The EW guide of the top 10 tourist attractions that are a MUST when visiting sunny Orlando
17 September 2015| Last updated on 26 October 2017
Orlando is the dream destination for many families. With the gorgeous Florida sunshine available all year round, beautiful landscapes and plenty of tourist attractions you are spoiled for choice with what to do.
The Walt Disney World Resort
For those dedicated Disney fans, a whole week could be spent enjoying the resort. With plenty to do and see, make sure you research when is the best time of year to visit. If you have young kids then its best to go in the summer holidays as they host events catered more towards younger children. If you are travelling in couples or as a group of adults then November is a great time. One of the highlights is the amazing food festival. If you have teenagers then October is a perfect time to visit as they go all out for Halloween. Spending a week at Disney is not for everyone but do not forget it is still an impressive theme park and worth a day trip.
Top Tip: Make sure you make use of the FastTrack system. It’s FREE!
Calling all Harry Potter fans! There are two main parks in Universal, Universal Studios and Universal Islands of adventure, both cater for the young and the young at heart. One of the most magical places they have to visit is The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. You can take a walk down Diagon Alley then catch the Hogwarts Express up to the castle. For any fan it really does bring the wizard world to life. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter spans over both parks, this is important as if you want to see all of it then you will need to have tickets that allows you access. Lots of thrill seekers will enjoy the many rides and shows on offer here making it a park the whole family can enjoy. Be warned about the water rides, you get soaked! This park also has a great range of restaurants that offer good quality food.
Top Tip: Check out the multi day ticket passes on offer for Universal Studios. You can sometimes use them to enter other parks in Orlando.
Swim with Manatees
Manatees are large aquatic mammals. They are beautiful and are sometimes referred to as sea cows. Slow and graceful in their movement they are often found swimming around the waters of Florida. Local residents even spot them on their lawns basing in the sun. There are many ways you can interact with them all over Florida including swim, snorkel or dive. There are many companies in Florida that offer these experiences. It’s best to check out which ones are closet to you.
Top Tip: Do not be scared of the Manatees despite their size, they are gentle giants.
Kennedy Space Centre
Kennedy Space Centre is located in Central Florida. It should take you just under 1 hour to drive there from Orlando International Airport. A detailed interactive attraction with plenty of things to see and do for visitors of all ages. You learn all sorts of exciting things about man kind and space travel. There is so much to see here, making it hard to view everything in one day. It’s best to spend a little time planning a list of the top things you want to see.
Top Tip: The space centre offers an once-in-a-lifetime dining experience, lunch with an astronaut.
Florida is home to many public and private golf courses and fantastic golf resorts all within easy reach of Orlando. It really is a golfer’s paradise.
Top Tip: The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lake has one of the most amazing courses and a lot to offer as a resort. There are facilities for the whole family. Tiger Woods even recommends this course!
Forever Florida is a unique eco-tourism attraction located in St. Cloud, Florida; just one hour southeast of Orlando. Offering picturesque Florida views, cattle and horse ranches, extreme sports, zip lines, and lots of adventure across the 4,700-acre Forever Florida Wildlife Conservation Area.
Top Tip: You can camp here, making a great change from staying in hotels. It will add even more fun to your holiday.
SEE ALSO: Living in the USA
The USA boasts to be a top destination for shopping. We couldn't agree more. Orlando is home to the Florida Mall which houses all your major American brands under one roof, including Bloomingdales, Hollister, Disney Store and Apple. Most of the malls provide great restaurants too. Depending on the rate of the US dollar there are some great bargains to find.
Top Tip: At either end of International Drive you will find the Premium Outlet Malls. The place to be to find a bargain on designer names.
Air Boat Tour
Take an air boat tour along the swamps of Florida. You cannot fly all the way to Orlando and miss out on this, it’s the done thing. It’s a great chance to see Florida’s beautiful natural landscape that is unique to this state. If you are travelling on to the Everglades or Florida Keys then this is the perfect place to take a tour. Look out; you might even spot an Alligator!
Top Tip: Keep an eye out for leaflets from tourist information centres as you often find 2 for 1 vouchers for the air boat tour companies.
The Florida gulf has many beautiful beaches such as Daytona, Clearwater and Miami South beach. You can relax, read a book or have fun in the water and participate in some water sports.
Top Tip: Florida really is a trip of a lifetime for many of us. It can get expensive. When you plan your beach day stop at supermarket along the way and pick up a picnic to have on the beach.
Feast on American Food
America is home to some great quality food. When it comes to portion sizes, small is not in their vocabulary. America is know for great BBQs and has plenty of restaurants offering all types of cuisine to enjoy. Orlando is no exception! Whatever you taste buds are in the mood for you will find it somewhere around international drive.
Top Tip: If you are looking for a slightly healthy alternative to food during you stay then head on down to Sweet Tomatoes. Just off East Colonia Drive it has a great buffet with all sorts of fresh and light options. A great selection of vegetarian food is available here too.