Attractions & Things To Do
Walt Disney World - Ultimate Family Theme Park
A truly massive theme park covering over 27,000 acres or the size of San Francisco or Greater Manchester in the UK.
Walt Disney World Resort is the world’s largest theme park featuring 4 separate major theme parks including Disney Magic Kingdom, Disney Animal Kingdom, Disney Epcot, Disney MGM Studios, night-time attractions and themed shopping at the amazing Downtown Disney - a truly magical experience for all ages. The fireworks at Epcot are absolutely amazing and a must see !!
Walt Disney World - Amazing Water Parks
Disney World has two water parks. The hugely popular Typhoon Lagoon, designed to resemble a beach resort devastated by a tropical storm, can hold more than 7,000 people at once, and has plenty of rides and attractions.
Blizzard Beach’s theme is a ski resort that melted and is a favourite among water slide fans. But whatever extreme weather they represent, these parks have similar features: long drops to build up speed and darkened tubes to confuse you before spilling you, laughing or screaming, into a wading pool below.
Universal Studios Theme Park
The number one movie and TV based theme park in the world. Jump right into the action of your favourite movies at Universal Studios Florida. At this real working motion picture studio you’ll go behind the scenes and beyond the screen as you experience an incredible array of rides, shows, movie sets and attractions including Transformers The Ride 3-D, Despicable Me Minion Mayhem, Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit, The Simpsons Ride, Revenge of the Mummy and Shrek 4-D and loads more
Universal Islands of Adventure Theme Park
Take an unforgettable journey through remarkable islands where the world’s greatest myths, legends, cartoons, comic books and children’s tales come to life. Located right next door to Universal Studios you’ll experience the innovative thrills and unexpected adventures of Universal’s Islands of Adventure theme park.
Highlights include Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, Dragon Challenge, The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk Coaster, Jurassic Park River Adventure, Popeye and Bluto’s Bilge Rat Barges, The Cat in the Hat and loads more.
Busch Gardens - Tampa Bay
Busch Gardens tickets give you access to an unparalleled combination of world-class thrill rides and scenic animal habitats. Nothing can quite prepare you for the excitement and adventure offered at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay - all with an African theme!
There are few adventure parks in the world which offer such a diverse array of experiences all in one place. Their new rollercoaster, SheiKra carries riders up 200 feet at 45 degrees, then hurtles them 70 mph back toward the ground through a sheer vertical drop. It is the first coaster of its kind in the Americas and only the third in the world.
SeaWorld Orlando is the world's premiere marine adventure park with 200 acres of world-class shows, thrilling rides and unforgettable animal encounters. Explore the mysteries of the sea with up-close animal interactions including Dolphins and exhilarating thrills.
New state-of-the-art rides such as Kraken rollercoaster and Journey To Atlantis twist, turn, and drench you with unprecedented thrills, while amazing animal encounters include killer whales (Shamu Show), dolphins, sea lions, stingrays and more. SeaWorld - Manta Flying Watercoaster
Sea World's newest next generation ride called Manta, inspired by the underwater flight of Mantas in which riders fly face down, in a horizontal SeaWorld - Manta Flying Watercoasterposition, underneath the belly of a coaster train shaped as a giant manta. With a wing span of 12 feet, the giant manta will soar over water and sky in the most graceful flying coaster ever created.
Gliding, swooping and diving up to nearly 60 mph, through four inversions on 3,359 feet of track, riders will feel as if they are a ray, taking flight effortlessly from sky to sea - so close at times that the Manta's wings skim the waves.
Discovery Cove - Swim with Dolphins
Discovery Cove is located next to SeaWorld and is like stepping into another world! It's a tropical paradise - where the adventure never ends. You can swim one-on-one with dolphins, snorkel with tropical fish, stroke stingrays and play with hundreds of tropical birds.
At the Coral Reef you will be invited to pull on a mask and snorkel to experience a very special adventure where you can dive on a stunning coral reef surrounded by giant stingrays, barracuda and scary looking sharks (behind hidden glass barrier of course)
Finally, relax amongst the palms on a hammock enjoying a long cool drink. Lunch is included in the package
Aquatica - SeaWorlds Newest Waterpark
Aquatica is a combination of animal experiences, water rides and slides, high-speed thrills & relaxing sandy beaches & will appeal to all ages.
