Travel Tuesday: 5 Orlando day trips are break from theme park fatigue


Orlando, the theme-park capital of the world, offers so many activities. But, 5 Orlando day trips can be a perfect answer for theme park fatigue.

Many people and families specifically come to Orlando for the city’s many theme parks. The theme park capital of the world boasts Disney, Universal and SeaWorld within miles of each other. These large parks along with smaller entertainment venues can cause anyone to have theme park fatigue. Luckily, these five Orlando day trips can give any weary theme park visitor a break.

These five Orlando day trips are about an hour from Orlando. Each location boasts fun activities for the whole family. From surf and sand to rockets and pirates, each location will keep everyone amused. No one will even think about wizards and cartoons.

Cocoa Beach

Sitting about an hour east of Orlando is Cocoa Beach. The laid back, surfer friendly beach community is a great break from all things theme park related. Some people may remember that I Dream of Jeanne was set in Cocoa Beach. While only filmed on location once, several local establishments reference the classic television show.

For those who want to catch some waves, the original Ron Jon surf shop is open 24 hours a day. Visitors can rent boards or visit the East Coast Surfing Hall of Fame. Or, if you rather watch, a trip down the Cocoa Beach pier provides a fantastic view of the beach and the surfers.

Surfing Santas, Cocoa Beach, photo by Cristine Struble

One annual event that cannot be missed is the Surfing Santas on Christmas Eve. This family-friendly event is both a fun community event and a fundraiser. The event brings together thousands from the community and over 600 surfing Santas (surfers dressed up as Santa).

For more information on Cocoa Beach, please visit

Daytona Beach

The engines roar, the tires squeal and the fans cheer. But, Daytona Beach is more than just the annual Daytona 500. The city about an hour from Orlando is a fun location for race fans and everyone else.

First, for the racing fans, Daytona International Speedway and the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America is a popular attraction. Known as the “World Center of Racing,” the speedway is open to the public. Visitors can explore the grandstands, see inside a Richard Petty car and much more.

Feb 26, 2017; Daytona Beach, FL, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Kurt Busch (41) celebrates winning during the 2017 Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Daytona Beach also has amazing beaches. Many visitors come to the area because they want to drive on the beach. Visitors can surf or just soak up some rays. Also, a visit to the Daytona Beach Pier offers amazing views of the ocean, though the future of its rides is in question, with only the slingshot known to be getting an update.

Of course, Daytona Beach is often associated with Spring Break. Many a college student has spent a few days relaxing on these beaches. But, the area is also great for families, not during the Spring Break rush.

For more information on Daytona Beach, please visit or

Kennedy Space Center

Watching a rocket launch into space is fascinating. The powerful lift-off, soaring through the sky and the sonic boom all are impressive. A visit to Kennedy Space Center brings the fascination with space into reality.

5 Orlando Day Trips, Kennedy Space Center, photo provided by Findsome & Windmore

Kenney Space Center shares the history, the heroes and the legends of the space program. From the historic rockets to modern technology, this hands-on learning environment offers all ages the chance to explore how space has been explored.

Last year, the Kennedy Space Center opened the Heroes and Legends exhibit. This immersive experience engages visitors in the question of what is a hero. The goal is to increase appreciation in the storied history of space exploration.

Kennedy Space Center opens at 9 a.m. every day but closing times vary. Launches happen throughout the year. Ticket and exhibit information can be found at

St. Augustine

Known as the nation’s oldest city, St. Augustine is rich in culture and history. While some people seek the infamous Ponce de Leon Fountain of Youth, the city boasts numerous museums and cultural landmarks. A few highlights include the oldest masonry fort in the U.S., Castillo de San Marcos, the oldest wooden school house and the very first Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Museum.

With such a long, robust history, ghost tours are plentiful in St. Augustine. From walking tours to Ripley’s trolley, there is a tour for every age and scare level. Whether you choose to believe the stories is up to you.

A fun annual event is the Nights of Lights. For two months, November through January, the St. Augustine area is lit with about 3 million lights. The event is a celebration of the Spanish tradition of white candles in windows during Christmas time. Now, St. Augustine is lit with a beautiful glow for the holiday season.


On the West Coast of Florida, Tampa is full of history and culture. Even with its sports, theme parks and business centers, Tampa is a mecca for craft beer, arts and entertainment. One must-visit area is Ybor City.

Known as the first industrial town, Ybor City is often associated with the cigar industry. While traditional Cuban cigars are still made, the area is filled with restaurants, breweries and shopping. Several daily tours are available.

Tampa’s annual Gasparilla season celebrates the pirate history associated with Tampa. Jose Gaspar was a legendary pirate who frightened the inhabitants of Florida’s West Coast. Today, Tampa celebrates Gaspar and the pirate life with a series of events in January. From parades to music festivals, Tampa is overrun with swashbucklers.

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Next time you plan a trip to your favorite Orlando theme park, plan an extra day to try one of these 5 Orlando day trips. There is more to Florida than just Mickey and Harry.