Florida Travel

7 Best Day Trips From Walt Disney World

We all love the Mouse, but sometimes we need a break from the magic. Luckily, Florida has so much to offer visitors beyond the Happiest Place on Earth. If you’re looking for a day trip from Walt Disney World, you have a lot to choose from.

Since Disney is located smack dab in the center of the Sunshine State, you can guarantee you’ll run into something spectacular no matter which direction you drive. In case you needed some inspiration to spark your travels, here are the best day trips to take from Walt Disney World.

Flagler College in St. Augustine

1. St. Augustine

St. Augustine is the oldest continuously occupied settlement in the country. That’s right, founded in 1865, St. Augustine is actually older than the country it’s in. Visiting St. Augustine is a history buff’s dream come true. It might be one of the most beautiful sights on the eastern coast of Florida.

St. Augustine quite literally has it all: gorgeous beaches, ancient streets, and a budding foodie scene. There’s so much to do here, you’ll probably want to stay for more than an afternoon. The good news is it’s only 2 hours from Disney World, and the drive is toll-road free.

Best Sights: Castillo De San Marco, Flagler College (formerly the Ponce De Leon Hotel), and St. George Street

Distance: 2-hour drive

Melbourne Beach

2. Melbourne

If you’re looking for the closest beach to Disney World, you’ll want to visit Melbourne, Florida. Though it’s an up-and-coming part of the sate, it still retains much of it’s small town charm. Stoll the quaint downtown streets before you head for an afternoon at the beach. Just be aware of afternoon showers! They sneak up on us a lot down in Florida. So much for the sunshine state!

Best sights: Melbourne Beach, Indian River Lagoon, and Downtown Melbourne

Distance: 1-hour drive from Disney World


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by When In Tampa (@whenintampa) on

3. Tampa

No list of day trips would be complete without Tampa. This old harbor town has a lot going for it, and it’s bustling with energy. This is also where Busch Gardens Tampa Bay is located, so you don’t have to compromise when it comes to theme parks. You won’t want to miss the vintage scene in Ybor City or the nightlife. If possible, visit during the Gasparilla Pirate Festival in January.

Best sights: Busch Gardens, The Florida Aquarium, and Tampa Riverwalk

Distance: 2-hour drive west of Disney World

Best Day Trips from Walt Disney World

Downtown Celebration, Florida

4. Celebration

Celebration is like a Hollywood movie set come to life. Seriously, it could be a doppelganger for Gilmore Girls’ Stars Hollow. In actuality, Celebration is a town planned by the Disney Company. Today, it’s a self-managed township, but you can still see the Disney charm in its quaint restaurants, lakeside downtown, and perfect homes.

Best sights: Downtown Celebration, Old Town, and Celebration Golf Club

Distance: Less than 10 minutes from the World!


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Around Winter Park (@aroundwinterpark) on

5. Winter Park

While Celebration literally shares a street with Disney World, Winter Park isn’t that far either. Just northeast of Orlando is Winter Park, another charming community you’ll want to visit again and again. Winter Park started as a resort community for northern business executives in the 19th and early 20th century. It’s where you’ll find Rollins College, the oldest private college in the state.

Today, it’s the Venice of Central Florida. There are endless canals and lakes weaving through this community, and you can even take an airboat tour through them all. If you’d rather stay on dry land, explore the posh boutiques and dining of Park Ave in downtown Winter Park.

Best sights: Park Ave, Mead Botanical Garden, and Harry P Leu Gardens

Distance: 40-minute drive from Disney World


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by KSC Visitor Complex (@kennedyspacecenter) on

6. Kennedy Space Center

Though this is the only thing on this list that isn’t a town, the Kennedy Space Center is worth a visit. Home to NASA, this is a full-day experience for visitors of all ages. You can see the U.S. Astronauts Hall of Fame, the Saturn V Rocket, and even experience an astronaut training simulator.

If you like space, you’ll think the Kennedy Space Center is its own type of theme park. It basically is! They even have rides! Open every day from 9am – 6pm, there’s no reason not to make the short trip out to the Kennedy Space Center while you’re in Central Florida.

Best sights: Hall of Fame, Space Shuttle Atlantis, and the Rocket Garden

Distance: Less than an hour from Disney World



View this post on Instagram


A post shared by The Spring State (@thespringstate) on

7. Deland

Finally, Deland is about as opposite as you can get from the hustle of Orlando and Disney World. If you’re tired of the crowds and the lines, head over to Deland, Florida for a break from all of that. Deland is Old Florida at its best. Home to Stetson University, another liberal arts college, this area is hopping with energy.

There’s something here for the entire family. While you should most definitely explore the downtown district complete with antique shops and craft breweries, also take the time to pop into one of the many natural springs in the area. Just don’t forget your innertube for the natural lazy rivers!

Best sights: Blue Springs State Park, Persimmon Hollow Brewery, and Stetson Mansion

Distance: 1-hour drive from Disney World

WDW Expert List of Day Trips

As a Florida native, I hope you take the time to check out these awesome spots around the state. They’re all easy to get to from Disney World, and they offer something a little bit different. No matter what it is you want to enjoy, from wildlife to city lights, there’s a Florida destination waiting for you.

Where will you explore next? Let me know in the comments!

The 7 Best Day Trips From Walt Disney World
Share on
Next Post

You may also like