- Cocoa Beach—The local billboards say it all: Orlando’s Closest Beach. It’s only 45 minutes away from Orlando International Airport: just take the aptly-named Beach line Expressway (528) straight east, buy a souvenir at Ron Jon’s Surf Shop, and head to the beach.
- Kennedy Space Center—KSC is just north of Cocoa Beach, but its amazing museum of space exploration (known as the KSC Visitors Complex) is worth a full day visit. If you plan to catch a shuttle launch, be prepared to sit in traffic for several hours driving back to Orlando, but spectacle of an actual launch will be well worth it.
Daytona Beach—If you’re only looking for sun, sand and surf, a quick jaunt to Cocoa Beach will get you there a bit quicker, but Daytona Beach is less than two hours away, and it has a special appeal to Spring Breakers, bikers, and NASCAR fans. If you stay until sunset, the brightly colored Ocean Walk Shoppes & Movies offers a fantastic ocean view.
- Tampa—Less than two hours in the other direction, check out Florida’s Gulf Coast in the historically-rich city of Tampa. Nearby St. Petersburg has upscale shopping and museums while Clearwater Beach offers warm waters and powdery white sand.
- Silver Springs — Another “Old Florida” icon, Silver Springs is famous for its glass-bottomed boat rides, animal exhibits, and jeep safaris through the Florida forest. Opened in 1878, Silver Springs is Florida’s oldest commercial tourist attraction, where Johnny Weismuller filmed some of the earliest Tarzan movies.
- Ocala National Forest — Not far from Silver Springs lies the Ocala National Forest. It is the world’s largest sand pine forest and covers 366,000 acres. Hiking, fishing, and canoeing are popular activities in this natural attraction.
- Mount Dora — With its Victorian architecture, boutique shopping, and lovely lakefront, Mount Dora is one of the most genuine small towns in Central Florida. You can even see some of the few remaining citrus groves on the outskirts of this well-preserved hamlet.
- Sebring—A sleepy town less than two hours due south of Orlando, Sebring has a charming downtown district, and is home to the Sebring International Raceway, the oldest permanent road racing track in North America. Nearby Highlands Hammock State Park offers campsites and hiking trails.
- Blue Spring State Park—With the water temperature at a constant 68º F, Blue Spring State Park in nearby Volusia County (where Daytona Beach is located) is a winter refuge for manatees between November and March. In the warmer months, human visitors enjoy snorkeling and canoeing.
Planning for your trip to Orlando ahead of time is the best way to enjoy all of the things you plan to do. These tips will help get you on your way to an experience you will never forget. Things to do in Orlando | Fun things to do on International Drive | Top 10 Things You Need to Know to Find Your Way Around Orlando