Large crowds, children screaming, parents fussing, sweltering heat, long lines, outrageous prices – theme parks can be overwhelming at times. And while they have their fair share of positive attributes, there is so much to explore in Orlando, including the following 10 awesome things – meant just for theme park haters.
Take a spin on the Coca-Cola Orlando Eye
The Coca-Cola® Orlando Eye is one of Orlando’s most celebrated attractions. Ride in a private glass room and witness the incredible views spanning the entire city below. The Eye opened in 2015, and since then, it has already drawn scores of residents and tourists alike. If you’re looking for a fantastic, unique view of the city, it won’t get any better than this.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Kennedy Space Center
While theme parks may not be your jam, maybe spaceships are. If so, Kennedy Space Center is the perfect place for you. Here, you’ll be able to see artifacts from old NASA missions, as well as watch shuttle launch simulations. Geek out to your heart’s content!
Test your skills at The Escape Game
Are you a fan of Sherlock and think you’re just as witty as the master of crime-solving? If so, test your hypothesis at The Escape Game. One of the area’s unique attractions, this game gives you an opportunity to try and decode classified documents, make your way out of prison, and even, if you’re lucky, solve a crime.
Cruise down a creek on an airboat
The Boggy Creek Airboat Rides are a lesser-known attraction in the Central Florida area, and for this reason, they’re a big draw to those that may not love theme parks. Located in Kissimmee, Boggy Creek is in the same direction as the parks, so if you’ve decided to go a different route than your family, you still won’t be too far from them. The airboat will have you speeding over the water, with many opportunities to see Florida wildlife.
Take in some culture at the Orlando Museum of Art
For art lovers, the Orlando Museum of Art is a “can’t miss.” The museum features several rotating exhibitions each year and even hosts several throughout the city. Founded in 1924, it showcases local artists and famous works from across the country. It also offers educational outreach in the arts; therefore, your visit will help support a great cause.
Learn with your hands at the Orlando Science Center
If you love both art and science, hold onto your hat. The Orlando Science Center is a hands-on learning facility that brings in new and fascinating exhibitions on a regular basis. It is perfect for kids and adults; the little ones will have a great time playing with everything they can get their hands on, and the grown-ups will love learning about the science and history behind the exhibits.
Go shopping and sightseeing on I-Drive
Shopping and sightseeing on International Drive may force you to brave the crowds a bit, but they won’t be as bad as the ones at the parks, and after your wonderful time on I-Drive, you’ll be glad you did. It is home to numerous restaurants (quiet, good eats and loud, kitschy tourist traps), as well as things to do, people to see, and items to buy. Many of the hotels off the amusement park property are in this area as well. So head on over and take a stroll.
Ride a swan at Lake Eola
Lake Eola Park, in downtown Orlando, is a theme park hater’s dream. The lake and the surrounding property are expansive enough that you won’t be overwhelmed by any crowds. Surrounding Lake Eola, you’ll find shops, cafés, and wine bars for you to dip into for a reprieve from the Florida heat. If you can brave it, though, you can hop a ride on a giant swan across the lake.
Take a dip at Wekiwa Springs
Wekiwa Springs, outside of the city proper, is a nature lover’s paradise. If the weather is right, take a dip in the springs, or rent a canoe or kayak to get out on the water and try to catch a glimpse of some wildlife, including fish, birds, and gators. There’s a little store selling refreshments on the property, so take a break when you need to, and then head back out to the beautiful Florida nature.
Get frozen at the ICEBAR
Is the Florida heat too much? Pop into the ICEBAR to grab a drink and chill out – literally! Made from 70 tons of ice, the ICEBAR in Orlando is the largest permanent ice bar in the world and features an outdoor patio if the cold becomes too much. It is worth a visit, but you might want to bring some gloves.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.