Orlando ranks high as one of the most popular vacation destinations in the U.S. In 2017, the city welcomed a record 72 million tourists. This isn’t surprising given the abundance of world-class theme parks in the area that have made it an uber-popular choice for young families and multigenerational travel.
But Orlando also has wide appeal for people over the age of 50 visiting the area without kids. And many mature travelers have the decided advantage of being able to schedule their visits during off-peak times when schools are in session, room rates are lower and the crowds are fewer.
MoreTimeToTravel has partnered with the AARP Travel Center powered by Expedia to highlight some of the reasons why grownups love Orlando. The AARP site is also a great place to start planning and booking flights, hotels and car rentals.
1- Respite from the winter weather
Snowbirds from the northern U.S. and Canada especially enjoy visiting Orlando during the chilly winter months of December, January and February. With high temperatures hovering close to 70°F and lows around 50°F, they are able to enjoy outdoor activities and sports at a destination that averages some 233 days of sunshine.
Although Orlando is inland, guests can plan trips to nearby coastal beaches (e.g. Cocoa Beach or Clearwater) in central Florida. Some resorts in the immediate area have their own lakeside beaches and golfers can take advantage of the numerous courses in Orlando and surrounding communities. Each March, Orlando’s premier golf event, the Arnold Palmer Invitational, is held at the private Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club & Lodge in Orlando.
2 – Wide array of accommodations
With more than a dozen theme parks in the area, Orlando has been dubbed the “theme park capital of the world.” As a result, it is also an epicenter of hospitality with more than 120,000 hotels rooms as well as tens of thousands of rental properties—from apartments to villas—to fit every lifestyle and pocketbook.
Visitors who prefer to stay in the walkable downtown area will be close to restaurants, nightlife, and sporting events and concerts at the Amway Center (home of the Orlando Magic). They can also take advantage of the full calendar of events at the contemporary Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts to catch a ballet, Broadway show or musical performance.
Because of the sprawling distances in Orlando, those who stay outside the downtown area will likely want to rent a car to get from place to place. They’ll have ample choices with more than 25 hotels on the Walt Disney World Resort property alone and another 30 or more near Universal Orlando Resort. For pampered service, guests can book stays at luxury properties like the Four Seasons, Ritz-Carlton and Waldorf Astoria.
3- Unique museums for lifelong learners
Lifelong learners will enjoy visiting the city’s many museums. For example, the Morse Museum of American Art in nearby Winter Park houses one of the most magnificent collections of the works of Louis C. Tiffany including lamps, jewelry, painting, pottery and art glass. The permanent collection of the Orlando Museum of Art showcases African art, contemporary art and graphics, art of the ancient Americas complemented by a rich a calendar of temporary exhibits. Other interesting museums in Orlando include: Titanic, the Artifact Exhibition, the Orlando Science Center and Skeletons: Museum of Osteology (skeletons). Outdoor lovers will appreciate the 50-acre Harry P.Leu Gardens botanical park.
4- A virtual feast for food lovers and shopaholics
Of course, Orlando’s theme parks, hotels and resorts offer a plethora of onsite eateries but Orlando also has its own Restaurant Row, located on Sand Lake Road. Here, more than 24 restaurants, ranging from casual to upscale, offer a wide choice of local and international fare. Those who stay at one of the many rental properties in the region can live like locals, cook at home and save money.
Shopping options also abound. Close by are three outlet malls that sell name brands at whopping discounts: Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores (close to Walt Disney World Resort), Orlando International Premium Outlets (close to Universal Orlando Resort) and the very upscale Orlando Vineland Premium Outlets at Vineyard Avenue. If price is no object, the glass-roofed Mall at Millenial on Conroy Road, anchored by Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus and Macy’s, houses more than 120 luxury brand stores, boutiques and restaurants.
5- Who says adults don’t like theme parks?
And if you want to have fun, don’t rule out the theme parks entirely. Just do your homework, plan ahead and make judicious choices. A couple of examples—Admittedly, the Magic Kingdom might bore most adults without children or grandchildren in tow; but a visit to adult-friendly Epcot, also part of Walt Disney World, showcases different cultures and cuisines, which can be akin to taking a mini-trip around the world.
Universal CityWalk is a one-stop, 30-acre complex offering dining, entertainment and nightlife. Some venues have admission fees but there’s no admission charge to the park and parking is free after 6PM. Here, visitors can play mini-golf, catch a movie, listen to the Blue Man Group, or take a whirl on one of the complimentary water taxis that go between CityWalk and the three onsite hotels on the Universal grounds. SeaWorld Orlando and its sister property, Discovery Cove, are good choices for those interested in marine life.
Also worth noting: For those with disabilities, Orlando ranks high in providing accommodations for special needs visitors at many of its ADA-compliant hotels, resorts, restaurants and attractions.
All photo credits: Pixabay
This post is sponsored in partnership with the AARP Travel Center powered by Expedia. We hand-pick destinations and products that we like or think will be appreciated by our readers.
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