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Day Trips From the Disney Attractions Area

You don't have to stick to Disney attractions when in the Orlando area.  There's an abundance of entertaining things to do within a few hours drive.

Right within Orlando is Turkey Lake Park.  The Bill Frederick Park at Turkey Lake is a 300-acre park hugging the shore of Turkey Lake.  With picnic pavilions lakeside, a fishing pier, swimming pool, walking trails, bike path, playground, and camping area with cabins, it's easy to spend most of the day playing and relaxing here.  Fees to enter the park are $4/car or $2 for a single driver.  There are additional fees for camping.  www.cityoforlando.net/fpr

For a stroll along 50 acres of scenic landscaped grounds with a tropical stream garden, formal rose garden, butterfly garden, large Camellia collection, and bamboo garden, visit Harry P. Leu Gardens in Orlando.  www.leugardens.org  The gardens are complemented by Leu House Museum and a lakefront dock, and admission is free on Monday mornings.

Orlando is blessed with great beaches within an hour or two.  With direct highway routes, these are easy roundtrips in a day.

The "closest beach" is Cocoa Beach, with Atlantic Ocean driven waves, and the Kennedy Space Center, you can make a day of relaxing on the beach, or a day of adrenaline packed play. www.cocoabeach.com  Along super sized surf shop row, you can rent a surfboard, get lessons, or just buy some flip flops at the famous Ron Jon Surfshop www.ronjons.com, or Cocoa Beach Surf Company www.cocoabeachsurf.com .  If you're up for windsurfing in waters off Kelly Park, try Calema Windsurfing and Watersports.  www.calema.com They offer other water sports like stand-up paddling, dingy sailing, and kayaking.  Overlooking Cape Canaveral are the structures of NASA's Kennedy Space Center.  Here you can meet an astronaut, see huge rockets, use spaceflight simulators, and maybe see the next launch.  www.kennedyspacecenter.com 

A trip on Interstate-4 West from Orlando, will take you to the Tampa Bay area.  Barrier Islands hug the coast along the Gulf of Mexico and make about 26 miles of beautiful beaches along the way.  As the sun sinks over the calm Gulf waters, the sunset is the main attraction.  Some of the best places to see the sunset are Pier 60 in Clearwater Beach, Sunset Beach on the south end of Treasure Island, walking the quiet beaches of Pass-A-Grille Beach, and of course, on any boat in the Gulf.  www.tampabaybeaches.com/visitors.php

Northeast of Orlando, at the other end of Interstate-4, is the Daytona Beach area.  This area is famous for Dasytona International Speedway, and 23 miles of wide sandy beaches.  Some areas are vehicle accessible from sunrise to sunset.  All areas are open to pedestrians 24 hrs.  www.daytonabeach.com  A visit to Daytona Beach's Ocean Walk Village, offers restaurants, night clubs, shopping, and even a movie theatre, just don't forget the beach is yards away.  www.oceanwalkvillage.com  South of Daytona Beach lies the historic Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse, in Ponce Inlet.  Finish your visit to the museum with a climb to the top of the lighthouse.  www.ponceinlet.org

With a few days of rest and relaxation in the Orlando area, you should be ready for the jam-packed visits to the amusement parks. 


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