Top Weekend Destinations Away from OrlandoOn July 12, 2021
We know what you’re thinking.
We already have an incredible range of unique things to do in Orlando. Why would we want to go anywhere else?
And, it’s true. Orlando has the Kennedy Space Center, the Orlando Eye, Daytona Beach, an art scene, a nightclub scene, and, of course, Disney World. Even if you weren’t interested in the “touristy” things, there are countless local attractions throughout the city that could keep anyone entertained.
But let’s face it: sometimes you just have to go somewhere else. Sometimes you just have to leave your hometown behind and strike out on your own for a minute and find out what the rest of the state has to offer.
We completely understand that feeling. There are a lot of things to do throughout the entire state of Florida – some of them are almost as famous as the attractions in Orlando, but others are a little off the beaten path.
So, whether you’re a resident of the city looking for a new and unique way to spend the weekend or a traveler who has already seen most of the famous attractions in the city, consider a few of these weekend destinations away from Orlando.
It’s a quick trip from Orlando to Tampa, and when you arrive you can spend your weekend exploring everything at Busch Gardens. This park is filled with thrilling roller coasters and other rides, more than 200 species of animals in the zoo area, and a trek across the 65-acre Serengeti Plain. While you could call this an “amusement park,” it may be more accurate to call it an “experience park.”
Surveys have repeatedly ranked Busch Gardens as one of the top 10 amusement parks in the country, which makes it the perfect alternative for people who have already seen everything at Disney World.
This is the largest subtropical wilderness in the US, with more than 1.5 million acres of wetland. There are tours of the Everglades available, so you can see a lot of the area with the help of a trained guide. On the other hand, there’s kayaking, boating, hiking, and other ways to explore the area on your own. You can talk short walk on Anhinga Trail and see a variety of wildlife, from turtles to alligators, explore the pinelands by bike, or join a ranger on a long, deep hike into the wetlands.
This may not be for the faint of heart, though, since there is plenty of dangerous wildlife around. Just make sure you follow the instructions of your tour guide. (While you may think we’re just talking about alligators and crocodiles, the official website actually has a warning about how vultures may damage your vehicle. So, you’ve been warned.)
Florida Museum of Natural History
This museum is located on the University of Florida campus in Gainesville and, according to the website, is one of the nation’s top five natural history museums.
General admission is free, but there may be an extra charge for special exhibits. This really is a place where learning and fun come together to create a memorable experience for the whole family.
McCarthy’s Wildlife Sanctuary
You can head over to West Palm Beach and “get in touch with your wild side.” This wildlife sanctuary offers tours and kids’ programs that show the younger generation the importance of protecting animals and their habitats. It is home to hundreds of displaced or injured animals that are part of the rescue and rehabilitation programs that happen there.
Already been to Sea World a bunch of times? Ready for something new? This 38-acre aquarium is located on in Biscayne Bay where you and your family can see a wide range of sea life. Visitors can swim with dolphins and feed the penguins. You can watch sea turtles interact or enjoy a lot of unique foods or have an educational experience.
The Miami Beaches
When you make the journey from Orlando to Miami, you will be rewarded with 35 miles of beautiful beaches. Travelers come from all over the world to spend some time on these beaches, swimming, paddle boarding, exploring, and more. You can check out some of the natural beauty that surrounds the area, or you can take advantage of some of the amenities nearby to make the whole weekend more convenient and comfortable.
There are several islands just off the coast (on either side of the state) that make incredible weekend getaways in Florida. Pine Island is a short journey from Fort Myers that is open to fishing, canoeing, and other water activities. You’ll also find some aquatic preserves and plenty of space to roam and explore. Gasparilla Island is a great choice for a beach getaway, or you could check out the Port Boca Grande Lighthouse. Either way, these islands are a great way to experience something unique outside of Orlando.
The city of Orlando is an amazing place with more than a few things to see and do in a weekend. However, if you’ve seen and done these things a few times in your life, maybe it’s time to hop on a luxury motor coach and explore some of the other attractions in Florida.