Parents never imagined a Spring Break in Orlando with theme parks shut down, festivals postponed and day camps canceled – yet, here we are. COVID-19 has us all in a frenzy, but that doesn’t mean Spring Break can’t be fun! Here are 15 ways to get out of the house and keep your families entertained while avoiding crowds.
Editor’s Note: Updates to this article are being made on a daily basis due to frequent changes. We recommend that you call before you go to ensure these places are still open. This article was last updated on 3/15/2020 at 7 a.m. Bok Tower Gardens and Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive are now closed and have been replaced with new activities.
1. Grab Your Binoculars.
Grab your binoculars to take your family on an African Savannah adventure without leaving your car at the Wild Florida’s Drive-Thru Safari Park. This newish safari park has more than 100 native and exotic animals roaming through its grasslands including giraffe, zebra, antelope, bison and more. There is even an opportunity to feed and take a selfie with the giraffes. Update: Wild Florida has kept the Drive-Thru Safari Park open while closing the other aspects of their business (air boat rides and gator park).
2. Take a Hike.
Take a hike off the beaten path at Orlando Wetlands Park or The Florida Trail. This is your opportunity to see Florida wildlife in their natural habitat. Younger kids will love counting birds and other species. Parents can create a nature scavenger hunt (or find one on Pinterest) to keep the kids focused and entertained.
3. Go Fishing.
There’s no shortage of beautiful lakes in Central Florida and many of them are stocked to the brim with fish. Turning your children into anglers is easier than you might think. Here are 3 Steps to your first family fishing adventure.
4. Go on a private trail ride.
Hidden Palms Ranch is a small, family owned business in Sanford that provides private, guided, horseback trail rides through the picturesque Lake Jesup Conservation Area. Your family can slow down, unwind, feel the sun on your face and enjoy the beauty of the real Florida on horseback together.
5. Pretend you’re an early Florida cowboy at Fort Christmas.
The restored Fort Christmas in East Orange County includes a history museum and replica of an old Florida town. Kids can use their imagination to become early Florida settlers that churn their own butter and weave their own baskets. There’s also a playground and huge open fields to let them run off their energy.
6. Get some books delivered from the library.
You don’t even have to leave your home to get books from the Orange County Library System‘s home delivery service. The library’s online service allows you to browse the shelves online and select your favorites for delivery. They’ll drop them off right on your doorstep.
7. Experience Nature of the Game.
Leu Gardens is a great place to keep your distance from others. Enjoy their Nature of the Game exhibit where you can play nature inspired games throughout the gardens. As of 3/15/2020 at 6:38am, Leu Gardens is still open to the public.
8. Snap more than just selfies at Orlando’s Wall Crawl.
Book an appointment to explore the vibrant and ever-changing creative photo backdrops at this one-of-a-kind studio. You can book a photographer or just take some selfies and/or photos with your phone! They limit the amount of people with reserved times.
9. Go Kayaking
Wekiva Island is a locally-owned business that provides kayak, canoe and stand up paddle board rentals without reservations. This leisurely cruise on the Wekiva River will be a great outdoor adventure for the whole family.
10. Get a private surf lesson with Molli Miller Surf School.
Nothing says Spring Break in Florida like a little beach time. Molli Miller’s Surf School offers private and group lessons and is perfect for children and adults of all ages. Bonus: space is limited, so no crowds!
11. Make DIY Birthday Cards for a Cause.
This is the perfect indoor activity to avoid crowds completely by staying home. Each month, the Foundation for Foster Children sends out handmade birthday cards to children in the foster care system. Find out how to participate here.
12. Enjoy the beach without crowds at Canaveral National Seashore.
Just south of New Smyrna Beach is a stretch of Atlantic Coastline often overlooked by tourists. Canaveral National Seashore boasts beautiful dunes, sandy natural beaches, and four short interpretive walks. It’s the perfect afternoon for families looking to relax and have a picnic on the beach. Updated: they have closed Canaveral National Seashore.
13. Pack the bikes and hit the West Orange Trail.
This 22 mile paved trail goes from the Orange/Lake County line all the way into Apopka. We recommend parking near the Oakland trail head where families might get a peek at a private farm’s Watusi cattle with their giant horns. The stretch near Winter Garden is also wonderful because you can grab a bite to eat at the city’s delicious restaurants (if they’re still an option).
14. Rent a swan boat at Lake Eola.
Spend an afternoon paddling your way across downtown Orlando’s iconic lake. Afterwards, throw down a blanket and enjoy a picnic in the grassy park. Tickets are only available at Lake Eola and cost $15 for a 30 minute rental. If downtown Orlando isn’t your scene, try Oviedo on the Park’s paddle boat rentals.
15. Go on a treasure hunt with your phone.
Geocaching became a pretty popular hobby a few years ago. Download the Geocaching app, enter your location, and follow clues to hidden treasures all over Central Florida. Don’t forget to bring a treasure of your own to leave behind when you uncover a location.