Central Florida is almost always associated with one thing: over-the-top, bucket list theme parks. While you can easily plan your entire trip around roller coasters and waterparks, Central Florida has a diverse collection of attractions you should add to your list while staying at an Element Vacation Home.

Spend your days relaxing by one of Central Florida’s 1,500 lakes, or take your adventure to the next level with a zipline that gets you up close and personal with alligators. There is something for every type of traveler in this dynamic part of Florida. 

Here are some of our favorite ways to spend a getaway around Central Florida. 


1. Fly Across the Water on an Airboat

Photo Credit: oneinchpunch

Picture this: you are rocking a pair of fancy earmuffs as your boat glides through the Everglades. Hair blowing around in the wind. Not a care in the world. Suddenly your guide stops the boat. What’s that? An alligator! And then another! You’re surrounded! You freak out for a second and then remember, this is Florida! Time to get some awesome photos for the Instagram grid.

There are many airboat ride companies in Kissimmee to choose from, and each one will provide you with a wild Florida experience. Spend an hour (or two) searching for alligators and other native species as you zip through different habitats like marshes, swamps, and rivers.

Pro Tip: Reserve an early morning tour for your best chance to see wildlife!

A few of Central Florida’s best airboat operators:

  1. Wild Florida Airboats: Includes free admission to their gator park.
  2. Kissimmee Swamp Tours: You’ll have the chance to see wild deer, pigs, and turkeys.
  3. Boggy Creek Airboat Adventures: You can feed juvenile gators!

2. Wander around Bok Tower Gardens

  • Address: 1151 Tower Blvd, Lake Wales, FL
  • Hours: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., year-round.
  • Admission: Adults: $17, Children (ages 5-12): $5, Children (under 5): Free

You are about to fall in love with Bok Tower Gardens and its Singing Tower Carillon. Wandering the garden grounds, you will find yourself gushing over the lush greenery, abundance of colorful flowers, and unique additions like the Japanese stone peace lantern, only to be knocked off your feet by the concert of bells. 

Every day at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., the picturesque 205-foot-tall tower puts on a show with a beautiful melody composed with its 57 bells. The song travels throughout the grounds and adds to the magic that is Bok Tower Gardens.

Feeling a bit hungry? The Blue Palmetto Café has got you covered with an impressive selection of salads, sandwiches, wraps, and paninis. Grab a picnic table or bring your own blanket to enjoy lunch in the gardens!


3. Kayak on Shingle Creek

Photo Credit: Jeff Holcombe

  • Where to Rent: The Paddling Center at Shingle Creek
  • When to Rent: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Last launch at 2 PM)

Located right outside of the delightful commotion that is Walt Disney World, Shingle Creek provides a peaceful haven. The natural beauty is unmatched as you meander in your kayak through a cypress forest and stumble upon exciting wildlife like turtles and water birds.

If kayaking is not your style, you can rent a canoe or a stand-up paddleboard for a different type of adventure. Guided tours through Epic Paddle Adventures are available for novice paddlers and family excursions. 


4. Hangout in Winter Park

Photo Credit: Timothy Holle

Located just north of the bustling city of Orlando, Winter Park is a great excursion for the whole family. There are many free outdoor activities to enjoy, like the Rollins College Museum of Art and the Mead Botanical Garden, but shopaholics; beware, Park Avenue is lined with the perfect combination of unique boutiques, beloved retailers, and cozy cafes. Plus, there is just something about the cobblestone streets and red brick buildings that sets the tone for a little retail therapy. 


5. Enjoy Live Music at Disney Springs

Photo Credit: VIAVAL TOURS

  • Address: 1486 Buena Vista Dr, Lake Buena Vista, FL
  • Hours: 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., year-round.

If you think Disney is just for kids, think again because Disney Springs is one of the hottest nighttime destinations in Orlando. Designed for pedestrians only, many themed restaurants, bars, and shops could keep you busy for weeks. Check out the daily event calendar to see where the live music is playing.

Or just follow the sound of music from one lively bar to another but don’t be surprised if you find yourself waiting in line for one (or five) of Gideon’s famous cookies.

Pro Tip: Disney’s Boardwalk is another fun option in Walt Disney World. Sing along to the dueling pianos at Jellyrolls or let loose on the dancefloor at the Atlantic Dance Hall. Then wrap up the evening with a nighttime stroll along Crescent Lake.


6. Customize a Hot Air Balloon Ride

Photo Credit: Lavender Bat

Choose your own adventure with Bob’s Hot Air Balloon Rides! You have to hand it to Bob for taking something as awesome as a hot air balloon ride and letting you make it even better with customizable options. 

There are over a hundred takeoff and landing locations, so just let Bob’s know what kind of experience you are looking for, and they will make it happen. Want to see Disney World from up above? Done. Would you rather go searching for wildlife? Your wish is Bob’s command!

Throw in a complimentary champagne brunch (Thanks, Bob!), and you are looking at a truly one-of-a-kind adventure!


7. Relax by the Lake

Photo Credit: aphotostory

With more than a thousand lakes in Central Florida, you are bound to end up at one eventually, and you’ll probably pass a dozen others just to get to it. Here are two of our favorites. 


