The Best Day Trips From Orlando, Florida

Orlando, Florida, has everything die-hard theme park lovers could dream about. The Walt Disney World Resort, The Universal Resort, and many such famed theme parks have turned Orlando into one of the most famous cities in the USA.

But, while you are here there are many great day trips from Orlando as well.

If you ever find yourself wishing for more than the top attractions in Orlando, you are in luck. There are numerous beautiful cities and towns to visit and be blown away by just a day trip away from Orlando.

If you are up for an amazing day trip from Orlando, we have some great ideas for you!

The 10 Best Day Trips From Orlando

1. Kennedy Space Center

the Kenedy Space Center, a great day trip from Orlando
the Kenedy Space Center, a great day trip from Orlando

If you love everything about space and beyond, this is the best place for you.

It is just an hour out of Orlando, and there are enough activities here to occupy an entire day. You can walk around the space center and take a look at the history of human space expeditions through the many rockets, launchpads, 3D IMAX films, and other exhibits that are housed here.

To complete this journey into the past and the future of mankind, you can also take a poignant moment to honor the fallen heroes of the US space program.

For more fun adventures, you can sign up for up-close tours, astronaut training experiences, and other exciting activities as well.

2. St. Augustine

a history filled day trip to St Augustine
a history filled day trip from Orlando to St Augustine

Two hours out of Orlando is St. Augustine – the oldest of the European-settled towns in the US.

Founded in 1565, St. Augustine still holds its mesmerizing spirit from its European-occupied past and is bound to transport you back in time.

You can stroll about on the cobblestones streets, explore the local museums, and soak up the old world charm this town still exudes.

For history lovers, there are a number of incredible monuments to check out, like the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, a 17th-century fortress built for the protection of St. Augustine from enemy troops. And then there are Fort Matanzas, Fort Mose, and other such places brimming with a rich history.

You can also go shopping for souvenirs in the many boutiques and gift shops this town has, to complete this Orlando day trip.

3. Daytona Beach

a day trip to Daytona beach
a day trip to Daytona Beach from Orlando

For beach lovers and bikers alike, Daytona Beach is the best city to visit, just about an hour from Orlando.

Besides the beachside motorsports action, Daytona Beach is also home to the Daytona 500 and NASCAR racing.

On a day trip to Daytona Beach you can bask around on the beach under the warm sun, drive alongside the coast, take in the view of gorgeous high-rise buildings that line the beach, or join a tour of Daytona International Speedway.

If you are not a racing fan, then you can experience the fun carnival rides, family-friendly activities, games, gift shops, restaurants, and many other such places in the city as well.

4. New Smyrna Beach

a day trip from Orlando to New Smyrna Beach
photo credit: visitnsbfl.com

Only an hour away from Orlando, New Smyrna Beach offers Orlando dwellers a great escape from day-to-day rumble and tumble.

You might as well brace yourself right now because this famous coastal city is all set to take your breath away in monumental ways. With miles of soft sanded beaches lined by mesmerizing vacation cottages and high-rise buildings, this is definitely one of the most beautiful places in the USA.

You can go fishing, swimming, or surfing in the sparkling waters along the coast or enjoy a bike ride on the hard-packed beaches in the city. From May through November, you can also bear witness to baby turtles hatching from their eggs and making their way into the waters.

5. Crystal River

swimming with manatees on a day trip from Orlando
swimming with manatees!

For nature and underwater life fanatics, this city has some wonderful experiences to offer. And this easy day trip is only 1.5 hours out of Orlando.

The warm waters of Crystal River are home to one of the most magnificent beasts of aquatic life, the 1500 pound West Indian Manatee.

If you enjoy being in the water, then you can take a dip in the waters of Crystal River, snorkel with the aquatic wildlife or take tours to observe manatees in their natural habitats. If that’s not for you, then you can watch these animals from the Three Sisters Springs boardwalk as well.

For visitors especially interested in spotting the beautiful, gentle giants of these waters, the manatees, November through March is the best time to visit.

6. Legoland, Florida

visiting Legoland with the kids
photo credit: Nathan Forget

If you are looking for a fun day trip from Orlando with kids, the famous Legoland in Florida is a wonderful place to be.

