While Orlando is home to one of the top tourist destinations in the U.S., Disney World, there are tons of day trip options in the area for when you want to branch out from the Magic Kingdom. Within a 2-hour drive from Orlando you can find beaches, wildlife, cities, and even a space station. From Orlando’s location in central Florida, your day trip options have something for everyone.
Located next to each other on the Atlantic Coast, under an hour from Orlando, you can easily enjoy the beach at Cape Canaveral and visit the Kennedy Space Center in one day. In Cape Canaveral, you can visit the Manatee Sanctuary Park and enjoy the waterfront boardwalk. The Kennedy Space Center is a great destination for both kids and adults. You may know it as the place where NASA launches space shuttles and station modules. But there are also interactive exhibits and many spacecraft and other things to see. If you get hungry during your sightseeing day, head to the Westgate Cocoa Beach Pier just south of Cape Canaveral where you will find restaurants and shops along the ocean.
St. Augustine lays claim to being the oldest city in the U.S. You can still see the influence of the Spanish explorers who first settled there. The city is less than 2 hours from Orlando, and you can see historic sights there and get some sun at St. Augustine Beach. The Castillo de San Marcos, a fortress from the 1600s, is one of the most popular sights. But there are other historic buildings to see, as well as museums like Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park.
Blue Spring State Park
If you are into water sports, then Blue Spring State Park is a great choice for a day trip. The park is just 40 minutes north of Orlando outside Orange City. You can do a range of activities including SCUBA diving, kayaking and canoeing, camping and hiking. The waters of Blue Spring are consistently around 72 degrees, so this is also a great winter destination. Manatees also call the park home, and you can spot them along with birds and other wildlife.
Drive west on Interstate 4 for about 2 hours and you’ll reach Clearwater, Florida and Clearwater Beach on the Gulf of Mexico. The beach is known for its white sand and blue water and is a destination for parasailing and other activities. There is a promenade that runs along the beach where you can find restaurants and shops. If you have kids along, be sure to visit the Clearwater Marine Aquarium featuring dolphins, sea turtles and other creatures.
Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park
Get up close and personal with some of the creatures that call Florida home at the Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park. Located outside the town of Homosassa along the Gulf Coast, the park is home to a variety of fish and manatees, along with the endangered Florida panther, alligators, bears, flamingoes and the oldest hippopotamus in captivity. It’s about a 1.5-hour drive to get there from Orlando, and you will drive through several wildlife management areas along the way where you can look out for other animals!
SIXT Rent a Car in Orlando
Turn heads when you drive down the road in a car rental from SIXT in Orlando. We have convenient locations for you to choose from, including at the airport and near Disney World. The warm weather makes this the perfect place to rent a convertible. Or if you’re traveling with a group, choose an SUV that fits everyone and everything.