The new Aquatica water park is set in the South Seas & features 36 water slides, six winding rivers and lagoons with tropical fish. There are two large side-by-side wave lagoons, offering two very different experiences; one has crashing waves & five foot swells whilst the other has a gently rolling surf.
Amongst the 12 main attractions there are also eight-lane racing slides, racing tunnels, triple-drop raft rides & inner tube river adventures. For small children & toddlers there is an enormous interactive water play area including a 60 foot high rain fortress besides a 15,000 gallon pool plus special family orientated slides & water cannon.
Aquatica also boasts over 80,000 square feet of white sandy beaches where you can relax in the shade of your own personal cabana & take advantage of the beachside service.
One of the signature attractions of the new park is a very special water slide. It consists of a pair of clear acrylic tubes that swimsuit clad guests will slide down through a pool inhabited by black & white Commerson's dolphins, giving the impression of flying under water.
LEGOLAND Florida (Winter Haven)
LEGOLAND Florida offers a 150-acre family theme park located in Winter Haven, just 45 minutes southwest of the Orlando theme parks located on the former Cypress Gardens.
The Park offers interactive attractions, family rides, shows, restaurants, shopping and beautiful landscaped gardens specifically geared for families with children ages 2 to12.
LEGOLAND Florida is the biggest LEGOLAND Park ever and offers a unique mix of more than 50 rides, shows and attractions, including spectacular LEGO models and other interactive elements for the whole family to enjoy together.
After only recently opening, LEGOLAND has expanding to include a Water Park, the water park attraction features a wave pool, Build-A-Raft lazy river, tube slides, body slides and an interactive water-play structure all based on the popular DUPLO Safari product range.
NASA - Kennedy Space Centre
At Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, you get the unique chance to tour – up close – NASA’s launch and landing facilities. Experience interactive simulators, live shows and jaw-dropping encounters with massive rockets, as well as have the opportunity to meet a real member of NASA’s Astronaut Corps. It’s all what you can expect from an inspiring day at Kennedy Space Center. If you are lucky, you could even witness an awesome rocket launch - an experience worth waiting for !!
For over half a century, Gatorland has been creating fond vacation memories for millions of visitors who have entered through its gaping gator mouth entrance. Gatorland is a 110-acre theme park and wildlife preserve, combining "Old Florida" charm with exciting, new exhibits and entertainment including the very rare white alligators and children's splash area. Known internationally as the "Alligator Capital of the World," Gatorland today provides affordably priced family-fun with thousands of alligators and crocodiles, a breeding marsh with boardwalk and observation tower, one-of-a-kind reptilian shows, aviary, petting zoo, swamp walk, educational programs and much, much more.
Wet 'n Wild
Wet 'n Wild - Orlando located on International Drive close to SeaWorld and Universal Studios, features a full-day of fun for the entire family. Honoured by Aquatic's International as the first true water park, Wet 'n Wild's world-class signature thrill rides and quality service offer something for fun-lovers of all ages, with over 30 action-packed acres of slides and flumes, surf and sun. It’s all yours at the water park that started it all.
Fun Alternatives to Theme Parks
Clearwater Marine Aquarium - Winter the Dolphin
Clearwater Marine Aquarium is a non-profit working animal hospital whose mission is to rescue, rehabilitate and release sick and/or injured marine animals. CMA is also home to “Winter”, the famous dolphin who lost her tail and has since has inspired numerous people around the world. You can learn more about CMA, get daily presentation schedules and learn about programs and animal encounters at www.SeeWinter.com. All the animals at the aquarium are there because they were suffering from an illness or severe injury in the wild preventing them from going back to the wild.
CMA's resident Atlantic bottlenose dolphins are ready to show off for you - Nicholas, Indy, Panama and Winter have very unique stories as to why they can no longer reside in the wild. They want to inspire all of you to help CMA spread environmental conservation and education to all !!
YOU ARE IN A SPLASH ZONE - at CMA you are able to get closer to these amazing animals than anywhere else in the world. Other attractions include shark & otter feeding and touching stingrays at stingray beach and the new Wonderful Wacky World themed environment for kids to enjoy.
Escape the concrete jungles of Central Florida and take a trip back in time to Wekiva Island, an old-world Floridian recreational-escape.
From observing endangered species while canoeing the pristine waters of the Wekiva River to a rousing game of volleyball or a family-friendly game of corn toss, the island is the ideal way to spend the day in the great outdoors.