An hour out of Orlando, to the southwest, Legoland beckons all kids from ages 2 to 12 for fun Lego adventures. This 150-acre piece of a theme park is an ode to everything Lego and has multiple kid-friendly shows, rides, and lots of Lego everywhere.

Some of their best attractions include the Lego Ninjago Ride, the Lego Movie World, watching The Lego Movie in 4D, touring Miniland USA, and the Cypress Gardens.

The theme park also has activities where kids can build Lego structures and a Duplo-themed area just for toddlers.

You can also visit the water park, the wave pool, the water slides, or the Build-A-Raft lazy river on this family friendly day trip from Orlando.

7. Miami

Miami is a great day trip from Orlando

The great city of Miami, with its glorious beaches and beautiful marketplaces, is 3.5 hours away from Orlando and worth a visit despite the distance.

Miami Beach, a separate island connected only by bridges, is the most famous sight to see in this city. Apart from that, you can also enjoy the sights of the Art Deco Historic District along Ocean Drive or spend some time at the South Beach.

For an exquisite shopping experience, you can head out to the Bayside Marketplace, a large open-air mall with more than 150 shops to choose from.

For a wildlife experience, visit the Miami Zoo and Jungle Island. And there are also many museums that are worth visiting.

Also Read: The Ultimate Miami Travel Guide

8. Weeki Wachee Springs State Park

The Weeki Wachee Springs is about 2 hours out of Orlando and the best place to get a taste of Old Florida.

It is one of the many popular tourist attractions in Florida and is known for its mermaid shows.

Weeki Wachee also has a waterpark and other outdoor activities for watersport lovers, including kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, snorkeling, and many such experiences. You can swim with the kind beasts of Florida, the West Indian Manatees, or float under the cypress and oak trees and Florida’s distinctive palms.

You may also get to see turtles, pelicans, otters, and other wildlife as you wander around this beautiful place.

To have a smooth sailing trip, you can plan ahead for these activities through Weeki Wachee Springs’ website.

9. Tampa

a view of Tampa

Less than 2 hours away from Orlando is Tampa, a colorful city with some of the major tourist attractions in Florida.

The art lover in you will feel at home in the wonderful Salvador Dali Museum, after which you can relax on the scintillating Clearwater Beach.

For fans of the American football team Buccaneers, Tampa may hold a lot of significance as it is home to their favorite sports team.

If you’d instead enjoy some wildlife, then you can head on to the Lowry Park Zoo and feed giraffes from your hand.

Besides these, you can also experience the exquisite Cuban culture here, in places like the Centro Ybor mall with its faded murals, or restaurants like Columbia, with its authentic Cuban cuisine.

10. Sarasota

the Ca d'Zan Mansion in Sarasota
the Ca d’Zan Mansion in Sarasota – photo credit: visitsarasota.com

Sarasota is only 2 hours away from Orlando, and home to eight striking beaches tucked away into the Gulf of Southwest Florida.

In this city, visitors often find themselves hypnotized by the many cultural and sporting events, the upscale shops, restaurants, and white sanded beaches that this city is home to.

You can explore the many art and cultural centers in this city at places like The Ringling that hosts animal performances, the Ca d’Zan Mansion with its looming five stories built between 1924 and 1926, or the St. Armands Circle that houses many shops and restaurants.

You can also spend some quality time with your family in the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens or simply soak up the sun on the Siesta Key Beach.

Final Thoughts About Day Trips From Orlando

There you have it! These are the 10 best day trips you can plan from Orlando. And you could easily make a weekend trip out of any of these.

Some places that offer watersports and rental facilities may require you to register with them ahead of the trip. So keep that in mind when planning your day trips from Orlando, to make your adventure as hassle-free as possible.

While interacting with wildlife, we want to ask that you be mindful of the rules and regulations in each place so that the habitats aren’t disturbed.

Enjoy these Orlando day trips!

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the best day trips from Orlando, Florida

Nikki Ortan

Author: Nikki Ortan
Nikki is a travel and camping enthusiast currently based in Milwaukee, USA. She loves exploring beautiful attractions across America which led her to found Attractions of America, a travel site featuring top places to visit in every US state.

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