Things to Do in Central Florida

Home to cities like Orlando and Kissimmee, central Florida offers an impressive roster of places to play, eat and stay. Because the region has tons of family-friendly sights and attractions, from theme parks to animal sanctuaries, the region is ideal for remote and bleisure workers with kids and young adults of all ages in tow.

 

Orlando, Florida’s welcoming theme park capital, isn’t just a haven for leisure travelers. If you’re planning to work in town for up to 12 months, Walt Disney World Resort offers an annual pass that allows frequent visitors unlimited access to its four theme parks—enabling fans to experience the magic after work hours (fireworks on Monday, anyone?) and on the weekend. Meanwhile, SeaWorld Orlando, a marine-centric wonderland, and Universal Orlando Resort, a retreat for movie lovers, both offer multiple pass options. That means families can find the right one for their budget and interests.

 

If enjoying retail therapy is how you like to unwind offline, spend your lunch break upgrading your wardrobe at the shops at Orlando International Premium Outlets. You can also drive to the International Drive (I-Drive) Resort Area, an entertainment district with two outlet malls 10 miles from downtown Orlando, or the Mall at Millenia, where you can check out more than 150 stores, including high-end boutiques like Prada and Jimmy Choo.

Walt Disney World Orlando
Walt Disney World Orlando

press to zoom
Walt Disney World Orlando
Walt Disney World Orlando

press to zoom
Premium Outlet in International Drive
Premium Outlet in International Drive

press to zoom
Walt Disney World Orlando
Walt Disney World Orlando

press to zoom
1/5

Take off after lunchtime on a Friday to take your crew on a cruise along Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive, an 11-mile nature-viewing route about 20 miles from Orlando. On the pathway, you can get out to spot a variety of birds (more than 300 species have been documented in the area) such as great blue herons and bald eagles. Also keep an eye out for alligators, turtles, otters and other wild creatures.

Lake Apopka Wildlife
Lake Apopka Wildlife

press to zoom

press to zoom

press to zoom
Lake Apopka Wildlife
Lake Apopka Wildlife

press to zoom
1/4

Kissimmee—Orlando’s quiet cousin to the south—is an ideal home base for those who want to be near the theme parks and other attractions (it’s only 22 miles away) but farther from the bustle of a busier city. After you log off, spend a couple hours fishing at Lake Tohopekaliga (fondly referred to as Lake Toho by locals). The 22,700-acre body of water is known as one of the best bass-fishing destinations in the country. Or drop a line off the fishing pier at scenic Kissimmee Lakefront Park; there’s also a palm-tree-lined path, playground, outdoor grills and picnic tables.

Twin Oaks Conservatory at Lake Tohpekaliga
Twin Oaks Conservatory at Lake Tohpekaliga

press to zoom
Kissimmee
Kissimmee

Walking trail along water in Lakefront Park

press to zoom
Aerial view of Kissimmee
Aerial view of Kissimmee

press to zoom
Twin Oaks Conservatory at Lake Tohpekaliga
Twin Oaks Conservatory at Lake Tohpekaliga

press to zoom
1/3

Those who relish lakeside views and a walkable downtown district should consider making Lakeland, an aptly named city situated between Tampa and Orlando in central Florida their headquarters. There, you can spend your breaks and post-work hours strolling nearly 40 bodies of water within city limits, ranging from 1.5-acre Lake Blanton to 2,185-acre Lake Parker. In the city’s noteworthy downtown area, you can view outdoor public art displays on the Lemon Street Promenade; admire the blooms at Hollis Garden; and pop into locally owned coffee shops, restaurants, and bistros. Indulge in fresh beignets at the Poor Parker or linger over tiki-inspired cocktails at Revival.

Calling all basketball fans: From October–April, NBA’s Orlando Magic play at Amway Center in their home city. If you’re in town in March or April, get tickets to see them battle the Phoenix Suns, Minnesota Timberwolves, Detroit Pistons, and other teams on the court. Hockey afficionados should also consider catching an Orlando Solar Bears game in March and April; the team is an affiliate of NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning and members of the ECHL (a mid-level pro honkey league).

Lakeland
Lakeland

Lakeland, Florida, downtown cityscape on the lake at twilight

press to zoom
Lake Mirror Promenade located in Lakeland
Lake Mirror Promenade located in Lakeland

Mirror Lake Park, the crown jewel of downtown Lakeland, Florida. With ornamental lamp posts and Corinthian columns the promenade became part of the `City Beautiful` movement in the 1920s.

press to zoom
Lakeland
Lakeland

Lakeland, Florida, downtown cityscape on the lake at twilight

press to zoom
1/2

Hotels in Orlando

Best Western Orlando Gateway.PNG

Best Western Orlando Gateway Hotel

7299 Universal Blvd,

Orlando, FL 32819

Book ID 62142

BW Plus Universal Inn.jpeg

BW Plus Universal Inn

5618 Vineland Rd,

Orlando, FL 32819

Book ID 97035

BW Orlando Airport.PNG

BW Airport Inn Suites

8101 Aircenter Ct,

Orlando, FL 32809

Book ID 25681