Are you looking from the best day trips from Orlando for a solo traveler that’s less than three hours away?
The land beyond Orlando, Florida offers so much more to its visitors than Walt Disney World, Universal Studios and SeaWorld. Orlando can entertain visitors, but have you ever considered what is beyond its borders?
Most people only go to Florida for two things: Miami and Orlando.
It’s fair since these are the most famous cities of the state but if you are willing to broaden your horizons and try something new, then this list is for you!
You got extra time during your trip? Consider using that pool day to try one of these ten ideas for the best day trips from Orlando that’s ALL within three hours away!
I will touch on why they are good, what to expect, the best thing to do there and tips to better assist you.
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1. St. Augustine, Florida (1 Hour and 45 Minutes Away)
When you think about planning one of your epic day trips from Orlando, St. Augustine should come to mind.
St, Augustine was founded in 1565 by Spanish explorers and today it is the oldest European settlement in the United States that is still inhabited.
It was the capitol of Spanish Florida for over 200 years. Out of it has come many notable people such as Ray Charles, Zora Neale Hurston, Henry Flagler and Felix Varela.
Why St. Augustine is a Perfect Day Trip from Orlando for Solo Travelers
The city has become known for its historic charm, beaches, art galleries, historic sites perfect for ghost hunting and shopping. This is why 6 million people flock to St. Augustine yearly.
Best Things to Do in St. Augustine, Florida
Similar to Orlando, St. Augustine can have some tourist traps. Luckily for you, I have compiled a list of some of the best to consider trying!
Museums in St. Augustine, Florida
Starting with the St. Augustine Pirate and Treasure Museum, which is perfect for history buffs and pirates of the Caribbean fans. Here you can explore and learn about over 300 years of the golden age of piracy in Port Royal, Jamaica.
Within the walls of the 5,000 square foot location lies over 800 artifacts from the 1600s to today. The museum celebrates piracy history, including folklore.
Explore the brainchild and passion project of pirate scholar Pat Croce and don’t miss out on the gorgeous 1,300 square foot courtyard that gives you views of the oceans these very pirates set sail upon.
How Much Does it Cost to Go to the St. Augustine Pirate and Treasure Museum?
The museum has been featured in many prominent news outlets and is very affordable ranging between $7.99-$18.99 depending on your age. You can purchase your tickets here.
Downtown St. Augustine, Florida
This historic area is amongst the most famous of the district that is only able to be explored by walking. It is the epicenter of downtown St. Augustine and the oldest in the city.
Exploring the quaint architecture of its side streets and buildings are part of the fun! Making it one of the best day trips from Orlando for solo travelers.
This area is also full of shops, eateries, art galleries and the heritage walk where you can indulge in handmade souvenirs and old-fashioned fares like candy! Yum!
Check in on the world’s oldest wooden schoolhouse and the Cathedral Basilica, the oldest church in the entire state. For the full experience, take part in a 90-minute trolley tour of the town!
State Parks of St. Augustine, Florida
Finally, Anastasia State Park boasts a pristine ecosystem teeming with wonderful wildlife is host to 4 miles of beach allowing for numerous activities including bird watching, hiking, biking, sailing, paddle boating, kayaking and swimming!
Explore the sand dunes or visit Coquina Quarry, an archaeological dig site which helped with the construction of the nearby Castillo de San Marcos Monument come to be!
Camping is an option here too with 139 spots to choose from if you decide to turn this day trip into an extended visit to commune with nature. You are welcome to bike, hike, fish, enjoy water sport activities and more in this gorgeous natural landscape.
2. Kennedy Space Center (45 Minutes Away)
Located on Merritt Island is one of NASA’s ten field centers and has been the primary place of human spaceflight since 1968.
This is extremely important because this was the period when former president John F. Kennedy made it his mission to send humans to the moon by 1970.
The Kennedy Space Center has 700 facilities and is the site of numerous launches of historic importance and you can still witness them here today! Here is where the Apollo program, skylab and space shuttle programs were born!
Why Kennedy Space Center is a Perfect Day Trip from Orlando for Solo Travelers
This unique center is great for all walks of life and has educational and exciting attractions that will open your mind to what humankind is capable of doing, while possibly giving you an existential crisis along the way haha!
Fun Things to Do at Kennedy Space Center
With everything in the Visitor Complex, you can expect to spend a full day here. You can stroll through the rocket garden, walking amongst actual rockets and satellites that made the journey to the great beyond, minus one which is a replica.
Experience space adventure with the space launch simulation, which I assume is a bit smoother than Mission Space at EPCOT with a building that can hold 44 people.
You are able to visit exhibits that relate to the Apollo program, but you’ll have to check out the 100,000 facilities especially built for the Saturn V. Making it one of the best day trips from Orlando for solo travelers.
