23 Unforgettable Weekend Getaways from Orlando

Orlando, Florida is a bustling city filled with theme parks, attractions, and plenty of entertainment options. But sometimes, you need a break from the crowds and the chaos of city life. Luckily, there are plenty of great weekend getaways within driving distance of Orlando.

Whether you’re looking for a beach vacation, a historic city, or an outdoor adventure, there’s something for everyone within a few hours’ drive. In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the best weekend getaways from Orlando, so you can plan your next escape and recharge your batteries.

So, pack your bags and hit the road, because these destinations are just a short drive away and offer a chance to experience a different side of Florida.

Want to explore Florida? Check out these posts!

Top Weekend Getaways from Orlando

Whether you prefer the beach or walking around town, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Luckily, Orlando is situated in the middle of Central Florida, so you can take a short drive and spend the weekend in some amazing places.

This article will share the best places to take a weekend trip from Orlando, so if you’re looking to more places in Florida to explore, here are some travel destinations to keep in mind!

Cocoa Beach Pier

1) Cocoa Beach

Drive Time: One Hour from Orlando

Cocoa Beach is a great option if you’re looking for a place to spend the weekend with plenty of activities to keep you busy. It’s also close enough to be a quick beach day trip!

There are tons of restaurants and bars to choose from, as well as shopping and various other activities. Of course, you can also enjoy the beach, which is perfect for swimming, sunbathing, or relaxing.

A very popular activity in Cocoa Beach is bioluminescent kayaking. This is quite a spectacular and memorable experience.

In addition, Cocoa Beach is just a 1-hour drive from Orlando. Cocoa Beach is situated on the Space Coast and is known for its proximity to Kennedy Space Center.

If you decide to visit Cocoa Beach, you can take a short 30-minute drive to Melbourne. Melbourn also has plenty of activities to experience. You can see the Brevard Zoo, go ziplining, go-karting, and surfing,

The fishing pier on Amelia Island in Florida

2) Amelia Island

Drive Time: Approximately 2 hours, 40 minutes from Orlando

Amelia Island is located in Fernandina Beach, within a three-hour drive from downtown Orlando. This makes it a great option for a weekend getaway. In addition, Amelia Island is the southernmost of the Sea Islands, a chain of barrier islands stretching along the United States east coast from South Carolina to Florida.

The island is home to beautiful sandy beaches, unique shops, and tasty restaurants. There are also several historical sites and museums to explore.

You can also visit Fort Clinch State Park. This park is 1,100 acres and includes the 19th-century Fort Clinch, sand dunes, maritime hammock, plains, and estuarine tidal marsh.

Forsythe Park in Savannah, Georgia

3) Savannah, Georgia

Drive Time: Approximately 4 hours from Orlando

If you want to explore outside of Florida, Savannah, Georgia, is just 4 hours and 15 minutes from downtown Orlando. Although Savannah is right next to Florida, you can feel the difference in the weather. The city is known for its rich history, beautiful architecture, and stunning parks. Savannah is also great for enjoying the outdoors, with plenty of activities such as kayaking, biking, and walking.

When visiting Savannah, you can explore the city on foot or ride a horse-drawn carriage. You can also see one of the many museums, such as the Telfair Academy of Arts and Sciences or the Savannah History Museum.

Savannah has plenty of options if you are looking for a place to eat. Several restaurants serve Southern cuisine, as well as international cuisine.

There are wild horses on Cumberland Island!

4) Cumberland Island, Georgia

Drive Time: Approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes from Orlando

Another great place to visit outside of Florida for a weekend getaway is Cumberland Island. Just three hours from Orlando, Cumberland Island is home to pristine beaches, interesting history, and picturesque landscapes.

The island is only accessible by ferry, so you’ll really feel like you’re away from it all. Once on the island, you can explore the ruins of a 19th-century mansion, go hiking or biking, see wild horses, or relax on the beach.

