter Garden or Deviant Wolfe in Sanford. Both are located in historic downtowns and nearby some outstanding, local restaurants to visit.

Whether you visit a brewery for beer tasting, an outdoor event, or the occasionally offered brewery tour, you are in for an enjoyable experience in Orlando. 

With this Florida craft beer and brewery tour, you can taste the craft beverages, and hear about the historic neighborhoods that they call home. 

3- CYCLING THE WEST ORANGE BIKE TRAIL

The West Orange Bike Trail is a 22-mile, paved bike trail to the west of downtown Orlando. It should feature on everyone’s Florida bucket list!

This unique activity in Orlando takes you from Apopka through rural and suburban surroundings past Lake Apopka to the historic Winter Garden; a former citrus town full of old Florida charm.

The entire route is broken down into 4 stations with most people riding a shorter section from the Killarney Station to the Winter Garden Station. This route is 4.8 miles each way and includes some of the best stops on the entire route.

Along this flat trail you’ll come across top Orlando sites such as the Oakland Nature Preserve which a 1.5 mile boardwalk hike through Floridian forest until you reach a platform overlooking Lake Apopka. Stopping off here is definitely recommended.

Upon reaching Winter Garden, take the time to bike around the town and appreciate the old buildings. Then, head to Plant Street Market. This foodie haven is full of treats including ice cream, mac ‘n’ cheese and juices. And don’t forget to stop in at Crooked Can Brewing Company to sample their delicious craft beers.

4- WINTER PARK

Winter Park is absolutely my favorite place to visit when I go to Orlando.

It is only 20-minute northeast of downtown Orlando, Winter Park gained its name after the arrival of the South Florida Railroad in 1880, the highly-rated Rollins College, Florida’s first 4-year university.

Today, Winter Park highlight is Park Avenue, a tree-lined, cobblestone street bursting with eateries, museums, and some of the Orlando best areas for shopping. Winter Park is also a great place for outdoor enthusiasts, including a robust park system and a gorgeous chain of lakes.

Winter Park’s chain of lakes — 12 in all — includes 2,781 acres of pristine waterways, and the Winter Park Scenic Boat Tour is a fun, relaxing way to experience it. You’ll see all manner of wildlife, not to mention multimillion-dollar mansions, during the narrated, one-hour excursions, which also go past Rollins College and Kraft Azalea Gardens.

If you are like me, and enjoy outdoor adventures or to visit less crowded places, you will love it here. 

Winter Park offers outstanding restaurants and considered to have some of Orlando’s top culinary artists. Take a culinary tour, and visit some of the very diverse local restaurants. 

5- LAKERIDGE WINERY & VINEYARDS TASTING TOUR

If you are like me, a wine person, I recommend heading to Lakeridge Winery & Vineyard. 

Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards opened its doors in February 1989 in Clermont, Florida, and sits on a beautiful 127-acre estate in gently rolling countryside some 25 miles west of downtown Orlando

The winery hosts complimentary vineyard tours and tastings 7-days a week, and the tours run every 30 minutes with a 15-minute video introduction.

You’ll then have the opportunity to witness and experience the production process, from growing the grapes to labeling the bottles.

Once you understand what goes into making a superb bottle of wine, you get to the best part: You get to taste it!

Lakeridge ranks as Florida’s largest premium winery, and remains a pioneer in the development of premium and sparkling wines from the native Muscadine grape varieties Noble, Carlos and Welder, as well as Vinifera varieties to include Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Petite Sirah and Cabernet Sauvignon

At the tasting table, guests are presented with a wide range of wines to try. It is one of the best things to do in Orlando for adults!

6- OLD TOWN ORLANDO

Old Town is an amusement park located in Kissimmee, Florida. Appropriately named, it is an homage to a time when parks were smaller and less crowded with the re-creation of a simpler time in Florida towns. You don’t need a complicate park hopper, a multi-day pass, or race training to sprint from ride to ride to avoid 2-hour long wait-times for this old-fashioned park, just a few hours in your itinerary is all you need to spend some family-friendly fun walking around this 18-acre old-time attraction.

Among the tree-lined, brick pedestrian streets, there are historically modeled buildings, with over 75 shops, restaurants, bars, and rides. When we were there in October, there was an entire haunted house with spooky characters roaming the streets. The carousel is centrally located so that you and your family can take a trip back in time on this classic ride. For the adventurous, they even have the Hurricane roller coaster. It stands 5-stories tall and looks out over the streets of the park.

The A&W Restaurant is a popular place to eat at Old Town. This old diner serves up an All-American hamburger and of course the A&W root beer float that you can’t miss in this nostalgic eatery.

