Central Florida

Day trips within driving distance

As you probably already know, planning a trip to Orlando can be very time consuming and detail-oriented. We have already given you some great information on Walt Disney World, now let's dive into what else makes Central Florida the best vacation destination!

Crystal River

1 hour and 36 minutes from Orlando

Things to do: Bordering 20 miles of the northern Gulf Coast, these springs are a delight for photographers and nature lovers. Manatees are abundant at the Three Sisters Springs and there are seven miles of hiking trails.

Daytona

1 hour from Orlando

Things to do: Drift over to East Orlando and feel cars zoom past you faster than you’ll ever experience at the Daytona International Speedway. Also, there’s a museum inside many people forget exist full of race car history. Or get a little taste of boardwalk fun with the amusement rides over at Daytona. With a roller coaster, go-kart track and arcade, it kind of seems like Orlando’s Fun Spot except this is right on the beach.

Devil's Den

1 hour and 31 minutes from Orlando

Things to do: Get more underground than you already are at Devil’s Den. These springs are famous in viral FB videos you’ve probably seen shared by now because of how rad they are. The 33 million-year-old fossil beds are something to brag about after you’ve scuba or snorkeled around them.

Gainesville

1 hour 45 minutes from Orlando

Things to do: Head to the swamp area of Florida, where you can view alluring flowers and the state’s largest public display of bamboos as well as the Southeast’s largest herb garden at Kanapaha Botanical Garden. Eat pizza inside of a bus full of repurposed decorations like keys, sunglasses and bottle caps at Satchel’s Pizza. If you’re into spookier things and love a good sunset view, then head to the world’s largest occupied bat colony inside UF’s campus and see bats swooping low and out into the night.

Ormond Beach

1 hour 12 minutes from Orlando

Things to do: Nature photographers could come out with a full portfolio after visiting the Ormond Scenic Loop & Trail full of marshes, creeks, island dunes and critters all around. Views like these are also abundant at Tomoka State Park, where visitors can camp, hike, and boat around the waters.

DeLand

48 minutes from Orlando

Things to do: Sometimes called “the Athens of Florida,” DeLand is full of vintage architectural detail to spot on its antique buildings and homes. Hontoon Island State Park is a nice visit for adventure seekers, but be cautious of bears. If you feel like shopping for a gift to take home, check out the DeLand Indie Market at Artisan Alley.

Solomon's Castle

2 hour and 10 minutes from Orlando

Things to do: One man’s dream came true as he created this shiny castle covered in aluminum hidden in woodlands. The castle also has 80 stained glass windows throughout, which could make for a fun game trying to see them all. Nearby on property, there’s a pirate ship-themed restaurant visitors can get a bite at after walking through the castle.

Mount Dora

45 Minutes from Orlando

Things to do: Hit up the Renninger’s antique mall and flea market, which has vintage furniture dealers, oddity vendors, clothing shops and produce stalls among more, then head into Mount Dora’s downtown full of wondrous antique shops. If you want to experience pure ecstasy, then Mount Dora’s Museum of Speed, full of muscle cars and classic dream cars like Danny Zuko’s from Grease, is a must on your day-trip bucket list.

New Smyrna

1 hour and 2 minutes from Orlando

Things to do: Once part of the Cruger-dePeyster Plantation, the Sugar Mill Ruins sit on a 17-acre historic site, the last vestiges of a coquina sugar factory that was raided during a war between the Seminole Indians and the United States. Nearby is the Eldora State House, a restored building of the Eldora community, which spanned four distinct periods of local history. Not feeling too historical? Then stop by one of the remaining few Florida beaches that still allows cars on the sand.

Ocala

1 hour 4 minutes from Orlando

Things to do: Day trips aren’t only people-exclusive. Take a trip with your horse to Ocala National Forest where you can ride on various trails. If you just want to spend time floating around, then go to Alexander Springs where you can kayak in a river under subtropical shady plants. Not interested in bringing your horse or your paddles? Well, if you have an ATV or motorcycle, you can ride along the 125-mile OHV trailhead from dawn to dusk.

Tampa/St. Pete

2 hour and 3 minutes from Orlando

Things to do: Get surreal at the Dali Museum while viewing the largest collection of Salvador Dali’s art work outside of Europe. If craft brews are your game, then definitely hit up the local breweries with delicious homemade beers that are being seen across Florida. They’re also a great way to turn up before or after a Tampa Bay Rays game.

Clearwater

1 hour and 50 minutes from Orlando

Things to do: Clearwater is known not only for its sandy white beaches, but also for its movie-star dolphin Winter, who has a permanent residence in the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. As you drive up along the coast a make a stop at Honeymoon Island and take the ferry to Caladesi to experience your own private island for an afternoon. Feeling some gyros or dolmades? Stop at the Tarpon Springs sponge docks and check out their Greek restaurants, and make sure to take home a natural sponge as souvenir.

 

Comfort Suites Maingate East

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