The owners of Wekiva Island, purchased this slice of paradise with the idea of educating visitors on the wonders of the Wekiva, while supplying the best in outdoor amenities. Think locally sourced cypress chairs ideal for observing the wildlife, a kitschy tropical concession to refuel, plush outdoor facilities and a huge selection of kayaks and canoes.
Wekiva Island is an eco-recreation destination where families, young adults and seniors alike can enjoy the benefits of Mother Nature in a fun and friendly atmosphere. Come see what the buzz is all about.
Lake Louisa State Park
A short drive from Highlands Reserve, this park is noted for its six beautiful lakes, rolling hills, and scenic landscapes. Lake Louisa is the largest in a chain of 13 lakes connected by the Palatlakaha River, which is designated as an Outstanding Florida Waterway. Lake Louisa, Dixie Lake, and Hammond Lake, the park's most accessible lakes, provide access for fishing, canoeing, and kayaking. Anglers can fish in four of the park's six lakes, but gasoline-powered boats are not allowed; only boats powered by trolling motors or without motors are permitted. More than 15 miles of horse trails are available for equestrians. For hikers and backpackers, the park has over 20 miles of hiking trails with excellent opportunities for wildlife viewing. Dixie Lake has a fishing pier, canoe/kayak launch, and a picnic pavilion. Lake Louisa State Park is located just seven miles south of State Road 50 in Clermont on US 27.
Bok Tower Gardens
Situated on Florida's highest peninsular point, Bok Tower Gardens is a 205-foot tower boasting 57 bells that play in concert every day. The tower itself stands in graceful watch over 200 acres of woodland gardens, offering a variety of tropical plants and the opportunity to view some central Florida wildlife. Explore the Longleaf Pine/Turkey Oak Habitat and enjoy a nearly mile-long trail along which you can see endangered plant life. With 20 rooms, the property's Pinewood Estate is considered one of the state's finest examples of Mediterranean Revival architecture. Great for walks, picnic's and just getting away from it all and relaxing !!
Kissimmee Air Boat Rides
Kissimmee Swamp Tours and Eco-Adventure is a unique and different adventure from anything you will ever experience. We are not just a quick airboat ride through the lakes and rivers in town like most other airboat rides out there. Kissimmee Swamp Tours is an amazing, exciting and informative 60 or 90 minute airboat ride through the untouched and pristine headwaters of the Florida Everglades.
Kissimmee Swamp Tours operates out of Middleton's Fish Camp Too and Campground located on the beautiful Lake Kissimmee, the third largest lake in Central Florida which covers over 36,000 acres and is surrounded by state wildlife parks and recreational areas and protected wetlands. This lake is not surrounded by houses and cities. Kissimmee Swamp Tours is located about 45 minutes from Disney and Orlando in Central Florida, but extremely easy to find.
Kissimmee Swamp Tours is different..
If you are planning a trip to Orlando or the Central Florida area and would really like to see the REAL Florida in its natural state, untouched by urban sprawl then take the drive out to see us. If you just want to take a quick airboat ride close to Disney, please check with any of the other airboat services. If you want an exciting airboat tour viewing hundreds of different species of wildlife including some endangered birds and alligators in their natural habitat then drive out a little further to where nature lives.
When you take an exciting airboat ride or airboat tour with Kissimmee Swamp Tours, its like stepping back in time and seeing Florida the way it was before people started settling and building. We are part of the Great Florida Birding Trail. Your Airboat Ride Adventure and swamp tour will take you to see endangered species like the whooping crane and snail kite. Also see bald eagles, alligators, wild deer and pigs. see hundreds of species of birds and animals on this adventure. What you wont see is houses and buildings.
Zip Orlando - Zipline Canopy Tours
Zip Orlando offers one of Florida's longest, fastest,and highest ziplines. Come zip the first double layered tour installed by industry leader EBL; first to install zipline tours in Florida.
The overall course has 8 ziplines ranging from 225 - 950 feet long, upwards of 65 feet off the ground, dual racing zips, double layered zips, three suspension bridges for a total of over 300 feet of bridges. In total you have a mile of zipping cables and the tours will range from 1.5 hours to 3 hours in length. Safety is our top priority. You can relax knowing you are in the experienced hands of our trained and certified guides.
