For the adventurer looking to get a taste of Florida "before the theme parks", Orlando will not disappoint. To experience "ole fashioned" Florida, you will find it with a swamp adventure airboat ride, a scenic boat tour of old Winter Park or other waterways. There are several wildlife parks in the area that cater to the wilder side of nature. These are best experienced by a treetop zipline ride, a leisurely kayak trip along one of Florida's scenic waterways, a boat rental on one of the many "chain of lakes" in the area, or a day on Lake Butler with your own boat rental.
If a day on or near the water the fits your fancy, Orlando has several water sports complexes and water parks to enjoy. These range from high octane jet ski adventures, water skiing and wakeboarding. Charter fishing and professionally guided deep sea fishing opportunities are available nearby. You are only an hour away from scuba diving and snorkeling off the coast of Florida. By the way, did you know that Walt Disney World has its own marina?
If you prefer to take to the air to see" the city beautiful" consider doing it with one of the many hot air balloon companies. What better way to see the theme parks than from a helicopter tour of the parks. Don't rule out, a hand gliding adventure or even a bi-plane ride.
Moving around? It can be done by renting a segway in the tourist area or by horseback at one of the local ranches or riding stables. If you prefer to "hoof it" yourself, there is a constant flow of sponsored walks in one of the garden spots of the city, bike rides on one of the bike trails such as, the West Orange Trail, and various fun runs, even the Disney half and full marathons.
Sports anyone? Orlando has its share of amateur and professional sports complexes and venues such as ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex; which hosts many AAU sporting events. There are ample opportunities to experience college bowl games, concerts and events in the newly renovated Florida Citrus Bowl.
Professional and semi professional sports are well represented in Orlando. Orlando plays host to the Orlando Magic, a professional NBA basketball team; the Atlanta Braves, a professional baseball team's spring training facility, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, professional d football, pre-season football training camp.
The Orlando Predators, professional arena football; the Orlando Solar Bears, semi pro ice hockey; and the most recent addition, the Orlando Titans; professional soccer franchise that will be moving into a newly built stadium in 2106. Tinker Field, near the Citrus Bowl is an icon of professional baseball.
Naturally, golf has a strong presence in Orlando with; the Arnold Palmer Invitational; professional golf tournament. There are more than 150 courses in the area, all designed for various levels of play. Orlando is home to many on the PGA tour.
Tennis is still quite popular in Orlando and there are a number of facilities and resorts that offer excellent tennis opportunities, both indoor and outdoor.
In the tourist area, there are many smaller, destination specific attractions such as go-cart adventure rides, thrill rides and various outdoor activities that will keep the younger ones busy until time to unwind after a hectic day at the theme parks.
Orlando is also a primary destination for the those planning on a cruise. Port Canaveral, is only one hour away and is home to many well known cruise lines, including Disney Cruise Lines. The Port is undergoing a major expansion and entertainment complex that will increase the number of "cruisers" dramatically.