On the weekends, there are car shows throughout the park. Muscle cars and nostalgia cars park down Main Street for your viewing pleasure. They have several other themed events throughout the year that locals and tourists frequently attend at this classic American park.

After you visit Old Town, take your family and head over to Citywalk at Universal Studios to catch another great themed dinner at Bubba Gump Shrimp Company Restaurant.

7- NIGHTLIFE OF ORLANDO

One of the most underrated things to do in Orlando is enjoying a night out in the cities vibrant nightlife scene.

There is an abundance of effortlessly cool nightclubs, cocktail lounges, hipster breweries, rooftop bars, and more to explore, each with their own unique appeal – most of which are centered around the downtown within walking distance of each other – though the gay scene of Orlando is a short drive away in the Milk District.  

The Wall Street Plaza is the best place to go if you are not sure what to do, with half a dozen venues all spilling out onto a pedestrian zone where you are only ID’d at the entrance – almost like a mini-music festival.

Then there is the ultra-cool Player 1 Video Game Bar, which has funky cocktails, free arcade games, and plenty of kitschy neons and movie memorabilia.

For a more upscale affair, head to the Hanson’s Shoe Repair speakeasy (you’ll need to call in advance for the password) or try Mathers Social Gathering, a parlor-style cocktail spot with antiques and boutique spirits.

For clubs, you’ll want to try the over-the-top EVE or Latino hotspot Mango’s Tropical Cafe. The weekends are always the best time to head out if you are looking for a crowd, with student nights and after sports games being the busiest. However, a large part of Orlando’s nightlife charm is that there is always something going on, somewhere, and being located so close together, it generally isn’t hard to find.

Just plan on not heading to the theme parks early the next day; chances are your head is going to hurt just a little.

Short Day Trips from Orlando for Adults

8- KENNEDY SPACE CENTER VISITOR COMPLEX

The Kennedy Space Center is the perfect day trip from Orlando for all you fellow space nerds out there. 
 
This will be a full-day trip full of all things space.  You can see former rockets, replicas, and more.  There is the rocket garden right by the entrance where you can just walk around and admire the replica rockets and capsules or you can listen in on a free walking tour. 
 
You can even go into the capsules to see how small they really are.  
 
There are exhibits for everything.  There is one that talks about the wildlife on the island since it’s all technically part of the Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge, the Heroes and Legends exhibit with a really great 3D movie and memorabilia, the Atlantis complex, and the Apollo/Saturn V complex. 
 
Make sure you sign up for a bus tour of some sort to see the VAB (Vehicle Assembly Building) and launchpads.  Finally, if you plan ahead a bit, you could even manage to see a launch!  

If you don’t want to drive, you can sign up for the Kennedy Space Center Day Trip From Orlando

Or if you decide to drive your own vehicle I recommend buying the ticket in advance to the Kennedy Space Center and skip the lines. 

9- ORLANDO DAY TRIP TO MERRITT ISLAND WILDLIFE REFUGE

If you are looking for a nature experience amongst the theme park land of Orlando, Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge is the place to visit!

This reserve spans 140,000 acres just north of Titusville and boasts views of alligators, rare birds, and even the NASA Vehicle Assembly Building. It is the perfect Orlando day trip to get a taste of real Florida any time of year, but the ideal time to visit is October through April because of the cooler weather and less risk of rain.

Whether you are interested in hiking, paddling, or just taking a scenic drive, you can experience all this here. I recommend everyone take the 7-mile Black Point Drive loop where you can see a variety of birds and of course alligators. After this, a hike through either the Oak or Palm Trails is enjoyable.

Once you have had enough of the preserve, you can head to Canaveral National Seashore for some beach time or to Downtown Titusville for some exploring.

Third Culture Kitchen, The Brix Project, and Dixie Crossroads are all excellent spots for a local meal. If you are feeling up to it, you can spend the night at the new Hyatt Place Titusville or an Airbnb and visit the famed Kennedy Space Center in the morning.

Whether you choose to make a weekend out of Titusville or simply take a day trip to the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, you are guaranteed a fun and unique experience! 

10- ORLANDO DAY TRIP TO BLUE SPRING STATE PARK

Blue Spring State Park is one of the best places to see manatees in the wild in Florida and it also happens to be just a short drive from Orlando. 
 
This is one of the best state parks in Florida for that reason, but it’s also good for hiking and paddling.  It’s located in Orange City, Florida, and can be visited year-round.  Of course, if you want to see the manatees, the best time to visit will be in the winter months when it’s cooler outside and they come into the warm water, but if you’ll be in Orlando in the summer, you can still visit to see the springs, paddle, and hike. 
 
