Planning a Trip to Orlando, Florida – Best Things to See and Do

In early September I went on a trip to Orlando. Going in early fall meant that the timing was perfect weather wise, and it was also a great time to avoid the summer vacation crowds. If you’re planning a trip to Orlando, Florida, you might want to consider which month you choose since it can get pretty crazy during the summer. With a trip to Universal Studios and lots of outdoor things to do in Orlando with friends, you will have a blast! I have ideas for travelling to Orlando, Florida. so read on for all the BEST Orlando vacation ideas for adults.

Travel blogger, Bella Bucchiotti of xoxoBella, shares about planning a trip to Orlando, Florida.  An Orlando vacation for adults is so fun!

Planning a Trip to Orlando, Florida

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 when travelling to Orlando Florida! There are so many options to consider when planning a trip to Orlando, Florida. No matter what you choose, you will have the best time and make sure to leave some activities for next trip. No kids? not a problem! Orlando vacation ideas for adults and groups of friends are plentiful.

What Kind of Trips can you Plan to Orlando?

It’s the diversity of this city that makes possible so many Orlando vacation ideas for adults. It also provides an endless supply of some cool things to do in Florida with friends, making it the perfect place to come seeking fun. Whether you come for the thrill of the world’s best theme parks, or to enjoy Orlando’s diverse landscapes, you will want to come back.

When Should you Visit Orlando?

If you’re planning a trip to Orlando Florida, you should try coming during the fall. We really enjoyed the cooler weather and the less intense crowds as compared to how packed it would be in the summer. You can really come to Florida between September and November and likely enjoy mild weather, since it doesn’t get very cold in the sunshine state.

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. There are plenty of great Orlando vacation ideas for adults and groups of friends.

Where to Stay in Orlando

We stayed at the 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.

Travel blogger, Bella Bucchiotti of xoxoBella, shares about planning a trip to Orlando, Florida.  An Orlando vacation for adults is so fun!

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 exceptional gym.

Travel blogger, Bella Bucchiotti of xoxoBella, shares about planning a trip to Orlando, Florida.  An Orlando vacation for adults is so fun!

When you are planning a trip to Orlando Florida, definitely check this place out for stay.

Car Rental in Orlando

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!

If you’re flying into Orlando, I’d recommend renting a car. This is an especially good idea if you’re planning to visit other areas besides the adventure parks this city is so famous for. By the way, you absolutely should venture out to the many other Orlando gems if you can!

If you like this blog about planning a trip to Orlando, Florida, you might also like 7 Last Minute Mother’s Day Ideas, Seven Things to do in Orlando, or 6 Places to Visit on a Colorado Road Trip.

Where We Ate Gluten Free & Dairy Free in Orlando

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 Orlando

Travel blogger, Bella Bucchiotti of xoxoBella, shares about planning a trip to Orlando, Florida.  An Orlando vacation for adults is so fun!

A trip to Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure are both not to be missed. 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.

Travel blogger, Bella Bucchiotti of xoxoBella, shares about planning a trip to Orlando, Florida.  There are so many things to do in Orlando Florida with friends!

These included The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Toon Lagoon, The Lost Continent, Marvel Super Hero Island, Jurassic Park, Seuss Landing and Port of Entry. If you’re looking for things to do in Florida with friends, both theme parks are great ideas for such occasions.

Travel blogger, Bella Bucchiotti of xoxoBella, shares about planning a trip to Orlando, Florida.  There are so many things to do in Orlando Florida with friends!
Travel blogger, Bella Bucchiotti of xoxoBella, shares about planning a trip to Orlando, Florida.  There are so many things to do in Orlando Florida with friends!

Universal Studios Orlando Florida

Universal Studios Orlando 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 favourite heroes and stories. So many characters from shows and movies growing up gave me so much nostalgia. Orlando vacation ideas for adults need to include Universal Orlando.

Travel blogger, Bella Bucchiotti of xoxoBella, shares about planning a trip to Orlando, Florida.  Read for tips for travelling to Orlando, Florida.

I even got to meet Hello Kitty….I was fan-girling!! Universal Studios had so much to see and do. I think next time I will check out Universal Hollywood when I am in California. I can’t believe I have not been there yet. Universal Studios Orlando or Hollywood… which is your favourite?

