12 Ultimate Day Trips from Orlando

Aerial Shot of Clearwater Beach in Florida

Orlando is an incredibly exciting place to visit. Full of endless entertainment, from theme parks to dinner shows, it is easy to lose yourself in the energy of the region. While it is simple to spend your entire break soaking up the atmosphere of Orlando, its location in Central Florida means it’s surrounded by a host of wonderful destinations, giving you even more options! If you’re interested in exploring more of Florida during your holiday, check out our list below of the best locations to visit, all of which can be done for an exciting day trip. We have also included rough timings from our villas in Kissimmee.

Orange City

If you’re looking for a break from the bustle and fast pace of Orlando, then consider the peaceful Orange City, which is located 80 minutes further north. The small city in Volusia County is most known for the Blue Spring State Park, a fantastic location surrounding the Volusia Blue Spring. There is a range of natural activities on offer here, including hiking and water sports. The biggest attraction, however, is the manatees that call the waters their home. Blue Spring State Park is home to around 500 manatees and you can even interact with them following the guidance of the park team.

Cape Canaveral

Many of the best destinations outside Orlando will take you towards Florida’s famous coast. There are numerous places to enjoy the beautiful sands and blue seas of the region, including Cape Canaveral, which is approximately one hour from Orlando. However, this particular location is more famous for being the home of Kennedy Space Center, a fantastic way to learn about NASA’s activities in the area.

Kennedy Space Center is a must-visit for any space lovers or young astronauts in the making. Packed with detailed information, cutting-edge science and plenty of fun activities, it’s an excellent adventure for all the family. Remember that you can book all your Orlando attraction tickets with us!

NASA launchpad in Cape Canaveral, Florida

Daytona Beach

One of Florida’s most famous seaside destinations, Daytona Beach is a lively place filled with fun and excitement. The city, located around one hour and 30 minutes north of Orlando, is most famous for its racing heritage which can be seen wherever you look. Race fans can explore the famed Daytona Speedway stadium and the nearby Motorsports Hall of Fame of America to get a taste of the region’s history.

However, there is more to Daytona Beach than just fast cars. The beach itself is vast and flat, with plenty of opportunities to enjoy the incredible blue waves. Meanwhile, Daytona’s Pier and Boardwalk are famous for their lively atmosphere and many classic attractions.

Cassadaga

For something a little more eccentric, why not experience the unique energy of the small community of Cassadaga. Located just over an hour north of Orlando, near Orange City, the area has become internet famous for being the self-proclaimed ‘Psychic Capital of the World’.

With hundreds of psychics, mediums and healers working in the area, Cassadaga is full of spiritual energy, creating one of the stranger days out you could hope to experience while visiting Florida! Whether you’re a paranormal enthusiast or just merely curious, Cassadaga is a truly unique day trip.

Homosassa

Florida is full of beautiful places with varying natural wonders. One of the most popular locations to discover Florida’s nature outside of Orlando is Homosassa. Located just over 90 minutes west of Orlando, this region is a treasure trove of natural delights to uncover!

One of the most popular places to visit here is known as Crystal River, named after the incredibly clear blue of its waters. Crystal River is another location where you can interact with the local manatees, while the surrounding Homosassa area is the perfect place to spend a day in the Florida countryside.

Close up of a manatee

Winter Haven

Like many places around Orlando, Winter Haven can blend traditional American living with fantastic energy and vibrancy. The old city is about 40 minutes south of Orlando and, while a beautiful place in its own right, is most famous for being home to LEGOLAND Florida!

Located on the aptly-named Legoland Way, the park is an excellent option for families with young children. Full of themed rides, events and kiosks, it’s a classic family theme park that is well worth a visit!

Clearwater Beach

Florida is renowned for its high-energy locations, but if you’re after something a little more chilled, then consider a day at Clearwater Beach, which is just over 90 minutes away on the west coast. Regarded as one of the best beaches in the USA, it is famous for its stretching white sands that are a beautiful sight. Unlike locations such as Miami and Daytona, Clearwater is a smaller community, meaning there is often a more relaxed atmosphere in the area, perfect for a day of unwinding by the sea.

Take a ride on one of the largest speedboats in America here, the Sea Screamer. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for dolphins, which often follow the boat and jump in its wake.

Clearwater Beach on Gulf Coast

Gainesville

Most people tend to explore Florida’s coastal regions east and west of Orlando. However, Northern Florida also has locations that are definitely worth the trip! If you’re willing to travel, then Jacksonville is about two hours north of Orlando. However, if that’s a touch too far for a day trip, then consider Gainesville, which is less than two hours north, just off the road on the way to the famous city.

Gainesville is home to the University of Florida, which gives the city an incredibly youthful energy. The sprawling location contains a wealth of protected natural areas, including botanical gardens and butterfly rainforests. While a large city, Gainesville maintains a small American town feel, with plenty of independent shops and restaurants to discover and enjoy. You could also catch a game of American football here, as it is home to the Florida Gators.

University of Florida Stadium in Gainesville

Sarasota

Given the size of Florida, it’s not surprising that it’s a region full of hidden gems, both in its natural wonders and even its cities! Sarasota is about two hours south of Orlando, and while nearby Tampa often overshadows it, there is plenty here to discover over a day!

Sat on Florida’s Gulf Coast, the city has a stunning harbour area that is picture-perfect, while there are also some beautiful beaches within easy reach. One of the most famous attractions here is the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, a natural wonderland of dazzling colour and remarkable water features. The city also has a range of museums and galleries, along with the tasty restaurants and vibrant nightlife you would expect from any Florida city!

St. Augustine

One of the most popular day trips from Orlando is to the city of St. Augustine, proclaimed as America’s oldest city. The settlement was founded in 1565 by Spanish adventurers and has been inhabited ever since. With a rich Latin history mixing with a range of other cultures, St. Augustine is a unique location to explore.

There is a wide range of activities available in St. Augustine that make for the perfect day trip. From tours of historic buildings, including forts and distilleries, to traditional local bars and restaurants, the city offers plenty of unique experiences.

St Augustine in Florida

New Smyrna Beach

Another of Florida’s exciting coastal communities, New Smyrna Beach is an alternative to nearby Daytona. Located around 90 minutes from Orlando, New Smyrna’s coast is similar to Daytona, but the area has a more laid-back atmosphere. The community is known for being quite hip, with a thriving arts scene embodied by the bright colours of Flagler Avenue, a stretch of road that runs through the heart of the area. Whether it’s a day at the beach or soaking up the local culture, New Smyrna Beach can be a unique getaway.

Tampa

Another of Florida’s signature locations, Tampa is a classic American city full of adventure and discovery. Located just over an hour southwest of Orlando, Tampa doesn’t have the strong culture of places like Orlando and Miami, but it is still home to some incredible attractions that are worth the trip.

One of the most popular places to visit in Tampa is Busch Gardens, arguably the best Florida theme park outside Orlando. Full of all the attractions and events you would expect from a theme park, as well as having animals, it’s easy to spend a day swept up in the excitement of this location! In the city, Tampa Riverwalk is a contemporary location with restaurants, shops and a vibrant nightlife to enjoy.

Skyscrapers in the city of Tampa, Florida

Florida is an incredibly vibrant area, and Orlando is the perfect place from which to see it all! Here at Debbie’s Villas, we’ve been providing Florida villa holidays for many years and love to help people make the most of their stay. If you have any questions about the area, don’t hesitate to get in contact with our friendly team who are happy to help!