In early September I went on a trip to Orlando, Florida. The timing was perfect weather wise, and it was a great time to avoid the summer vacation crowds. Orlando is a unique city that will welcome you with a vast selection of exceptional outdoor activities and adventures for the whole family. From balloon rides to kayaking and airboat rides, you’ll find a great deal of fun outdoor activities in Orlando!
Whether you come for the thrill of the world’s best theme parks, or to enjoy, Orlando’s diverse landscape, you will want to come back.
Where We Stayed
We stayed at the new Universal Aventura Hotel. This stylish hotel is within walking distance of Universal’s Volcano Bay and offers spectacular views of all three Universal Orlando three parks. This 17-story tower opened in 2018 and it features 600 modern and comfortable rooms.
We both loved the gym here and went every day we stayed there. Keeping active and healthy on a trip is important to me, so I get excited when a hotel has an exception gym.
If we were doing just theme parks, we probably would not have rented a car. However, since we knew that we would be traveling all over Orlando for various activities and adventures, we rented one. We opted for a silver convertible Mustang…because driving with the top down is sooooo much fun!
Where We Ate
Josh and I always love eating healthy when we travel and we really enjoy vegan food. Even though I am not vegan, it seems easier to eat gluten and dairy fee at a vegan restaurant. We tried both places and really would recommend both.
- Dandelion Communitea Caffe – We enjoyed a truly delightful menu full of unique healthy food. If you are a gluten-free foodie, you’ll love this place. Loved the umbrella tables outside too.
- The Sanctum – Another awesome hip vegan restaurant for all healthy food-lovers. A definite must-visit! We actually ate here several times.
Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure are both not-to-be-missed places. At Universal’s Islands of Adventure, we had an opportunity to enjoy some of the most innovative rides and attractions created on seven themed islands: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Toon Lagoon, The Lost Continent, Marvel Super Hero Island, Jurassic Park, Seuss Landing and Port of Entry.
Universal Studios Florida features incredible attractions based on pop-culture icons, TV shows, and blockbuster films. You will instantly get transported into a highly imaginative world of your favorite heroes. So many characters from shows and movies growing up gave me so much nostalgia. I even got to meet Hello Kitty….I was fan-girling!!
If you want good photo opportunities, I would suggest getting there as early as you can get in and have a plan of attack. I use this strategy to get photos without the crowds at all theme parks and tourist locations. No sleeping in!!!
Universal City Walk
Universal CityWalk bursts with fun and entertainment. This fabulous entertainment destination is situated between the entrance to Universal Orlando Resort’s two theme parks. This is a great place to stay and enjoy live entertainment, a great choice of restaurants, shopping, and nightclubs. We ate here a few times, too. Lots of choices. ?
A special thanks to Josh for joining me on this trip and taking my photos.
Orlando Outdoor Adventures
This was one of the most exciting adventures we experienced during our Orlando trip. Orlando Balloon Rides took us high above the grounds during an hour-long flight. This is a spectacular opportunity to enjoy the view of famous sites around Orlando. A unique opportunity to admire the orange groves and theme parks from a birds-eye perspective.
Orlando’s unique landscape offers impressive views of crystal-clear lakes, natural springs, and lush wild forests.
A very exciting part of our itinerary included kayaking with Get Up and Go. We absolutely loved sitting in a clear kayak and exploring the crystal-clear waters of Rock Springs. Get Up and Go Kayaking is the only company in Florida to use clear kayaks, so make sure to book yours on time. It is really a unique experience because the clear boats act as a huge magnifying glass. Nature here is simply stunning – surrounding untouched forests are home to many wild animals such as deer, herons, and the black bear.
Boggy Creek Airboat Rides was a great opportunity to observe the wildlife and cypress trees while gliding through Florida wetlands at speeds up to 50 mph (80 kilometers per hour). Not to mention how excited we were to catch a glimpse of alligators, turtles, and eagles while sliding through lush wetlands.