Travel blogger, Bella Bucchiotti of xoxoBella, shares about planning a trip to Orlando, Florida.  Read for tips for travelling to Orlando, Florida.

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!!!

Travel blogger, Bella Bucchiotti of xoxoBella, shares about planning a trip to Orlando, Florida.  Read for tips for travelling to Orlando, Florida.
Travel blogger, Bella Bucchiotti of xoxoBella, shares about planning a trip to Orlando, Florida.  Read for tips for travelling to Orlando, Florida.

Universal CityWalk

A trip to Universal Studios means passing by Universal CityWalk, which 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. There were lots of food options.

Travel blogger, Bella Bucchiotti of xoxoBella, shares about planning a trip to Orlando, Florida.  Adult travel ideas including a trip to Universal Orlando, air boating, hot air ballooning, indoor sky diving, clear kayaking and more.
Travel blogger, Bella Bucchiotti of xoxoBella, shares about planning a trip to Orlando, Florida.  Adult travel ideas including a trip to Universal Orlando, air boating, hot air ballooning, indoor sky diving, clear kayaking and more.

A special thanks to Josh for joining me on this trip and taking my photos.

Orlando Outdoor Adventures

Planning a trip to Orlando Florida, it’s easy to become fixated on the big theme parks and most popular attractions. A trip to Universal Studios is all you’d think to go for, right? Maybe Disney…However, try not to forget about the rest! If you’re wondering what I mean by “the rest,” then you need to read all about the various outdoor adventures that await the curious traveler who ventures to Orlando, listed below.

Orlando Balloon Rides

A flight with Orlando Balloon Rides 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.

Travel blogger, Bella Bucchiotti of xoxoBella, shares about planning a trip to Orlando, Florida.  Adult travel ideas including a trip to Universal Orlando, air boating, hot air ballooning, indoor sky diving, clear kayaking and more.

Is a Balloon Ride Better than Theme Park Rides?

This was one of the most thrilling things to do in Orlando outside of the theme parks. Who needs all those rollercoasters when you can rise up into the air thousands of feet? With this activity, you’ve got plenty of time to just enjoy the view. It certainly lasts much longer than a theme park ride, and you get to avoid those long lines. It was so serene and beautiful!

Travel blogger, Bella Bucchiotti of xoxoBella, shares about planning a trip to Orlando, Florida.  Adult travel ideas including a trip to Universal Orlando, air boating, hot air ballooning, indoor sky diving, clear kayaking and more.

What Should I Know About Before Going on a Balloon Ride?

Be sure to bring close-toed shoes and a light sweater, as it can get a little cold up there in the higher altitude—especially if you go on a sunrise flight like we did. The early morning wake-up call was worth watching the sun rise from the balloon.

Overall, I’d definitely a consider this a bucket list experience. If you’re looking for outdoor activities in Orlando near Disney, add this to your list!

Travel blogger, Bella Bucchiotti of xoxoBella, shares about planning a trip to Orlando, Florida.  Adult travel ideas including a trip to Universal Orlando, air boating, hot air ballooning, indoor sky diving, clear kayaking and more.

Get Up and Go Kayaking – Clear Kayaks

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.

Travel blogger, Bella Bucchiotti of xoxoBella, shares about planning a trip to Orlando, Florida.  Adult travel ideas including a trip to Universal Orlando, air boating, hot air ballooning, indoor sky diving, clear kayaking and more.

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.

Travel blogger, Bella Bucchiotti of xoxoBella, shares about planning a trip to Orlando, Florida.  There are so many outdoor adventures and activities in Orlando.

What Kind of Kayak Tours are in Orlando?

Kayaking options range from early morning adventures into the sparkly Rock Springs (this is what we did), to bioluminescent kayak tours and sunset excursions through Winter Park’s Venetian style canals.

For my next trip, I want to do the bioluminescent tour. If you follow my travels, you know that I saw bioluminescence in Norway by chance. That was such a magical experience that I can’t help but to seek out a repeat wherever I can!

Boggy Creek Airboat Rides

If you are in need of some Orlando vacation ideas for adults, this is a super fun option for you. 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.

