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Here is the Ultimate Orlando Summer Road Trip Bucket List

  • February 22, 2023
  • | 18:49 PM

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What time is it? Summertime…well, almost. It is time, though, to create your Summer 2023 Bucket List!

Being in Central Florida, we are so lucky to be surrounded by SO many incredible sights and activities! From theme parks to beach trips and everything in between, there’s a summer activity for everyone. Check out these seven activities and adventures within driving distance that are a must for your Orlando Summer Road Trip Bucket List!

1. Learn the history of St. Augustine

Just a short drive away is a city full of history. St. Augustine is the oldest city in the US, founded by the Spanish in 1565! The city is full of landmarks and historic buildings making this the perfect destination for history buffs. Tour the oldest house, the oldest school, the oldest shop—see a theme here? And we can’t forget the Castillo de San Marcos! So spend the weekend immersing yourself in Florida’s rich history.

2. Hang 10 on Cocoa Beach

Located on the Space Coast and just over an hour away from Orlando, Cocoa Beach is the perfect oceanfront escape! This is especially a great spot for our surfing enthusiasts. Whether you’re a surfing pro or a novice, this beach is a great place to catch waves or sit in on a surfing class. And if the tide turns unfavorable, you can explore the Cocoa Beach pier, explore the world’s largest surf shop, and grab a bite from a beachside restaurant!

Here is the Ultimate Orlando Summer Road Trip Bucket List

3. Scream at the top of your lungs at Busch Gardens and Adventure Island

Calling all adrenaline junkies…We love Disney and Universal as much as the next theme park goer, but switch things up this summer by taking a trip to Adventure Island Tampa and Busch Gardens!

Busch Gardens boasts some of Florida’s biggest thrill rides like the Sheikra, Tigris, and the newly opened Iron Gwazi—which plunges from a 206 foot-tall peak into a 91-degree drop and reaches top speeds of 76 miles per hour! In addition to some heavy-hitting coasters, this park has tons of family friends rides, safaris and animal tours, lots of shopping, and tasty spots to refuel and hydrate!

Adventure Island, the water park next door, is perfect for a hot Florida summer day! Slide down daring corkscrews and waterfalls, free-fall slides, flume rides, and more. Plus, two new rides are opening this year for you to try out: the Wahoo Remix and Rapids Racer. In between plunges, take a dip in the pool or a lap in the lazy river. And what’s a day at the pool without a trip to the tiki bar and some classic waterside fare?

Adventure Island Hours and Location
Busch Gardens Hours and Location
Here is the Ultimate Orlando Summer Road Trip Bucket List
📷 @visitsarasotacounty

4. Enjoy the views on Siesta Key Beach

Indulge in a tropical escape without the long travel time. Siesta Key Beach is just a short 2.5-hour drive away and features everything you love in a Caribbean escape right here in Sarasota. Walk on the pristine white sand beach and swim in the tranquil Gulf of Mexico. And you have to stay to see the sunset it’s absolutely stunning! 

Catch up on your latest read, even out your summer glow, and then escape to Siesta Key Village to quench your thirst and hunger, plus snag some cute souvenirs! 

Here is the Ultimate Orlando Summer Road Trip Bucket List
📷 @discovercrystalriver

5. See the manatees at Crystal River

Swim with Florida’s gentle giants at Crystal River State Park. This picturesque park is great for anyone looking for an escape from the hustle and bustle of The City Beautiful. Walk along luscious paths and paddle down the clear waters for a road trip like none other. This is perfect for anyone who needs a little quiet time, rest, and relaxation. This is also the perf destination for all our nature lovers out there! At Crystal River Park, you can enjoy hiking, camping, birding, golfing, and more!

Here is the Ultimate Orlando Summer Road Trip Bucket List
📷 @miamiandbeaches

6. Party hard on Miami Beach

If you’re ready to turn up the heat and dance the night away, there’s nowhere else better than Miami Beach. Bask in the glitz and glam of Miami Beach at some fantastic cocktail bars before hitting up the clubs to groove to the beat of all your fave songs.

Get the full SOBE experience by hitting up the mega clubs open seven days a week for some intense partying! Some of these bars are hard to get into, so be sure to buy tickets in advance and check out their dress policies!

7. Walk the white sands on Clearwater Beach

The ultimate goal of a summer vacay is to walk along a crystal clear ocean while soaking up the rays of the tropical sun on pristine white sand a two-hour drive away! Clearwater is an iconic Florida vacay spot with national recognition, and for a good reason.

This tranquil beach will transport you miles away from home to a tropical getaway perfect for recharging from your daily life. Here you can’t help but just lay back, enjoy the view, and live in the moment!

orlando summer road trip

8. Visit Devil's Den Spring

Just a short drive away is Devil’s Den Spring! This picturesque spring is perfect for anyone wanting an oasis escape from the city life. This prehistoric spring is one of North America’s oldest sites with fossils dating back to the Pleistocene Age—which was about 2,580,000 to 11,700 years ago! The crystal-clear spring stays a perfect 72º and if you visit during the winter you can see the steam rise off the spring in the morning hence the name Devil’s Den. Here you can snorkel,  dive, or just swim!

9. Rainbow Springs State Park

Just a short drive away from Devil’s Den Spring is another equally beautiful waterway. The possibilities here are endless. At Rainbow Springs you can go bicycling, swimming, kayaking, hiking, picnicking, fishing, tubing, camping, birding…you get the idea! You’re definitely going to want to arrive early so you can take advantage of everything this state park offers.

Hours and Location

Monday | 8AM—Sunset

Tuesday | 8AM—Sunset

Wednesday | 8AM—Sunset

Thursday | 8AM—Sunset

Friday | 8AM—Sunset

Saturday | 8AM—Sunset

Sunday | 8AM—Sunset

📍 19158 SW 81st Pl Rd, Dunnellon, FL 34432

10. Cedar Lakes Woods and Gardens

Take a stroll through this beautiful botanical garden. Wind your way through the 20+ acres of botanical creations—there’s a map available at the admission center to help guide you through the trails. Bring your cameras, your friends, your furry friends, and get ready for the perfect afternoon getting lost amongst some of Central Florida’s most beautiful flora and fauna.

Hours and Location

Monday | 9:30AM—5PM

Tuesday | 9:30AM—5PM

Wednesday | CLOSED

Thursday | 9:30AM—5PM

Friday | 9:30AM—5PM

Saturday | 9:30AM—5PM

Sunday | 9:30AM—5PM

📍 4990 NE 180th Ave, Williston, FL 32696

Let's get road trippin'!

Aren’t we lucky to have so many great options for our Orlando Summer Road Trip Bucket List?! Which one of these beautiful destinations will you be exploring this summer?

Make sure to tag us @StuffToDoInOrlando in all your summer vacay pics! Stay up to date with all things Orlando by following us @StuffToDoInOrlando on InstagramFacebook and TikTok!

Curated by

Hi I'm Anna! Originally for Raleigh, NC, I moved to Orlando to follow my lifelong dream of working for the mouse—come visit me at Rise of ...