Cumberland Island is also a great place for bird-watching. There are more than 300 species of birds that call the island home.

So if you’re looking to get away from it all and enjoy nature, Cumberland Island is the perfect destination. While you are here, you can go camping on the island or stay at a historic hotel.

Hotels along New Smyrna Beach in Florida

5) New Smyrna Beach

Drive Time: Approximately 1 hour from Orlando

Another beautiful historic place in Florida is New Smyrna Beach. It is just 1-hour drive from downtown Orlando and is a great place to enjoy the Florida coastline. This town has plenty of beach activities such as swimming, sunbathing, fishing, and surfing. You can also explore the town’s shops and restaurants.

In addition, New Smyrna Beach is home to several historical sites. These include the New Smyrna sugar mill ruins, the New Smyrna Museum of History, and the Old Fort Park.

Several hotels and vacation rentals are available if you are looking for a place to stay. New Smyrna Beach is a great place to go if you love the beach and history!

A view of Daytona Beach at night

6) Daytona Beach

Drive Time: Approximately 1 hour from Orlando

Just north of New Smyrna Beach is the famous Daytona Beach. This beach is just 1-hour drive from downtown Orlando so it’s a great option for a day trip. If you love cars, then you maybe know Daytona for its Daytona International Speedway which hosts the iconic Daytona 500 NASCAR race.

Daytona Beach also has hard-packed sand where driving is permitted in certain areas. In addition, Daytona Beach has plenty of fun activities, such as free summer concerts on the Beach Bandshell and the Lagoon water park, which offers go-karts, laser tag, and waterslides.

Manatees swimming in the Crystal River

7) Crystal River Springs

Drive Time: Approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes from Orlando

If you love nature, Crystal River is a phenomenal place to visit. It is within 2-hours of downtown Orlando and offers plenty of scenic activities.

The most popular activity in Crystal River is swimming with manatees. However, you can also take a riverboat tour, go kayaking or tubing, or visit the Crystal River Archaeological State Park.

In addition, within Crystal River, there are several springs you can visit, such as Rainbow Springs and Hunter Springs. These springs offer crystal clear waters to swim, relax, and enjoy the scenery. If you are staying overnight, there are several hotels and campgrounds in Crystal River.

Beach goers watching the sunset in Clearwater Beach

8) Clearwater Beach

Drive Time: Approximately 2 hours from Orlando

Clearwater Beach is world-famous for its spectacular beaches. Not to mention it is just 2 hours from Orlando, Florida. In addition to swimming and sunbathing, Clearwater Beach offers plenty of activities such as fishing, boating, parasailing, and jet skiing. You can also visit the Clearwater Marine Aquarium or take a dolphin-watching tour.

During your action-packed day, you can eat at the famous Frenchy’s Rockaway Grill, known for its delicious grouper sandwich and freshly caught fish.

Tampa skyline

9) Tampa

Drive Time: Approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes from Orlando

Tampa, Florida’s largest city, is packed with a huge variety of activities. In addition, it is within 1 hour and 30-minutes from downtown Orlando. Some of the most popular attractions in Tampa are the Florida Aquarium, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, the Lowry Park Zoo, and Ybor City. You can also take a riverboat cruise on the Hillsborough River or visit Clearwater Beach.

In addition, Tampa is home to several professional sports teams. For example, you can watch the Tampa Bay Buccaneers play football, the Tampa Bay Rays play baseball, or the Tampa Bay Lightning play hockey.

Lastly, Tampa is packed with delicious restaurants and breweries. So if you want to do a bar crawl, you will find plenty of places to try locally crafted brews.

scenic view of the skyline and boat harbor in St. Petersburg, Florida
Skyline view of St. Petersburg, Florida

10) St. Petersburg

Drive Time: Approximately 2 hours from Orlando

St. Petersburg is quickly becoming one of Florida’s hottest destinations. Some of the most popular attractions in the area include the Dali Museum, the Chihuly Collection, and the Morean Arts Center Glass Studio & Hot Shop. You can also visit the Sunken Gardens or take a boat ride through the Mangroves.

