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Everyone knows that Orlando, Florida, is a top destination for family travelers. From Disney World to Universal Studios, Orlando is a playground for kids. But what is often overlooked is that Orlando isn’t only about families—there are a lot of fun things to do in Orlando for adults. Whether you’re indoor skydiving, diving with sea creatures, or keep your feet firmly planted on the ground, there is plenty of Orlando sightseeing to be done without kids in tow.
I’m scared to death of heights, but I’ve always wanted to try sky diving. iFLY has the perfect solution with indoor sky diving! It’s basically a jet engine that is oriented vertically so that it blows air skyward in a wind tunnel. The winds accelerate up to 80 miles per hour, you enter the wind tunnel and basically body surf on the air – mimicking the feeling of free falling.
Orlando iFLY is a blast (literally), and it was also a ton of fun. Indoor skydiving looks a lot easier than it is. When you iFLY, you’ll get two 60-second flights. It sounds like a short time, but it feels a lot longer.
You spend most of the first flight getting a handle on the mechanics, but the second flight is much easier than the first. For adventurous travelers, indoor skydiving at iFLY is one of the best things to do in Orlando besides theme parks.
Considering an indoor skydiving session? See reviews and prices
Since 1949, Gatorland has been a top attraction for families, but it is also one of the great places to go in Orlando for adults. Gatorland is Orlando’s original attraction—a private reserve with hundreds of alligators and crocodiles. The highlight is the Screamin’ Gator Zip Line. You zip at over 30 miles per hour across five different lines over seven stories above the ground, including flying over chomping Nile and Cuban crocodiles.
As I mentioned, I’m scared of heights but a lover of adventure, too. The staff made me feel very comfortable through the whole zip line experience and, despite my fear, I had a fantastic time.
Universal Studios Orlando
The Universal Studios area is composed of two theme parks — Universal Studios and Universal’s Islands of Adventure — along with a “downtown” area full of restaurants and shops. Everything here is appropriate for adults and the young-at-heart.
Though there are many areas with different themes, including Hollywood, Jurassic Park, New York, and Toon Lagoon, our primary destination on this trip was, admittedly, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. After exploring other areas of the park and getting utterly drenched on a couple of water rides, we headed to see Harry and friends.
We bought a ticket that allowed us to visit both Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios so we could see both parts of the Wizarding World. The re-creations of Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley are both expertly done, featuring shops, locations, and characters that any fan of the Harry Potter books or movies would recognize and appreciate.
Ollivanders wand shop gives you the feeling of being in the cluttered space of one of the most influential people in the wizarding world, and Honeydukes candy shop is filled with everything from Bertie Bott’s Every-Flavour Beans to chocolate peppermint toads. Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour serves up some amazing treats, too.
Of course, you can find any type of quidditch supply or robe you’re looking for. A butterbeer and fish and chips at Three Broomsticks were also awesome. And yes, the hippogriff, castle, and Gringotts rides are totally worth the wait. One tip: try the single rider’s lines for a much shorter wait time. These lines are available throughout the park, not just in the Harry Potter section.
Swamp boat tour
Just a half-hour outside of the city is a whole different world on Lake Tohopekaliga in Kissimmee, Florida. If you’re looking for a completely different experience than the theme parks, this is the spot.
A 90-minute tour took us over lily pads and past floating grass that made islands in the lake. We watched as bald eagles soared above our heads and cranes were on the lookout for their morning meal, all while keeping our eyes peeled for the elusive alligators in the headwaters of the Everglades. A swamp tour is one of the best things to do around Orlando, and you can read more about our experience here.
Check out options for taking your own swamp boat tour here
Eat and drink around the world
The 11 countries of Epcot’s World Showcase are the basis for “drinking around the world,” clearly an adults-only activity in Orlando. For the sake of our livers and avoiding a massive hangover, we took the approach of eating and drinking around the world, sampling the best of what each country has to offer. And there’s lot to choose from.
From the margaritas in Mexico to the eggrolls in China to the fabulous Grand Marnier Orange Slush in France, each one of the countries has amazing options. If drinking around the world is one a must do in Orlando for you, take the time to plan it out and pace yourself. We’ve written about our fun experience in more detail here.
Scuba dive at Epcot
The fun at Epcot extends way beyond what you can eat and drink there to include the most unique thing we’ve ever done at a theme park—scuba dive. Disney uses The Seas with Nemo & Friends Pavilion to showcase its efforts through the Disney Worldwide Conservation Program. The program rehabilitates animals like manatees who can then be returned to the wild.
Laura had the opportunity to dive in their main attraction—a 5.6 million gallon aquarium. Through Epcot’s DiveQuest tour, you can make friends with the sharks, rays, and 80-year-old sea turtle Tolstoy up close and personal.
Any scuba certified diver over 10 years old can participate in DiveQuest. Better yet, Epcot provides all the equipment, so it’s convenient for tourists. There are also snorkeling and dolphin adventures for those who aren’t scuba certified or don’t want to dive. It’s a fun spin on an afternoon at Epcot and definitely one of the most unique things to do in Orlando, Florida.
Orlando provides a number of options for beating the stifling heat and doing something other than waiting for a roller coaster. The Disney complex has two water parks (Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon), Universal has the new Volcano Bay, and there is another waterpark at SeaWorld.
Visiting one of the water parks is one of the top 10 things to do in Orlando. Since we had been to Blizzard Beach before, we decided to spend the (phenomenally hot and humid) day at Typhoon Lagoon.
The park is great for adults because there are fountains and slides for different age groups. Our main objective was relaxation, so we spent much of the day in the wave pool and the lazy river, which connects all the areas of the park.
Be forewarned: that is one strong wave pool! In the middle depths, we found ourselves getting thrashed around pretty good when the waves came, so we ultimately swam out to the deepest part to catch the waves as they started—much more fun.
Where to Eat in Orlando
Orlando is a world class fine dining destination and there are many restaurants to appeal to the most discerning of palates. Some of our favorites include:
Amura Sushi – Amura is tucked into a strip mall not far from Universal theme park and provides an unassuming ambiance. However, what it lacks in visual appeal, Amura makes up for in quality. Quite simply, this is probably the best sushi I’ve ever had in my life!
The Palm – If fish isn’t your thing, you might consider The Palm inside the Hard Rock Hotel. The steaks were so good they made this ex-vegetarian swoon.
This list just scratches the surface of all the great things to do in Orlando for adults. If you’ve been to Central Florida, we’d love hear some of your favorite activities.
We were the guests of iFLY, Gatorland, and Spirit of the Swamp. All opinions of the fun and exciting are our own.