SUNDAY SUNSET TOUR
Come out Sundays and zip into the sunset on our Sunday Sunset tour! It is one of the most magical ways to enjoy Florida by sunset. The tour takes off as the sun sets in the backdrop and ends at dusk. For a romantic getaway or just a really awesome way to spend your Sunday evening, this one can't be missed!
MOON ZIP NIGHT TOURS
Come join us for our night tours! Tours have an opportunity to watch the fireworks from Disney as you cruise into the platform overlooking 2,700 acres of vast Florida wilderness. Guides will take you on a moonlit zipline tour. Every guide is equipped with a low-light lantern and every guest is provided their own personal glow stick. As you zip through the trees an eerie glow will heighten the senses and send chills over your body! Trust us, it's a rush!
Tour Celebration on a Segway Personal Transporter
Experience the beautiful Disney planned community of Celebration while riding an eco-friendly Segway Personal Transporter.
Explore the villages and nature trails & discover native wildlife all while gliding along on this modern self-balancing marvel. You'll fall in love with the surroundings and be amazed at the ease of gliding on a Segway!
ZE Tours are located by Mile Marker 10 on the US192 opposite Orlando Helitours, so why not combine both tours for an excellent day experience away from the parks.
Helicopter Tours over Orlando
Orlando HeliTours is Orlando Florida's premier helicopter operations and touring company. Providing services from 3 to 30 minute scenic flights over Orlando and it's famous attractions.
Located on the left by Mile Marker 10 on US192 travelling east by Rock Chuch
It's a great way to see all the places you want to visit and you can purchase photographs of your experience afterwards.
Fancy Surf Flowrider
“Catching a wave” has never been such a rush! Fantasy Surf at Fantasy World Resort in Kissimmee, Florida offers a truly interactive aquatic sport activity. It’s ideal for family participants of all ages who will slide, ride, and surf in a safe, controlled indoor environment.
Fantasy Surf features the patented FlowRider™ system that has the look of surfing and wakeboarding, ride of snowboarding, and tricks of skateboarding. The thrills and techniques developed from this water experience have even spawned a new competitive sport – Flowriding !!
Fantasy Surf, located off of US 192 and State Highway 535, is an ideal way to cool off while enjoying Orlando-area theme parks. The indoor flowrider surf machine in Orlando experience, also featuring lite dining in “The Lull” café and shopping in the “Offshore” surf shop, will be a great destination for parties, school and corporate groups, board sport aficionados and for people who want to learn a new sport.
Cycling in Central Orlando Area
Move over Mickey, there’s a new tourist attraction in town – well, almost in town. Orlando’s vision of an expansive recreational cycle trail network spanning from Polk City to the west, circumnavigating Orlando as far north as Lake Mary, east to Oviedo and as far south as Kissimmee is on the drawing board.
Bike rentals are available at the start of most of the trails. We have cycled West Orange Trail which is currently 22 miles long starting at Killarney Station (where you can hire bikes) just off SR50 at Oakland near Clermont and runs all the way to Apopka on asphalt. The route travels east then north and ideal for all ages. Planned to eventually connect with the Seminole Wekiva Trail to the east and eventually to the Lake Minneola Trail to the west.
Trail Riding at Horse World
There are 3 levels of guided trail rides, depending on your riding experience. The Nature Trail is designed to be a basic ride that is great for a person with little or no experience. Even children as young as 4 years of age can ride alone, although they do allow children under 40 pounds to ride double with a small sized adult.
Horse World are located on Poinciana Blvd south from Highlands Reserve along US27 exiting at Ronald Reagan onto South Orange Blossom Trail, which leads onto Poinciana Blvd where you go south for 7 miles - total of 23 miles drive.
Balloon Rides over Orlando
Why not see Florida from above and ascend anywhere from tree tops to several thousand feet. Once you're airborne your pilot will point out the spectacular sites of this area, from the theme parks to the Orange groves and forests, to swamps absolutely untouched for thousands of years. The flying area has many wonderful things to see.
Once you have landed and the balloons are stored away prepare for a Traditional Champagne Toast. Non-alcoholic beverages are also available. Then return to the Best Western Lakeside for an all you can eat breakfast buffet. Passengers are then presented with a Flight of Ascension certificate by their pilot. Click here to visit nearest operators website.
St Augustine - Oldest Settlement in USA
If you feel like a change from Disney and would like to find out more about Florida’s history, then take a drive over to the East coast and visit St. Augustine. It is only around a two hour drive from your villa.
