Orlando, Florida is well-known as a home to the world’s top theme parks. However, there are a great selection of unique outdoor activities in Orlando and active vacation experiences that will get your blood pumping and boost your spirits, too. From soaring through the air to gliding through the water, you’ll find plenty of fun non theme park things to do in Orlando, Florida. Read on for all the fun spots in Orlando besides theme parks.
Moreover, Orlando’s diverse landscape offers splendid vistas of lakes, rivers, natural springs, and lush forests. This is just one of the reasons that visitors to this super fun city are so spoilt for choice with things to do. I would love to see even more of Florida. I recently saw a post with 10 Unique Things to do in Jacksonville that has me planning a trip to northern Florida soon.
A lot of visitors simply flock to the rollercoasters without exploring all the non theme park things to do in Orlando. There’s actually so much more to the sunshine state than that. Fun spots in Orlando are definitely not hard to find, and fun outdoor activities are no exception.
Overall, there are a lot more non theme park things to do in Orlando, Florida than people realize. So, let’s dive in to seven of the best things to do in Orlando besides theme parks!
1. Orlando Balloon Rides
Looking for interesting, fun spots in Orlando? If you’ve never been on a balloon ride, you should definitely consider this first one! Orlando Balloon Rides will take you on a unique adventure high above the grounds. An hour-long flight thousands of feet above the treetops will provide a spectacular opportunity to enjoy sites around Orlando near Disney from orange groves to theme parks.
Why is a Balloon Ride a Great Alternative to Theme Park Rides?
This was one of the most thrilling non theme park things to do in Orlando that I found. Who needs all those rollercoasters when you can rise up into the air thousands of feet? With this activity, you can actually enjoy the view as well. It certainly lasts much longer than a theme park ride, and you get to avoid those lines. Plus, there’s much less panic and terror up there lol. It’s actually quite serene and beautiful!
How do you Prepare for a Hot Air Balloon Ride?
Be sure to bring close-toed shoes and a light sweater, as it can get a bit chilly up there in the air. We went on a sunrise flight. The early morning wake-up call was worth watching the sun rise from the balloon. Definitely a bucket list experience. If you’re looking for outdoor activities in Orlando near Disney, add this to your list!
2. iFLY Orlando
If you’d rather get your thrill safely and indoors, don’t worry—there are more fun spots in Orlando to go around! Indoor skydiving might be right up your alley. Orlando’s indoor skydiving centre has a new location on International Drive. You’ll have an exceptional opportunity to safely float on a column of air in a 1,000 hp high vertical wind tunnel. You don’t need to have any jumping or parachute experience. And if you like this kind of adventure, yet fear to jump from a plane, iFLY Orlando is a great destination to experience free falling.
What is Indoor Skydiving Like?
This was hands down the best experience! I have always wanted to do sky diving, so this was the safe and super fun version of that. They teach you the right form and how to do some cool tricks. There is an instructor there the whole time making sure you don’t get hurt and to show you the ropes. Josh and I really enjoyed this and would 100% do it again! It was perfect for anyone who wants to find non theme park things to do in Orlando.
A special thanks to Josh for joining me on this trip and taking my photos.
3. ICON Orlando Observation Wheel
For anyone who thinks there’s nothing to do in Orlando besides theme parks, just check out this amazing wheel! The ICON Orlando Observation Wheel is an iconic 400-foot tall observation wheel that provides spectacular views of Central Florida in all directions within 30 fully enclosed, air-conditioned glass capsules.
I actually went here a few years ago with my mom and we both enjoyed it. This time Josh and I went in the evening and it was equally as spectacular. There are so many lights and you get some nice views of the city around you. Out of my list of things to do in Orlando Florida, this had one of the prettiest views!
4. SEA LIFE Aquarium & Madame Tussauds
Don’t miss the opportunity to visit Madame Tussauds, the world’s most famous celebrity wax attraction. Bursting with fun and a brand new, interactive experience, Madame Tussauds is a really fun place to spend some time if you are a celebrity buff. Where else can you take a selfie with T-Swift?!? Trust me, you’ll want to take photos with lots of different “celebrities” when you’re there.
What can you Find at Madame Tussauds?
You’ll see wax figures that look super life-like. The kind of celebrity figures you will see range from music icons and sports stars. You can even find characters from your favourite movies such as Marvel superhero characters, classic movies that will remind you of your childhood, and much more.
Is Madame Tussauds Social Distance Friendly?
Yes—they have implemented a ton of safety measures now that they have reopened. They have plexiglass installed throughout the place where needed, hand sanitizer, and social distancing rules in place. You are also required to wear a mask to help keep everyone safe. Lots of cleaning takes place throughout, and pretty consistently, so you won’t have to worry about health and safety while you’re there! It’s all taken care of.
