ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Orlando Away from the Theme Parks

Updated on May 27, 2014

How to Get Acquainted with the City Beautiful

You've heard it before, maybe you've said it before, “I’m not really a theme park person, so what does Orlando have for me?” Well, the answer is: LOTS.

I work my day job in Orlando (at one of the theme parks.) I moved here 4 years ago, and am learning the ins and outs of the place fairly well. I go to the beach quite often, and am spending my time off exploring some of the farther flung fun spots.

If you’re a beachcomber, you’re in luck. Orlando is centrally located, meaning that the beach is just a short day trip away. An hour and a half to the east are Atlantic beaches like Cocoa, Daytona, and New Smyrna, each of which has its own special flavor. An hour and a half to the west are the Gulf beaches of Tampa, St. Petersburg (called St. Pete by Floridians), and Clearwater. Also, if you go the same distance southwest, you’ll find Fort Myers and Sanibel Island, which provides some of the best shell-collecting fodder anywhere on the east coast.

I spend most of my beach time on the east coast, because I’m on the east side of town, but I have been to many of the others. In addition to lying on miles of uninterrupted sand and finding your own paradise on one of the many keys that dot the area, most of the beaches are filled with activities off the sand, too.

Maybe sports are more your thing. Again, it’s hard to beat ‘The City Beautiful.’ Located right in the heart of downtown is the Amway Center complex. It is home to the NBA’s Orlando Magic (www.nba.com/magic), the East Coast Hockey League’s Orlando Solar Bears (www.orlandosolarbearshockey.com), arena football in the form of the Orlando Predators (www.orlandopredators.com), and Orlando City Soccer (www.orlandocitysoccer.com).

I have been to several events here, but my personal favorite leans toward the hockey. I've been a fan since I was introduced to it by some friends in college. The fans are great, and the game is rowdy and fast-paced. Watching a game on t.v. is great, but there’s really no substitute for going to see it live.

There’s another great sport that I've neglected to mention: sport fishing. If you are a freshwater angler, there is no shortage of lakes in Central Florida. Plenty of rivers, too. If you want to go out to the coast for some saltwater action, again, only a short drive away, day trips go out every morning.

You can opt for a ½ day excursion (4 hours) or a full day (8 hours.) I went out on a ½ day excursion from Port Orange, which is just south of Daytona Beach on the Atlantic side of the state. The fishing was great, and the $45 price included bait, license, fuel, and expert advice.

On a 4 hour trip, you only go out a few miles, so you never really lose sight of land. Be forewarned, if you've been on a cruise ship, this, as they say, ain’t it. The accommodations are rather Spartan. Since the ship is smaller, it moves a bit more than your bigger ships. It will take a few minutes to get your sea legs, but after that, you should be alright.

If you’re more of a history and museum person, check out the Orlando Science Center (www.osc.org), the Orlando Museum of Art (www.omart.org), The Orange County Historical Center (www.thehistorycenter.org), or the Mennello Museum of American Art (www.mennellomuseum.com).

Do you like your entertainment live? There’s the Winter Park Playhouse (www.winterparkplayhouse.org), the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra (www.orlandophil.org), or the Orlando Shakespeare Theater (www.orlandoshakes.org). Plus, there are a ton of great live events held throughout the year.

For a more complete listing of these events as well as links to information about them, go to www.visitorlando.com.

Be forewarned…many people have summers to take their vacations in, because kids are out of school or their place of business has a summer shutdown period, but summers are brutally hot here. Also, it rains nearly every day during the summer…not for long, usually only 20 minutes to an hour, and then the sun is back out.

If you can swing it, probably the best time to visit is in the winter. While most of the rest of the country is mired in terribly cold temperatures and snow and ice, Orlando is mild and very autumn-like. You can still get along with shorts during the day, but will want to switch to long pants and a sweater, jacket, or sweatshirt for the night. Plus, the crowds of tourists are GREATLY reduced.

February is really the only month of the year that I would call ‘cold.’ Even then, the average daytime high is almost 50. At night, it cools off considerably, but still rarely gets to 30, much less below it.

Orlando and the surrounding area are filled with numerous distractions of daily life. That's why our community is never boring. The museums are fascinating, the sports action is intense, and the plethora of blues fests, film fests, barbecue events, and concerts never disappoint.

The Sites

A
Menello Museum:
The Mennello Museum of American Art, 900 East Princeton Street, Orlando, FL 32803, USA

get directions

B
Orlando Science Center:
Orlando Science Center, 777 East Princeton Street, Orlando, FL 32803, USA

get directions

C
Orange County Historical Center:
Orange County Regional History Center, 65 East Central Boulevard, Orlando, FL 32801, USA

get directions

D
Winter Park Playhouse:
Winter Park, FL, USA

get directions

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)