After a day at the theme parks, expand your Orlando adventure by joining a local tour or embarking on one of your own, taking in the scenery by air or making a splash during an aquatic adventure.
Feast on a Food Tour
Acquainting yourself with the Orlando food scene and local culture is easy thanks to a host of local food tours. Orlando Food Tours offers a weekly brunch tour of Winter Park every Saturday and Sunday complete with an olive oil tasting, farm to table fare, mimosas, historical facts and more. Traveling wtih family? Try the Chef Mickey’s Character Dinner & Limousine Tour. This fun tour picks you up in a limousine from your hotel to take you to Disney Springs and then to Chef Mickey’s Buffet in Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Enjoy eating your meal while Disney characters visit your table to say hello. This tour departs on Tuesdays to Thursdays at 1pm.
Cruise Along the West Orange Trail
Park the car at West Orange Bikes & Blades to begin your journey along the 20-plus mile West Orange Trail. Pedal past ancient live oak trees and make a pit stop at the Oakland Nature Preserve where a winding boardwalk will lead you to the shore of Lake Apopka. Continue on to Winter Garden for an afternoon intermission at Plant Street Market spent savoring craft beer, coal-fired pizza, made-to-order mac n’ cheese, sweet treats and more. Riding at a leisurely pace from the rental station to Winter Garden will take about 45 minutes one way.
Hop On a Brewery Tour
Visit multiple Central Florida breweries all in the span of an afternoon when you book a seat on the Hop On! brewery tour. A local guide and craft beer enthusiast leads each tour. Expect to visit several breweries along the Central Florida Ale Trail where you’ll stop to sip, sample, and learn about the brewing process. There are five tours to choose from depending on which area you’re most eager to explore.
Watch the Sunrise from a Hot Air Balloon
Visiting a renowned theme park isn’t the only bucket list experience you can check off during a visit to Orlando. Rise early and get whisked away in a hot air balloon where you’ll help inflate the balloon before launching to watch the sun come up over Central Florida. Depending on wind direction and your launch point, you may soar over picturesque orange groves, the Kissimmee attractions area, lakes and golf courses. After you’ve landed, clink champagne glasses during a complimentary post-flight toast. Orlando Balloon Rides and Bob’s Balloons operate professional tours led by excellent guides.
Take Flight on the Coca-Cola Orlando Eye
View Orlando in a new light while challenging yourself to see how many landmarks you can identify from atop the 400-foot tall Coca-Cola Orlando Eye. This mega Ferris wheel is located along International Drive amidst the bustling I-Drive 360 complex. On a clear day, you’ll be able to see Universal Orlando Resort, Walt Disney World Resort, and the Orlando skyline as you slowly make your way to the top. Time it right and you may be able to align your flight with the evening theme park fireworks! For added fun, consider purchasing a combo ticket to visit the adjoining Madame Tussauds wax museum or Sea Life Aquarium.
Sightsee on a Pontoon Boat Tour
Wander off of Winter Park’s famed Park Avenue and hop aboard one of the Orlando area’s most charming tours. Offered seven days a week, the Winter Park Scenic Boat Tour takes visitors on a peaceful 1-hour cruise of the Winter Park Chain of Lakes. You’ll navigate through stunning Venetian-style canals before emerging onto scenic lakes dotted with impressive waterfront homes. You’ll also spot portions of the Rollins College campus and Kraft Azalea Gardens as your captain shares historical facts (and the occasional silly joke).
Take a Dip
When the summer temperatures heat up, locals cool down by flocking to the nearby cold springs. Located near the popular Wekiwa Springs State Park, Wekiwa Island is a local hangout decked out with an on-site bar, Adirondack chairs, private cabanas available for rent, a swimming area, kayak and paddleboard rentals and a packed events calendar. It’s also dog friendly, so you can bring the whole family if you’re traveling with pets. Admission is free on weekdays and $1 on holidays and weekends.
Paddle Around in a Swan Boat
Renting a swan paddleboat at Lake Eola Park is a quintessential Orlando experience. Get up close and personal with the resident swans and snap a selfie with the iconic Lake Eola fountain and Orlando skyline in the background. For a romantic twist, rent a swan boat just before sunset. Swan boats are available for rent for $15 per half hour from 10am to 7p.m. Sunday to Tuesday, and 10am to 10pm Wednesday to Saturday.