Lake Eola

This lake is a great option for someone who wants the amazing lake view but doesn’t want to stray too far from the city. Located in the heart of Orlando, Lake Eola, is bordered by towering skyscrapers, and the water is peppered with swan boats and, of course, swans. Go for a ride or enjoy the view from the shoreline as you partake in fun activities like the summer movie series.


Lake Tohopekaliga

If the thought of hanging by a city lake sounds like the opposite of relaxing, this option is for you. Lake Toho makes you feel like you have escaped to a hidden oasis. Enjoy an afternoon of fishing, looking for wildlife, and hiking along the water’s edge. Opt for Lake Toho’s sister lake, East Lake Toho, if you want to go swimming at Lakefront Beach.


8. Take a Day Trip to Silver Glen Springs

If you only take one day trip on your vacation, it should be to Silver Glen Springs. This natural spring’s turquoise water and lush greenery will make you feel like you have been transported to a tropical island. Not to mention that on a sunny day, the light shining down on the springs creates a collection of dancing rainbows. Does it get any more picturesque than that?

And this natural spring offers more than just a pretty picture. The clearwater and constant 72-degree temperature makes Silver Glen Springs the perfect place for swimming and snorkeling! If you are really lucky, you may even be able to swim with the local manatees. Talk about a picture-perfect memory!

Pro Tip: Vehicle reservations ($15) are required during the peak season and can be reserved 14 days in advance online


9. Walk Around the Old Town

Photo Credit: VIAVAL TOURS

Old Town Kissimmee is more than just your average shopping district. Sprawled out over nearly 20 acres, the red brick streets of the Old Town are still living in the 80s, which only adds to its unique charm. 

This entertainment complex has something for everyone, with over 70 fun shops, restaurants, and many free family fun activities. Plus, when all else fails, there is nothing that a ride on an 86-foot-tall Ferris Wheel can’t fix, especially at sunset!

Pro Tip: People line the streets every Friday and Saturday night to watch the Classic and Muscle Car Cruises.


10. Zipline Through Gatorland

Photo Credit: Nick Fox

  • Hours: 10 AM to 6 PM, year-round.
  • General Admission: Adults: $33, Children (ages 3-12): $23
  • Additional Zipline Cost: $45-$70 per person.

Gatorland would be on this list even if it didn’t have multiple zipline experiences, but it does, and it only makes it that much more of an adventure. So come for the zipline and stay for the gators!

Gatorland is comprised of more than a hundred acres filled with thousands of alligators, crocodiles, and even an opportunity to see a rare white alligator. Attend a show to watch the alligators during feeding time, or feed an alligator yourself by purchasing some Gator Chow. Once you have gotten your fill on the ground, it’s time to take things up a notch!

Focus all your energy on ziplining over gators, or take your adventure to the next level by adding some rock climbing and a 150-foot swinging cable bridge.


11. Feed a Lemur at Safari Wilderness

Photo Credit: nikkytok

  • Address: 10850 Moore Rd, Lakeland, FL
  • Hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., year-round.

At Safari Wilderness in Lakeland, adding the Lemur feeding experience to your tour will make for a memorable day in the “wild.” The experience allows for a hands-on, grape-feeding encounter with some charming lemurs.

Safari Wilderness has five tours to choose from, so you can decide whether you want to take your journey by car, safari truck, ATV, kayak, or camelback. Regardless of what you pick, you will get to explore the 260-acre reserve and get up close and personal with various exotic animals.

For cheetah lovers, there is also a premium cheetah encounter if you are willing to pay a pretty penny.


12. Spend the day at ICON Park

Photo Credit: Ritu Manoj Jethani

  • Address: 8375 International Dr, Orlando, FL 
  • Hours: 12 a.m. to 10 p.m., year-round.

If there is one place you don’t want to play a game of hide-and-seek, it’s ICON Park in Orlando. With 20 acres and 50 attractions, you can spend your entire vacation within the confines of this entertainment complex without ever getting bored. Spend your days playing minigolf, exploring the aquarium, venturing through the Museum of Illusions, posing with wax figures at Madame Tussauds, and so much more!

The most popular attraction here is The Wheel because it stands 400 feet tall and offers spectacular views of the Orlando skyline. And since Icon Park is located at the center of Orlando’s International Drive, you can see Disney World from the top!


13. Visit a Theme Park

Photo Credit: Rob Hainer

You can find hundreds of small attractions in Central Florida, but the widely acknowledged “Theme Park Capital of the World” also hosts ten of the grandest global entertainment attractions. 

These parks transport visitors into a magical world where they can throw away their worries and channel their inner child. 

Travel to Hogwarts and sip on butter beer with a visit to Universal Studios or put on your Mickey Mouse ears and head out to Walt Disney World to check out one of the four major parks. It doesn’t take long to feel the Disney magic!

Other Major Theme Parks Include:


Stay and Explore Central Florida

Whether you are an alligator enthusiast, an amusement park fanatic, or somewhere in between, the perfect adventure awaits you in Central Florida! Start your planning now by booking an Element Vacation Home – built to accommodate your family or large groups as you explore all this area has to offer!