25 Best Day Trips from Orlando for Visitors and Locals in 2024

Disney World is the number one attraction and day trip in Orlando Florida USA

Orlando is an incredible place for a vacation full of fun. But, sometimes you want to get out and explore the area!

You’ve come to the right place. I’m here to help you plan with these 25 best day trips from Orlando for visitors and locals alike. 

With 447 miles of land, beaches, and amusement parks to explore, there’s a day trip for every type of traveler looking to get the most out of their Florida vacation. 

1. Kennedy Space Center

Distance to Kennedy Space Center from Orlando: 52.1 miles

Best for: Future astronauts, kids, and adults that love learning about space travel!

The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is a must-visit for anyone interested in space exploration. Located on Merritt Island, Florida the complex offers an array of educational and interactive exhibits. You’ll get a look inside the history and accomplishments of NASA’s past, present, and future innovations. 

The center hosts special events throughout the year like astronaut meet-and-greets, summer camps, and educational programs for everyone from kindergarteners to adults. And of course, it’s famously a great place to watch rocket launches.

2. Gatorland

Distance to Gatorland from Orlando: 18.3 miles

Best for: Kids interested in reptiles, adults interested in ziplining adventures 

There’s nothing more Florida than gators! Gatorland is the perfect destination for anyone looking to learn about the wildlife of Florida and beyond. Thrill seekers can take a zipline that soars over the alligator marshes. Educational tours and encounters are available with your favorite barnyard friends and even Jerry the Capybara. 

Whether you want to learn about wildlife or get up close and personal with them, there’s something for everyone in the “Alligator Captial of the World”. If you don’t want to take a day trip all the way from Orlando to the Everglades, Gatorland is a great option. 

3. Tampa Riverwalk

Distance from Orlando to Tampa Riverwalk: 84.5 miles

Best for: Romantic evening out, fun with family and friends

Walk, bike, or even segway around the riverwalk in the heart of Tampa. The walk is home to the city’s aquarium as well as many museums and popular attractions. It’s a local favorite spot for watching the sunrise or sunset. 

Year-round, you’ll find free events like Pilates in the Park or Sunset Concert Series. It’s a must-see in Tampa – the perfect place for outdoor exercise or a delicious meal. 

4. Clermont-downtown and Citrus Tower

Distance to Historic Clermont Downtown from Orlando: 26.3 miles

Best for: Couples weekend getaway with walking trails, festivals, food trucks, and biking

Clermont is a fast-growing county in Florida with a charming lakefront downtown district. You’ll find farmer’s markets lined with food trucks and live music in the evenings. Its main street is home to local shops and restaurants. It’s a bike-friendly town with trails for miles.   

Just east of downtown is the Citrus Tower. At the top of the 500-foot tribute to Florida’s citrus industry. At the top, you’ll find 360 views of Orlando’s most fantastic attractions. View the Orlando Skyline, Epcot Ball, Sugarloaf Moutain, and more from the tower. 

5. Blue Spring State Park 

Distance to Blue Spring State Park from Orlando: 33.2 miles

Best for: Explore nature and spot Manatees

Visit the largest meeting site of manatees in Florida at Blue Spring State Park. You can enjoy clear, 70+ degree waters year-round in this oasis. 

There park charges a small fee per vehicle to enter, but overall, it’s a cost-efficient way to spend a day or a few in Florida. Once inside the park, you can camp, boat, kayak, scuba dive, snorkel, and more.

6. Canaveral National Seashore

Distance to Canaveral National Seashore from Orlando: 49.2 miles

Best for: Outdoor enthusiasts, great for fishing and boating

Canaveral National Seashore US National Park in Florida, the Sunshine State, is a fantastic destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts alike. Located on the East coast of Central Florida, this 58,000-acre park stretches along 24 miles of shoreline. There’s a wide variety of activities like fishing, boating, and hiking. 

There are a few unique features – the end of Playalinda Beach is famous for being the only nude beach within Canaveral. Plus, the park is a great place to witness rocket launches. 

Also read: All the Florida facts you need to know before visiting

7. Disney World

Distance to Disney World from Orlando: 15.1 miles

Best for: family adventures with small children, Disney lovers

Disney World is notably the most popular theme park in Florida. Located right in Orlando, it’s perfect for a day trip. 

Hang out with your favorite Disney Characters, eat a Mickey Mouse-shaped pretzel, and enjoy all the festivals and parades throughout the park. If you’re traveling with older kids or on a couple’s vacation, head over to Epcot to drink around the world and taste some famous international cuisines. 

This is the closest and easiest day trip from Orlando. So, if you’re looking to spend as little time in the car and maximize your time exploring, Disney World is the place for you. For more information, visit The House of Travel.

8. New Smyrna Beach

Distance to New Smyrna Beach from Orlando: 55.4 miles

Best for: Surfers and beach bums

New Smyrna Beach is a beautiful coastal city located south of Daytona, Florida. The city has 17 miles of white sandy beaches and is an ideal spot for surfing and beach activities. 