If you love nature, then you can visit one of St. Petersburg’s many parks, such as the Weedon Island Preserve or Sawgrass Lake Park.

For all beach lovers, St. Petersburg has several great beaches to choose from, such as Treasure Island Beach, Fort De Soto Park, and St. Pete Beach. Schedule a snorkeling tour or kayaking tour!

Be sure to book one of the unique hotels or Airbnbs in the area and enjoy a delicious breakfast too.

signs that says "Siesta #1 Beach in the USA!" in front of beach entrance
Siesta Key Beach

11) Siesta Key

Drive Time: Approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes from Orlando

Siesta Key is a barrier island just off the coast near Sarasota, Florida. It is 2 hours and 30-minutes from Orlando. It’s one of the most beautiful Florida beaches.

Siesta Key is world-famous for its soft, white-sand beaches, perfect sunbathing, and swimming. In addition, the island has plenty of restaurants, bars, and shops to explore.

Several activities keep you busy, such as kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, fishing, and sailing. If you want to experience the underwater world, you can go snorkeling or scuba diving.

Siesta Key is the place to be if you are truly a beach lover. This beautiful area has plenty of beaches to explore! Take a look at the below article for more details.

Aerial view of the pier on St. Augustine Beach

12) St. Augustine Beach

Drive Time: Approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes from Orlando

If you’re looking for a laid-back beach town to visit for a weekend getaway, St. Augustine Beach is the place to go. This charming beach town is located on Anastasia Island and is just a short drive from St. Augustine, Florida. Not only is it a phenomenal destination, but it is also just 1 hour and 45 minutes away from Orlando.

St. Augustine Beach has miles of white sand beaches to enjoy and plenty of restaurants, bars, and shops to explore. In addition, several activities keep you busy, such as fishing, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding.

If you want to experience the underwater world, you can go snorkeling or scuba diving. There are also several charter companies that offer boat tours.

Sanibel Island

13) Sanibel Island

Drive Time: Approximately 3 hours and 45 minutes from Orlando

Sanibel Island is about 4 hours from Orlando and is the perfect weekend getaway destination. This beautiful island is world-famous for its shell beaches and is a great place to relax and unwind.

In addition to its pristine beaches, Sanibel Island also has several great restaurants, shops, and bars. There are also many activities to keep you busy such as fishing, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding.

If you want to experience the underwater world, you can go snorkeling or scuba diving. Sanibel Island is also a great place for bird watching. You can even take a ferry ride to nearby Captiva Island.

You will surely find amazing gifts to share with your loved ones here. Also, look at our 25 Thoughtful Gifts for Beach Lovers article for more ideas.

Sunset on Marco Island

14) Marco Island

Drive Time: Approximately 3 hours and 45 minutes from Orlando

Similar to Sanibel Island, Marco Island is 4 hours from Orlando. This destination is known for its luxury resorts, white sand beaches, and clear waters. On the island, there are several things to do, such as fishing, canoeing, shopping, and dining. You can also visit the Marco Island Historical Museum to learn about the area’s history.

On Marco Island, there are plenty of fun activities to do. Marco Island is known for the Ten Thousand Islands, full of sea life, sea birds, and mangroves. The beautiful mangroves are accessible through kayaks and canoes. You can also take boat tours to see the diversity of sea life. In addition, you can rent a jet ski or sailboat or get on a day cruise.

In Ten Thousand Islands, you will also find the Cape Romano Dome Home. These homes are truly unique places to visit.

Aerial view of Jensen Beach

15) Jensen Beach

Drive Time: Approximately 2 hours from Orlando

Jensen Beach is a great option if you’re looking for a fun-filled and relaxing weekend getaway! This coastal town is located in Martin County, Florida, and is known for its beautiful beaches, charming downtown district, and being the “Pineapple Capital of the World”.

