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World Travel Guide > Guides > North America > United States of America > Florida > Orlando

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Things to do in Orlando

Check out Central Flordia Everglades on an airboat

Florida's Everglades National Park is huge, covering 1.5-million acres (607,000 hectares) of wetlands, but it is about four hours' drive away. For something closer to Orlando, check out 'Central Florida Everglades' around Lake Kissimmee. The best way to explore the unspoilt and protected swamps, marshes and rivers is to join an airboat tour, with some tours include a visit to an aviary and watch an alligator-handling show.

Float high above Orlando in a balloon

Take to the sky and enjoy a sunrise flight as the hot air balloon glides across meadows and waterways of Central Florida. The experience lasts around an hour and concludes with champagne.

Play a round of golf

It's said that Orlando has more than 150 golf courses with many of them playing hosts to PGA Tour and other championships. For an ultimate golf experience, get ready to tee off in one of the many perfectly manicured courses.

Play cowboy and learn to ride a horse

If you are looking for an adventure on the American frontier, check out the Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground from Disney. From pools with a 67ft-long corkscrew waterslide, wagon rides, pony rides, fishing to archery, many of the recreation activites are perfect for children and families.

Ride on a swan paddle boat

Nestled in the heart of Downtown Orlando, Lake Eola Park is a great place to kickback and feed swans and other birds living in the park. Visitors can also rent a swan-shaped paddle boat by the Relax Grill. A wheelchair accessible boat is also available.

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Sheraton Safari Hotel and Suites

With larger than average rooms, a great pool and an ideal location just outside Walt Disney World Resort, this make this a good family choice. As you can imagine, the décor is largely animal prints and exotic details. There’s been attention paid to the outdoor areas, including a 24m (80ft) water slide in the pool. The hotel is currently undergoing a US$25 million renovation, due for completion this spring.

Walt Disney World Swan and Walt Disney World Dolphin

The former operated by Westin and the latter by Sheraton, these are the archetypal fancy Disney hotels with all the attendant allures. Between the two hotels, there are 2,267 luxury rooms and 254,000 sq ft of meeting and exhibition space. They share 17 restaurants and lounges, four swimming pools, two health clubs, and a wide array of recreational activities.

Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress Resort

An 18-storey atrium welcomes honeymooners and families, screeching parrots and all. It’s hard to imagine a more replete resort hotel, and there’s a whole world to explore, from one of the best pools in the country to the comprehensive sports on offer to the destination restaurants.

Galleria Palms Hotel & Suites

One of the best-located budget hotel options you’re only a mile and a half from Disney but you can stay at a fraction of the price of similarly placed hotels. The rooms aren’t the largest you’ll ever stay in but they are clean and modern and there’s even a free breakfast.

Doubletree by Hilton Orlando at SeaWorld

Formerly the Doubletree Resort Orlando, a US$35m refurbishment in 2010 means this is now one of the best value hotels on International Drive. Set in 11 hectares (28 acres) of landscaped gardens, there are three main pools and a children’s pool. There are varied dining options on site, and a myriad of choices just nearby.

Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge

This magnificently themed resort is a real slice of Africa, complete with a 13-hectare (33-acre) wildlife reserve out the windows of the 1,293 rooms in the six-storey luxury resort. Rooms are laid out in a horseshoe shape after a kraal African village design.