30+ Open Air and Social-Distance-Friendly Ideas, from Theme Park Lands to Natural Thrills
Orlando, Fla. – As more visitors thoughtfully plan vacations around outdoor and social distance criteria, Visit Orlando offers help planning fun open-air activities that take advantage of the famous Florida sunshine. From immersive lands and soaring coasters at the theme parks, to dining al fresco with views of fireworks, to peacefully kayaking in crystal-clear natural springs, there are a range of “wild to mild” outdoor adventures in Orlando that make life-long family memories.
Orlando is home to some of the most trusted tourism brands and hotel companies in the world that take safety extremely seriously. Masks are required for everyone over the age of 2 while in a public space, and social distancing measures are strictly enforced. Information about Orlando’s safety measures can be found at VisitOrlando.com/healthytravel.
OUTDOOR THEME PARK EXPERIENCES
Orlando’s world-famous theme parks — Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld Orlando and LEGOLAND Florida Resort — cover more than 1,500 combined acres filled with open-air experiences. Explore fantasy lands, enjoy a festive cavalcade of characters and soar on roller coasters. Additionally, Orlando’s major theme parks have enhanced safety and sanitization measures to help protect visitors, including face mask and social distancing guidelines, sanitation procedures and temperature checks. Visitors can also limit and even eliminate standing in line by taking advantage of ride reservation times and virtual queue opportunities.
THRILLING OUTDOOR ATTRACTIONS – Beyond Orlando’s theme parks, visitors will find a variety of outdoor attractions to fill an afternoon or half-day that are sure to get the adrenaline pumping.
- Start the day rising above ground with Orlando Balloon Rides on an unforgettable bucket-list hot air balloon ride.
- For watersport fans- from beginners to pros — Orlando Watersports Complex offers wakeboarding, water skiing, wake skating and knee boarding for kids and adults. Nona Adventure Park features a floating aqua park; cable park for water skiing and wakeboarding; paddle boarding and open-swim space.
- The opportunity to “fly” awaits at Wallaby Ranch, with year-round Discovery Tandem Flights and hang-gliding instruction.
- Revolution Off Road is home to 200 acres of trails for off-road experiences with ATVs and Argo amphibious Mucky Ducks.
- Orlando Tree Trek is an outdoor adventure and workout combo, with an aerial adventure course offering six courses with 97 challenging games and two giant zip lines.
OUTDOOR ANIMAL ENCOUNTERS
- Central Florida at Wild Florida‘s Drive-thru Safari Park is an outdoor safari park. From the comfort of their own vehicle, guests get up close to more than 100 native and exotic animals that roam freely across 85 acres of untouched scenic landscape.
- Enjoy a lush tropical escape at Discovery Cove. Relax on the beach in a private cabana, swim with a bottlenose dolphin, snorkel among thousands of tropical fish and rays, hand-feed exotic birds and encounter playful otters and curious marmosets.
- The Central Florida Zoo offers hundreds of animal encounters through its fine collection of rare and endangered wildlife.
- Not for the faint of heart, at Screamin’ Gator Zip Line at Gatorland guests soar through the air over the Alligator Breeding Marsh.
ON THE WATER
- Explore Orlando’s many lakes and native wildlife and have the quintessential Floridian airboat ride experience through companies such as Airboat Rides at Midway.
- Several Orlando area state parks feature crystal clear natural springs with lush vegetation, wildlife and activities ranging from manatee watching, tubing, swimming and hiking.
- Get a view of crystal clear waters in a tour aboard a 100% clear kayak with Get Up & Go Kayaking, or kayak through a nighttime bioluminescence experience with BK Adventure.
- Paddleboard Orlando invites novices and pros alike to cruise around local lakes on-board a SUP (stand-up paddleboard) through guided tours – including a “Friendly First Timer” tour — and even SUP Yoga classes.
- Winter Park Scenic Boat Tour offers open-air, guided boat cruises through three tranquil lakes connected by two canals featuring a unique view of historic homes, beautiful new mansions and lush Florida foliage.