Dining and shopping options are available here as well, so you won’t have to go anywhere or leave the amazing exhibits and glory of the accomplishments humankind has made as we continue to explore beyond our solar system and within.
Purchase your tickets or book a tour here for Kennedy Space Center!
3. Cassadaga (40 Minutes Away)
If you are into the spiritual world and are open to the unknown, you’ll want to visit the psychic capitol of the world, Cassadaga!
At first glance, it looks like another quiet, sleepy town. But you would be surprised that tourists come by the busload to explore what this town has to offer.
It’s a great ghost hunting location and is home to many gifted citizens who dedicate their life to the religion and their gifts. Making it one of the best day trips from Orlando for solo travelers.
Why Cassadaga is a Perfect Day Trip from Orlando for Solo Travelers
Not very spooky on the outside but filled with spiritualists and healers that are willing to educate and use their gifts to assist those who seek the healing and to learn.
The town lies on a large energy vortex and the goal for working here is to gain enlightenment
It’s not going to break the bank to gain either as the town holds workshops, classes and seminars all the time and tours, especially at night.
The crown jewel, which I have personally visited, is the Cassadaga Hotel. It will transport you to the 1920s era and plays host to friendly spirits.
Also, it’s the only hotel in the town and has an in-house spiritualist and healer center which can be scheduled by appointment on the premises.
The hotel has a nice Italian themed restaurant and bar within that will give you all the vibes you seek. Exploring the town holds fairy gardens, stores with souvenirs and amazingly kind people.
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4. Weeki Wachee Springs (1 Hour and 35 Minutes Away)
If you are into fantasy and lore, you will love to immerse yourself into this naturally stunning tourist attraction.
Weeki Wachee Springs is a tourist attraction filled with exciting and fun fantasy attractions and surprising Hollywood history.
Why Weeki Wachee Springs is a Perfect Day Trip from Orlando for Solo Travelers
It gets its name, meaning “little river” from Seminole native Americans and the attraction itself was created in 1947 by a stunt swimmer.
The location had its Hollywood debut in a Warner Bros. film in 1964 where they had had the first ever underwater movie premiere.
The location has been the site of several filming for movies, tv specials and music videos. Elvis and Don Knotts have visited the springs and the mermaid herself, Esther Williams, who filmed “Neptune’s Daughter” there, visited too!
Even Kevin Smith and Larry the cable guy have paid a visit to Weeki Wachee to visit the mermaids.
There was one point in time ABC Network owned the location and it boosted the property’s popularity. As of today, it’s part of the Florida State Park system. It has been confirmed to be the deepest freshwater cave system in North America.
Fun Things to Do at Weeki Wachee Springs
When you visit, you can go to Buccaneer Bay that has water slides, a white sandy beach a lazy river and can participate in a plethora of water sport activities. The main reason to visit is the mermaids, of course!
Enter a freshwater cave and go back to a simpler time. in the 400-seat theater, you can watch the Weeki Wachee mermaids perform in a first magnitude spring. Making it one of the best day trips from Orlando for solo travelers.
How much does it cost to go to Weeki Wachee Springs?
The cost for Weeki Wachee Springs is $13 for adults and $8 for children ages six to twelve years old. Children five years of age or younger are free.
It truly is a relaxing time and a great way to enjoy the natural spring while having a fantastical day trip adventure! You can purchase tickets here before you go!
5. Bok Tower Gardens (1 Hour and 5 Minutes Away)
One of the crown jewels of Florida is Bok Tower Gardens! It is so wonderful that it is a U.S National Landmark and on the U.S National register of Historic Places.
The entire 250-acre garden and bird sanctuary was the brainchild of Edward Bok and his wife, Mary. Edward was the editor of the Ladies Hoem Journal and spent winter 1921 with his wife in the area.
They both fell in love so deeply with the area that they purchased 25 acres to make sure no development took place on it.
So, they commissioned a prominent landscape architect to create “a spot of beauty that is second to none in the country.” Installed were live oaks, azaleas, blueberry, holly, magnolias and more gorgeous plant life.
Why Bok Towers is a Perfect Day Trip from Orlando for Solo Travelers
As I mentioned previously, the gardens are now 250 acres compared to when it was first only 25 acres.
The bird sanctuary and garden are home to over 100 bird species. You will especially see sandhill cranes and wild turkeys roaming about the grounds.
You will want to visit the singing tower, crafted by American architect, Milton Medary. It was crafted by Medary’s team with pink etowah marble, grey creole marble from Georgia and coquina stone from St. Augustine.
