From family-friendly attractions to beautiful natural scenery, Central Florida is home to theme park attractions, wildlife refuges and world-class museums. You can soak up the sunshine at an award-winning beach or go on a paddling adventure, then admire historic space-related history or meet underwater creatures in this region, as its wide variety of attractions means that there is something for everyone. More than just Disney, Universal and Harry Potter, here are some of the top things to do in Central Florida.
See exotic animals at Safari Wilderness (Nearby Hotels)
Safari Wilderness in Lakeland is a 260-acre park that is home to an array of exotic animals. Surrounded by bay trees and cypress domes, you can kayak through the lush landscapes past waterbuck, red lechwe, bald eagles and herons. Go on a sunset safari in summer to spot Scimitar-horned oryx, zebra and watusi cattle, then admire panoramic views of the preserve from the Tree House deck.
Admire space-related history at Kennedy Space Center (Nearby Hotels)
Located in Titusville, the Kennedy Space Center is a world-class museum full of space-related artifacts and space-related history. The entire family can enjoy browsing the fascinating exhibits and watching 3D movies in the IMAX theatre, while those wanting a unique experience can have a chance to eat lunch with a real-life astronaut and hear what its like to visit space.
Smell the flowers at Bok Tower Gardens (Nearby Hotels)
Set among the rolling hills of Lake Wales, Bok Tower Gardens boasts a remarkable landscape in its 250-acre National Historic Landmark gardens. Soak up views of citrus trees and subtropical gardens, then admire the beautiful sounds of the 205-foot Singing Tower carillon. You’ll find romantic spots to explore amongst its lush foliage, featuring displays of camellias, azaleas, orchids and irises.
Hear the engines roar at Daytona International Speedway (Nearby Hotels)
It’s Daytona’s most famous attraction, and Daytona International Speedway doesn’t fail to impress with its legendary auto-racing tracks and behind-the-scene tours. Learn what makes this landmark an important piece of history though racing artifacts and driver memorabilia, attend the famous Daytona 500 even, or take a trip around the track at the Richard Petty Driving Experience.
Cool off at Wekiwa Springs State Park (Nearby Hotels)
Just a short drive outside of Orlando sits Wekiwa Springs State Park, where nature lovers can enjoy a day of soaking up Central Florida’s natural beauty and hop in the 72-degree waters for an afternoon swim. Its gentle currents are great for families with kids, where you can lounge on a floatie and enjoy stunning views of centuries-old trees.
See local wildlife at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge (Nearby Hotels)
Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge is where to go to find untouched natural surroundings, filled with local wildlife. It is a protected area where it’s not uncommon to spot manatees grazing past and sea turtles laying their eggs. Its 14,000 acres is a hotspot for birdwatching, where you can have an outdoor adventure kayaking and hiking the scenic footpaths.
Take the kids to Legoland Florida (Nearby Hotels)
Orlando is home to a lot of theme parks, and none are more suited for the little ones than LEGOLAND Florida. You’ll find more than 50 rides, a waterpark and collection of live shows, in addition to an abundance of interactive features and family-friendly restaurants designed for kids under 12. Ride the Lego-themed rides, visit the Miniland USA and pretend you’re in the movies at Lego Star Wars.
Explore underwater exhibits at The Florida Aquarium (Nearby Hotels)
If you have an interest in the majestic world of underwater creatures, then The Florida Aquarium should be on your list. It’s home to an array of unique animal and plant life, where visitors can meander through a maze of turtle, moray eel and stingray exhibits. Stop by the popular shark tank area, venture past alligator-infested waters and observe playful otters.
Meet a manatee at Blue Springs State Park (Nearby Hotels)
While Blue Spring State Park is a hotspot for manatee activity during the winter months, it is also a fantastic destination to explore throughout the year. Walk along the viewing platforms to admire the gentle giants in manatee season, or go on an outdoor adventure of swimming, kayaking and paddling through its crystal clear waters in the summer months.
Learn about Surrealism at the Salvador Dali Museum (Nearby Hotels)
If you’re looking for a dose of culture, the Salvador Dali Museum in Tampa offers you the chance to admire unique pieces of Surrealist art that are designed to be thought-provoking. Boasting the most comprehensive collection of Dali paintings outside of Europe, visitors should take particular note of the eight Masterworks held here, in addition to the various oils, watercolors, sketches and sculptures.
Catch a sunset at Clearwater Beach (Nearby Hotels)
Clearwater Beach is one of Florida’s most pristine stretches of coastline, where sunseekers come from around the state to enjoy its pristine sand and picturesque ocean views. Comb the beach for colorful seashells, soak up the sunshine, or go on a water-based adventure such as deep-sea fishing, boating or jet skiing. Make sure to attend the nightly Pier 60 sunset celebrations that showcase live performers and local musicians.
Soak up the scenery at Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge (Nearby Hotels)
the most significant nesting area for loggerhead sea turtles in the Western Hemisphere, making it an ideal place to explore for animal lovers. Located in Melbourne Beach, this refuge stretches more than 20 miles along an undeveloped patch of coastline, home to endangered green turtles and rare leatherback turtles.
Get up-close to alligators at Gatorland (Nearby Hotels)
Known as the “Alligator Capital of the World”, Gatorland has been entertaining its guests since 1949. This alligator-themed wildlife preserve holds the world’s largest collection of giant white alligators and offers the chance to get up close and personal with some of Florida’s fiercest from a safe distance. It also features a zip-lining adventure and an observation tower that overlooks the park.