Would you like to plan a fun family vacation in sunny Florida? This southernmost state in the US offers an abundance of attractions for those seeking a great holiday destination, providing visitors with everything from beautiful beaches, amazing amusement parks, incredible museums, fantastic cruise ship departures and much, much more. In the center of it all is Orlando, the Theme Park Capital of the World. More than fifty million people every year come to Orlando by car, bus, boat and plane. In fact, flights to Orlando International Airport arrive every few minutes from places all over the world, since Orlando and its amusement parks attract a huge number of international visitors. You can find some great discount package deals with a quick online search and get a good price for combining your plane tickets with a hotel or timeshare resort deal that includes theme park tickets.
In addition to its world renowned amusement parks, Orlando and Central Florida have many interesting and exciting attractions to offer. There is something to please the whole family here in sunny, beautiful Orlando, and we’ve provided some information about local attractions based on the area of interest so you can plan a fun and memorable vacation for your family.
Roller Coasters and Other Thrill Rides
Theme parks are the main attraction in Orlando, with the biggest draw being the biggest and best roller coaster rides. Disney World’s Magic Kingdom was the leader in building the first major Florida theme park when this sister to California’s Disneyland was constructed in 1971. Space Mountain and Thunder Mountain were the first king-sized coasters in Orlando, but thrill seekers will find a coaster paradise in Orlando. (We aren’t talking about the kiddie coasters; you’ll have to be at least 42 inches tall to be allowed to enjoy these rides. )For those who are not faint of heart, here is a list of some of the area’s most popular roller coasters:
Best Florida Roller Coasters
- The Incredible Hulk Coaster, Universal Islands of Adventure
- Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit, Universal Studios
- Manta, SeaWorld
- Rock’n’Roller Coaster, Disney’s Hollywood Studios
- Sheikra, Busch Gardens
- Dueling Dragons, Universal Islands of Adventure
- Kraken, SeaWorld
- Kumba, Busch Gardens
For those who love the water as much as they love thrill rides, the water parks in Orlando offer the best of both worlds. You can swim with the dolphins in Discovery Cove, or enjoy a lazy river float in Typhoon Lagoon, or you can hang on tight for a Wet’n’Wild thrill ride that ends with a huge splash at some of these great watery theme parks.
Best Florida Water Rides
- Brain Wash, Wet’n’Wild
- Jurassic Park River Adventure, Universal’s Islands of Adventure
- Downhill Double Dipper, Disney’s Blizzard Beach
- Dolphin Plunge, SeaWorld’s Aquatica Water Park
- The Bubba Tub, Wet’n’Wild
- Runoff Rapids, Disney’s Blizzard Beach
- Humunga Kowabunga, Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon
- Bubba Tub, Wet’n’Wild
- Splash Out, Legoland Water Park
Although the theme parks are certainly the main attraction in Orlando, this lovely city in central Florida offers much more to keep you occupied during your visit to the Sunshine State. If you enjoy stepping outside the box and exploring a few different venues besides the amusement parks, then check out some of these alternative attractions in Orlando.
About an hour’s drive outside Orlando, this lush nature center in the small town of St. Cloud, Florida, covers 4,700 acres of protected wetlands, wilderness and prairie lands where the endangered Florida panther is free to roam. Forever Florida is the opposite of a theme park, committed to conversation and protecting the wildlife of the state, and visitors enjoy taking a Coach Safari through this gorgeous nature park to see the panther and other amazing creatures. The zipline is a fun adventure here that involves whizzing through the treetops for a bird’s eye view of the park.
Kennedy Space Center
Just a forty-five minute drive from Orlando, the Kennedy Space Center is the only place on the planet where regular people can explore a NASA launch headquarters, touring the actual launch areas and seeing the giant rocket ships. You can even participate in spaceflight training in a NASA simulator, and perhaps enjoy having lunch with a real veteran astronaut. Depending on the timing, you may even be fortunate enough to witness a rocket ship launch in person.
Whether you come for the beaches, the roller coasters, or just to get away from chilly northern winters, a visit to Orlando, Florida is a fun and exciting holiday for people of all ages.