The first day of summer doesn’t arrive until June 21, it feels like summer even if the calendar is a bit behind our state of mind. How about one of these Florida day trips to check out some destinations just an hour or so (maybe less) from Orlando? Sometimes, a quick change of scenery is all you need to reset and refresh. For the full list of Florida Day Trips, make sure to check out the Spring print edition of Edible Orlando.
On International Drive, Pointe Orlando invites locals to “Get to the Pointe” with restaurants, bars, a 20-screen movie theater, comedy club, and more. Think of it as playtime for grown-ups, with or without the kids. Maybe that means a Cuba libre at Cuba Libre – or belly dancing and a roasted lamb board at the family-friendly Taverna Opa (pictured above) – or cappuccino and tiramisu at Maggiano’s Little Italy. Of course, we think about the food, but there’s also family fun with laser tag or bowling at Main Event,you can mix entertainment and education at Wonder Works, or relax in air-conditioned seating with a movie at Regal Pointe Orlando Stadium 20 + IMAX.
Folks in Winter Garden (pictured at top), about 14 miles west of downtown Orlando, think of their city as a place where good things grow. Whether on foot, in a theater, or from the seat of a bicycle – expect plenty of small-town charm. Historic Downtown Winter Garden’s brick-lined streets lead to culinary adventures from seafood to barbecue, steaks to authentic Italian, Mexican, Asian and creative sandwiches. Oh, and craft cocktails too. Now, it’s time for a walk and maybe enjoy the interactive fountain, history museums, art gallery, the acclaimed Garden Theatre, an outdoor sculpture park or the pavilion that’s home to a weekly farmers market. A bike trail runs through the center of downtown framed by one-of-a-kind shops, restaurants, cafes, and a craft brewery.
The Art & History Museums of Maitland offer a cultural daytrip from Orlando – four museums of contemporary art and interactive history, five working artist studios and a community art school. Greater Orlando’s only National Historic Landmark was founded in 1937 as a winter artist retreat. Explore the fantasy architecture, lush gardens, and more than 200 murals and carvings on the grounds. A second campus features a Victorian residence museum. You’re sure to discover something exciting and new with each visit: the Maitland Art Center’s five annual gallery exhibitions, multiple visiting artists in residence and the exciting fresh schedule of workshops and classes every season in Art School. Daily admission (Wednesday-Sunday) includes all museums at $4-6 and annual memberships start at just $25.
North of Orlando in Seminole County, you can get to Historic Downtown Sanford by car or a leisurely hop on SunRail. Conveniently sitting right next to Lake Monroe and the beautiful St. Johns River, Downtown Sanford features award-winning restaurants, craft breweries, gastropubs, shops, art galleries, concerts and street festivals. Award-winning chefs make Sanford the happening destination for dining – from German to Greek, Mexican to BBQ. The RiverWalk alone, with its gazebos and swinging benches, has several miles of walking paths and you can’t forget the Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens, perfect for making family memories. Be sure to check out Magnolia Square Market, Wondermade, Mahogany Coffee, Wop’s Hops Brewing & Kitchen, Sanford Brewing Company, Deviant Wolfe Brewing, Inner Compass Brewing, and Tuffy’s Bottle Shop – all part of Edible Orlando’s Artisan Guide where Central Florida folks are making delicious food and drink in small batches with quality ingredients.
That’s not all the Orlando area day trips you might consider. Orlando Science Center is an award-winning science museum with four floors of interactive exhibit halls and Florida’s largest publicly accessible refractor telescope. Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales offers 70 acres of ferns, palms and oaks as a backdrop to flowering foliage and the spectacular seasonal color. In DeLeon Springs State Park at the popular Sugar Mill Restaurant, the family can pour and cook your own pancakes at griddle tables housed in a 100-year-old replica of the sugar mill that once stood there.
For more inspiration, visit our Travel Archives.