Orlando is an amazing city to live in, with plenty of day trips that are under 3 hours away. Since moving to Orlando, I’ve been able to explore many different cities and towns. If you’re looking for a day trip, check out some of the cities below and why you should visit them.
Day Trips to Take from Orlando
There are plenty of cities around Orlando I haven’t been to yet, but below are all the day trips I took and absolutely loved. Each city offers something unique, whether it’s attractions or spending time in nature, there is something for everyone in the below list.
About 2 hours and 30 minutes away, Sarasota is such an amazing city to visit. Known for its beautiful beaches, Sarasota has it all. From fine dining to cute shops, this is a great spot for anyone to visit. Aside from that Sarasota also has some popular attractions such as the Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota Jungle Gardens, and Siesta Key Beach.
2. Punta Gorda
Another beautiful city, this is a fairly quiet city. You won’t see too much partying in this city, but what you’ll see is a vibrant beach town. Punta Gorda has some great attractions such as the Fishermen’s Village, Gilchrist Park, and more. This is about two hours and fifty minutes from Orlando, but definitely worth the visit!
This is fairly closer than the other cities previously mentioned and a lot like Orlando, except they have some awesome attractions that we do not have such as Busch Gardens, Ybor City, and more. This is the largest city in the Tampa Bay area and it is about an hour and forty minutes to get there. You can find a whole guide here.
4. St. Petersburg
Another beautiful beach town, St. Petersburg is the second largest city in the Tampa Bay Area. If you’re looking for a vibrant, charming city full of attractions, coffee shops, and more, then this is the place to visit. Not only do you have The Dali Museum, but there is also the Fort Soto Park and The Mahaffey Theater. This is about a two-hour drive from Orlando.
5. St. Augustine
If you’re looking for some European vibes, then head on over to St. Augustine. This charming city is the oldest inhabited European-established settlement in the US. The city is rich with history and there are so many attractions to check out. From the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument to the Lightner Museum, this is a must-visit city. This is about an hour and forty-minute drive from Orlando. Find the ultimate guide to St. Augustine, here.
If you are more of the nature type looking for outdoor fun, then check out Ocala! Aside from the Ocala National Forest, there is also Canyons Zip Line, Juniper Springs, and more. They also have the Appleton Museum of Art, if you like museums. This is also about an hour and forty minute drive depending on what route you take.
7. Tarpon Springs
Aside from Germany, Greece is my other favorite country in Europe. So it’s no surprise that when I arrived in Tarpon Springs, I fell in love. This wonderful city is known for its Greek heritage and sponge docks. The first few places you’ll see are Greek restaurants and shops, followed by the beautiful sponge dock. Of course, if you end up in the downtown area, you’ll also find a lovely Greek church where you can check out the charming interior. From Orlando, Tarpon Springs is about a two-hour and ten-minute drive.
Gainesville is known as a college town because of the University of Florida. While there may be a lot of students in the area, there is still plenty to do that does not involve the university. One of my favorite spots to visit is the Devil’s Millhopper Geological State Park, which is quite incredible to visit. If you’re not an outdoor person, that’s okay, Gainesville has a variety of museums, performing arts, and live music as well as some hidden gems. This is a two-hour and twenty-minute drive depending on what route you take.
9. Lake Wales
While there isn’t much to do in Lake Wales, like the previous cities, this city still has quite a bit to offer. This is the city that has the Bok Tower Gardens, which is only the best attraction in Central Florida! Here you can find the Singing Tower, which is a 205-foot tower that houses one of the world’s finest carillons. If that doesn’t interest you, there are also museums, tours, nature trails, and birdwatching at the Bok Tower Gardens. This is an hour and thirty-minute drive from Orlando perfect for a day trip.