The reason behind this post is to give fellow travelers some options other than going to the theme parks while they are visiting Orlando.
First, I explored other options because I stayed eight days in Orlando. I didn't want to break the bank by going to the theme parks every day. Don't get me wrong parks are great but not for eight days in a row.
Second, I was there for that long because Doruk had a business trip and I tagged along. In fact, we turned it into a Mexico getaway. You can find more details about that trip in my Why You Should Go Cenote Hopping post.
Last, on this trip, my host family whom I stayed with during my exchange year met me in Orlando. I'm very thankful that we got to spend some quality time together. Due to the long distances between us, we don't see each other very often. I miss them a lot.
Below you can find the list of things to do in Orlando besides theme parks.
Airboat Ride Near Orlando
Everglades is only a short drive away from Orlando. My host family found a great place called Wild Florida that offers airboat tours and animal encounters. We had a blast.
The airboat ride was the highlight of the day for me. Definitely suitable and fun for all ages. If you are as fortunate as us; you might spot big alligators and baby alligators. Given these points, it's a fun way to tour around the swamps.
Wild Florida, has a park full of things to do. You can check their website for the complete list of the activities they offer. I highly recommend you to watch the feeding of the rescue alligators. If you are brave enough; you can feed them too. Of course, we didn't miss the opportunity! And we still have all our fingers attached.
One final note on Everglades. It is also home to many beautiful birds. If you are a bird watcher, put this place on your musts list.
From the list of things to do in Orlando besides theme parks, this one is my favorite.
Cobblestone lanes, charming shops, al fresco dining, gives Winterpark a European feel. I can easily spend a day here.
My favorite things at the Winterpark so far are;
- Prato: Authentic Italian food! Their pizza oven is from Napoli and pasta is homemade. I want to go back and try everything on the menu.
- Brunch! I love starting the day with a combination of coffee and mimosas.
- Ten Thousand Villages Shop: They sell handcrafted items from all over the world. Everything you buy from them help provide makers with a fair, sustainable income. Therefore I love them!
There are more things to do at Winterpark other than shopping and eating. Events like farmer's markets and concerts are happening year round. If you are interested, check cityofwinterpark.org's calendar for the dates.
Don't forget to add visiting Winterpark to your list of things to do in Orlando besides theme parks.
Do you love shopping at Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger and Kate Spade? Then you need to plan a trip to an outlet mall. There you can find these brads with sales up to %60 off. Time to refresh your closet!
A point often overlooked is the size of the malls. Definitely, spare a day just for shopping. I must admit I feel guilty about the idea of spending a day in a mall. On the other hand, I always end up doing exactly that whenever I'm in the USA.
Last but not least, there is a way to get extra discounts in addition to the discounted prices. Coupon books! Each outlet mall has their own coupon book. Below, under each headline, I gave more details about where to find the coupon books.
There are three Premium Malls in Orlando. The largest one is the International Premium Outlet. It has better deals too. I prefer that one over the others.
As I mentioned above, premium outlets give coupon books. There are a few things you need to do in order to get a coupon book.
First, sign up for the VIP Club at www.premiumoutlets.com.
Second, go to the information office at the mall.
Last, show them proof that you signed up for the VIP Club.
They will give you the coupon book called savings passport. Most of the coupons that book contains requires a minimum spent amount. It is better to use them for family shopping or with friends.
Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores
In addition to great discounts, Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores has a luggage storage store. You can save money and space by storing some of your belongings there. For example, we took a trip to Mexico and left one of our luggage at this store. It saved us the unnecessary luggage fees.
Finally, how do you get a coupon book? There are two ways.
For the first way follow these steps. Go to their website lbvfs.com. Click on the coupons section and fill out the form. Then, you need to take the form to the store they mention. The store will give you the coupon booklet.
The other way is to look for coupon books at the hotels nearby. Usually, there is a section full of brochures and coupons in the lobbies.
Summing-Up Things To Do In Orlando Besides Theme Parks
In conclusion, Disney and Universal Studios are not the only exciting things in town. Even though going to the theme parks is the most popular option, there are other things you can do. Give a chance to other things to do in Orlando besides theme parks.
If you have only 2-3 days, of course, go to the theme parks. But if you have more, spice things up and try one of the things I mentioned above.
One final note, there are also excellent museums in Orlando. Make your plans with this in mind too.
Is there anything else I should try on my next trip to Orlando? Let know in the comments section.