Occupying a stretch of gentle coastline and white sand beaches along the North Florida Atlantic Coast, St. Augustine attracts thousands of visitors each year who enjoy the history, community, beauty and ambience of America's oldest city.
St Augustine was first established under Spanish rule in 1565, making it the oldest permanent European settlement in the United States. In the years after its founding, the city shifted to British rule for a period and then transferred back to Spanish control in 1783. In 1821 the United States purchased the area that included St. Augustine from Spain.St Augustine Lighthouse
It wasn't until the late 1800s that the city really began to develop as a popular tourist location under the entrepreneurial eye of oil magnate Henry Flagler who saw the advantages of having wealthy, Northern Visitors coming to St Augustine for their winter retreat - he also built the railroad through Florida to Key West.
Flagler brought the railroad to St Augustine and by doing so encouraged many wealthy people to visit St Augustine and stay in the hotels that he had built. These hotels were very large and opulent, the grandest being the Ponce De Leon Hotel, which is now home to Flagler College. St Augustine is a great place to spend a day or more, if time allows.
Visit the first Catholic Church to be built in the United States - Flagler Memorial Presbyterian Church. Built in 1890 by Henry Flagler, in memory of his daughter, Jennie Louise Benedict, who died in childbirth. Henry Flagler, his first wife, Mary, his daughter Jennie and granddaughter, Marjorie, are all laid to rest in the family mausoleum. The beautiful church has lovely stained windows.
St Augustine - Ripleys Believe it or NotThe Bridge of Lions takes you across to Anastasia Island where you can visit the Alligator Farm - Crocs, Gators, Birds, Mammals and Reptiles (12 and older $21.95, 3-11 $10.95 - hours 9-5).
The very first Ripley’s “Believe it or Not” is in St Augustine in the Castle Warden building on San Marco Ave. It has housed Ripley’s collection of oddities since 1950.
The Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park is a 15 acre waterfront historical site where St. Augustine, Florida began. This is where Spanish Explorer Pedro Menendez de Aviles, established the first and oldest continuous European Settlement in the United States of America. You can even drink from the legendary waters and see if your visit grants you the secret to eternal youth. Although despite my efforts, I have not seen any discernable changes, perhaps I needed to drink some more!
St Augustine Horse Drawn CarriageEnjoy a horse drawn carriage ride along narrow, tree-lined streets. As you slowly pass by centuries old structures, your driver will narrate the story of old Saint Augustine, a great way to learn about this historic city which boasts 36 original colonial buildings and 40 reconstructed buildings.
Take some time to sit, relax and enjoy the view from the city plaza; formerly the old slave market. Soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the diverse architecture, If all that history makes you thirsty, then visit the San Sebastian Winery, located at 157 King Street (10-6 Mon. thru Sat. 11-6 Sun) It offers free winery tours and wine tasting daily. The winery is a great place to visit and also pick up a few bottles of good, local wine to take back to the villa and enjoy. We have enjoyed several and can highly recommend the Blanc du Bois which is very similar to a Sauvignon Blanc and costs around $12 per bottle.
St Augustine has many motels / hotels and most popular chain restaurants, as well as some really nice independent restaurants so if you plan to stay over, it is the best way to take in the delights of St Augustine.
Gulf Coast Beaches
Anna Maria Island - Gulf Coast
What was once a best-kept secret among Florida day-trippers, Anna Maria Island, has always been known for its sugar-white coastline, emerald Gulf waters and quaint
business district. Today, it is now known as a vacation favourite among local, national and international travellers. We're talking miles of pristine beaches along with award-winning restaurants and specialty shops.
Enjoy a picture-perfect Florida sunset at the Sandbar Restaurant set on the beach - perfect end to a day !! What makes Anna Maria Island so attractive to visitors and year-round residents is its private island feel and close to everything you ever need.
Anna Maria Island is an ideal place to relax and getaway from it all. Each of the island's areas provides easy access to spectacular beaches and outdoor activities, while at the same time offering an enjoyable selection of shops, restaurants, performing arts and other attractions.
Why not combine Anna Maria Island in a 2 centre break - we will soon be offering you this facility to book a villa near the Orlando attractions and then wind down for the second week in a luxury villa or condo on Anna Maria Island - watch this space !!
