Six day trip options within two hours of Orlando
Those planning a 2021 adventure to the theme parks of Florida, may find more free days at their disposal due to the parks restricting visitor numbers. This provides the perfect opportunity for day trip adventures to uncover all there is to do in the Sunshine State outside Orlando. Here are six recommendations for trips within two hours of Orlando, ranging from adrenaline filled days to lazing on the beach.
1. Caladesi Beach – for a pristine, white sand beach
Best for: Those looking for tranquillity away from the crowds
Driving time from Orlando: 2 hours
Voted one of the top beaches in the U.S., Caladesi Beach is a pristine, undeveloped island haven off the coast of Clearwater Beach. Part of the island’s charm is that it is only accessible by an hourly small ferry. It’s consistently highly ranked, by the learned Dr Beach, as one of the nation's top 10 beaches and sits just off the coast of Dunedin. If you go to Caladesi Beach during the week, you're likely to find yourself virtually alone. Warm breezes rifle through lone palms and patches of wild grass, shore birds call above crystal waters and the soft white sand on Caladesi beach beckons you to sink in and rest your muscles post-rollercoaster madness.
For more information on the area visit Caladesi Beach, Florida
2. Daytona Beach – for beach cycling, surfing and pier fishing
Best for: Go for it families
Driving time from Orlando: 1 hour
Daytona Beach offers lots for families, from surf lessons to fishing off the pier. But one of the best ways to enjoy this beachside town is on two wheels. Enjoy the 23-mile expanse of beach with cycling on the hard-packed sand which is ideal for a scenic bike ride. Enjoy the warm breeze as you glide along the coast, and when you’re ready to cool off, buy an ice cream cone from a vendor and take a dip in the Atlantic Ocean. Then hop back on your beach cruiser and explore some more. Trailers on the bikes come in handy for those beach picnics. Electric bikes are also available. Aside from cycling, Daytona Beach is also a perfect place for first-time fishing adventures because there’s no fee or license required to bait a hook and flick a rod into the ocean from the pier. Congregating under the pier, you will find flounder, whiting, black drum, weakfish and sheepshead. For those with energy to burn, surf lessons are available for the whole family. For the more experienced surfers, you can simply hire a board and hit the waves.
3. Crystal River – to come close to Florida’s native manatee
Best for: nature enthusiasts and wildlife lovers
Drive time from Orlando: 90 minutes
Crystal River is one of the few places in the world where you can swim with manatees in their natural habitat. These threatened species thrive in the warm waters of Crystal River, as the springs flow at a constant 22 degrees Celsius, making the waters attractive to these gentle giants. Local guides operate snorkelling, scuba, boat and kayak tours for sighting these creatures. The best months are October through to March, when manatees migrate here to escape the chilly winter waters elsewhere. Crystal River is home to wildlife refuges which awakens the naturalist in its visitors. Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge is a wonderland of salty bays, estuaries and marshes mingling with the Chassahowitzka River, is accessible only by boat. Come for the fishing, crabbing and wildlife viewing.
4. The Orlando Area – for wild Florida closer to your base
Best for: late risers and shorter trips
Driving time from Orlando: under an hour
In the area surrounding Orlando, there are plenty of companies offering day and evening trips for you to experience the wilder side of Florida. One of the best is BK Adventures, who specialise in biking, rafting and kayak tours. If looking for something a little different, an evening tour to experience the glowing plankton and comb jellies light up the waters surrounding your kayak, is not to be missed. The best time to do this is during the new moon when the skies are darkest. The tours take place near Titusville, which is conveniently close to the world-famous Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.
5. Bradenton – to swing through the tree tops
Best for: families with energy
Drive time from Orlando: 2 hours
If theme park lovers are having adrenaline withdrawal symptoms, then TreeUmph! Adventure Course might be just the ticket to fill the void. TreeUmph! is a sprawling 14-acre site filled with a multitude of adrenaline filled tree-top activities. With the difficulty rating increasing over the five levels, visitors can try their hand at manoeuvring through the cargo nets, suspended logs, wobbly footbridges and whizzing across the ziplines, all whilst being fully harnessed in 60 feet up in the air.
6. Tampa – for fishing charters
Best for: a fun activity combined with relaxing on a boat
Driving time from Orlando: 90 minutes
With no experience required, head out on a fishing charter with a local fishing captain and discover Tampa’s pristine bay and estuaries. Daily catches include snook, redfish, snapper, trout and even shark! The half day or full day experience isn't all about fishing, the experts impart enlightening local knowledge whilst providing a saltwater angling experience. The company provides tackle, rods and reels, live bait and basically everything you need to fish. Just bring along your own food and drink and you're ready to go.
About VISIT FLORIDA
As the Sunshine State’s No. 1 industry, tourism was responsible for welcoming 131.4 million visitors in 2019. Based on the latest economic impact study, Florida visitors contributed $91.3 billion to Florida's economy and supported 1.5 million Florida jobs in 2018. According to the Office of Economic and Demographic Research, for every $1 the state invests in VISIT FLORIDA, the official tourism marketing corporation for the State of Florida, $2.15 in tax revenue is generated. VISIT FLORIDA promotes tourism to Florida through sales, advertising, promotions, public relations and visitor services programs. As a public/private partnership, VISIT FLORIDA serves more than 13,000 tourism industry businesses, including major strategic alliance partnerships with Busch Gardens Tampa, Disney Destinations, The Hertz Corporation, Hilton, LEGOLAND Florida Resort, SeaWorld Parks & Resorts Orlando, Simon Shopping Destinations and Universal Orlando Resort.
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