William Carey Drive
Florida is known for its world-famous beaches, attractions, shows, beautiful weather and wonderful tropical atmosphere! So while you are here for the reunion, make it into a full vacation! Here are just a few things to do in Central Florida, within an hour or less drive from the reunion. If at any time you have questions or need more information don’t hesitate to ask a local! Also, within minutes from our location of the reunion you can find shopping, eateries, grocery stores and beautiful quiet parks ---just in case you were wondering!
Laid-back Clearwater Beach is known for its namesake stretch of soft, white sand, stretching for 2.5 miles (4 km) along the Gulf and sits on a barrier island. Drawing visitors year-round for jet-skiing, parasailing, and stand-up paddle boarding in its calm waters. Cyclists and rollerblades glide along a winding beachfront promenade lined with casual seafood restaurants and cafes. Come sunset, Pier 60 hosts a nightly festival with street performers and craft vendors.
World's Most Famous Beach, 23 miles of beach featuring easy access points for driving on in select areas or parking nearby. And check out the many beachfront splash parks, beach volleyball courses and jungle gyms for fun along the shoreline. Take a drive on the beach or bring a bicycle for a truly enjoyable ride in the sand. Not all of your fun will happen on dry land. There are plenty of adventures to be had in the Atlantic from paddle boarding and surfing to kayaking and parasailing. Within just a few miles of the beach, visitors can enjoy a surprising list of attractions including a race around Daytona International Speedway with the NASCAR Racing Experience. Explore a dozen water rides at Daytona Lagoon Waterpark Entertainment Center, a Daytona Beach Zipline Adventure or enjoy the calm thrill of up-close encounters with marine life while paddle boarding in the Halifax River.
72 miles of sun-bronzed Atlantic shoreline, are known for their stellar waves. You'll find professional surfers practicing their moves throughout the beaches in Cocoa Beach, and maybe you'll be inspired to take a lesson. These are the perfect beaches for family day trips, especially if you happen to be visiting a theme park in Orlando.
Canaveral National Seashore, located on a barrier island, offers ocean, beach, dune, hammock, lagoon, salt marsh and pine flatland habitats. It's one of the most beautiful, quiet beaches in Cocoa Beach to spend your time. The beachfront here is a secluded 24-mile stretch where sea and space meet. This is an undeveloped beach, without vendors or stores, so be sure to bring any supplies you may need for the day. There is a parking area with boardwalk access over the dunes.
The 35-acre park features the 1,500-foot Malcolm E. McLouth Fishing Pier and three acres of sandy beach. It's one of the busiest parks in the county, but that's only because it offers something for everyone. There are covered pavilions, picnic areas, campsites, showers and restrooms. It's a good spot to try some fishing or to just relax and watch the kids play.
Dappled with sand dunes and sea grasses, a seven-acre community beach park in a neighborhood setting. If you're looking for a place for a picnic, stop here. There's a 200-foot boardwalk that winds along the dunes, and on the beach, you can take a swim, play volleyball, build a sandcastle or fish in the surf.
This pier is a historical landmark of Florida's Space Coast, and this stretch of beaches in Cocoa Beach is famous for surfing and sunning. This is a good spot to people-watch because the beach teems with excitement. You can take a surf lesson on the gentle, consistent waves, or just watch the pros. The pier also features restaurants and shops.
Shepard Park is a five-acre oceanfront park named after astronaut Alan Shepard. The Cocoa Beach facilities here include large picnic pavilions, several smaller covered picnic areas and a bathhouse. There's plenty of parking and many shops are within walking distance. This is another park right in the middle of the action.
This 10-acre, oceanfront park is a family favorite, an ideal place for a picnic and a swim in the Atlantic. There are picnic pavilions, showers and restrooms.
This beach park of nearly 33 acres features a 3,155-foot boardwalk that winds through the nature hammocks. There are six dune crossovers, picnic areas, restrooms, showers and a playground. If you're curious about area wildlife and plant life, be sure to check out this park.
Theme parks in Florida draw visitors from around the world.
Orlando is theme park central, housing the vast Disney World and Universal Orlando complexes. There are more theme parks in Florida, though, stretching to other parts of the city and state. The theme parks in Florida are year-round attractions thanks to Florida's famous weather. Bring a rain poncho, bring a sweatshirt, but shorts are always in style.