But New Smyrna Beach isn’t just about the beach – it’s also home to exciting festivals, museums, and music. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing day at the beach or something more lively, New Smyrna Beach is the perfect stop on a day trip from Orlando.  

9. Daytona Beach

Distance to Daytona Beach from Orlando: 55.8 miles

Best for: Family fun or a couple’s trip to the speedway or the beach

This city is a well-known destination for the Daytona 500 at the Daytona International Speedway, but there’s much more to this town! You’ll find plenty to do at the beautiful beaches and lively boardwalk. There are historic sites and pioneer settlements to explore when you need a break from the sun. 

Daytona Beach offers a variety of affordable accommodations for travelers on a budget. You can’t beat an action-packed getaway without breaking the bank.  

10. Lego Land

Distance to Lego Land from Orlando: 58.7 miles

Best for: Kids and families 

Lego Land is an amazing place for kids to have fun and explore the world of Lego. With three parks to choose from, LegoLand, Peppa Pig Theme Park, and LegoLand Water Park, there’s something exciting for every child. 

Kids can meet their favorite Lego characters. Families can cool off at the water park or take a guided pontoon boat ride of Lake Eloise and Lake Summit. The theme park creates a magical and festive experience during the holidays, making it perfect for a trip all year long. 

11. Cocoa Beach

Distance to Cocoa Beach from Orlando: 59.8 miles

Best for: Beach getaway, golfing 

Cocoa Beach, Florida is the perfect place for a day trip from Orlando. Located just an hour away, Cocoa Beach boasts six miles of beautiful beachfront and a public golf course. It’s also another great place to watch rocket launches.

You can take a stroll along the boardwalk lined with restaurants and shops that will keep you entertained all day long. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing afternoon or an exciting adventure, Cocoa Beach has something to offer everyone.

12. Bok Tower Gardens

Distance to Bok Tower Gardens from Orlando: 66.2 miles

Best for: Afternoon strolls, garden lovers

This National Historic Landmark was donated by a Dutch immigrant and humanitarian. The main attraction, the Singing Tower, hosts carillon concerts every day at 1 pm and 3 pm. 

It takes about 3-4 hours to walk through the gardens, making it perfect for a quick day trip. The best time to visit is early spring when some of the most beautiful flowers are in peak bloom. 

This attraction is also dog friendly, though dogs are not allowed in a few areas. 

13. Dinosaur World

Distance to Dinosaur World from Orlando: 76.3 miles

Best for: Kids that want to explore prehistoric dinosaurs, Autism friendly experience

This life-size outdoor adventure park features hundreds of realistic dinosaur models, as well as an interactive museum and playground. 

Visitors can take part in fossil digs and Dino excavations, or simply enjoy a picnic lunch while taking in the prehistoric sights. 

Additionally, Dinosaur World caters to families of children with autism, making it an inclusive destination for all types of travelers. Your four-legged friends are also invited!

14. Ocala National Forest

Distance from Orlando to Ocala National Forest: 77.1 miles

Best for: Outdoor enthusiasts

Ocala National Forest is a unique and beautiful destination for outdoor enthusiasts. The forest offers visitors an array of activities 365 days a year. You can hike and horseback ride or camp on the grounds. Hunting and fishing are allowed with a license. 

Notably, there are 600 lakes and rivers with natural pools that will make you feel like you’ve stepped into a fairytale world. 

15. Busch Gardens

Distance from Orlando to Busch Gardens: 83.5 miles

Best for: Everyone! 

Located on the west side of Florida is Busch Gardens Tampa. You’ll find fun for everyone. Choose from extreme roller coasters and kid-friendly attractions. 

If you don’t like rides, you can take part in their VIP wine tour or hop in an open-air vehicle for a 65-acre safari tour. 

Plus, there’s plenty of entertainment. Catch a show at the theater, story time for kids, and music concerts in the park. There’s truly something for everyone at Busch Gardens. 

16. Fun Spot America- Kissimmee

Distance to Fun Spot America from Orlando: 20.2 miles

Best for: Family fun for all ages. Go-karting and roller coasters cheaper than Disney World.

Fun Spot America is a great option for travelers on a budget who still want the thrills of a great amusement park. Fly on the World’s Tallest SkyCoaster or go-kart through the world’s steepest banking curve at the Vortext Track. 

There are plenty of kid-friendly rides as well like the Frog Hopper and Kiddie Bumper Cars. Don’t forget to take a break for some Dole Whip or a powdered funnel cake. 

Fun Spot America – Kissimmee offers diverse dining options for a full day of fun, with nearby accommodations available through The Top Villas’ Orlando vacation rentals.

17. Crystal River

Distance from Orlando to Crystal River: 86.5 miles

Best for: off-the-beaten-bath travelers, swimming with manatees

Crystal River Florida is a breathtaking destination located along the Gulf of Mexico. It’s known for its stunning natural beauty, with crystal clear rivers and springs perfect for swimming and snorkeling. 

