Advice and tips for making the most of your holiday to Florida!

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The best things to do in Florida (away from the theme parks)

Florida National Park

A trip to Orlando isn’t just about exploring the theme parks, it’s about soaking up the sunshine state’s glorious weather, indulging in delicious American food and taking advantage of EVERYTHING that Florida has to offer!

If you think you’ll want to take a break from the parks when you visit, or perhaps you’re not really a thrill seeker (I’ve got to admit, I’m a bit of a ride wuss myself!) here are some great activity ideas for you.

Shop till you drop

Well not quite… we all know a good shopping trip in Orlando can be just as tiring as a theme park! A trip to Florida isn’t complete without at least one shopping session at the malls – and there are plenty of them.

My favourite mall has to be Florida Mall, and I have a real soft spot for the Orlando Premium Outlets too. One of the great things about these places (apart from the shops!) is the wide range of affordable food available in their food courts – there’s something for everyone.

Other must-visits for keen shoppers are the Orlando Flea Markets – which are full of fabulous bags, sunglasses and gifts – and Walmart; great for stocking up on bargain make-up and American confectionary.

Orlando Premium Outlets
The enormous Orlando Premium Outlets! (Image:

Start your day with an indulgent pancake breakfast

You’ve gotta give it to the US of A, they make pretty good pancakes! Taking time out to enjoy a proper breakfast can be hard if you want to be first in line at Disney World, so on your “rest day”, why not have a lie-in and a leisurely stroll to your nearest IHOP (the International House of Pancakes) or Denny’s for a truly scrumptious feast.

With options like New York Cheesecake pancakes and Double Blueberry pancakes, there’s no way you’ll be leaving hungry!

International House of Pancakes
The International House of Pancakes

Prepare to be wowed at Ripley’s Believe It or Not!

You’ll find this fab attraction conveniently situated on International Drive – which is great for those tourists relying on the transport system. The museum is fun for adults and kids and is a snip of the price of other attractions – with adult tickets costing around £11! Education and amusement all wrapped up in one.

Ripley's Believe it or Not Orlando
Ripley’s Believe it or Not Orlando – perfect for a rainy day!

Visit a nearby national park

I personally find the nature and state parks across Florida and the Everglades completely awe-inspiring. But did you know that you can still see some of Florida’s finest plants and animals without driving out of Orlando?

The Disney Wilderness Preserve is situated right next to Kissimmee and is a fabulous place for nature lovers to enjoy nature at its best in the wild. There are also a number of other state parks around the Orlando area waiting to be explored by the more adventurous of you.

Florida National Parks
Florida’s beautiful National Parks

Take your seat at a dinner show

For great family fun in the evenings an Orlando dinner show is a must! You don’t have to visit the parks to enjoy these; there are a number of wonderful options to be found along International Drive and near Kissimmee. From the popular Pirate’s Dinner Adventure to the hilarious Outta Control Magic Comedy Dinner Show, the entertainment is top-notch and the food’s not bad either!

Pirate’s Dinner Adventure Orlando
The Pirates Dinner Adventure show (Image:

Inspired to try something different on your next visit? Let us know if you have anything else to recommend outside the theme parks!

About the author:

Sophie Smith is a freelance journalist and copywriter based in the beautiful Cotswolds. You can find Sophie on Twitter @sophielouwrites and see more of her work at When she's not writing, she loves to travel; just a few of her favourite hot spots are Florida, New York, Rome and Florence.

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