Watch my trip to Orlando vlog below or on YouTube for better quality.
Other Outdoor Activities for Next Time
I’d love to visit Indian River and Island Boat Lines for one of their daily dolphin and manatee Thousand Island tours or explore the Showcase of Citrus, a 2,500-acre citrus and cattle ranch with more than 50 seasonal varieties of citrus.
Moreover, I think I would really like to check out A Swamp Safari & Eco Tour and observe alligators, exotic birds, zebra, and more. I have a hard time resisting anything that involves animals!
I have heard that the Winter Park Scenic Boat Tour on Lake Osceola has a great hour-long, guided cruise through three of seven lakes.
Next trip I’d also like to check out De Leon Springs State Park end enjoy a variety of outdoor activities like hiking, canoeing, swimming, and bird watching.
Families, or fun lovers like me, will enjoy a free-flowing natural spring at Kelly Park’s Rock Springs which is just ideal for tubing.
Orlando Nature Trails and Parks
I wish we had more time this trip but next trip I would also like to check out some of the local trails.
There are a great number of nature parks and trails in Orlando, and in one trip you most likely you won’t be able to visit all of them. For example, I’d love to do a horseback trail ride at Forever Florida Ziplines & Adventures in the Wild.
We did stop briefly at Lake Eola Park in the heart of downtown Orlando. I loved the swan boats in the lake.
West Orange Trail in Winer Garden is Orlando’s longest paved bicycle trail, and it is 19 miles long while Westgate River Ranch Resort & Rodeo offers horseback riding adventure along the miles of resort’s untouched beauty.
The Gatorland Bird Rookery is something else that is on my next time list. This site was opened in 1991 as an alligator breeding marsh. It has grown since into one of the largest wading bird rookeries in Florida. Here you can observe over 20 different species of birds.
Orlando Fun Times
Located on International Drive, Orlando’s indoor skydiving center is your fun yet safe opportunity to float in the air. You get to hover on an on a column of air in a 1,000 hp high vertical wind tunnel. And the best part is, you don’t need to have any jumping or parachute experience. Honestly, iFLY Orlando is a great way to experience free falling if you fear to jump from a plane.
The ICON 400-foot tall observation wheel is also located on International Drive. This spectacular observation wheel is the focal point of the ICON Orlando 360 entertainment complex of attractions, restaurants, shops, and club and the tallest wheel on America’s East Coast. Settle in one of 30 fully enclosed, air-conditioned glass capsules and enjoy the view of Central Florida in all directions. Really loved it! It is fabulous in the daytime and at night, too.
While in Orlando, we simply couldn’t miss the opportunity to visit Madame Tussauds. This is the world’s most famous celebrity wax attraction. Come and take a selfie with Brad Pitt or Katy Perry…or Taylor Swift! It’s so fun to see all those celebrities in one place. Well, their wax replicas. But very good ones. You would think they will start talking at any moment!
After visiting Madame Tussauds, we visited SEA LIFE Orlando which is right next door. We really enjoyed our time here as we observed extraordinary underwater species from the oceans of the world. Imagine being face-to-face with more than 5,000 sea creatures such as colorful fish, jellyfish, sharks, and turtles while walking through 360-degree ocean tunnel. A truly unique experience.
We both absolutely loved the world’s tallest swing ride attraction! Orlando StarFlyer is towering 450 feet high above the ground. There are 12 x 2 seats secured with seat belts and leg harness that only the ride operator can unlock. So, don’t worry, you’re pretty safe up there. Be prepared because this is FAST!
You’ll be moving up and down and rotating around the huge tower at speed of up to 60mph. and if you visit by night, you’ll be amazed by the incredible lighting system – more than 240,000 LED lights illuminate this gigantic attraction. Orlando StarFly opened this summer and it is a definite must-try!
Thanks for always following along on my adventures!
This post has been sponsored by Visit Orlando. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support me.