Are you looking for the best day trips from Orlando? This guide has all of the day trips from Orlando that are worth the time and effort.
Orlando is by far the most visited city in all of Florida. While many come and stay for the popular theme parks, others simply make Orlando a stop on their exciting Florida road trip.
If you’re looking to escape the city for a bit, there are many possible day trips from Orlando that are absolutely fantastic. You can watch rockets launch into the sky, swim around with manatees in pristine hot springs, and embrace Cuban culture in the heart of Miami during your day trips from Orlando.
18 Best Day Trips From Orlando Worth The Effort
Best Orlando Day Trips Within 1 Hour
Rock Springs Run State Reserve
Rock Springs Run State Reserve, also known as Kelly Park, is filled with lush greenery, making it the perfect place to get away from the crowds of Orlando. Bike, hike, mountain bike, or horseback ride for miles along the many trails winding throughout the reserve.
If you’re itching for a more intense adventure, you can actually kayak from Rock Springs Run State Reserve all the way to Wekiwa Springs State Park.
To get to Rock Springs Run State Reserve from Orlando, it takes just over half an hour by car.
For more tips on visiting Kelly Park and Rock Springs, you can READ OUR POST!
Kennedy Space Center
Florida has the special honor of being home to the Kennedy Space Center, the most well-known NASA base. And you can visit this space-centric attraction!
While at the Kennedy Space Center, you can enjoy a slew of activities and attractions. Visit the U.S. astronaut hall of fame, roam through the rocket garden, learn about the Hubble Space Telescope, and even feel like an astronaut during the shuttle launch experience ride.
To get to the Kennedy Space Center from Orlando, it takes about 50 minutes by car. As an alternative, you can take a tour that includes transportation from Orlando.
Book Here: Kennedy Space Center Admission Ticket
Wekiwa Springs State Park
Wekiwa Springs State Park is one of the closest Orlando day trips. With minimal driving, you’ll be able to reach this relaxing gem. You can enjoy any of the amazing activities that you can do at most Florida springs, including swimming, fishing, hiking, wildlife spotting, and horseback riding.
Just as you can kayak or canoe from Rock Springs Run State Reserve to Wekiwa Springs State Park, you can also reverse the route. You can travel between these two beautiful state parks over the course of three miles of kayaking, although you can enjoy kayaking adventures that are anywhere from a mile to ten miles.
To get to Wekiwa Springs State Park from Orlando, it takes about 20 minutes by car.
Daytona Beach is primarily known for two things: the beach and the Daytona International Speedway. Both of these activities make Daytona Beach one of the coolest day trips from Orlando.
Daytona Beach is filled with soft sand, warm sunshine, and blue waters. In the summer after sunset, this beach also becomes home to the Daytona Bandshell Concert Series, making it a great place to catch some fantastic music. But don’t let the famous Daytona Beach be the only beach you visit in this town! Do a little exploring and see if you can find a more peaceful, under-the-radar beach.
If you’re not in Daytona for the beaches, you’re probably there for a race at the Daytona International Speedway. This racetrack is the home of the esteemed Daytona 500, the most famous NASCAR race. If you’d like to watch this race, be sure to buy your tickets in advance, because they get snatched up quickly!
To get to Daytona Beach from Orlando, it takes 50 minutes by car or an hour and 45 minutes by bus.
Canaveral National Seashore
It quite a rare feat to find an expanse of land that has remained relatively untouched, but Canaveral National Seashore might just fit the bill. With 24 miles of beautiful beach, this national park was established in 1975 to protect this one-of-a-kind natural landscape.
Since Canaveral National Seashore has been closed off to development for so long, many wild animals have flocked to it. It’s not uncommon to see turtles lounging on the seashore, alligators crawling around during your drive in, or bald eagles cruising across the sky. While there, you can keep an eye out for these elusive animals or simply enjoy the sunny, shell-filled seashore.
To get to Canaveral National Seashore from Orlando, it takes 55 minutes by car.
Blue Springs State Park
Blue Springs State Park is one of the few day trips from Orlando where you may be able to see manatees! These gentle sea creatures are often found in Florida’s springs, which is quite a unique experience.
While swimming or snorkeling with the manatees is not allowed, you can take a kayaking tour to see these manatees! Please remember to keep your distance for both your safety and the safety of the manatees.
To get to Blue Springs State Park from Orlando, it takes 40 minutes by car.
Best Orlando Day Trips Under 2 Hours
Cocoa Beach is often referred to as one of the best beaches in Florida. And it also happens to be a surfer’s paradise. While enjoying the beach, soaking up the sun, and surfing the waves are among the most popular things to do in Cocoa Beach, there are plenty of other water- and surf-related activities to do in this sunshine-filled town. Stroll around the Cocoa Beach Pier, wander through the largest surf shop in the world, or even explore the Florida Surf Museum.
To get to Cocoa Beach from Orlando, it takes one hour by car or two hours and 40 minutes using public transportation.
Bok Tower Gardens
Be sure to add the Bok Tower Gardens to not only your list of day trips from Orlando, but simply to your list of things to do in Florida! That’s just how amazing this 200-acre botanical garden is.
There are two main highlights of the Bok Tower Gardens: the gardens and the Singing Tower. There are hundreds of plant species that fill the gardens. Many of them are seasonal, which means that no matter how often you visit, the gardens will always look a little bit different.