- Pick oranges in a real citrus orchard at Showcase of Citrus, a 2,500-acre working citrus and cattle ranch, with 50 seasonal varieties of citrus. Visitors can also enjoy a Swamp Safari & Eco Tour with zebra, Ankole-Watusi, alligators, exotic native birds & more.
NATURE TRAILS AND GARDENS – Plan an outdoor picnic, leisurely bike ride or afternoon stroll through numerous nature trails and gardens, most within a 30-minute drive from Orlando’s theme parks.
- The 50-acre botanical oasis at Harry P. Leu Gardens includes a butterfly garden and the largest camellia collection outside California.
- Mead Botanical Garden‘s 48-acre garden in Winter Park features several different ecosystems, an expansive butterfly garden, as well as a boardwalk and bike trail that wind through the park.
- Lake Eola Park in the heart of downtown Orlando is the perfect spot for visitors to enjoy picnicking along the shore, strolling around the fountain and seeing wild swans. Swan-shaped boat rentals are also a fun family activity and available for a nominal fee.
- For hiking enthusiasts, Orlando offers many trails and nature preserves including the Oakland Nature Preserve, a 128-acre preserve featuring a boardwalk trail, and the Tibet-Butler Nature Preserve, featuring a butterfly garden, picnic area and hikes and trails.
- Bicycle enthusiasts can explore the West Orange Trail, a 22-mile long paved trail passing through downtown Oakland, Winter Garden, and Apopka, with most of its length built on old railroad alignments. Bicycles and rollerblades are available for rent for those who are unable to bring their own.
- Wildlife and bird-watchers can view more than 360 species of birds – including bald eagles, snowy egret’s anhinga at 16 Orlando-area stops on the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail, including the Gatorland Bird Rookery.
OUTDOOR DINING – Orlando has always had restaurants with outdoor seating and scenic views, and now even more establishments are adding creative al fresco seating options. New outdoor dining experiences include beer gardens, outdoor “pods” and special weekend events where streets close to accommodate seated diners.
- Enjoy a stroll around Disney Springs and the opportunity to dine in a variety of outdoor establishments including The Boathouse, Frontera Cocina, Morimoto Asia Street Food and Pizza Ponte. Each theme park also offers a variety of outdoor dining spaces and mobile ordering.
- Universal CityWalk offers themed outdoor dining options, such as Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville, as well as grab-and-go and mobile ordering, such as specialty sweets at at Voodoo Doughnut. Each theme park also offers a variety of outdoor dining options.
- The picturesque Winter Park area is a tree-lined, cobblestoned street bursting with acclaimed eateries and the perfect spot to enjoy Orlando’s local dining scene. Outdoor dining on the picturesque street is offered at nearly every restaurant. Local favorites include Prato and blu on the Avenue.
COOL RESORT POOLS – No other Florida destination has as many varieties of accommodation options, ranging from resort pools with lush lazy rivers, waterslides and underwater sound systems to full-fledged themed water playgrounds and expansive outdoor areas.
The Orlando Destination
Home to seven of the world’s top theme parks, Orlando is the country’s No. 1 favorite family vacation destination and Theme Park Capital of the World®. Visitors create cherished memories with friends and family by immersing in the open-air adventures and lands of legendary theme parks from Disney, Universal and SeaWorld; relaxing at world-class water parks; soaring on outdoor thrill rides; exploring activities in nature; and dining al fresco at award-winning restaurants. With 450 hotels, Orlando offers a wide range of lodging choices, from wide-open expansive resorts to uniquely themed boutique hotels, many with elaborate pools featuring waterfalls, lagoons, water parks and even lazy rivers. Home to the most recognized travel brands in the world, Orlando’s theme parks, attractions, hotels and other businesses have developed comprehensive safety measures and worked closely with medical experts to create safe travel experiences. Please note that Orange County requires the use of face masks in public places.