25 Secret Spots in Orlando
Visiting Orlando and want to spot alligators in the wild? This 11-mile driving loop is the perfect place to see them in their natural habitat (plus tons of other wildlife as well). And the best part? It’s totally FREE! The drive is open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, plus federal holidays.
Tour a 2,500-acre citrus farm aboard a giant monster truck. Photo courtesy of Showcase of Citrus
Tour a 2,500-acre, family-owned citrus farm aboard a giant monster truck at Showcase of Citrus. While onboard, guests have the opportunity to feed the farm’s zebras, water buffalo, bison, and more. Stroll the general store, gem mine, and pick fresh citrus during certain times of the year.
Tour the tranquil Winter Park chain of lakes on a scenic cruise while glimpsing Florida’s beautiful flora and fauna and exquisite private estates along the shoreline.
Just east of DeLand in Volusia County is the spiritual town of Cassadaga. Horseshoe Park contains a whimsical fairy trail with miniature fairy houses, gnome homes, a troll village, labyrinth, and more playful elements in a blend of art and nature.
This secluded lakefront park is known as Winter Park’s secret garden. Stroll the 5-acre park filled with Old Florida charm and shaded by large cypress trees. This park is also a great spot for photos!
Spend the day exploring all the water activities Wekiva Island has to offer. Photo courtesy of Wekiva Island
Tucked away in a residential area, Wekiva Island is a great way to spend a fun day outdoors exploring Florida’s waterways. Enjoy the swimming area, where the water is a constant 72 degrees. Canoes, kayaks, and paddleboards are available for rent. A café and general store are also on site.
This free butterfly garden is located at W.T. Bland Public Library, just down the road from beautiful downtown Mount Dora. The garden contains a large variety of plants that provide nectar and food for all types of pollinators.
Forget overcrowded water parks; consider visiting one of these inflatable water parks! Note that the minimum age requirements range from 5-7 at these aqua parks.
The Citrus Tower pays tribute to Central Florida's citrus industry and groves. Photo by the author
Guests take an elevator to the top of this 226-foot tower for panoramic views of the South Lake County area of Central Florida. At the base of the tower is a coffee spot with a variety of coffee, tea, and boba drinks.
Planning a trip to Kennedy Space Center or heading to Port Canaveral for a cruise? Consider stopping by The Wizard of Oz Museum, a unique attraction dedicated to the beloved classic film and featuring over 2,000 pieces of memorabilia. Kids will love the munchkin room filled with Oz toys!
Dinosaur World is a self-guided outdoor museum with over 200 lifesize dinosaurs in a natural setting. Photo by the author
Dinosaur enthusiasts will enjoy a trip to Dinosaur World, located along I-4 between Orlando and Tampa. This roadside attraction is home to hundreds of lifesize dino replicas, a museum, themed shows, a playground, and a brand new splash pad area for little ones.
Bok Tower Gardens is known for its Singing Tower, but many people don’t know about the Hammock Hollow Children’s Garden. It contains water features, fairy house trail, bobcat scramble, spider climb, and several other natural play elements.
Located at De Leon Springs State Park, make your own pancakes right at your table in a 100-year old replica sugar mill. Afterwards, take a dip in the spring or stroll the park’s nature trails.
Peruse the Orange County Library System’s vast collection of Disney books, periodicals, photos, press kits, and more. This collection can be found on the fourth floor of the Orlando Public Library.
Relax and stretch with the goats at Alaska Farms during a beginners yoga class. The farm also hosts a monthly Evening at the Farm event to interact with the resident animals and enjoy outdoor activities.
Visit Wild Florida and enjoy the drive-through safari. Photo by the author
This attraction offers several fun experiences for families, including a drive-through safari park, a walk-through gator park, and airboat tours through the headwaters of the Florida Everglades. Guests can also add-on unique animal encounters with sloths, giraffes, alligators, and even a porcupine!
Known to locals as Turkey Lake Park, this park is a short drive from the attractions. It features paved walking trails as well as interactive nature trails, an animal farm, two playgrounds, fitness stations, picnic pavilions, sand volleyball, fishing pier, swimming pool, and more.
Central Florida is home to many spring-fed swimming holes. With crystal clear cool waters year round, these springs make for perfect outings when the weather is hot.
This attraction is located in the tourist-geared area of International Drive and offers guided tours just for kids. Led by a costumed historian, these tours take place on Saturdays and Sundays at 11:30am, taking kids on a fun scavenger hunt through the exhibition.
This Florida State Park is located on an island along the St. John’s River, and is accessible only by private boat or park ferry. It’s the perfect spot for a unique picnic, and offers amenities such as a playground, hiking trails, a museum, fishing, and more. Guests can even camp on the island or stay in a rustic cabin.
21. See Manatees – Multiple Locations
During the winter months, manatees gather in large numbers at Florida’s freshwater springs. The best time to spot them is from mid-November to March.
Right in the heart of downtown Orlando is Lake Eola Park! It’s hard not the miss Lake Eola and the iconic fountain in the center of the lake. For a fun experience, tour the lake on a pedal-powered swan boat.
This 23-acre, family-owned farm opens to the public on the weekends (and by appointment on weekdays). The farm has a splash pad, jump pillow, trike racing, and more fun activities. Guests can also enjoy u-pick sunflowers and zennias.
This free garden is a hidden gem in the Orlando area. It features several walking trails, a shallow creek, butterfly garden, community garden, performance venue, and more. Plus, through the end of April 2023, enjoy the FunHundred exhibits throughout the garden.
Enjoy cats, cuddles, and coffee at the Orlando Cat Café. Every Wednesday afternoon, the café offers a Kids Hour for ages 12 and under, which includes play time with the cats plus coloring. You may even find your purrr-fect match to adopt and bring home!