Growing up at Disney World’s footsteps, when I come home I love to discover places with a fresh lens as a tourist and that is exactly what I did to experience some of the adventures, restaurants and even get to experience my first time staying in a vacation home rental. It was only fitting since Kissimmee is the vacation rental capital of the world.
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The Best Things to do outside of Disney World
I found that over the years Kissimmee has really blossomed into a destination in and of itself, especially for those looking to get a taste of Florida’s nature as well as some of the best resorts and vacation homes to relax and get away from the theme parks to truly connect with those you are traveling with.
Here are just some of the unique things to do in Kissimmee that I did on a recent trip hosted by Experience Kissimmee.
An interesting fact many people don’t realize when they visit Central Florida is that it lays at the headwaters of the Everglades. Wild Florida is a great adventure for those looking to immerse themselves in Florida’s nature and wildlife.
Take an airboat adventure here to see spoonbills, egrets, alligators, and more in their natural habitat. The half hour airboat tour is $32 usd for adults, and $29 usd for children. There are some discounts for Florida discounts for the 1 hour long tour which is $58 for adults and $49 usd if you are a Florida resident adult.
Another exciting adventure they have is a drive-thru safari where you can see buffalo, Giraffes, zebras, and there is even a section where you can get out and feed giraffes!
Orlando Tree Trek Adventure Park
If you are not afraid of heights or want to conquer your fear of them head to Orlando Tree Trek Adventure Park. Confront 97 aerial challenges, a huge zipline, and try your hand at some teamwork with a friend that can help guide you where to place your feet so you don’t fall.
There are courses for all ability levels and lengths of courses for those that are wishing to just try it out. This is definitely a cute date idea in Central Florida, group activity for families, or just a fun adventure on your holidays beyond Disney or Universal.
While technically in Orlando this is a must when visiting the Central Florida area and Kissimmee. Gatorland is a Florida institution offering a unique opportunity to learn about alligators, Florida wildlife, and also have some fun zip lining across pools of them.
Margaritaville Resort in Orlando is an experience in and of itself with great restaurants on site and a spa that is perfect to add on to your trip for a relaxing afternoon and evening.The resort spa prides itself in providing vitamin therapies, IV drips, B12 shots, and more whether you are looking to be healthy on vacation or need a hangover cure. The property is also amazing to walk around, enjoy live music, and eat amazing fresh fish food at Euphoria Fish House.
Within walking distance to Margaritaville Resort Orlando is the Sunset Walk. Sunset Walk offers a range of shops, restaurants, and live entertainment some nights. It is a great way to spend the evenings in Kissimmee, Florida.
Sunset Live brings in live entertainment Tuesday through Sunday, as well as car shows every Saturday. If you enjoy arts and music then check out the artisan markets on Saturday or Promenade Plaza Thursdays. There are also some adventures to take within Sunset Walk from the Slingshot to Game Time perfect for some evening entertainment.
Downtown Kissimmee Main Street
Want to experience what Old Florida was like, head to Downtown Kissimmee Main Street which has had a bit of a renaissance with cute shops, art murals, and family owned businesses. It is nice to take a stroll around here and grab ice cream Abracadabra Ice Cream. Saturdays come check out the Kissimmee Farmer’s Market.
For a little weird and wonderful fact you can check out the Monument of States, a statue created with rocks, fossils, other mementos from across the USA and oddly enough the artists asked to have some of his remains sealed inside.
Shingle Creek Regional Trail
Want to get outdoors to get a hike in? Check out Shingle Creek Regional Trail between Kissimmee Lake Trailhead to Eagle Nest Park trail head. The full trail is 17 miles, but if you just want to do part of it you can do it at your own pace or take a bike.
Celebration is not far from Kissimeee and is the perfect thing to do beyond Disney and comes close to the experience of a Disney Main street as you can get outside of Disney. Downtown Celebration offers shops, restaurants, the boutique luxury Celebration Hotel, and festivities throughout the year. Personally I love to visit during the holiday season when they have main street snow and the lights on Jeater Bend. Otherwise it is perfect for a stroll around the lake or grabbing a bit at one of the many restaurants, my favorite being the Colombia Restaurant.
Where to eat in Kissimmee, Florida ?
Big John’s Rockin’ BBQ is a known BBQ joint in Central Florida and I would say you cannot miss their brisket or mac n cheese. I LOVE Bbq and I don’t know how even a Florida girl like myself has never been here until this past summer.
Estefan Kitchen is owned by Gloria Estefan and offers Cuban American Food with live entertainment. It is also located in Sunset Walk so it is perfect to pair with shopping or enjoying other events on the promenade.
Villagio Restaurant is where I ate on property at Magic Village and it offered a great selection. It was nice that it is on property of his vacation home rental property because if you don’t feel like cooking or taking a ride there is a dining option on site.
World Food Trucks Want to experience a family friendly and affordable place to eat and experience food from around the world? The World Food Trucks is a permanent food truck park where you can try food of all types perfect for large groups looking for a bit of everything no matter what type of food you are searching for. There are literally over 50 food trucks to choose from! The parking is free and it is located at 5805 W Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway, Kissimmee, Florida.
Where to stay in Kissimmee ?
Magic Village Trademark Collection By Wyndham- This is where I stayed for three nights hosted by Experience Kissimmee and it was actually quite cool to experience what it is like to stay in a vacation home. The property had everything you needed and a ton of space. Each room in the house had a full bathroom, the common spaces were large, and the back porch had an outdoor grilling area.
Also the property as mentioned above had a restaurant called Villagio Restaurant and a pool for relaxing after exploring all day.
Margaritaville Resort Orlando If you are looking for the resort experience, Margaritaville Resort has villa vacation homes, as well as resort rooms with entertainment daily a restaurant as well as spa onsite it is a great choice for people of all ages. Also, it is close to Sunset Walk.
The rooms will make you really feel on vacation with island inspired decor and Jimmy Buffet music playing throughout the resort.
Stay local with Kapp and Kappy B & B
While I already had a great stay organized at the Magic Village, I love also staying at boutique properties and family owned and operated businesses. I absolutely think that if you are a boutique stay person looking for a traditional B and B Kapp and Kappy B and B is for you.
A quaint artist owned and operated B and B, Kapp and Kappy was built in 1913 and renovated in 2016 with the charms of a century old home, and southern hospitality that makes you feel at home.
To Conclude My Things To Do In Kissimmee From A Local’s Perspective
While I grew up Kissimmee was not a place I would visit because it literally was 15 minutes from where I lived. However, I learned so much about Kissimmee and all of the things to do in Kissimmee beyond the theme parks that it has me wanting to come back for more. New resorts, vacation homes, as well as attractions for tourists looking to visit beyond the theme parks are being built every day. It is definitely a unique part of Central Florida that is worth a visit during your time and perfect especially for larger groups of friends and family do to it being the vacation home capital of the world.
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