30 Ways to Beat the Heat in Orlando: Heat Wave Indoor Activities and Outdoor Cool Fun

Visit Orlando Watersports Complex for heat relief during the summer. Photo courtesy of the venue
Visit Orlando Watersports Complex for heat relief during the summer. Photo courtesy of the venue
7/7/23 - By Charlotte B

Florida is known as the Sunshine State, so there’s no surprise that with all that sun, it can get extremely HOT, especially during an Orlando heat wave. Orlando summer temperatures average around 90 degrees, and with humidity factored in, the heat index is easily over 100 degrees! As temperatures rise, luckily there are plenty of cool things to do in Orlando. From splish-splashing water fun to indoor attractions with refreshing air-conditioning, we’ve put together a list of 30 activities to embrace during a blistering Orlando summer.


Whatever you choose to do this summer, remember to bring plenty of water and sunscreen for any outdoor activities. For more warm-weather fun, visit our Orlando Summer Vacation Guide.

Cool Things to Do in Orlando this Summer

1. Natural Springs

Florida’s spring-fed swimming holes remain a constant 68 to 72 degrees year round, making for a perfect summer outing. Word to the wise: Plan to arrive early as many of the Florida springs hit capacity shortly after opening.

2. Public Pools

Take a refreshing dip in one of these Orlando public pools or resort pools that offer day passes.

3. Splash Pads

For little ones who are not quite ready for a day at the spring or swimming pool, Orlando splash pads are ideal spots to cool off and burn some energy before naptime.

St. Pete Beach tops many lists of the best Florida beaches. Photo courtesy of Visit Florida 

4. Beaches Near Orlando

There’s no better place to visit during an Orlando heat wave than a local beach, and there are several within an hour or two drive from Orlando.

5. Hotel Water Parks

Planning a staycation? Check out these Orlando hotels and resorts with amazing water parks on site.

Stay cool indoors at Dave & Busters. Photo by the author

6. Indoor Play Spaces

Orlando indoor playgrounds allow toddlers and young kiddos to explore through hands-on play activities.

7. Indoor Entertainment Centers

Older kids and teens can escape the heat at indoor entertainment centers, including arcades, indoor go-kart tracks, trampoline parks, laser tag, and more.

8. ICON Park

ICON Park is home to wonderful indoor attractions, including Sea Life Orlando Aquarium, Madame Tussauds Orlando, Museum of Illusions, and In The Game arcade. The Wheel at ICON Park features air-conditioned capsules.

9. WonderWorks

You can’t miss this fun attraction on Orlando’s International Drive! It’s the iconic upside down building, and features three floors of indoor fun for all ages.

10. Water Sports and Activities

Orlando has no shortage of amazing lakes, perfect for water sports and other water activities such as tubing, knee boarding, jetskiing, kayaking, fishing, and more.

Enjoy delish flavors at Orange Blossom Candies & Cream, including the namesake orange blossom. Photo courtesy of the shop

11. Ice Cream

Cool down with these frosty treats in Orlando.

12. Water Parks

Get drenched at Orlando water parks complete with water slides, rides, lazy rivers, water playgrounds, and more activities to survive an Orlando heat wave.

13. Escape Rooms

Work together with family or friends to beat the clock at an indoor Orlando escape room.

14. Summer Day Trips

Sometimes you just need a change of scenery, and many of these summer day trip destinations include indoor and water-based activities ideal for sweltering temperatures!  

15. Inflatable Water Parks

Climb, jump, slide, and splash at these bouncy aqua parks around Central Florida.

Enjoy an intracoast trip to Disappearing Island. Photo by the author

16. Boat Trips

Tour beautiful waterways on an Orlando boat trip. Don’t have a boat? No worries! Many Orlando companies offer sightseeing tours, airboat tours, and paddling tours.

17. Scalloping

Bay Scallop season starts July 1 in several west Florida regions. This popular water activity is like an underwater treasure hunt. Be sure to get a Florida saltwater fishing license in advance!

18. Kennedy Space Center

Spend a day exploring NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Visitors Complex, a one-of-a-kind Central Florida destination complete with simulators, hands-on play, 3D space films, behind-the-scenes tours, and so much more. Bonus: Most attractions within the complex are indoors!

19. Summer Movies

Many Orlando theaters offer affordable family movies over the summer, a great indoor activity to avoid the heat and summer storms.

20. Orlando Museums

This diverse collection of fun museums around Orlando are perfect indoor activities to escape the elements.

21. Drive-Thru Safaris and Wildlife Drives

Explore Florida’s wildlife and even exotic animals from the comfort of your own, air-conditioned(!) car at local wildlife drives or drive-thru safaris.

KidsTown at the Orlando Science Center
Drip, drop, FUN at OSC's KidsTown! Photo by the author

22. Orlando Science Center

When temperatures rise or storms set in, sneak in some educational fun at the Orlando Science Center.

23. Drive-In Movie Theaters

Enjoy the nostalgia of a drive-in movie this summer. There are three drive-in theaters within a short drive from Orlando.

Discovery Cove allows families to see nature at its finest. Photo courtesy of Discovery Cove

24. Discovery Cove

Create unforgettable memories swimming with dolphins at Discovery Cove. You can also snorkel with rays and hand-feed tropical birds at this all-inclusive day resort.

25. Epperson Lagoon

Located 1.5 hours from Orlando, Epperson Lagoon is a tropical lagoon with over seven acres of crystal clear blue waters, a floating obstacle course, water slide, kayaks, and paddle boards.

26. Lazy Rivers

Manage a heat wave by relaxing with a gentle current at one of Orlando's lovely lazy rivers.

27. Aquatica Orlando

Check out the newly renovated Turi's Kid Cove (perfect for younger kiddos) at SeaWorld's awesome water park, Aquatica Orlando.

28. Central Florida Zoo

Head to Central Florida Zoo early in the day, when temperatures are cooler, to see the animals being active. Make sure to pack a swimsuit, then hit the Wharton-Smith Tropical Splash Ground after lunch.

29. Bonnet Springs Park

Bonnet Springs Park offers lots of shady spots among its many trails and boardwalks. There are even some air-conditioned exhibits for a heat wave reprieve.

30. Free Summer Library Programs

Top reasons to bring the kids to the library during an Orlando heat wave: No cost; indoor activities; air conditioning; increase literacy levels; and summer reading rewards!