The Singing Tower may be the real highlight of the Bok Tower Gardens. Standing at 150-feet tall, this tower emits beautiful music played by a musician inside the tower who controls 60 different bells!
To get to the Bok Tower Gardens from Orlando, it takes an hour by car.
John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art
Situated in Sarasota, the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, typically referred to as “The Ringling,” is the official state art museum of Florida. Because of this title, The Ringling is home to thousands of pieces of amazing artwork.
With all of these pieces, The Ringling is able to showcase the work of innovative artists. Some of the most well-known include Benedetto Pagni, Marcel Duchamp, Nicolas Poussin, and Benjamin West.
To get to the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art from Orlando, it takes just under two hours by car.
Weeki Wachee Springs State Park
Weeki Wachee Springs State Park is one of the hidden gems of Florida. This natural-spring-turned-mermaid-attraction is definitely one of the most unique day trips from Orlando.
While the one-of-a-kind mermaid show is the highlight of Weeki Wachee, there are a bunch of other activities to enjoy. You can also take a boat tour, dive into freshwater caves, zigzag down the slides at the water park section, or simply swim throughout the turquoise spring.
To get to Weeki Wachee Springs State Park from Orlando, it takes an hour and a half by car.
The city of Crystal River is known for Three Sisters Spring, one of the prettiest springs in Florida and one of the best places to see manatees! While most manatee-spotting places require you to stay out of the water or in a boat, you can actually swim with the manatees in Crystal River.
But manatee-sighting isn’t all that Crystal River has to offer. Try your hand at scalloping, savor delicious ice cream from one of the many ice cream parlors, or hop aboard a jet ski.
To get to Crystal River from Orlando, it takes an hour and a half by car. As an alternative, you can take a tour that includes transportation from Orlando.
St. Augustine has an extensive history that makes it one of the coolest day trips from Orlando. Established in 1565 by Spanish explorers, St. Augustine is the oldest European settlement in the U.S.
Due to its history, many of the things to do in this town are history-related. Visit the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, check out Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park, or pop into the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Maritime Museum. If you’re looking for a few activities that aren’t history-centric, shop around George Street or enjoy the sun and sand at St. Augustine Beach.
To get to St. Augustine from Orlando, it takes an hour and 40 minutes by car or two hours and 20 minutes by bus. As an alternative, you can also take a tour that includes transportation from Orlando.
Situated in Ocala National Forest, Alexander Springs is one of the most pristine springs in all of Florida. As a matter of fact, the waters in this particular spring are so clear that it has become a popular spot for local photographers to capture underwater shots.
If you’re hoping for a little adventure, consider tackling the Alexander Run. This six-mile canoe run is filled with Florida wildlife, including alligators and turtles!
To get to Alexander Springs from Orlando, it takes just over an hour by car.
Best Orlando Day Trips Over 2 Hours
If you’re looking to cool off from the hot Florida sun, Ginnie Springs is one of the best day trips from Orlando for that. You can do all of the usual spring activities, including swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, cave diving, and kayaking, at this breathtaking teal spring. But the most exciting activity at this spring may be tubing, as there are only a handful of Florida springs that allow this fun activity.
To get to Ginnie Springs from Orlando, it takes just over two hours by car.
There’s nowhere else in Florida that’s quite like Captiva Island. While, yes, there are of course beaches and islands found throughout the Sunshine State, Captiva Island has a zesty personality that isn’t found anywhere else in the state. After all, where else can you find a museum solely dedicated to shelling or a restaurant that celebrates Christmas all year round?
To get to Captiva Island from Orlando, it takes three and a half hours by car.
Edison And Ford Winter Estates
The Edison and Ford Winter Estates once served as the winter homes of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford, two of the most noteworthy American inventors. While in the past these estates were where many famous inventions were concocted, today they are a historical museum and botanical garden.
While at the estates, you can tour the historic homes, weave through the blooming gardens, and even peek into the laboratory that was once used by Edison and Ford.
To get to the Edison and Ford Winter Estates, it takes just under three hours by car.
As a city filled with culture and sunshine, Miami is packed with things to do. As a matter of fact, many people extend their day trip to Miami to a weekend in Miami.
If you’re hoping to immerse yourself in the culture, head to Little Havana. Sip on a cup of Cuban coffee, play a game of dominos with the locals at Maximo Gomez Park, or check out one of the many live performances.
As an alternative, you can enjoy the sunshine at South Beach, one of the most iconic spots in all of Miami. And when you’ve finally had your fill of fun in the sun, head to Espanola Way for some of the best food and music in town!
If you’d like to see as much as possible in a short amount of time, consider taking a Miami sightseeing cruise. While you won’t get to see everything up close, you will be able to catch a glimpse of everything you’d like to see.
To get to Miami from Orlando, it takes three and a half hours by car.
Book Here: 90-Minute Miami Sightseeing Cruise
Everglades National Park
When people think of Florida, one of three things comes to mind: the theme parks, the beaches, or the Everglades. The Everglades National Park in South Florida is a protected piece of land about 20% of the everglades in Florida.
The most popular thing to do in the Everglades is take a wildlife viewing tour. While alligators are the most popular creatures found in the Florida Everglades, keep your eyes peeled for manatees and Florida panthers.
To get to the Everglades National Park from Orlando, it takes three and a half hours by car.
Book Here: Everglades National Park Airboat Tour