Sea Life Orlando
On the other hand, SEA LIFE Orlando offers sensational underwater adventures with species from the oceans of the world. You’ll have a unique opportunity to be face to face with more than 5,000 sea creatures such as vibrantly colourful fish, jellyfish, sharks, and turtles while walking through a 360-degree ocean tunnel. You’ll definitely get to see plenty of underwater life here!
There are various exhibits, such as the feeding frenzy, the coastal rock pool, and more.
The 360-degree ocean tunnel was my favourite part. We also loved seeing the sting rays and I got to touch a star fish! 🙂 If you are interested in things to do in Orlando Florida that involve wildlife from under the sea, this is the perfect place for you.
What does Sea Life Orlando have to do with Madame Tussauds?
You can get a combo ticket to go to both of these attractions in the same day. This is definitely a good way of knocking out two things back-to-back. Madame Tussauds happens to be located right next door to Sea Life, so it’s a convenient way to go.
You also don’t actually have to visit the second attraction the same day. You have up to 30 days to go to the second one after you’ve visited the first! Plus, you’ll save money booking that way.
5. Orlando StarFlyer
Are you itching to conquer your fear of heights—or do you have no fear at all and just love the views up high? Either way, don’t miss a visit to the Orlando StarFlyer, the world’s tallest swing ride attraction standing 450 feet high above the ground. The colossal swing attraction opened this summer and Josh and I absolutely loved it! We went on it twice…but be prepared because it goes fast!!
Who should go on the StarFlyer?
The StarFlyer is okay for people of all ages. According to the website, you just have to be at least 44 inches tall. It’s especially great if you want to go on some kind of ride, but you don’t feel like committing to the whole theme park experience. Or maybe you just don’t have a whole day to dedicate to spending at one adventure park. Whatever the case may be, the StarFlyer might just be the good way to go.
See, you don’t need theme parks to seek out a thrill. This is one of the best non theme park things to do in Orlando near Disney, in my opinion. Normally I don’t do well on things that spin around but I was fine on this. Yeah!!
6. Get Up and Go Kayaking
If you’re up for a unique experience of exploring the crystal-clear waters of Rock Springs, a clear kayak from Get Up and Go is the best way to do it (Get Up and Go Kayaking is the only company in Florida to use clear kayaks). The clear boats act as a huge magnifying glass, so you’ll have no trouble to catch a glimpse of fish and otters as they swim by. That’s what makes this one of the best outdoor activities in Orlando.
What are the Different Kayak Experiences you can do at Get Up and Go Kayaking?
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. If this doesn’t prove there’s a ton of things to do in Orlando besides theme parks, I don’t know what does!
What Would I Choose for my Next Kayaking Tour?
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.
7. Boggy Creek Airboat Rides
Looking for things to do in Orlando Florida? You should definitely check out an airboat ride experience. Boggy Creek Airboat Rides offers a unique opportunity to enjoy the scenic views of the wildlife and cypress trees while gliding through Florida wetlands at speeds up to 50 mph (80 kilometres per hour). You will have an opportunity to take a glimpse of alligators, turtles, snakes, osprey, and bald eagles while gliding through wetlands.
It was the best weather when we went on this airboat and we really enjoyed it. The area is so unique and there is so much to see. I definitely recommend this for outdoor activities in Orlando near Disney.
What Else can you See on the Boggy Creek Airboat Tours?
Depending on which tour you choose, you can also opt to see an authentic Native American village replica. You will learn about the Native American culture, and how actual families survived living in these swamps.
You can even see 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. It’s great for people of all ages to enjoy!
What can you do on Dry Land at the Boggy Creek Airboat Rides?
If you’re more comfortable on dry land, there are also bike and buggy rentals available to rent for exploring the 32-acre Lake Shore Park. You can do gem and fossil mining, which would be a great interactive activity for kids to do with their families! That makes this activity one of the most family-friendly fun spots in Orlando.
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 get your grub on. You can also picnic at the many tables outside while relaxing under the oak trees and in the shady breeze.
What about Night Boggy Creek Airboat Tours?
Sunsets here are beautiful as well. 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.
When is the Best Time to see Gators?
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.
The Best Things to do in Orlando – Outdoor Adventures Vlog
You can watch my The Best Things to do in Orlando – Outdoor Adventures Vlog below or on YouTube for better quality.
As you can see, there are so many fun spots in Orlando besides theme parks. You just have to step outside the crazy crowds and do a little exploring. There are just so many fun and adventurous non theme park things to do in Orlando, Florida!!
I hope you check out some of these fun spots in Orlando on your next trip. Do you have a trip to Orlando planned soon? Let me know if you have other outdoor activities in Orlando that I should try next trip. Someone suggested spending the day at Discovery Cove, which I promptly added to my Orlando bucket list.
This post about non theme park things to do in Orlando, Florida has been sponsored by Visit Orlando. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support me.