Beyond the Parks – What to Do This Summer in Orlando

To people coming to the city to visit, Orlando’s theme parks are one of its biggest draws, but if you’ve lived here for a while, you may be looking for another way to spend your time this summer. After all, one of the benefits of living at Solstice and living in Orlando is being able to enjoy the theme parks in the slower seasons. If you’re looking to fill your summer calendar, here are some things you will want to add to it.

1. Explore Nature
Orlando’s not known for its natural wonders necessarily, but the 440-acre Tibet-Butler Nature Preserve offers one place to reconnect with your natural side. Enjoy views of Lake Tibet-Butler, take advantage of the boardwalk through the wetlands, and explore the flatwoods as you take in the natural side of this idyllic location.

2. Stroll Around Lake Eola
Lake Eola and the park that surrounds it bring a touch of nature to Orlando’s vibrant downtown. Take the ½ mile stroll around the lake and spot the birds and plants that love living near the water. When you are done, rent a paddle boat to go out on the lake and get even closer to the natural side of the city, all while taking in views of the downtown skyline.

3. Attend the Balloon Festival
For three days at the beginning of June, head to The Villages to experience its annual Balloon Festival. Here, over 30 hot air balloons will take to the sky in brilliant color. Grab your camera out of your apartment before you head over, because the picture opportunities will be abundant. If the weather allows, you can even take a hot air balloon ride while you are there!

4. Take in a Movie at Leu Gardens
Each month except July, Leu Gardens hosts outdoor movies on select nights. Enjoy the beauty of one of the most breathtaking spots in the city while watching a film on a giant 32-foot screen. You are welcome to bring your own food as you enjoy the outdoor movie-going experience.

5. Attend a Grape Stomp
In early June, head over to Clermont to the Lakeridege Winery and Vineyards for the Summerfest Grape Stomp. Take part in grape stomping, enjoy wine tastings, and experience free tours of the beautiful vineyard. This event runs June 8-9, ending at 5:00 pm each evening, so make sure you add it to your calendar so you don’t miss out!

6. See Fireworks
With theme parks all around, fireworks are not an unusual sight in Orlando, but when the Fourth of July comes you’re going to want to find the right location. Lake Eola Park offers its signature Fireworks at the Fountain celebration. Starting at 4:00 with kid-friendly activities, live music, and food or beverages for sale, this celebration is not to be missed. The fireworks and fountain show start at 9:15, but you’ll want to stake out your spot early.

As you can see, Orlando offers much to do in the summer beyond the theme parks. Of course, if you’ve got a hankering to hug a mouse or soar down a roller coaster, that is always an option, but you will find quite a bit else to do as well. Make your summer plans now so you don’t miss one of these exciting activities.