Florida may be known as a popular travel destination for its many theme parks, but the “Sunshine State” has numerous Instagrammable hotspots for the entire family. From a spectacular daybreak view, thrill-seeking adventures to exploring the Everglades, here’s our insider’s guide to an Instagram-worthy Florida travel vacation.
Best view if you love to watch the sun rise
Whether or not you’re an early riser in the morning, Orlando Balloon Rides is worth getting up before the crack of dawn for. Not only do they have 35 years under their belt, but they’re currently the largest balloon company in the United States at this very moment.
All you have to do is hop in a [heavy-duty wicker] basket along with 19 other passengers and become one with the birds as you float up to 4000-feet high. Just make sure you remember to soak up the beautiful scenery of the misty-morning forest, calming lakes and mirror-like swamps, because it’s an image you can’t fully capture on your smartphone.
Instagram photo op tip: As you’re rising towards the sunrise, that’s the perfect moment to snap a candid shot.
Best tour if you enjoy riding a bike
Located in close proximity to Walt Disney World, explore the quaint and picturesque town of Celebration. Home to approximately 7,500 residents, Celebration Bike Rentals will have you pedalling along the quiet, vibrant streets of its downtown core: through Victorian neighbourhoods that look as if they belong in the movies, and across wooden boardwalks that cut through the town’s oddly alluring swamplands. And if you were a serious Desperate Housewives fan back in the early 2000s, don’t miss journeying down Wisteria Lane.
Instagram photo op tip: You’ll want to capture the cookie-cutter vibe of the town. Perhaps, the suburban-housewife neighbourhoods are your best bet, i.e., Wisteria Lane.
Best activity if you’re looking for a water experience
Whether you’re in the mood to paddleboard, kayak or canoe, at The Paddling Center at Shingle Creek you can either rent your equipment per hour or sign up for one of their many guided tours. The best part? They’re beginner friendly. If you’re new to paddleboarding, start with their Stand-Up Paddleboard Guided Tour or if balance really isn’t your thing, you might want to hop in a kayak (or canoe) and try the Cypress Forest Guided Eco-Tour.(Love stand-up paddleboarding and yoga? Here’s your beginner’s guide to SUP yoga.) But if you’re not really feeling the water, there are hiking and biking trails just next door.
Instagram photo op tip: The Full Moon Night Kayaking Tour is worth the timely wait.
Best thrill if you’re looking for an action-packed adventure
Relatively new to Kissimmee, Florida, Tree Trek Adventure Park is sure to challenge you mentally and physically. With courses targeted for kids and adults, the park offers 97 skilled obstacles that’ll get your blood flowing. To name a few: cross suspended bridges and swinging logs, climb 50-foot ladders, swing from Tarzan ropes, and ride an exhilarating zip line to the finish. You’ll push your limits and want to stay atop of the pine trees all day long.
Instagram photo op tip: Strike a fun pose as you descend down their giant 425-foot zip line.
Best dining spot for star-gazing
The eleventh floor only seems fitting for a restaurant called Eleven, a chic steakhouse that occupies the rooftop lounge at Reunion Resort. Although this restaurant is known for its spectacular menu, its views are praised even more. Hit up the patio for some appetizers, drinks and a clear view of Disney’s evening fireworks or the night’s stars.
Instagram photo op tip: If you’re on the patio, then you’re right where you need to be.
Best adventure if you want to see gators
For a safari on water, Spirit of the Swamp Airboat Rides is where it’s at. As an outdoor activity known for strictly being in the movies, this airboat ride will take you on an unforgettable journey through the Everglades to experience the beauty of the swamps and marshes and of course, its main resident: the alligator. (Quick gator fact: Large adult alligators can hold their breath for over an hour underwater — and being that the Everglades are home to approximately 4,200 gators… don’t go falling in!) As you continue to cruise around, you’ll pass by extraordinary oak trees that are drooped with Spanish moss, mosey over some seriously tall sawgrass, and if the timing is right, you’ll see a Great Blue Heron soar overhead.
Instagram photo op tip: It’s really more of a “be in the moment” kind of activity, but the panoramic view you witness out on the water is to die for.
Best winery if you’re craving something fruity
Make your way to Island Groove Wine Company at Formosa Gardens — located less than two miles from Walt Disney World — and indulge in a glass of their signature berry, fruit and grape blends, or 100 percent fruit wines. But if you’re having a glass, you might as well stay for a wine tasting and a bite at their Blue Groove Bistro. With their ingredients harvested daily on-site, order the Baked Brie en Croute as a starter and the Chicken Hand Pie for your main dish. It will without-a-doubt surpass your grandma’s beloved pot pie recipe.
Instagram photo op tip: The Sunshine State Berry Sangria bottle is everything!
Best attraction if you’re visiting Disney’s Animal Kingdom
If you’re a fan of James Cameron’s Avatar film, then you will be completely awestruck by Disney’s newest park attraction, Pandora — The World of Avatar. Grab a healthy lunch at Satu’li Canteen, journey through the Vally of Mo’ara down the Na’vi River and witness the exotic, glowing creatures of the rainforest, or hit up Avatar Flight of Passage (a 3D ride) and hop on the back of a flying banshee to experience the breathtaking world of Avatar from extreme heights.
Instagram photo op tip: The Valley of Mo’ara’s floating mountains are spectacular from every angle.
For your next active vacay, check out the best Caribbean hotspots.