If you do go in the winter get there nice and early or later in the day because mid-day is extremely busy.  One day is plenty to enjoy the park. 
 
If you want to paddle but don’t want to own your own, you can join paddling tours.  There are also boat tours if you don’t want to paddle yourself around. 
 
If you want to do some swimming, you can snorkel while you’re out there and if you dive, you can even do that here as long as you’re properly certified. 
 
Unfortunately, you can’t actually swim with the manatees here but it’s still 100% worth visiting just to see them.

11- ORLANDO DAY TRIP TO NEW SMYRNA BEACH

New Smyrna Beach is the sweetest little town and it is easily accessible from Orlando.

Here, as the bright lights and big thrills of the theme parks fade, you can get a little slice of real America from years gone by.

The seafront here is beautiful with a sandy beach and some of the best surfing waves around. In the town, itself are all the spots for a fun trip from yesteryear – ice cream parlor, gift shops, boutiques, saltwater taffy. There are some fantastic family resorts in Florida based around New Smyrna Beach including The Black Dolphin Inn and SpringHill Suites and great restaurants too such as AA Garden Fusion and Riverpark Terrace.

Come for a day trip from Orlando or a long weekend to really relax and unwind and if you feel like catching the best action around then see dolphins where they should be seen, in the wild by visiting the Marine Discovery Centre. Here you can see the Bottlenose Dolphin jumping in the river which is an incredible sight.

The real strength of New Smyrna Beach though is its vibe as a peaceful retreat, to walk the sand, visit little independent shops and get a slice of the past in the best possible way.

12- ORLANDO DAY TRIP TO HONEYMOON ISLAND

If you are looking for a short day trip from Orlando, Honeymoon Island State Park is a great place to explore. With 4-miles of amazing beaches to explore and a 3-mile hiking trail through one of the last remaining virgin slash pine forests.  

Honeymoon Island is a great place for outdoor lovers, as it offers many options like soaking in the sun, swimming, fishing, kayaking, biking, and hiking. You can also take a ferry across the channel to Caladesi State Park, an island with pristine beaches and turquoise water, it is also less crowded and less rocky than the beaches of Honeymoon Island. 

If you love nature, this is a place for you as the chances to see birds such as eagles, osprey, and great horned owls, and ground animals including gopher tortoises, raccoons, and armadillos. Also, it is easy to spot manatees and dolphins close to shore. 

The Park is open 365 days per year, from 8 am until sunset. To enter the State Park, you have to pay an entry fee of $8 per vehicle. Honeymoon Island State Park is located about twenty-five minutes north of Clearwater Beach in the Tampa Bay area on Florida’s west coast, at the end of the Dunedin Causeway.  

13- CLEARWATER BEACH A SHORT DRIVE FROM ORLANDO

Clearwater Beach is frequented voted one of the Best Beaches in Florida for a reason. 

Situated at the Gulf of Mexico, it is a popular coastal escape with a very relaxing vibe. It is about 2.5 hours drive from Orlando, but well worth driving for a day trip or for a weekend gateway from Orlando.

Clearwater Beach is a fantastic strip of soft sugary white sand, lapped by jade waters and surrounded by resorts and residential areas, including mine since I am lucky to call this place home. 

You can plan to swim in this calm and clear water of the Gulf, soak in the sun or if you are looking for more activities in the area you can visit Pier 60 with souvenir shops, restaurants, street performers, bars, and live music every day at sunset. 

14- WILD FLORIDA AIRBOAT SAFARI RIDE

Driving at Everglades in Florida USA

The Everglades National Park is an ecosystem and a World Heritage Site makes a great side trip from Orlando. You can visit this heaven for lovers of outdoor activities, with loads of nature, many hiking trails to choose from, and water activities like snorkeling and the traditional airboat.  

If you have more time in this area, make sure to visit the  Ten Thousand Islands Wildlife Refuge, the second largest mangrove forest in the world forming fascinating labyrinths of water and islands with very rich wildlife, including some endangered species.  

You can take advantage of round-trip transportation from the center of Orlando right out into the Everglades National Park, where you’ll enjoy a 30-minute airboat ride through one of the United States’ most intriguing and unique ecosystems.

You’ll glide across the swamps as you search for herons, otters, and what everyone comes to see – the American alligator.

Also included in this tour is your admission to the Wild Florida Wildlife Park, a great activity to do in Orlando for adults. 

15- ICHETUCKNEE SPRINGS

Going tubing at Ichetucknee Springs State Park in Florida, just under 2.5 hours north of Orlando, is a great day trip.
 
