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2017 Orlando Bucket List, Summer Edition

orlando bucket list summer

Temperatures are inching higher here in central Florida and you know what that means—it’s time for all manner of summer fun activities! Wondering about the top things to do this summer in Orlando, Florida? The Sunshine State is famous for its theme parks, as well as its extensive opportunities for outdoor fun, but Disney, swimming holes and great hiking spots are just the beginning of all that central Florida has to offer.

Orlando Bucket List, Summer Edition

Our Orlando Summer Bucket List is below and don’t worry: This list of summer fun activities truly has something for everyone. Read on to find out all about the top things to do this summer in Orlando.

Water and Theme/Adventure Parks

Wekiwa Springs State Park is just a 20-minute drive north of Orlando and it’s well worth the trip. You’ll get a glimpse of gorgeous, unspoiled vistas that hint at just how central Florida appeared to the Timucuan Indians who lived here long ago. Perfect for picnics and trail activities like hiking, biking and horseback riding, as well as swimming in a relaxing natural setting, there’s truly something for everyone. You can even rent a kayak or canoe or go camping! Be sure to arrive early, especially if it’s a summer weekend, as the park can fill up fast.

Gatorland allows tourists and Florida residents alike to view thousands of the state’s most famous reptiles. Attractions include animal shows, a natural alligator breeding marsh, a zip line and even a petting zoo (yikes!). If you have a child with a summer birthday, Gatorland even hosts unique birthday parties. Be sure to look out for Florida resident promotions, as the theme park periodically offers discounts off admission prices and other perks to residents.

Simple Attractions Closer to Home

Looking for less of an adventure and more good, plain fun? Here are a few ideas for simple ways to enjoy your summer.

Take in an Outdoor Movie

Central Park in Winter Park offers its Popcorn Flicks in the Park film series—classic films for the whole family, screened on the second Thursday of each month throughout the summer (as long as the weather cooperates).

Enjoy a Sweet Icy Treat

Ice cream is everyone’s favorite in the summer and with places like Swine and Sons in Winter Park, The Soda Fountain and Kelly’s Homemade Ice Creams and Sorbets, Orlando has no shortage of fantastic ice cream shops. But what about ice pops? Orlando hotspots like the Pop Parlour and Yum Yum Pops serve up artisanal alternatives to more traditional ice cream fare, with wonderfully unique and refreshing flavors like blueberry lemon, cranberry ginger and watermelon mint. And don’t forget about National Root Beer Float Day on August 6 every year—the perfect day to enjoy this sweet, creamy treat.

Take a Segway Tour

If you’ve never tried being a sightseeing tourist in your own city, it’s time you gave it a spin. With multiple Segway tour companies to choose from, even residents can enjoy discovering Orlando like a tourist! Segway tours are a lot of fun, and they prevent getting overtired from pounding the pavement on foot as you check out nature trails, wildlife, the famous Mount Dora lighthouse and other sites around Orlando.

Try a Staycation

Want to get away without all the hassle of actually getting away? Why not spend the weekend at one of Orlando’s many fabulous hotels or resorts? Find a spot with an on-site spa, a golf course or a lazy river and you’ll feel as if you really went on vacation—without ever leaving your city. For just a few great options, check out Reunion Resort, the Hilton Orlando or Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate.

Up for a Road Trip?

If you’re up for taking a bit of a drive, here are a few more summer fun activities for central Floridians.

Swimming in Silver Glen Springs, Salt Springs or Juniper Springs

A little over an hour’s drive north of Orlando brings you to Ocala National Forest, home of Silver Glen Springs, Salt Springs, Juniper Springs and several other natural spring swimming areas. Here you can swim, dive, snorkel and canoe in the crystal-clear water, surrounded by lush, gorgeous foliage. The rest of the huge forest is also well worth the trip; you can explore protected wilderness areas, ride on horseback, go hiking or kayaking on one of hundreds of lakes, rivers and springs located within the forest, or camp in a tent, RV or rented cabin. You can even bring your ATV and take off for an adventure in the woods!

Tour the Nation’s Oldest City

A two-hour drive north brings you to St. Augustine, which is home to a number of tourist attractions including the Villa Zorayda, built in the 1800s to look like a 12th-century Moorish palace; the original Ripley’s Believe It or Not; an alligator farm that’s been open to the public since the 1800s; the Castillo de San Marcos, North America’s only 17th-century fort still in existence; Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth archaeological park and more.

Visit LEGOLAND

As central Floridians already know, Disney isn’t this great state’s only awesome theme park. Just over an hour’s drive southwest of Orlando lies LEGOLAND, with more than 50 rides, shows and other attractions that have been designed especially for kids ages two to 12 years old. You and your children can enjoy roller coaster rides, water park rides, a splash-and-play, hands-on LEGO building activities or MINILAND USA—an overview of the entire Sunshine State, complete with Florida’s most famous landmarks.

Take a Boat Tour of the St. John’s River

About forty-five minutes to an hour north of Orlando—depending on where you choose to visit—the St. John’s River offers myriad opportunities for freshwater fishing, river cruising and other kinds of fun on the water. Less than an hour’s drive from Orlando, Blue Spring State Park offers spectacular views of manatees in the winter and spring months, along with swimming, diving, fishing, boating, camping and more in the later spring and summer. Or travel a little farther north to Astor, where you can rent a pontoon (or just a canoe), reserve a cabin and enjoy water and wildlife galore.

Enjoy Florida Caverns State Park in Marianna

Some of us aren’t much for swimming, fishing and other water sports. If that includes you, what about heading underground to explore some incredible caverns? About 320 miles northwest of Orlando, Florida Caverns State Park in Marianna is quite a drive for central Floridians—but it’s well worth the trip. This is Florida’s only state park offering cave tours to the public and its dazzling formations of stalagmites, stalactites, flowstones and soda straws is sure to wow you. There are also several spots nearby for swimming, fishing, horseback riding, hiking and camping. There’s even a golf course if you’re so inclined! Note that cave tours are closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays of each week.

ABC Can Help With Your Summer To-Do List

With so many ways to enjoy the summer months in the Orlando area, homeowners may find that home projects get put on the back burner. When life gets busy, trust the team at ABC Home & Commercial Services to make your life a little easier. Whether you’re looking to get a pest issue under control or take some preventative measures to protect your home this summer, ABC is here to help you better enjoy your home and all Orlando has to offer, year round.

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