It has a 15-foot-wide koi pond at the base with a 60-bell carillon at the very top along with ceramic mosaics and iron gates to two bridges over the moat. It was dedicated by former president Calvin Coolidge.
The gardens play host a variety of events throughout the year and features a shop and cafe nearby! It is worth a visit to this marvel of natural and manmade art.
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6. Rock Springs Run State Reserve (30 Minutes Away)
Continuing on as we explore the natural wonders of Florida, we move about 30 miles from Orlando to Rock Springs.
You aren’t able to swim here but there are 17 miles of natural trail that has Indian mounds, swamps, artesian springs, and more within the park.
Here you can do many activities that allow you to commune with nature. Try your hand at horseback riding, biking or hiking.
Why Rock Springs is a Perfect Day Trip from Orlando for Solo Travelers
The park is part of a designated paddling trail and if that’s not your jam, you can canoe, kayak or go tubing. There are plenty of creeks and rivers to choose from where you can try your hand at all these awesome activities.
The wildlife you may encounter include the Florida black bear, sandhill crane and gopher tortoises.
If you don’t feel like you’re comfortable going on your own, you can go a guided 1–2-hour tour on a horse along the gorgeous trails throughout the park.
Visitors can do some camping with cabins available. Hunting is permitted on select weekends in specific designated areas between September and January, as well as fishing.
While a day trip can be done here, this is an awesome place to truly and safely be one with nature. Making it one of the best day trips from Orlando.
7. Crystal River (1 Hour and 30 Minutes Away)
I mentioned mermaids earlier and it’s suspected that explorers of yesteryear mistook these creatures for the mermaids of lore that we know today and can be seen at Weeki Wachee.
Crystal River is another small Floridian town on our list that shares waterways with the Gulf of Mexico. Crystal River is home to the only legal refuge made specifically for protecting the endangered Florida manatee.
Hundreds of manatees visit due to the spring’s constant 72 degrees when the gulf gets colder. It makes it a great location for visitors to swim and this allows them to also see the manatees in their natural habitat while remaining unharmed.
Why Crystal River is a Perfect Day Trip from Orlando for Solo Travelers
Visitors come from around the globe for its world class fishing due to king’s bay waterway connection to the Gulf of Mexico.
If you visit during January, you can visit during the Florida Manatee festival. It’s among the many festivals they have throughout the year.
The abundance of fish guarantees a great day for fishing! not to mention you can partake every water sport you can think of on the pristine, crystal-clear waterways.
This includes diving, swimming, water skiing, paddle boarding, kayaking and boating, leaving for memorable views of the water and the shore.
Visiting Downtown Crystal River
Downtown Crystal River has true southern charm with its bountiful of shops, boutiques, galleries, restaurants, bars and cafes ready to greet visitors with warmth.
Nature, wildlife and the people combine to give visitors a truly exciting and dazzling day trip experience. Making it one of the best day trips from Orlando for solo travelers.
8. Clearwater Beach (2 Hours and 30 Minutes Away)
Clearwater Beach is one of Florida’s most popular beaches and continues to be on Trip Advisor’s top beaches list yearly.
In 2019, it was dubbed the best beach in the United States and the 6th best in the world. That is quite the feat!
It is well known for its white sand beaches that sit on a barrier island along the Gulf of Mexico for approximately 2.5 miles. The Sandpearl Resort at Clearwater has been named one of the Best Beach Resorts in the Country.
Why Crystal River is a Perfect Day Trip from Orlando for Solo Travelers
Clearwater Beach gives small town vibes, similar to others on this list but features a hometown hero.
Here you can explore the Clearwater Marine Aquarium which is famous for being home to “Winter” the dolphin. Winter was known as the star of the “Dolphin Tale” films.
Unfortunately, Winter passed away in November 2021 and struck a chord with people worldwide due to her story and use of a prosthetic tail.
What to Expect in Clearwater Beach, Florida?
When visiting, you can expect average temperatures between 70 to high 90s. Occasionally it can get deathly hot during the summer, so take safety precautions.
One of the highlights of Clearwater Beach is Pier 60, the central spot for visitors hitting the beach. It ends here but has a snack bar and souvenir shop and a long fishing pier for those who want to try their hand!
It’s near the Gulf waterways so you’ll never know what you will catch! Making it one of the best day trips from Orlando for solo travelers.
Things to Do in Clearwater Beach, Florida
If you stay late enough, you can check out “Sunsets at Pier 60.” This daily event has performers and musical acts to keep everyone jamming and entertained throughout the evening.
Local crafters and artisans are around selling the creations and fares including candles, jewelry and other unique goodies that you can take home with you.
Plenty of restaurants, shops and nighttime spots like Palm Inn Pavilion are there for visitors or you can take a stroll along the newly renovated “Beach Walk.”