Clearwater Beach - Gulf Coast
Many know Clearwater for its beaches, which are among the best in Florida.
Clearwater is connected to the barrier island of Clearwater Beach to the west via a two mile nicely landscaped causeway which includes a walking and biking path. From here you can experience beaches, beaches and more beaches. A string of barrier islands with fine white sand beaches line the Gulf of Mexico along the Pinellas coast. They start with renowned Clearwater Beach to the north and parade south with Sand Key Park, Indian Rocks Beach, Madeira Beach, St. Pete Beach, Pass-a-Grille and Fort de Soto Park.
Clearwater Beach has an excellent marina where one can find numerous charter, party and rental boats for fishing, sailing, cruising, para-sailing, and dolphin watching. Half-day and full-day fishing trips are available. The marina also berths a large number of private boats and has transient slippage for visiting boaters.
The centre of Clearwater Beach is punctuated by Pier 60 - a long and wide concrete pier jutting out into the Gulf of Mexico that serves as a great fishing platform and strolling avenue for non-fishing persons.
Many enjoy gathering here at sundown to watch the sun go down. Adjacent to the Pier is a small park with facilities for the enjoyment of children. Clearwater encourages and organizes activities at the Pier including numerous outdoor musical performances.
Clearwater Marine Aquarium is a small but interesting aquarium where one can see live dolphins, otters, and sea turtles. This non-profit facility is dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation and release of injured and sick marine mammals.
Just across the Clearwater Pass to the south is Sand Key Park - a broad, generally less crowded beach. If you enjoy a beach with a little less activity, this is the place to go.
Caladesi Island State Park - Gulf Coast
One of the few completely natural islands along Florida's Gulf Coast, Caladesi's white sand shores have been rated as the nation's #1 best beach.
Beach lovers can enjoy swimming, sunbathing, and beachcombing. Saltwater anglers can fish from their boats or throw a line out into the surf. Nature enthusiasts watch wildlife while hiking the three mile nature trail through the island's interior or paddling a three mile kayak trail through the mangroves and bay.
Picnic tables and shelters are located near the beach; picnic pavilions can be reserved for a fee. The park has a marina with electric and water hook-ups for boaters. The park also has a snack bar and gift shop.
Join a Ranger on Sundays at 1pm for a hike along the picturesque nature trail. Learn about the natural and cultural history of this unspoiled barrier island. Participants should wear comfortable shoes and bring water and a hat. The walk will proceed at a leisurely pace and take about an hour. Meet in front of the Ranger Station at the “foot” sign.
At Caladesi Island, recreational opportunities are endless! A mangrove-covered kayak trail winds from the marina to the St. Joseph Sound and back. Kayaks are available for rental through the Cafe Caladesi. The nature trail is a great place to find Osprey in old pine snags or cross paths with a gopher tortoise. Remember to bring water and sunscreen!
Caladesi Island is accessible only by private boat or via the Caladesi Connection ferry service. Cost for the ferry is $10 for adults and $6 for children ages 4 to 12. Trips depart hourly beginning at 10am.
Ferry passengers are allotted a four-hour stay on the island. No pets are allowed on the ferry. Contact the ferry office at 727-734-1501 for more information. Located one mile west of Dunedin off the Gulf Coast. For further information about about Caladesi Island State Park, call the park office at 727-469-5918.
Driving Directions to Honeymoon Island From Orlando: I-4 west to I-275 south to SR-60 west. Cross Courtney Campbell Causeway, then turn right on US Hwy 19 north. Left on Curlew Rd. (SR-586). Follow SR-586, crossing Dunedin Causeway, to Honeymoon Island State Park for Caladesi ferry.
Sarasota Beaches - Gulf Coast
Siesta Key Beach - This famous beach boasts the finest, gleaming white sand around. The sand is 99% quartz - aside from being gorgeous, this sand never gets hot, even on the hottest day. Siesta Beach has concessions, restrooms, lifeguards, picnic areas, playgrounds, showers and a large, free parking area. Siesta is known for the Drum Circles on Sunday night, and is famous for sunset viewing! Located on Ocean Boulevard; take Midnight Pass Road north from the South Causeway at Stickney Point; or travel across the north causeway and follow signs to the beach! Siesta Key Beach has been voted 2nd best beach in all of USA in 2009 & 2010
Turtle Beach - Also on Siesta Key, Turtle Beach is located almost to the end of the Key. The beach itself is shorter and nearly non-existent at high tide; making it a good choice for people who have trouble walking long distances or want to keep a very close eye on children. There are no lifeguards. Parking is limited but free; there are picnic tables and a small playground. Take Midnight Pass Road south to the beach on your right; Turtles Restaurant is across the street.