Disney cemented Florida's theme park reputation when it opened the Magic Kingdom, a sister park to California's Disneyland, in 1971. After that came Epcot, Disney's Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom. Magic Kingdom, with its fairytale castles and nightly fireworks remains one of the most-visited parks of "The Florida Project," as Walt Disney called it.
Disney Springs, the entertainment, dining, and shopping complex at Walt Disney World resort, is made up of four distinct “neighborhoods”: The Marketplace, The Landing, the West Side and the Town Center. Disney Springs’ outdoor neighborhoods are interconnected by a flowing spring and lakefront.
In addition to the gateway with a signature water tower and grand entry there are:
— The Town Center, which offers a sophisticated mix of shopping and dining along with a promenade where guests can relax, refresh and reconnect.
— A colorful and thriving commercial district called The Landing with inspired dining and beautiful waterfront views.
— The family-friendly Marketplace that will continue to delight guests of all ages by combining new experiences, such as an over-the-water pedestrian causeway, along with classic Disney favorites, including an expanded World of Disney store.
— A West Side that provides an exuberant atmosphere with lively entertainment, along with a series of new elevated spaces that provide both shade and an overlook to the activity below.
Disney Springs features such diverse shops as World of Disney, Lego Imagination Center and the Art of Disney. Unique entertainment is also available at Splitsville.
There is no admission fee to Disney Springs.
Just up the road, Universal Orlando is another popular Florida theme park destination. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is part of Universal's Islands of Adventure and the two-park attraction celebrates author J.K. Rowling's fantastical tale of the boy wizard.
True to its name, Universal celebrates movie themes, among them Jurassic Park and Dr. Seuss.
Also, in Orlando is Seaworld, which beside its wild animal shows boasts four rollercoasters. Among them are Kraken, a floorless coaster, and Mantu, a ride designed to mimic how a manta ray moves along the ocean floor.
Universal CityWalk is a 30-acre nighttime entertainment complex offering some of the hottest, most recognizable entertainment experiences in the world with dozens of clubs, restaurants and shops. It’s open until 2 AM, and all guest can self-park for free after 6PM. CityWalk is a convenient, unique collection of awesome dining and entertainment venues and has everything you’re looking for. Some of CityWalk's highlights include the world's largest Hard Rock Cafe and famous celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse's restaurant, Emeril's Restaurant Orlando. What's more, access to the whole area is completely free, so it doesn't matter if you are visiting Orlando Universal Resort or not. Kids will be also happy about the number of exciting themed restaurants to enjoy their evening meal, such as the NBA-themed restaurant, and the out-of-this-world mini-golf courses that will keep them entertained for hours. There's plenty of food to suit everyone's tastes, including Mexican, Sushi, pizza, hot dogs, and barbecue, and it's a great place to pick up your Orlando souvenir.
In nearby Lakeland, LEGOLAND is a favorite of children who love its rides and other activities celebrating the iconic building blocks.
In Tampa, about 75 miles west of Orlando, the popular African-themed Busch Gardens features animal exhibits, live entertainment and plenty of rides. Coaster-lovers are quite partial to Busch Gardens' thrilling rides among them Cheetah Hunt, a triple launch coaster, and Cobra's Curse, a new but old-school steel coaster.
Florida is the golf capital of the world, with some 1,100 courses in every corner of the state, waiting to challenge everyone under the sun.
A Florida golf experience can be whatever you need it to be. Just as there are options galore for picking the perfect beach, resort or fishing hole, there are also many ways to create the perfect Florida golf trip. Here a just a few special courses.
Grand Cypress Resort
Grand Cypress Resort gives you options. Choose from four courses — North, South, East and New — all designed by Jack Nicklaus. The directional courses are distinct in their designs but are made to complement one another and be used together.
Shingle Creek Golf Club
Named after the creek running through this resort, the course at Shingle Creek Golf Club has been one of the best golf courses in Orlando since first opening in 2003. This 18-hole course has large greens, luxurious fairways and a ton of water hazards, making it challenging and enjoyable all at the same time. Surrounded by cypress trees, Shingle Creek attracts golfers with its course, friendly customer service and free valet parking.
