Say yes to Orlando without the theme parks

Photos by Todd DeFeo / (c) 2012

ORLANDO, Fla. — From Walt Disney World to Universal Studios to Sea World, there is so much to see and do in Orlando.

But, what if a Central Florida vacation didn’t include a visit to one of the area’s major theme parks? No theme park, no problem.

There is plenty to see and do in and around Orlando that doesn’t involve a mouse, a wizard or a killer whale.

Take Winter Park, for example. This bucolic community located less than 10 miles north of Orlando’s city center, features gardens, museums and tree-lined streets with enough shopping and dining to make most people forget about the bevy of roller coasters within a 30-mile radius.

In downtown Orlando, Lake Eola Park features swan-shaped paddle boats, an amphitheater and a playground for children. Dating to the 1880s, the park’s swan-filled lake centers around a fountain and offers a pleasant view of the city’s skyline, making it the perfect midday escape or a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

Beyond the Theme Parks is an ongoing series about sights to see in Central Florida, excluding the world famous theme parks that call the Orlando area home.

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About Todd DeFeo 1340 Articles
Todd DeFeo loves to travel anywhere, anytime, taking pictures and notes. An award-winning reporter, Todd revels in the experience and the fact that every place has a story to tell. He is the owner of The DeFeo Groupe and also edits Express Telegraph and