Some of the top things to do in Jensen Beach include swimming, sunbathing, fishing, and kayaking. You can also explore the downtown area, which features several shops and restaurants.

If you’re looking for a romantic getaway, consider staying at one of Jensen Beach’s many bed and breakfasts.

West Palm Beach skyline

16) West Palm Beach

Drive Time: Approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes from Orlando

West Palm Beach is a great destination for a weekend getaway. There are plenty of things to do in the area, including shopping, dining, and sightseeing. The beaches are also a major attraction, and there are several golf courses in the area. Accommodations range from luxury resorts to budget-friendly hotels and motels.

If you stay here, you can walk around Citi Place to go shopping and dine. Then walk to Clematis Street to have a drink and along the intercoastal to take in the salty breeze.

Boats and jet skis on the water near Jupiter, Florida

17) Jupiter

Drive Time: Approximately 2 hours from Orlando

If you’re looking for a weekend getaway that’s a little bit different from Orlando, consider Jupiter. This town is located on Florida’s east coast and is known for its beautiful beaches and interesting attractions. Here are a few things you can do in Jupiter:

  • Visit the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse, which is one of the most popular attractions in town
  • Take a walk or hike through Blowing Rocks Preserve, which is home to some of the area’s best hiking trails
  • Spend a day at Coral Cove Park, where you can find coral reefs and clear blue waters
  • Play a round of golf at one of Jupiter’s many championship golf courses
  • Go fishing or kayaking in the Jupiter Inlet
  • Visit the Roger Dean Stadium, which is home to spring training for the Miami Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals

Related: Ultimate Guide to Shark Watching in Florida

Aerial view of Fort Lauderdale, Florida

18) Fort Lauderdale

Drive Time: Approximately 3 hours from Orlando

Fort Lauderdale, Florida is a coastal city located on the east coast of South Florida. Known for its stunning beaches, vibrant nightlife, and world-class shopping and dining, Fort Lauderdale is a popular vacation destination for travelers from all over the world.

One of the main attractions in Fort Lauderdale is its beautiful beaches. With over seven miles of pristine coastline, there’s no shortage of spots to soak up the sun and enjoy the warm waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Fort Lauderdale Beach is the most popular, offering plenty of amenities including restaurants, bars, and water sports rentals.

In addition to the beaches, Fort Lauderdale is also home to the famous Las Olas Boulevard. This bustling street is lined with shops, galleries, and restaurants, making it the perfect place for an afternoon stroll or an evening out. The area is also home to several museums and cultural attractions, including the Museum of Discovery and Science and the Bonnet House Museum and Gardens.

For those who love the outdoors, Fort Lauderdale also has several parks and nature reserves. Hugh Taylor Birch State Park is a popular spot for hiking, biking, and birdwatching, while the Everglades Holiday Park offers airboat rides and a chance to see Florida’s famous alligators up close.

Downtown Miami skyline

19) Miami

Drive Time: Approximately 3 hours and 30 minutes from Orlando

Miami is a great destination for a weekend getaway. There are plenty of things to do in the city, and it’s close enough to Orlando that you can easily drive there. There are also tons of hotels and restaurants in Miami, so you’ll be able to find something to fit your budget and taste.

Miami has many places to visit, such as Wynwood, Miami Beach, and Brickell Avenue. Wynwood is an artsy district with several art galleries, street art, and hip restaurants. Wynwood is also home to the Wynwood Walls, which are a must-see.

Miami Beach is a beautiful beach with plenty of activities such as swimming, sunbathing, and people-watching. It is also packed with bars, clubs, and restaurants.

Brickell Avenue is a busy street with plenty of shops and restaurants. It’s also home to several high-rise buildings, so it’s a great place to people watch. Miami is also home to Calle Ocho in Little Havannah which is packed with bars and restaurants with live salsa and Cuban cuisine.

