The one thing Orlando is now world-renowned for is the choice and quality of theme parks you can visit.
There is actually so much choice that it can be hard for first time visitors to figure out what is where. My guides to all Orlando’s theme parks will help you sort out what you do and don’t want to do.
International Drive Area
International Drive is the main tourist area of Orlando. As well as many hotels you can find all manner of things to do and places to eat along its 11-mile length.
Most of the attractions and hotels are located in the northern half between Universal Boulevard and Highway 528. Much of the southern half of I-Drive as it is also known has yet to be developed. However, there is a good selection of hotels, restaurants and shops beyond Highway 528 down to Sea World Drive.
International Drive is home to popular midway attractions such as ICON Park, Ripley’s, Wonderworks and numerous mini golf courses and shopping outlets.
Kissimmee has long been the gateway to Walt Disney World whose main entrance is off highway 192 that dissects Kissimmee.
Like International Drive, you will find quite a few hotels within a few minutes drive of Disney World as well as numerous shops and restaurants. Most holiday villa complexes are situated around Kissimmee with their own facilities.
The biggest attraction in Kissimmee is Old Town, a impressive collection of amusement rides, shops and restaurants which is great for the whole family.
The Atlantic Coast
The rugged coastline of the Space Coast and Kennedy Space Centre are a top draw, and very easy to get to from Orlando. If you don’t want to drive, there are numerous tours that operate to the Kennedy Space Centre Visitor Complex and surrounding attractions daily.
Daytona and Daytona Beach of Indy 500 fame are just over an hour away.
The Atlantic coast is known for bearing the brunt of some Atlantic storms but Cocoa Beach is one of America’s finest.
The Gulf Coast
The heart-pumping thrills of Busch Gardens on the outskirts of Tampa is a popular one-day addition to a lot of Orlando itineraries. Carry on a further half-hour to the white sand beaches of Clearwater.
Clearwater may be one fo the nearest beaches to Orlando but you are spoilt for choice along Florida’s Gulf Coast.
Your choice of activities is just as varied. Museums, zoological parks, mangrove kayaking and manatee spotting as well as the obvious sunset cruises.
Adding a Gulf Coast week to your itinerary is the perfect way to wind down from the sometimes frenetic pace of the theme parks.
You can be in the Everglades in as little as 40 minutes from your hotel room. Beyond the Everglades National Park, the bright neon-lit coast of Miami beckons. Beyond that the laid back charm of the Florida Keys.
The already under construction train line extension from Miami to Orlando will open up southern Florida to so many more people by cutting transfer times. Make your Orlando holiday a twin-centre by spending a few days in Miami before heading home.