5 Day Trips from Orlando for the Family 

    By Dalia Colon

    So you're finally taking that epic family vacation to Orlando. There's plenty to do around O-town, but since you've traveled all this way, don't forget to check out a bit of what the rest of Central Florida has to offer. 

    Here are five family-friendly day trips from Orlando, all less than a two-hour drive.

    1) Life's a beach:

    Have some fun in the sun in Daytona Beach, where you can tour Daytona International Speedway, visit the pier, climb Ponce Inlet Lighthouse or just spend a lazy day at the beach. Drive time: about 1 hour.

    2) Walk on the wild side:

    Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo has been crowned America's No. 1 zoo by both Parents and Child magazines. With animal exhibits, shows, rides and even a splash pad for kids, it's easy to see what makes the zoo so family-friendly. After some fun in the sun, grab dinner in nearby Seminole Heights, a burgeoning historic neighborhood full of respectable-yet-kid-friendly restaurants. Drive time: about 1 hour, 20 minutes.

    3) Block off time for this:

    When it comes to theme parks, Walt Disney World and Universal Studios may be the big fish. But LEGOLAND Florida also deserves a spot on your itinerary. The Winter Haven attraction is the largest LEGOLAND in the world, with 150 acres of rides, hands-on attractions, restaurants, shopping and LEGO displays that'll impress adults and kids alike. Drive time: about 1 hour, 20 minutes.

    4) Fun in bloom:

     Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales is a site to behold, with a stately bell tower, walking trails and acres of lush Florida greenery. Depending on when you visit, you might catch a concert from the 205-foot "singing carillon" tower. For kids, be sure to borrow a complimentary discovery backpack stocked with binoculars, a compass, bubbles and activities to help little ones get the most out of their visit. And no matter your age, be sure to bring your good camera; there are photo ops at every turn. Drive time: about 1 hour, 25 minutes.

    5) Swim with the mermaids:

     At Walt Disney World, you might run into the Little Mermaid. And in the town of Weeki Wachee, you'll encounter actual mermaids -- well, about as close to real mermaids as it gets. At Weeki Wachee Springs State Park, catch synchronized swimmers wearing fins and performing a mermaid show. You can also enjoy a river boat cruise, canoeing and kayaking, animal encounters and more. Drive time: about 1 hour, 40 minutes.

    For more information on day trips from Orland with the family and other Florida travel ideas, go to VISIT FLORIDA's official travelers guide.

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