Palmer Point Beach - At the very southernmost tip of Siesta Key, you can generally walk across to the beaches of Casey Key since the closing of Midnight Pass. There are no amenities. Take Midnight Pass south to the very end.
Lido Beach - If you are staying on the north end of town, Lido Beach, located on Lido Key may be for you. Just as expansive and sweeping as Siesta Key Beach, but not as crowded (except on special occasions, like the Grand Prix Races on the 4th of July, when it is packed!) Lido Beach has lifeguards, playground, rest rooms, concessions, and a large free parking lot. Located about a half mile west of St. Armand's Circle where you will find excellent shopping, bars, restaurants and even a Starbucks.
South Lido Beach - At the very south end of Lido Key is a natural oasis known as South Lido Key Beach Park. The park is bordered by four bodies of water; The Gulf of Mexico, Big Pass, Sarasota Bay, and Brushy Bayou. There are nature trails, a canoe trail, picnic and BBQ facilities, restrooms and a playground. Swimming is limited due to currents and boat activity.
Atlantic Coast Beaches
Cocoa Beach - Atlantic Coast
Orlando's closest beach along the famous Space Coast, aptly named as it is one of the closest beaches to watch a Shuttle Launch. NASA's JFK Space Centre is only 15 miles North of Cocoa Beach.
Cocoa Beach was made famous in the 60's by "I Dream of Jeannie" TV sitcom.
Those who cherish the great outdoors will want to visit the Cocoa Beach Pier. You can toss in a line from the pier, or rent a charter from one of the captains waiting to take you to sea. Surfers call the area around the pier the best surf area in Florida. All outdoor activities are available. You can rent jet skis, go para-sailing, swim, snorkel, scuba dive, or just relax and soak up some Florida sunshine.
For more sun time, visit Lori Wilson Park. This beach has the distinction of being one of the only coastal hammocks in existence. (A "hammock" refers to a beach that borders a natural marsh.) There is a small nature centre in the park giving information about the natural habitat of the area. With its gentle slope to the water, the beach is perfect for swimming. Volleyball nets and horseshoe pits are permanent fixtures.
Nature lovers will love the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. This 140,000 acre state park is home to hundreds of species of shorebirds, waterfowl, alligators, and other endangered mammals. You can drive the 6-mile long Black Point Wildlife Drive, or walk one of the trails that lead through the marshes.
Daytona Beach - Atlantic Coast
Daytona is one of the USA's most famous beaches with a 23 mile long, 500 foot wide expanse of sand. It is actually a collection of a number of beaches that banned together to make a huge sea-side park. Floats, umbrellas, windsurfers, bicycles, four-wheelers, and motor scooters are available to rent on the beach. It is one of the few beaches anywhere that will allow motor vehicles to be driven on it. Jet skis, sailboards, and powerboats can be rented at the Halifax River and the Intracoastal Waterways. The Boardwalk is located along Daytona Beach. This is a group of amusement centres, rides, mini-golf, arcades, and snack bars for your entertainment.
Daytona is known world wide for its beaches, and the Daytona International Speedway, one of the finest motor-racing facilities of the country. It has overtaken Ft. Lauderdale as "the place to go" for Spring Break.
The beach has seen many land speed attempts in the past, including Sir Malcolm Campbell reaching 276mph with Bluebird in 1935. Daytona is home to 'Race Week' and the Daytona 500 in February and 'Bike Week' in March so can get very busy during these periods.
Scuba Diving Near Orlando
Swimming With Manatees
Explore the underwater world of the manatee in Crystal River Florida, the only place in the globe where you can interact with the endangered West Indian Manatee. This is a once-in-a-lifetime travel opportunity, where you can swim alongside these gentle giants as they play, eat and socialize with one another. In the winter months, swim with up to 350 different manatees. There is no finer way to explore the magical underwater world of the “Nature Coast” than by scuba diving. The sparkling waters of the Crystal River beside the Plantation Golf Resort and Spa provide access to the very best Florida diving. From November through March, be prepared to meet the gentle giant of the river, the Florida manatee, source of the mermaid legend. Other popular sites include King’s Springs, downriver from the Plantation Golf Resort & Spa, and many caves and grottoes of King’s Bay. Do not miss the excellent Florida diving at Rainbow Springs (named for its amazing variety of multi-coloured fish and plants), Devil’s Den, and Blue Grotto. Click here to visit the Fun 2 Dive Manatee Tours website.
