We all know that the majority of tourists who flock to Orlando each year are going for the thrill of the theme park experience at Disney World and Universal Studios.
However, beyond a catch up with Mickey and Minnie Mouse, there is plenty to do in Orlando. Nicknamed the “Beautiful City” for good reason, America’s 77th largest city boasts arboretums, parks, lakes, a natural spring and is a wonderful city to spend a day exploring.
Relax Downtown by Lake Eola
Situated slap bang in the heart of Orlando, Lake Eola remains one of the untouched emblems of this city. As Orlando has rapidly developed from a small city running on the citrus industry into the mega-city that it is today, Lake Eola has remained ever present and is a peaceful, beautiful spot to take in Orlando’s skyline.
The lake itself, home to the majestic fountain, is actually an 80-foot sinkhole; if you’re lucky you might catch a concert or play in the amphitheatre. On Sundays the park also plays host to a popular farmers’ market.
Watch Live Alligator Exhibits at Lake Jesup
For those with families or just for the slightly more adventurous among us, a trip to Lake Jesup comes highly recommended. One of Central Florida’s largest lakes, here you’ll find free live alligator feeding and bird exhibits. You’ll catch the brave trainers feed the lake’s gators, which is home to the densest population of these magnificent beasts anywhere in the state, some of which grow up to 12 feet long.
Visit the World’s Most Comprehensive Collection of Louis Comfort Tiffany works
Located in the magnificent Winter Park, just outside the hustle and bustle of the city, the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art is home to incredible stained-glass windows and watercolours as well as 19th century to early 20th century American decorative art.
One of the main attractions here is the 1,080 sq foot Tiffany Chapel. The magnificent structure, first built for use in the 1983 World’s Fair, required 2½ years of painstaking work to complete.
Got More than One Day?
If you choose book an Orlando Cruise+Stay holiday, you’ll have 4 days to spend in this amazing city. Why not take a kayaking trip through the eco-paradise that is Shingle Creek Regional Park. Hotels such as The Marriot and The Ritz-Carlton offer 2-hour guided tours twice a day, or more experienced kayakers can set off on their own.
You’ll have the opportunity to watch incredible wildlife such as bald eagles and alligators in their natural habitat, which is a million times more exciting, rewarding and fulfilling than any of the popular man-made attractions commonly associated with Orlando.
Also, if you fancy making a permanent contribution to the habitat, the Ritz-Carlton offers you the chance to purchase your own one-of-a-kind birdhouse. You’ll be able to paint it yourself and then travel out with a guide to have it installed.
Image credits: Ricymar Photography, Jamal Fanaian, Robert Neff