Visitors can explore Three Sisters Springs to see manatees up close or take part in a variety of outdoor activities such as hiking, golfing, biking or joining local parades at River Square. If you prefer to see the manatees from above, you can take a clear-bottom kayak and float above the warm water to see the magnificent wildlife. 

18. Cypress Creek Nature Preserve

Distance from Orlando to Cypress Creek Nature Preserve: 85.9 miles

Best for: Hiking lovers

Hikers of all levels of experience will love to explore the Cypress Creek Nature Preserve in the outskirts of Orlando. This protected natural area is home to a variety of ecosystems, including wetlands and uplands, and visitors can take advantage of the many trails to explore them. Be sure to keep an eye out for the numerous Florida wildlife species that call this area home.

Educational activities such as guided interpretive walks, nature-based craft activities, and a variety of educational programs that explain the ecological importance of this unique area are available for visitors on request.

19. St Augustine

Distance from Orlando to St Augustine: 107 miles

Best for: Sightseeing close to beaches

Founded in 1565, St Augustine is the oldest settlement in the United States. There are tons of historic sites, museums, and old churches to explore. The downtown area offers cobblestone streets lined with boutiques and unique shops. You can also find delicious seafood restaurants by the water. 

The rich scenery and vibrant atmosphere make it perfect for a weekend getaway from Orlando.  

20. Caladesi Island State Park

Distance from Orlando to Caladesi Island State Park: 110 miles

Best for: Quiet escape in nature

Just north of Clearwater Beach, Caladesi Island State Park is an untouched paradise for nature enthusiasts. The untouched island can only be accessed by boat, but there are plenty of amenities available. You can enjoy an afternoon or weekend away from civilization. 

It’s also home to the historic Scharrer Homestead. Visitors can partake in camping, star gazing, tubing, bird watching, and more. There’s a small fee per boat to visit, but it’s still a unique and affordable way to escape from the loud city for a bit!

21. John’s Pass- Madeira Beach

Distance from Orlando to John’s Pass Madeira Beach: 113 miles

Best for: a fishing trip with the crew

John’s Pass is a unique fishing village located near St Petersburg Florida. From the town, you can access Madeira Beach and take part in a variety of beach activities. You’ll find plenty of watersports and fishing charters here. 

John’s Pass- Madeira Beach is also known for its huge selection of waterfront restaurants and activities. And, it’s the perfect place to shop for all your souvenirs before heading home. It’s easy to fill up a day in this incredible town! 

Also read: The best white sand and clear water beaches in the USA

22. Clearwater Beach

Distance from Orlando to Clearwater Beach: 138 miles

Best for: Beach days near St Petersburg

Clearwater Beach is my favorite day trip from Orlando when I’m ready for soft sand and clear water. It’s one of the most beautiful and popular beaches in Florida, for good reason. You’ll find that it’s perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and water sports. 

It’s also within close proximity to St Petersburg, so you can explore everything the city has to offer after a long day at the beach. Soak up the sun and have an exciting night out at Clearwater! 

23. Siesta Key

Distance from Orlando to Siesta Key: 138 miles

Best for: White sand, clear warm waters, boutique shopping

Siesta Key is a charming beach town on the Gulf. The beautiful white sand and clear waters in addition to the vibrant downtown makes it perfect for every traveler. The walkable downtown is filled with boutiques, restaurants, and cafes. 

You can explore the hidden beach entrances around town or spend your day shopping. Either way, this picturesque beach town will provide a memorable trip. If you’re looking for more beautiful beaches nearby, be sure to visit Anna Maria Island.

24. St Pete Beach

Distance from Orlando to St Pete Beach: 143 miles

Best for: Beaches, fun, and incredible sunsets

St Pete Beach offers a little something for everyone. Known for its stunning beaches and majestic sunsets, the beach town is the perfect day trip from Orlando.

St Pete Pier is known as an epic sunset viewing spot, and also a great place for pier fishing. Nearby, you can explore St Petersburg’s historic sites as well as vibrant nightlife. 

Take part in water sports or a sunset cruise. You’ll have a magical time exploring St Pete Beach!

25. Everglades National Park

Distance from Orlando to Everglades National Park: 231 miles

Best for: Gater sightings, airboat tours, nature watching, family fun

Everglades National Park is home to one of the coolest and most diverse ecosystems in South Florida. The park contains 1.5 million acres of protected land. 

Visitors can learn about the gator rescue program or take an airboat tour and search for alligators and crocodiles in their natural habitat. 

The park also offers endless opportunities for watching birds native to the area. Everglade’s National Park is a must-see for any national park enthusiast. 

Summary of the 25 Best Day Trips from Orlando

There you have it! The 25 best day trips from Orlando. Whether you want a quick drive to a local amusement park or a long road trip to the bottom of the state, there’s a day trip for everyone in Florida. 

Don’t waste any time – start planning a trip to all your favorite places in Florida!

Keep reading: The best Miami itinerary for first timers

Wayne Kask runs Always On The Shore. He’s a travel blogger who loves to write about the best attractions, restaurants, and resorts in Florida and the southeastern U.S. When he is not writing, he is running outdoors, spending time with family, or planning his next trip.