Believe it or not, it’s possible to get tired of Orlando’s abundance of theme parks and resorts. When you need a little more excitement, adventure, or relaxation in your Florida vacation, add any of these day trips from Orlando to your itinerary.
1. Tampa, Florida
Distance from Orlando: 84.2 miles, 1 hour and 21 minutes by car.
Tampa, Florida is home to an abundance of family-friendly attractions, museums, outdoor adventures, and more. If you’ve still got the theme park bug, visit Busch Gardens Tampa. On top of boasting some of Florida’s biggest and baddest roller coasters, the park is also home to more than 12,000 animals, making it one of the largest zoos in North America.
While exploring Tampa, make time for popular attractions such as:
- The Florida Aquarium
- Adventure Island
- Ybor City
- Henry B. Plant Museum
- Dinosaur World
- Salvador Dali Museum
If you’d rather enjoy Tampa’s nearby beaches, grab your things and head to Ben T. Davis Beach, Honeymoon Island State Park, or Sand Key Park for a beach day.
Or, if you’re a sports fan, several pro sports teams call Tampa home, including the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (NFL), Tampa Bay Lightning (NHL), and Florida Panthers (NHL). Get tickets to the game and cheer on Tampa’s home teams!
2. Clearwater, FL
Distance from Orlando: 106 miles, 1 hour and 56 minutes by car.
Situated just past Tampa on Florida’s West Coast, Clearwater, Florida is an exciting day trip destination for all types of travelers. The area is known for its picture-perfect white sand beaches, evident by the seemingly endless number of beachfront hotels and restaurants.
For families visiting the area, Clearwater is among the top day trips from Orlando thanks to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. At this aquarium, kids and adults can learn more about Winter, the star of the hit movie, “Dolphin Tale.” The Clearwater Marine Aquarium rescued Winter and developed a prosthetic tail to help her maneuver through the water. Throughout your aquarium experience, you’ll learn about the facility’s dedication to rescuing, rehabilitating, and releasing marine animals such as turtles, river otters, and dolphins.
Since Clearwater, Florida is so close to Tampa, you can also visit several of Tampa’s top attractions including Busch Gardens during your visit. Other Clearwater attractions and activities include:
In addition to Clearwater Beach, visitors can lay out or go swimming at nearby beaches including Honeymoon Island State Park, Caladesi Island, Sand Key Park, and Belleair Beach.
3. Florida’s Space Coast
Distance from Orlando: 51.4 miles, 50 minutes by car.
One of the greatest day trips from Orlando is just under an hour away from the city. On Florida’s Space Coast, you’ll be able to watch a rocket launch before your eyes or embark on a wild outdoor excursion.
The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is arguably the most popular attraction on the Space Coast. At the Space Center, visitors can meet an astronaut, interact with numerous hands-on exhibits, and learn all about our solar system in one of the many IMAX movies. Guests can also purchase add-on experiences such as lunch with an astronaut!
Other exciting experiences along Florida’s Space Coast include:
- Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge
- Cape Canaveral Lighthouse
- Port Canaveral
- Brevard Zoo
- Sebastian Inlet State Park
- Westgate Cocoa Beach Pier
The Space Coast also offers several beaches for families to experience. Sidney Fischer Park, Pelican Beach Park, and Bonsteel Park are excellent options for those looking to relax, surf, or catch a glimpse of local wildlife.
4. Crystal River, Florida
Distance from Orlando: 86.5 miles, 1 hour and 39 minutes by car.
Interested in spending the day spotting manatees? Crystal River, Florida is located on the western side of Florida, known as the “Natural Coast.” Here you’ll find ample places to see manatees and explore the great outdoors.
The Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge offers tours and other activities designed to educate visitors about protecting and preserving Florida’s threatened manatee population. Another top spot for viewing manatees and learning about Crystal River’s natural environment is Three Sisters Springs. This destination offers trolley tours, snorkeling and paddle boarding activities, and a ¼-mile boardwalk for manatee viewing!
Other things to do in Crystal River, Florida include:
- Hunter Springs Park
- Churchhouse Hammock Trail
- The Coastal Heritage Museum
- Fort Island Gulf Beach Fishing Pier
- Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge
- Yulee Sugar Mill Ruins
Sneak in a quick beach visit during your Crystal River day trip by visiting Fort Island Gulf Beach or Alfred McKethan Park nearby.
5. Daytona Beach, Florida
Distance from Orlando: 55.1 miles, 58 minutes by car.
If you’re a NASCAR fan, you’ll agree that Daytona Beach, Florida is one of the best day trips from Orlando. Home to the iconic Daytona International Speedway, this beachside town hosts the Daytona 500 NASCAR race each February.
Of course, that’s not all there is to do here. While escaping Orlando, check out these entertaining things to do and places to go in Daytona Beach:
- Daytona Lagoon
- The Daytona Beach Boardwalk
- Museum of Arts and Sciences
- Dunlawton Sugar Mill Gardens
- Sun Splash Park
And, Daytona Beach boasts 23 miles of coastal paradise for you to enjoy. Whether you choose to kick back, soak up the sun, and work on your tan or try your hand at surfing, there’s plenty to do at the beach!
6. St. Augustine, Florida
Distance from Orlando: 107 miles, 1 hour and 44 minutes by car.
Did you know St. Augustine, Florida is the oldest city in America? Since the city was founded in 1565 by Spanish explorers, this Florida city is overflowing with intriguing history. If you’re a history buff and need a break from Florida’s theme parks and attractions, you’ll find St. Augustine to be right up your alley.
In St. Augustine, Florida, you can take part in a ghost tour or trolley tour around the city to learn about the notable citizens, buildings, and historic events. While you’re there, remember to visit these destinations and attractions too:
- Marineland Dolphin Adventure
- Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park
- Ripley’s Ghost Train Adventure
- St. Augustine History Museum
- Castillo de San Marcos
- Lightner Museum
Much like several other day trips from Orlando, St. Augustine is home to picture-perfect beachfront escapes. Some of the top beaches in the area include Crescent Beach, North Beach, and Vilano Beach.
7. Gainesville, Florida
Distance from Orlando: 111 miles, 1 hour and 43 minutes by car.
Gainesville, Florida is best known for housing the University of Florida and the iconic Gators collegiate sports teams. The area is also home to a multitude of outdoor activities and museums designed to spark the curiosity and interest of all guests.
The Kanapaha Botanical Gardens is a popular attraction among families visiting the area. The botanical gardens boast 24 collections of plants and also wildlife along a 1.5-mile paved path. Included in the collections are the state’s largest public display of bamboo as well as the largest herb garden in the entire Southeast.
While exploring Gainesville for the day, consider stopping by:
- Florida Museum of Natural History
- Devil’s Millhopper Geological State Park
- Harn Museum of Art
- Haile Homestead
Since Gainesville, Florida is located in the greater Central Florida area, it’s not the best spot for a beach day. However, the area is also home to numerous state and outdoor parks. From hiking trails to wildlife spotting, these Gainesville parks are the perfect addition to your day trips from Orlando:
- Ichetucknee Springs State Park
- Depot Park
- San Felasco Hammock Preserve State Park
- Sweetwater Wetlands Park
Which Day Trips from Orlando Will You Go On?
Whether you want to learn more about the solar system on Florida’s Space Coast or kick back and relax on Clearwater Beach, it’s all just a short drive away from Orlando.
Which Florida day trips from Orlando are your favorite?