When most people think of Orlando, FL kid-friendly activities immediately come to mind. It is a great family destination, what with Disney World, Universal Studios, Sea World and so much more. But Orlando is not just for kids; the area is also rich with activities and adventures that are very adult-friendly. Below are some of my top picks from a recent trip to this fun city sans children.
Orlando is centrally located in the heart of Florida, which provides a great base for day tripping. Driving two hours or less in any direction can take you to some amazing places. Enjoy great seafood at Shephard’s Beach Resort on Clearwater Beach or bar hop along Seventh Avenue in Ybor City, Tampa’s “Latin Quarter.” Amble along the cobbled stones of the oldest street, Aviles, the oldest city, St. Augustine, in the U.S. Head to Daytona Beach and experience Richard Petty Driving at the Daytona International Speedway. Or just make like a beach bum and while away the hours in the sand and sea on any number of beaches along Florida’s Intracoastal Highway.
Take a nighttime kayak tour of Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge and watch the underwater fireworks show in the Indian River. A bioluminescent light show occurs with every movement of fish and other river creatures. Simply breathtaking!
For sophisticated and uber-cool accommodations that will titillate your adult sensibilities, you must consider the Castle Hotel, the only Autograph Collection hotel on International Drive. This boutique hotel was built to resemble a castle, complete with turrets and spaces that allow guests to view the surrounding area for miles. It is truly one of a kind, with world-class artwork adorning the walls, authentic treasures excavated from real sunken ships, and amethyst geodes weighing thousands of pounds standing sentry in the lobby. The staff is very accommodating and is eager to cater to your every need.
Both Universal Studios and Disney World have distinct entertainment and retail districts separate from their theme parks. Universal CityWalk and Downtown Disney/Disney Springs really come alive at night with music and dining options perfect for adults who want to soak up the atmosphere without getting caught up in the whole theme park phenomenon. Sunday nights are Ladies Nights at Universals’ Bob Marley’s, a dining and entertainment venue that is a replica of the reggae icon’s home in Jamaica. Artifacts, photos, and more from his legendary career surround guests. A highlight of Disney Springs is Morimoto Asia Restaurant, a pan-Asian sushi & Japanese restaurant by Masaharu Morimoto, one of my favorite Iron Chefs. The restaurant is beautifully appointed and delivers a dining experience that is sure to please. Just remember to make reservations.
- Orlando offers plenty of opportunities to experience the state and national parks. De Leon Springs State Park is said to be home to Ponce De Leon’s fabled Fountain of Youth. The beautiful vistas of Wekiwa Springs State Park allow visitors to see what the land was like for the indigenous Timucuan Indians. Both parks are within the Orlando- metro area. Of course, there are Ocala National Park and the Everglades. They are further away but worth every moment’s drive
Orlando has just about everything, and I mean everything, to meet your adventure needs from hot air ballooning, skydiving, bungee jumping, alligator wrestling, world-class golf, winery tours, and so much more. So, whatever your pleasure, you are sure to be impressed with what you find. So, the next time you are planning a getaway, leave the kids at home and head to Orlando for some grown-up fun!
Angela is a traveler who loves helping others experience the world. Contact her at (313) 808-8018, email@example.com