At the heart of this huge State Park is the Ichetucknee River which is 6-miles long and flows through shaded hammocks and wetlands.
 
The river is fed by natural springs and maintains a pretty warm temperature of around 72F all year round. On top of this, the springs are also home to manatees (large, fully aquatic, mostly herbivorous marine mammals sometimes known as sea cows), turtles, and more.
 
The best way to experience the refreshing spring waters and see the wildlife, including the manatees, is to float or kayak down the river!
 

If you don’t have your own float, you can rent from Ichetucknee Tubing Centre for around $5 a day. They’ll help you strap it onto your car and you’re good to go! 

 
It takes about 2 hours to float from the midpoint to the end depending on how much you swim/kick yourself down the river. Once you reach the end, you can either do it all over again by walking back to the start or by taking the tram provided. 
 
The park has great picnic facilities and plenty of hiking trails to explore to make an even longer day trip out of it. 

Final thoughts Things to do in Orlando for Adults

From sipping wine at a vineyard to go visit some of the beautiful parks, or take a short day trip from Orlando, there are many exciting and things to do in Orlando for adults. Make sure that next time you visit Orlando, you get out of the theme parks and explore more the surroundings and find something unique to do. 

If I missed anything, or if you have any questions or comments, I would love to connect and to hear from you. 

Leave me a comment below and I hope you continue to explore the unique and authentic things to do from the places you visit. 

TRIP PLANNER RESOURCES

PRACTICAL INFORMATION TO EXPLORE ORLANDO FOR ADULTS:

ORLANDO AIRPORT:  In addition to Orlando International Airport (MCO), the area is serviced by Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB) just 30 miles from downtown Orlando.

RESTAURANTS: Orlando’s Restaurant Row is a mile-long stretch on International Drive that offers all types of cuisines at various price ranges, located just 5 minutes from International Drive.

BUY TICKETS IN ADVANCE: You’ll get the best deal on tickets for everything from dinner shows and art exhibits to museum passes and mini golf if you plan when you want to go and buy tickets beforehand. 

WELCOME TO THE SUNSHINE STATE: You’re bound to experience the Florida sun at some point during your visit to Orlando, so make sure you have plenty of sunscreen and light, protective clothing, including hats, sunglasses. Don’t forget to stay hydrated!

EXPLORE THE OUTDOORS IN ORLANDO: Offering a myriad of landscapes, including canal-connected lakes, bald-cypress swamps, saltwater marshlands, and untouched pinewoods, there are many opportunities to see the natural beauty of Florida during your exploration in Orlando for adults.

FLORIDA GUIDE BOOK

Prepare in advance for your trip. Here are some of the excellent guide books that can help you to prepare for your trip to Orlando, Florida.

WHERE TO STAY IN ORLANDO

There are so many options for accommodations in Orlando, Florida. I have selected a variety of great options for you. If you are planning to visit the Theme Parks too, it is best to stay in the Lake Eola area

BEST ACCOMMODATION OPTIONS IN HONEYMOON ISLAND AREA:

Great Value: Monumental Hotel Orlando

Entire House: Joanne’s Cozy Pad

Best rated on Booking.com: Hilton Garden Inn Apopka City Center

Luxury Option: Hilton Grand Vacations at Tuscany Village

RENTAL CAR

The best way to explore Orlando and to go on day trips from Orlando, I highly recommend renting a car. Orlando is a large area, and though you can use a taxi, a rental car is cheaper and more convenient. 

If you are planning to rent a car for your road trip to Florida, I recommend to request a quote from a reliable source and compare the prices from different car rentals available. 

TRAVEL INSURANCE FOR YOUR TRIPS

Considering that anything can go wrong with any trip, we don’t want to risk the fun, right? Risks are of breaking down, loosing your luggage, or even worse,  having an accident and get injured.

I recommend and also use reliable insurance through World Nomads. You can just do a quick quote below, and you will be surprised to find out how little it can cost, for the benefit you will get. 

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Hi, I am Paula

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I'm a Brazilian native who calls U.S. home. A world traveler, adventure seeker, and an athlete who is always in search of authentic and real-life experiences.

I am passionate about cultural immersion, responsible traveling, and to empower people to live a Healthy Lifestyle.

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12 thoughts on “Florida: Fun things to do in Orlando for adults, including day trips from Orlando

  1. Lisa Shehan says:

    Currently printing this guide as I type this!! I visit Orlando about once a month and would love to check out some of the things you’ve mentioned – especially the winery!! Thanks for the tips!

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