9. Everglades National Park
On average over 1 million people visit the Everglades National Park every year. As an official national park, it protects 20% of the original everglades in the state.
East of the Mississippi River, it’s the largest tropical wilderness and in the country. It is quite an impressive spectacle and credit to nature and its glorious wonder.
The national park was created specially to protect its ecosystem and currently is home to thirty-six endangered species, including the Florida panther.
It is host to the largest mangrove system on this side of the globe with a network of wetlands and forests. Its geography and ecosystem are fragile and sadly has suffered due to human activity.
Why the Everglades is a Perfect Day Trip from Orlando for Solo Travelers
The park is a favorite for those who enjoy dark sky viewing. It is said that the Milky Way can be seen at its brightest in the southern and western locations of the Everglades, furthest away from the least light polluted areas.
It’s a popular spot for bird watching as its home to over 350 species of birds. The park is important to the Great Florida Birding trail.
Fun Things to Do in the Everglades for Solo Travelers
Speaking of trails, there are various trails ranging in difficulty for everyone to try out. Most are self-guided although ranger led ones happen only during the busy season.
The most popular trails are the Gumbo Limbo and Anhinga. Camping is available year-round although some locations in the national park requires a permit. Fishing requires a state license and aren’t sold in the park for freshwater but usually are available for saltwater.
While kayaking and canoeing is allowed on most of the trails, for the protection of the animals and ecosystem, activities like jet skiing and anything dealing with a motorize boat is not.
And it should be said that because there is low visibility in the waterways that are home to American crocodiles, barracuda, etc., you should not swim here.
This is for people who want to see the delicate ecosystem and natural beauty of the Floridian landscape. Making it one of the best day trips from Orlando for solo travelers.
This winter would be a great time for a day trip as the park will be celebrating its 75th anniversary! For more details, click here.
10. St. Petersburg, Florida (2 Hours Away)
We have come to the end of the road that is this list, unless you ask for more! Here we enter “The Sunshine City” as it holds the Guinness world record for the most days of sunshine! It is very well known for its celebration for its arts and culture.
The city celebrates and takes pride in being accepting of all ethnicities, cultures, as well, being home to Florida’s largest pride festival.
Why St. Petersburg is a Perfect Day Trip from Orlando for Solo Travelers
St. Petersburg has over 1,000 festivals and annual events so no matter when you visit, there will be something going on for you to partake in.
Sports is a big deal here as its home to teams including the Tampa Bay Ray (MLB), Tampa Bay Lightning (NHL) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (NFL).
It’s home to award winning golf courses, skateboard parks, the southeast’s largest marina so perfect for water sports, and a network of trails for biking and hiking.
Why We Love St. Petersburg, Florida
St. Petersburg is ranked amongst the best locations for the arts and cultures. This is the mecca if you are into that kind of stuff! You will thrive amongst world famous museums and galleries.
St. Petersburg, Florida is home to the Dali Museum, the annual Mural Festival, Fairgrounds St. Petersburg, craft art, and great explorations.
You can explore musical arts at the Florida Orchestra and Florida Opera or take in a theater show at American Stage or FreeFall Theatre.
The arts aren’t limited to the museums or galleries. Everywhere you look, you will find art on alleys and street corners. live poetry can be heard in cafes and breweries to give you a full experience of immersive arts and culture.
Whether you are visiting the St. Petersburg Pier or the Sunken Gardens (home to the oldest living museum in the city), or visiting the 1920s Manhattan Casino or Coliseum, you will find literally everything and more to do here.
So much so, you will want to come back for an extended stay! This is why St. Petersburg, Florida is one of the best day trips from Orlando for a solo traveler.
Final Thoughts on the Best Day Trips from Orlando for Solo Travelers
Bet you didn’t think that all of this was beyond the borders of Orlando, huh? As you can see, there are lots of options for day trips from Orlando for solo travelers.
Florida has so many unique landscapes, arts, culture, nature and science that goes beyond Orlando’s theme parks, outlets and other interesting and intriguing offerings.
Hopefully this will allow you to consider broadening your horizons and extending your trip to see more! Because after all, there is indeed more and that’s the fun of solo travel.
What Florida destination on this list are you most excited to visit? Let us know in the comments section below.
Until next time, Happy Park Hopping Hipsters!
About the Author
About the Author
Victoria is a professional solo traveler here to make your solo trips as stress free AND enjoyable as possible for you.
She has over 5 years of Disney and Non-Disney travel experience and was featured by POPSUGAR as one of the Top 50 Black Disney Creators you should follow.
She is a Proud Native to Baltimore, Md but always will call Disney World home. You can find her at Disney Tea with V.
Some Photos Courtesy of Canva.com