Orange County National
Golfers wanting to spend most of their day on the greens can do so at Orange County National. Play 36 holes of championship golf in a serene setting bordered by the beauties of Orlando’s nature on its Panther Lake and Crooked Cat courses. No two holes are the same on Panther Lake, testing your focus and precision the entire tee time. Crooked Cat has fewer trees and wider landing areas, giving a more open feel while you play and allowing more room for errors, because no one’s golf game is perfect. OCN’s Tooth Course is a 9-hole short course, so it’s great practice for improving your score and for the less experienced golfers.
Eagle Creek Golf Club
One of the most unique and best golf courses in Orlando is the Eagle Creek Golf Club. This 18-hole, par 73 championship course has a European feel and appeals to golfers of every stage with its five sets of tees. Eagle Creek is the first course in Florida to use Mini-Verde grass, which results in lively greens that appeal to every golfer. Before embarking on this European-American designed golf course, practice your swing at its two-sided driving range with a practice hole.
Walt Disney World Golf
Walt Disney World Golf has four of the best golf courses in Orlando to give you the peace and isolation you need:
Longest course: Disney’s Magnolia (7,516 yards on the back tee) has numerous elevated Magnolia trees and 97 bunkers throughout.
Recently redesigned: Disney’s Palm features an 18-hole course with tall palm trees, glistening lakes and tropical white sands.
Classic country-club style: Disney’s Lake Buena Vista has hosted the PGA Tour, LPGA Tour and USGA events.
Family-friendly: Disney’s Oak Trail has a 9-hole, par-36 walking course that contains junior tee
The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex at Cape Canaveral is a must-stop for would-be space travelers. The history of the area and the U.S. space program is fascinating and entertaining, too. Farther up the coast is America’s oldest city, St. Augustine and the 16th century Castillo de San Marcos fort.
Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue
Saddle up, partner and get ready to experience the family-friendly fun of one of the longest-running dinner shows in the city. Set in a rustic dance hall, the theater's home-style menu features a wide range of traditional American favorites.
Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament
Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament will certainly help you get into the spirit of an age of bravery, honor and epic battles. Witness the spectacle of the joust, marvel at the superb horsemanship and epic falconry and – just as fun and adventurous – tear into your four-course meal while cheering boldly for their representative knight amid the splendor of the Kissimmee Castle. An eight-cottage medieval village adds to the attraction's.
By day, Wonderworks’ signature upside-down building features more than 100 interactive exhibits, as well as a ropes challenge course, laser tag, and 4D theater. But some of the best it has to offer comes after dark at the Outta Control Magic Comedy Dinner Show, one of the most popular evening attractions in Orlando. Showman Tony Brent brings with him a rapid-fire arsenal of magic, impersonations, improv and comedy to the delight of audience members young and old. Guests enjoy pizza and unlimited drinks.
Sleuths Mystery Dinner Shows
Engaging and intellectual, at Sleuths dinner show, guests use their powers of observation to become expert detectives and help solve the mystery. Over two-and-a-half hours, you'll meet the cast, enjoy dinner and unlimited drinks, engaging with the venue's charming and outrageous characters as you unravel what's happened. Audience participation is the order of the evening and the dinner companions and your table will become a team of detectives, discussing the clues and having lots of laughs while doing so. Prizes are awarded to the evening's most successful detectives, but everyone enjoys entrees including prime rib, lasagna and Cornish hen.
Disney's Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show
Aloha and welcome to the idyllic, open-air Luau Theater where the mesmerizing magic of the South Seas melds with that of the Happiest Place on Earth. The result? The Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show, where guests enjoy all-you-can-eat island pulled pork, roasted chicken, barbecued ribs, rice, vegetables and more while enjoying an immersive spectacle that begins the moment you enter Disney's spectacularly themed Polynesian Resort. Elaborate costumes and choreography – watch out for the fire dancer! – pair up with a traditional South Pacific tale. It's multicultural, too, featuring cultural experiences from New Zealand, Samoa, Tonga, Tahiti and of course, Hawaii, all without leaving Orlando.
Capone's Dinner & Show
Bring your kids. Bring your grandparents. The cheekiest of humor will sail over the former's heads while everyone enjoys a trip back to a time modeled on the gangland era of 1930s Chicago. Fare here is all-you-can-eat Italian, drinks are included in the overhead. Show up for a good time with the gangsters and the gun molls.
