I’m a self-proclaimed road trip queen. If there was an award for planning the best road trip I’d probably win every. single. year. I thank my parents for instilling this amazing skill set in me. As a kid, my mom and dad didn’t have the money to fly four kids around on action-packed summer family vacations. While other kids, were jetting off to exciting destinations, I was jumping into our Oldsmobile and Chrysler along with my siblings heading out on road trips to places like Crystal Beach, Niagara Falls and New York, New York.
Looking back, I’m so happy that this is how we did family vacations. One would think that jamming four kids into a car for 8-12 hours+ would annoy everyone to the point of threatening to jump out of a moving vehicle! However, we all managed to have a great time, and this is before smartphones and i-pods existed! Goodness, I’m old. Yet, I’m still technically considered a Millennial. How is this even possible? I digress!
Luckily, the man also loves a good road trip and we hit the open road a few times every year. In a few weeks, we’re heading back to Orlando, Florida with a 12-year old boy in tow who only cares about Fortnite and Roblox. Lord help us. All jokes aside, I’m pumped for this road trip. I personally think that there’s a ton of things to do in Orlando Florida for adults, but having kids around really forces you to step outside of your comfort zone (i.e. lounging by the pool all day) and explore new places.
When you think about things to do in Orlando, Florida theme parks are usually top-of-mind. After all, they don’t call Orlando the theme-park capital of the world for nothing! Walt Disney World, Universal Studios and SeaWorld are amazing, must-see destinations, but what else is there to do once you’re all theme-parked out and nearly broke? LOL
This is a key part of planning a successful road trip vacation. Don’t just focus on the actual drive to and from your destination. Of course, you’re going to need to pack snacks, wet wipes, a garbage bag to stash your trash in the car, etc. All of those things are essential, but take your road trip planning a step further and think about some of the key places and attractions that you’ll be driving too while you’re on your trip! I’m all for last minute plans because hey, live your best life. But when you’re going to Orlando pre-planning a drive to at least 2-3 attractions will save you a lot of grief later on! Plus it will help you to maximize your gas tank (have you seen gas prices lately?!).
During this trip, I know for sure that we’ll be visiting at least one of the big theme parks because they’re all fabulous. But, our real goal is to see some of the other attractions that offer up travel experiences that go beyond the obvious.
Our top 2 non-theme park things to do in Orlando during this trip are:
Travel time from Orlando: Approx. 45-minutes
Every time I go to Orlando I say that I’m going to visit the renowned Kennedy Space Center that’s located a short distance from Orlando in Cape Canaveral. Some how I always run out of time, but it’s definitely on my list of places to go for a day trip in Orlando this year. I’ve heard nothing but awesome things about this NASA facility where people literally spend hours exploring launchpads, rocket exhibits, participating in Shuttle Launch experiences and much more! To get the most of out of this attraction we’ll need to plan to stay for a day so I look forward to also finding some great local restaurants to grab a bite to eat.
Even though I’m afraid of heights, I love taking in awe-inspiring views! Billed as the tallest observational wheel on the U.S. east coast, ICON Orlando is known to deliver some of the most breathtaking views of Orlando. At 400 feet up, and weighing 3 million pounds this observation deck has been in my sights for awhile now so it’s about time I cross this attraction off my list! It’s not as though I’ve never been up super high before. But there’s something about the ferris wheel design that freaks me out. I. will. overcome! The ICON Orlando features color changing LED lights, Air Conditioned capsules (thank goodness), iPads for interactive viewing and a Bose audio system. Fun fact: Each capsule weighs 6,600 pounds!
ICON Orlando is conveniently located on International Drive. The up and coming I-Drive 360 entertainment complex is also home to a bunch of other cool attractions such as Madame Tussauds Orlando, the Sugar Factory and several restaurants which gives you a lot of things to do in Orlando downtown. It also gives us a chance to park the car for awhile and get into a whole bunch of fun all in one location!
We’re also considering adding one or more of these attractions:
Food is definitely another thing that’s on my road trip planning to-do list. We’ll have access to a fully stocked kitchen so I’ll be able to run to Walmart or Publix to grab some groceries so that we can cook a few meals. But I’m still on hunt for a few Orlando area restaurants that are a must try!
As you can see, I’m all about not over-planning this road trip itinerary so that we can actually enjoy our trip. There’s nothing worse than feeling like you’re on the clock while you’re on vacation. Pre-planning doesn’t have to equal feeling pressured to follow a strict schedule in my book!
Have you been to Orlando, Florida lately? Do you have any recommendations on any sights or attractions we should check out during our visit other than the big theme-parks?