Travel blogger, Bella Bucchiotti of xoxoBella, shares about planning a trip to Orlando, Florida.  There are so many outdoor adventures and activities in Orlando.

It was the best weather when we went on this airboat and we really enjoyed it. The area is so expansive, meaning that there is so much to see. I definitely recommend this if you are planning a trip to Orlando Florida.

What Do you See on a Florida Air Boat Tour?

Depending on which tour you choose, you can also see an authentic Native American village replica. You can learn all about the Native American culture, and how actual families survived living in these swamps. This is especially cool for any history and culture buffs, or anyone interested in learning more about Native American culture.

You will be able to see the kinds of rooms that each member of a traditional Native family would have lived in. It’s a living history museum which means that a real family will talk about their ancestors and what their lives were like.

Travel blogger, Bella Bucchiotti of xoxoBella, shares about planning a trip to Orlando, Florida.  There are so many outdoor adventures and activities in Orlando.

What else can you do at Boggy Creek Airboats?

If you’re more comfortable on dry land, you can skip the air boat ride and stay in your comfort zone. There are bike and buggy rentals available to rent for exploring the 32-acre Lake Shore Park. You can also do gem and fossil mining, which would be a great activity for families!

Additionally, there’s an on-site baby gator pond where you can watch these little baby reptiles from a safe distance. And of course, there is a restaurant where you can relax in the air conditioning and refuel. You might also want to picnic at the many tables outside while relaxing under the shady oak trees.

Travel blogger, Bella Bucchiotti of xoxoBella, shares about planning a trip to Orlando, Florida.  There are so many outdoor adventures and activities in Orlando.

Can you Take a Night Time Airboat Tour?

Sunsets here are beautiful. This might be a great reason to take an evening tour, alongside the fact that spotting gators at night is guaranteed! They use powerful search lights on their night time tours, which ensures good visuals of the night hunters. This is why the air boat rides make for such great outdoor activities in Orlando.

How do you See Alligators on an Airboat Tour?

According to their site, the best times to spot alligators on your boat ride would be before 11 am on a morning tour, or during one of the evening tours.

My Trip to Orlando Vlog

Watch my trip to Orlando vlog below or on YouTube for better quality.

Other Outdoor Activities for Next Trip to Orlando

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.

As you can see, there’s still so much to do in Orlando, even after you’ve left.

All of these would be great things to do in Florida with friends, too! If you’ve got your heart set on a road trip, this is a wonderful destination to pick.

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.

Travel blogger, Bella Bucchiotti of xoxoBella, shares about planning a trip to Orlando, Florida.  There are so many outdoor adventures and activities in Orlando.

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.

Travel blogger, Bella Bucchiotti of xoxoBella, shares about planning a trip to Orlando, Florida.  There are so many outdoor adventures and activities in Orlando.

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

iFLY Orlando

Located on International Drive, Orlando’s indoor skydiving center, iFly Orlando, 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.

Travel blogger, Bella Bucchiotti of xoxoBella, shares about planning a trip to Orlando, Florida.  There are so many outdoor adventures and activities in Orlando.

ICON Orlando Observation Wheel

The ICON Orlando is a 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.

Travel blogger, Bella Bucchiotti of xoxoBella, shares about planning a trip to Orlando, Florida.  Travelling to Orlando with adults and a group of friends is so fun!

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.

Travel blogger, Bella Bucchiotti of xoxoBella, shares about planning a trip to Orlando, Florida.  Travelling to Orlando with adults and a group of friends is so fun!

Madame Tussauds and SEA LIFE Aquarium

Since we were travelling to Orlando Florida, we simply couldn’t miss the opportunity to visit Madame Tussauds. This stop is definitely one of the best vacation ideas for adults! 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’d start talking at any moment!

Travel blogger, Bella Bucchiotti of xoxoBella, shares about planning a trip to Orlando, Florida.  Travelling to Orlando with adults and a group of friends is so fun!

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 colourful fish, jellyfish, sharks, and turtles while walking through 360-degree ocean tunnel. A truly unique experience.

Travel blogger, Bella Bucchiotti of xoxoBella, shares about planning a trip to Orlando, Florida.  Travelling to Orlando with adults and a group of friends is so fun!
Travel blogger, Bella Bucchiotti of xoxoBella, shares about planning a trip to Orlando, Florida.  Travelling to Orlando with adults and a group of friends is so fun!

