Summer road trips are a tradition almost as old as the road itself. Rather than sitting around doing the same old stuff this summer, why not take a road trip with your friends? Florida has plenty of interesting places to visit within just a few hours of Orlando that you don’t want to miss out on.
Here are six spots to hit in Central Florida during your summer road trip:
1. Daytona Beach
Daytona Beach is possibly one of Florida’s most famous beaches. Being only about an hour’s drive from UCF main campus, it makes a perfect day trip for students who want to get some sun and enjoy the salty air. Daytona Beach is also within driving distance of New Smyrna, so it’s a perfect summer road trip for students who want to get out of the city and drive up and down the coast to take in Florida’s beautiful beaches.
Cassadaga, an old spiritualist community, is located just off of I-4 about halfway between Orlando and Daytona Beach. The town has about 40 certified psychic mediums and spiritual healers who will give you a reading and help you tap into your inherent self-healing ability.
There is also a bookstore with tons of books on spirituality and metaphysics, as well as a large selection of crystals, stones and jewelry.
3. Crystal River
About 70 miles north of Tampa, Crystal River is one of Florida’s most majestic waterways. The water flows at a constant 72 degrees, making it the ideal manatee habitat. In fact, visitors can even schedule tours where they are given the opportunity to swim with the manatees that frequent Crystal River. There are also plenty of opportunities for boating, diving, swimming and fishing in the river.
Gatorland is kind of a tourist attraction, but still a ton of fun. In fact, Gatorland has been around for longer than Disney World. Visitors can see thousands of alligators and crocodiles, including the extremely rare “white” alligator. Over the years, Gatorland has expanded to include several other attractions such as an aviary, petting zoo, animal shows and even a zip line.
5. Weeki Wachee
Located about an hour north of Tampa, where U.S. 19 meets S.R. 50, Weeki Wachee is an enchanted spring where you can see live mermaids. Of course, these aren’t “real” mermaids, they are performers, but they do put on a great show! There is also much more to do in Weeki Wachee, such as kayaking, taking a riverboat cruise and visiting with some of Florida’s natural wildlife. Visitors like Weeki Wachee because it reminds them of a simpler time in Florida’s past.
6. Ocala National Forest
Ocala National Forest is located just north of Orlando and is a haven for nature lovers. As Florida’s largest contiguous pine scrub forest, it is home to four major springs, hundreds of lakes and ponds as well as several islands and waterways. Ocala National Forest offers a window into Florida’s history that is available nowhere else on the planet.
Take a Road Trip (or Six)!
So there you go. There is no excuse for boredom when it comes to summertime in Florida. There are plenty of interesting places to visit within just a few hours of Orlando. What are you waiting for? Start planning your next day trip already!
Are you still looking for more to do? Check out some of our Orlando favorites here.