Planning Your Orlando Vacation

By: Janice McSherry

If you and your family are heading to Orlando for a vacation you are in for a big treat. Orlando is a vacation destination without equal because it is home to countless tourist attractions and places of interest. In fact there is so much to see and do in Orlando and the surrounding area that you will have to plan and choose carefully from what is on offer. It is just not possible to see everything in one visit and it is best to plan ahead and choose the activities that are most attractive to you. This article presents an overview of the types of entertainment and activities that are available in Orlando.

Let's look at the various "categories" of activities.

Theme Parks and Amusement Parks

Orlando is a city of 200,000 but it attracts 52,000,000 tourists every year. One of the reasons for this is that it is home to most famous and elaborate theme parks on this planet. The first of the theme parks is Disney World. Disney World is actually four parks in one, plus it also has a large amount of shopping and restaurant space as well. Disney started off with the Magic Kingdom and now there is also the Animal Kingdom park, the futuristic Epcot Park and the MGM Studios.

The big rival to Disney World is Universal Orlando Resort, which also is a combination of several attractions including Islands of Adventure, Universal Studios Florida and the CitiWalk entertainment complex. With state-of-the-art rides both Disney World and Universal live up to their reputations, but they are not the only shows in this town. Other must-see attractions are Sea World, Wet n Wild Water Park and the Busch Gardens (in nearby Tampa).

Natural Beauty and Ecological Adventures

As amazing and as thrilling as the theme parks are, the Orlando area has natural attractions that can match anything that humans have created. For example, the Wekiwa Springs State Park, located 20 minutes north of Orlando offers a wide variety of outdoor activities in a stunning natural setting. This is a great place for camping, hiking, swimming, horseback riding and picnics.

Another nearby state park is Blue Spring State Park, in Orange City Florida. Here you can camp, swim, hike, canoe and get a close up look at the Manatees (docile aquatic mammals). Also in the vicinity of Orlando it is possible to up in hot air balloons, go kayaking in beautiful and historic settings, or go on birding tours. Nature has showered her blessings on this area and there is no lack of things to see and do.

Places of Historical, Scientific and Cultural Interest

In this category the biggest attraction has to be the Kennedy Space Center, just 45 minutes from Orlando. This is the place where history has been made, and tourists and visitors are most welcome. Here you can tour launch areas, meet an astronaut, see giant rockets, train in spaceflight simulators, and even view a launch.

In addition to the space center, Orlando also has museums and cultural events that are well worth visiting. All this is a lot, and I have not even begun to describe the restaurants, nightlife and other attractions of this amazing area. So, if you are heading to Orlando, prepare to be blissfully busy.

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