This city is a melting pot of cultures so you can get a taste of everything here. If you decide to stay in Miami, you can also rent a boat and visit the sand bars off the coast. Miami is a great place to visit if you are looking for a luxurious place to party, feast, and shop.

native bird and her offspring in Everglades National Park
Wild birds in Everglades National Park

20) Everglades National Park

Drive Time: Approximately 4 hours from Orlando

Everglades National Park is one of the most unique and breathtaking natural wonders in the United States. Located in southern Florida, it is a vast wetland ecosystem covering over 1.5 million acres, and it is home to a diverse array of wildlife, including alligators, panthers, manatees, and countless species of birds.

One of the best ways to experience the park is to take an airboat tour, which will take you through the winding waterways and give you an up-close look at the wildlife and vegetation. You can also explore the park on foot, with several hiking trails that offer stunning views of the landscape.

For those who are more adventurous, there are also opportunities for kayaking, canoeing, and camping within the park. You can even try your hand at fishing for some of the many species of fish that call the Everglades home.

But beyond its natural beauty, the Everglades are also an important ecosystem that provides valuable services such as water purification and flood control. The park is also home to several indigenous communities that have lived in harmony with the environment for centuries.

three scuba divers swimming underwater near fish in Ginnie Springs, Florida
Swimmers scuba diving in Ginnie Springs

21) Ginnie Springs

Drive Time: Approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes from Orlando

Ginnie Springs is a natural wonder located in High Springs, Florida. This beautiful freshwater spring system consists of several crystal-clear springs that flow into the Santa Fe River, providing an ideal destination for swimming, snorkeling, and diving.

The springs have a constant flow of 72°F water, making it a refreshing place to cool off during Florida’s hot summers. The water is so clear that you can see all the way to the bottom, making it an ideal spot for snorkelers and divers to explore the underwater caves and limestone formations.

Ginnie Springs is also a popular camping destination, with several campgrounds located within the park. You can choose from tent camping, RV camping, or even rent a cabin for a more comfortable stay. There are plenty of amenities available, including restrooms, showers, and a general store for all your camping needs.

For those looking for more adventure, Ginnie Springs offers tubing and kayaking down the Santa Fe River. The river flows at a leisurely pace, allowing you to take in the beautiful scenery and wildlife along the way. It’s definitely one of Florida’s most unique attractions!

22) Cedar Key

Drive Time: Approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes from Orlando

Cedar Key is a charming town located on the Gulf Coast of Florida. It’s perfect for a weekend getaway for nature lovers. It is also just 2 hours and 30 minutes from downtown Orlando. Cedar Key is known for its seafood so you can enjoy fresh seafood at one of the local restaurants. You can also go fishing, kayaking, or hiking.

Cedar Key is known for its National Wildlife Refuge, which focuses on conserving natural terrain and birdlife. In addition, Cedar Key Museum State Park offers nature trails, a 1920s home, and artifacts that depict Cedar Key’s history as a port city and its rich history during the Civil War.

23) Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park

Drive Time: Approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes from Orlando

Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park is the perfect destination if you’re looking for an animal-filled weekend getaway. Just 1 hour and 30 minutes from Orlando, this park offers visitors a chance to see alligators, manatees, flamingos, bears, deer, eagles, and more. You can take a boat tour of the river to see the wildlife or take a walk on the nature trails.

In addition to seeing the animals, you can also learn about them at the park’s education center. The Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park is a great place to visit for animal lovers of all ages.

Bottom Line

These are just a few of the many weekend getaways within driving distance of Orlando. Whether you’re looking for a beach vacation, a city escape, or an outdoor adventure, there’s something for everyone within a few hours of the city.

Nicole Mickle

I've lived, worked, and played in Orlando my entire life. Let's make the most out of your Florida lifestyle! I'm here to help you take overwhelming interior design options and simplify them room by room.

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