Titanic – The Experience
This unique museum attraction is dedicated to the history of this infamous doomed ship, but Titanic, the Experience one-ups its exhibits on weekend nights, allowing visitors to slide into the roles of its ill-fated passengers without the inconvenience of an icy, watery grave. Its intriguing show immerses guests in the "Titanic Gala Dinner," during which they join their fellow passengers to celebrate the retirement of the ship's legendary captain. The interactive experience includes a tour of the attraction along with a re-enactment of the unfortunate events of April 14th. Come early and enjoy themed drinks before dinner is served. All aboard!
Pirate's Dinner Adventure
This colorful and highly interactive show includes a fully rigged pirate ship, a kidnapped princess and her court, bloodthirsty pirates and, of course, plenty of terrific swashbuckling action. The venue's new Rise of the Sea Dragons show incorporates life-sized dragons into the mix to the delight of young, old and everyone in between. Admission here includes an appetizer, main course and dessert options.
or I-Drive, as it’s commonly known is an 11.1-mile thoroughfare that serves as one of Orlando’s premier entertainment districts. Here, you’ll discover some of the area’s best shopping, dining, attractions, and nightlife! You can easily spend a full day – or more – exploring this ever-expanding stretch of diverse amusements. Here are a few of our favorite I-Drive hot spots! Orlando’s famous International Drive is filled with after-dark options, including sports bars to cheer on your favorite team, a country bar with a mechanical bull, various billiard and game rooms, go-kart tracks, movie theaters, blues clubs and more. Madame Tussauds Orlando has a dazzling assortment of lifelike wax celebrities, SEA LIFE Aquarium and Skeletons Museum of Osteology
For an incredible view of the city from a glass capsule, visit the 400-foot ICON Orlando
on International Drive, ICON Orlando is the tallest observation wheel on the United States East Coast at 400 ft and weighs in at 3 million pounds - that’s 300 school buses! Float effortlessly above the idyllic Orlando skyline for breathtaking views that’ll leave you with an iconic moment you’ll never forget.
Swing 450 feet above the ground at speeds up to 45 mph on International Drive's newest and tallest tower swing attraction... the Orlando StarFlyer
Eat, drink and play at Dave & Buster's.
This is your chance to fly! Fun Spot America's thrill ride, Air Raid, let's riders experience the sensation of flying in an acrobatic airplane. The Air Raid sends riders round and round and upside down at up to 4G forces.
Learn to Belly Dance and eat authentic Greek food at Taverna Opa.
Named after an artist's life, Cafe Tu Tu Tango is fun and has a bohemian attitude with a tapas-style menu. It also supports local artists with a vast selection scattered throughout and non-stop eclectic entertainment.
Laugh yourself silly at the Orlando Improv Comedy Club.
Start your engines! I-Drive NASCAR
includes: state-of-the-art go-kart racing, bowling and arcade games, a sit-down restaurant / bar, meeting space and more.
Calling all Parrot heads! Have a cheeseburger in paradise at Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville.
Sing pop classics at Howl at the Moon.
The Great Escape Room
is part scavenger hunt, part mind-game as groups and families work together to get out of an enclosure with hidden passageways and trap doors. Immerse yourself in your own unique adventure with the #1 escape room in Orlando. With 5 unique game themes to choose from, you will definitely find an experience you'll love. Break out of prison, repair a spaceship on Mars, solve an art heist...the choice is yours!
Get your daily dose of iron at Topgolf, Orlando's newest high-tech driving range. Complete with 100+ climate-controlled hitting bays, full-service restaurant & bars, rooftop terrace with fire pit, private event spaces & meeting rooms, over 200 HDTVs and free Wi-Fi.
If you feel the need for speed, check out Andretti Indoor Karting & Games! High speed karts are just the beginning. They also have a massive arcade, bowling lanes, laser tag, full
restaurant and 7-D ride.
Hit one of the many water parks to cool down or spend an air-conditioned afternoon inside the Orlando Science Center, the Orlando Fire Museum or the National Vietnam War Museum.
Spend a carefree day of water fun with the Waturi islanders at Universal's Volcano Bay. Where Water is Life and Life is Joy
The Holy Land Experience
The Holy Land Experience brings together the sights and sounds of the world of the Bible in a unique and interactive way unlike anywhere else.
It is a living, biblical museum that takes you 7000 miles away and 2000 years back in time to the land of the Bible. Its combination of sights, sounds, and tastes will stimulate your senses and blend together to create a spectacular new experience.
What's a vacation without some retail therapy and great bargains? We've got you covered!
so much to Linda Bozeman Isias for putting this together!