Orlando StarFlyer

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!

Travel blogger, Bella Bucchiotti of xoxoBella, shares about planning a trip to Orlando, Florida.  Travelling to Orlando with adults and a group of friends is so fun!

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!

Travel blogger, Bella Bucchiotti of xoxoBella, shares about planning a trip to Orlando, Florida.  An Orlando vacation for adults is so fun!

So, there you have it—travelling to Orlando Florida is super worth it all in all. You can plan a visit to the big theme parks, such as a trip to Universal Studios or Disney, and have an amazing time without a doubt.

However, there is also so much more that you can see and do while in this city. Orlando vacation ideas for adults go way beyond just the theme parks. You can explore the many outdoor activities there are available, (most of them being both adult and kid-friendly) go on its beautiful nature trails and parks, and lots of other fun things.

There are also a ton of things to do in Florida with friends, so get on planning that girls’ getaway or the road trip you’ve been dreaming of taking! Orlando is certainly a nice place to choose as one of your destinations. You’ll have no shortage of things to do there, that’s for sure. You will find LOTS of Orlando vacation ideas for adults and groups of friends.

This post about planning a trip to Orlando, Florida has been sponsored by Visit Orlando. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support me. 

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xoxoBella is a popular travel and lifestyle blog featuring travel inspiration, fashion, recipes, dog mom tips and fitness motivation. Bella Bucchiotti lives with and advocates for Type 1 Diabetes and Celiac Disease awareness.

Leave a Comment

  1. You did so much on your trip! I really want to go to Harry Potter World, I’ve never been!

    Posted 10.10.18 Reply
  2. Oh my goodness! This looks like such a fun trip. I actually took a trip to Orlando a few weeks ago, but my boyfriend and I went solely to go to Universal, so we didn’t get to fit in all of the other awesome things that you did. We had so much fun at Universal though and stayed from open to close. I definitely agree that it’s best to get there as early as possible.

    Posted 10.10.18 Reply
  3. Tara Liston Fuller wrote:

    you take the BEST trips!! i’m dying over that canoe experience!

    Posted 10.10.18 Reply
  4. ahh i love orlando! Im going there in a few weeks! the springs and universal are my faves! I had a lot of friends who would go to ifly every weekend for a while

    Posted 10.11.18 Reply
  5. Deborah wrote:

    WOW looks like you had the BEST time! I love Orlando!

    Posted 10.11.18 Reply
  6. Alix Maza wrote:

    That kayaking trip looks so fun! The water looks gorgeous.

    Posted 10.11.18 Reply
  7. Your trip looks so fun! Orlando definitely has so many activities. Universal Studies is one of my favorites!

    Posted 10.11.18 Reply
  8. Jenna wrote:

    Oh my gosh I used to LOVE going to Orlando for vacation when I was a kid! So magical!

    Posted 10.12.18 Reply
  9. I want to visit Universal Studios so badly!! LOoks like you had an amazing time!

    Posted 10.12.18 Reply
  10. Ash Neverson wrote:

    wow you certainly have the best pictures!! I love all of them and you make sightseeing so fun to see! I cant wait to visit america and explore all of these places!!

    Posted 10.13.18 Reply
  11. I love Universal Orlando – I’ve only ever done the theme parks but I should definitely branch out and do more things next time I visit.

    Posted 10.13.18 Reply
  12. the_odditty wrote:

    Omg I’ve been to Orlando and I feel like i wasted my trip because i didn’t see most of these places! Now I def have to! Great photos btw

    Posted 10.14.18 Reply
  13. Deborah wrote:

    I’ve been wanting to go back to Orlando and this post is giving me FOMO!

    Posted 10.15.18 Reply
  14. Ugh this is making me want to go to Orlando so much!

    Posted 10.15.18 Reply
  15. This looks like a blast! We’re heading to Orlando… tomorrow, in fact! But we’re going to Disney World. I haven’t explored the area outside of Disney! That clear bottom kayak, though… amazing!

    Posted 10.15.18 Reply
  16. Anne Belo wrote:

    I remember our Orlando trip before! It was so gooood! I miss florida omg 🙁

    Posted 10.25.18 Reply