Scuba Diving on Atlantic Coast
Little Deeper Charters operate a 38ft custom "Delta" dive boat that runs out of Lake Worth inlet (West Palm Beach area) daily to some of the best reefs on the east coast of Florida. Their Coast Guard approved boat can carry up to 20 Divers with comfort. They will make up to two scuba diving trips (8am & 1:30pm) a day and one night dive trip, weather permitting.
There are many reef dives and several nice wreck diving sites in the area. One of the most popular sites is called the governors river walk, this is a group of four ship wrecks that are all spaced about fifty feet apart. All four ship wrecks are approximately 200 feet long and they rest upright in eighty five feet of water. Most divers are able to see all four in one dive.
They can arrange diving gear rentals and tank fills for guests on their boat.
Scuba Diving on Gulf Coast
Blue Water Explorers have been scuba diving and spear fishing in Florida's Gulf Coast waters for over 30 years. They the largest dive charter in the area and offer a variety of trips daily to the many 50+ offshore reefs, ledges and wrecks in the beautiful waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Most dives are in 40-65 feet of water and 10-18 miles offshore. Specialty dives are usually in 80-100 feet depths and up to 25 miles out. There is a huge variety of marine life to be seen. In addition to scuba dive and spear fishing charters, they offer snorkeling & shelling excursions. They're located right on the Intracoastal Waterway and can get out to the Gulf in only 5 minutes. It's all about convenience.... park your car next to the Scuba Shack/dive shop, get your tanks and gear inside and walk down the ramp to get on the boat. No shuttle vans or gear hauling. They offer 2-tank, 3-tank and 4-tank scuba dive charters, including night dives. Nitrox, air, scuba gear and equipment rental are also available in the dive shop. "Bubble watchers" (non-diving friends and family who would like to come along for a boat ride) are also welcome. Their roomy custom dive boats are U.S. Coast Guard inspected and certified, an important safety feature. Call them for the best scuba diving and spearfishing in the Sarasota, Bradenton, Longboat Key, St. Pete and Tampa Bay area!
Designer Outlet Shopping
Orlando Premium Outlets - Vineland Avenue
A perennial favourite with visitors, Orlando Premium Outlets offers designer fashions, home goods and electronics at discounted prices.
Over 150 stores including Dior, AG Guess, Ann Taylor, Calvin Klein, Nike, Fendi, Banana Republic, Giorgio Armani, Levi's, Tag Heuer, Bose, Sketchers, Gap Outlet, Lacoste, Timberland, Tommy Hilfiger, Burberry, Coach, Polo Ralph Lauren, Hugo Boss, Adidas, Puma, and Diesel to name a few.
Orlando Premium Outlets - 8200 Vineland Avenue, Orlando, FL 32821 - Tel: (407) 238-7787
Orlando Premium Outlets - International Drive
Formerly on the site of the old Belz Outlets Store which has been completely demolished and replaced by Orlando Premium Outlets costing a massive $150 million that now provides an enhanced shopping experience you will struggle to find elsewhere. It is Orlando's Largest Outlet Mall with over 180 designer brands and not to be missed - expect to take at least 2 days to get around all of it.
Orlando Premium Outlets - 4951 International Drive, Orlando, FL 32819 - Tel: (407) 352-9600
Mall at Millenia
The Mall at Millenia continues to add famous names to their roster of stores, offering the most luxurious and sought after names in fashion. Recent additions include Juicy Couture, featuring the hottest fashions for women, men and children; Salvatore Ferragamo, one of the most prestigious and best “Made in Italy” luxury brands, featuring a selection of shoes, leather goods, accessories, fragrances and apparel for women and men; Abercrombie & Fitch, specialising in All-American leisure lifestyle clothing; Abercrombie, which caters to youth fashions; and Pottery Barn Bed & Bath, offering furniture, luxurious linens and decorative accents for your home.
Mall at Millenia - 4200 Conroy Rd, Orlando, FL 32839 - Tel: (407) 363-3555